Windbag Miles is a blog about points, miles, credit cards, travel, and general windbaggery.

Is IHG's dynamic pricing for point purchases a new thing?

If you've poked around the blogosphere at all today, you've probably noticed that IHG is selling points with a 100% bonus until March 22nd. It's a pretty good deal if you need to top up your account, but at 1/2 cent per point, you're getting them for pretty much what they're worth (unless you have a specific redemption in mind at a place like the Indigo in Milan or the Intercontinental Amsterdam, where you can get closer to a full cent). What I found weird this time around, though, is that the pricing changes based on the amount of points you buy. It's not unusual for the percentage bonus to go up the more you buy -- that's why I never buy points during those "Alaska is offering a 500% bonus on purchased miles!" sales, since you need to spend like $25,000 on miles in order to get the full bonus. However, I can't recall IHG ever adjusting the cost of the points themselves, rather than the bonus percentage. It creates some weird anomalies in the pricing:


It looks like the price breaks are at 10,001 and 25,001 points, starting at 1.35 cents per point and dropping down to 1 cent (and with the 100% bonus, those prices are cut in half).

I've also noticed discrepancies in the maximum points offered, with some people (myself included) seeing 60k + 60k as the most you can buy and others topping out at 58 or 59. You do need to log in to purchase points, so there could be an element of targetedness (targetitude?) in play here, although I don't know why they would bother with the hassle of determining which users to target when it only concerns a difference of a few thousand points.

Anyway, no huge revelations here, although if this is a new thing, I wonder if it signals a devaluation coming... and not just a category reassignment, but a Hilton-style revamp of the redemption side. Hopefully not, and this is just another way to encourage people to max out the bonus rather than making small purchases. I should also note that IHG messes around with stuff like this pretty often, whether it's offering increased value for points-and-cash redemptions or adding additional points-and-cash options. As a result, I'm not exactly surprised by the sudden (is it sudden?) dynamic pricing on point purchases, although it did seem interesting enough to post about.

Did anyone else see anything weird when they looked at their offer? Maybe there's a hidden message in there, and the first person to decode it will get to call Crispin Glover to tell him what it is.


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My retention call with USBank, plus some rambling about customer service in the Twitter era.

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