- 1 Priority Club Rewards Visa Credit Card Review 2013
- 2 IHG Rewards Club to offer 10 points per $1 at ALL InterContinental hotels
- 3 Cyber Information Communication Technology Services
- 4 Malware cyber attack exposes Credit Card details of InterContinental Hotel guests
Priority Club Rewards Visa Credit Card Review 2013
A couple years ago, InterContinental Hotels and Chase revamped the Priority Club credit card (which is a Visa Signature card). How do the current rewards and benefits stack up against the competition in 2013? How much is the 80,000 points offer really worth and is it still around?
Disclosure: I do no advertise this card. This is just my honest opinion about it. All info and opinions about this card are presented without warranty.
InterContinental Hotel Group is a mega-parent company and most people don’t realize how many different hotel chains they actually own.
Aside from those properties operating under the InterContinental name, there’s Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites – and the most popular – Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express.
For each dollar spent, you get the following…
- 5 points at all InterContinental Hotels (listed above)
- 2 points on gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants
- 1 point on all other purchases
Each year you keep the Priority Club Visa card, you will receive a certificate for a free night’s stay – this is emailed 6 to 8 weeks after the anniversary of your enrollment date.
Of course, the above Priority Club Rewards really mean nothing without knowing how much the points are actually worth! Their value can vary greatly depending on how you spend them, but here are a few examples to give you an idea:
Priority Club PointBreaks – These are the best value; only 5,000 points per night. Too good to be true? Sort of. At any given time there’s usually only a few dozen locations participating, which are usually (but not always) smaller cities. For example, in my home state of California, the only participating hotels at the time of this review were in Merced, Fresno, Santa Nella, and Vacaville.
Holiday Inn Express – The “value destinations” are usually 10,000 points per night. If the price of the room would have normally cost you $100 with tax, then this is an okay deal because you will be getting around 1 cent per point. However if the “value destination” only would cost you $60 or $70 in cash, then it is less lucrative. For the Holiday Inn Express “special destinations” it appears 20,000 points can be expected.
Holiday Inn – It appears once can typically expect the “value destination” to run 15,000 points and the “special destination” to be 25,000 points.
Crowne Plaza – At 25,000 points per night, this has the potential to be a good value in expensive cities.
InterContinental Hotels – 30,000 points per night, which like the Crown Plaza, could offer a good ROI in pricier locations (where the cash rate would be more than $300/night).
Retail Gift Cards – You can also cash out your Priority Club credit card points for partner gift cards from major retailers at a rate of 20,000 for $50 or 38,000 for $100. That equates out to be almost a quarter-percent rebate on your regular spending… so obviously your best bet is to use them for hotel stays.
Then there’s a 10% points rebate . With the Priority Club Rewards card, you get 10% of the points you spend rebated back to your account. So if you spent 25,000 points, you would get 2,500 points credited back to your account (up to 100k points back per year). When you think about it, that basically means that with this credit card your Priority Club points will be worth 10% more than normal.
The annual fee is $49.
- As long as you’re a Priority Club Rewards Visa cardholder, you qualify for Gold Elite Status in the Priority Club program.
- There’s no foreign transaction fee
- You get the Visa Signature benefits.
The Priority Club credit card has been around for many years. In the past it wasn’t all that enticing, but the new program is definitely a huge improvement. However the big downside is that the value of your points may average as low as 1/4 to 3/4 of a cent each, depending on how you redeem them.
That’s why the Priority Club 80,000 points credit card offer they were running earlier in 2013 wasn’t even that good, since the dollar value of it may be as little as $200 depending on how you use the points. And the current offer last I checked was no longer 80,000 points, but only 60,000 points… that’s worth as little as $150 in my book, which is hardly a compelling new account signup offer.
So this card only makes sense if used strategically and you frequently stay at InterContinental hotels. But even then, you may be better off with a different card so consider all your choices.
Written or last updated October 26, 2013
IHG Rewards Club to offer 10 points per $1 at ALL InterContinental hotels
One of the oddities about IHG Rewards Club, the Holiday Inn / Crowne Plaza / Indigo etc loyalty scheme, is the way you earned points at InterContinental properties.
Until recently, whilst most of the other brands earned 10 points per $1 spent, you would only earn a flat 2,000 points per stay at any IC worldwide.
A couple of years ago IHG moved to an odd half-way house. InterContinental hotels in North America moved to the usual 10 points per $1 whilst all of the others remained at a flat 2,000 points.
This was less important when ALL IHG points, including bonus points, counted for status. Since the start of 2013, only BASE points count for status. This has made it a lot harder to earn Gold or Platinum status unless you get it free from the UK IHG credit cards. With status-earning points a lot harder to find there may have been a trading down from IC’s to other hotels by some guests.
Whatever the reason, the 2,000 point rule is going on 30th June.
From July 1st, any stay at an InterContinental – such as Le Grand in Paris above – will earn the full 10 points per $1. As long as your stay costs more than $200 – which it almost certainly will – you will be better off under the new regime.
There is no mention of this change on the IHG website and they have not yet emailed members about it. It is now written into the terms and conditions of the scheme. If you do a dummy booking for an IC hotel it will also show the correct number of points under ‘Points to be earned from this stay:’.
One anomaly remains though. If you stay in one of the two InterContinental ‘Alliance’ properties in Las Vegas (The Palazzo and The Venetian) then you will still only receive 2,000 points per stay ……
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InterContinental Hotels Confirms Credit Card Breach
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), parent company to Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Kimpton Hotels and Resorts, confirmed on Friday a breach of payment card systems used in 12 of its hotels located in North America and the Caribbean.
According to IHG, which operates 5,000 hotels worldwide, malware was found on servers used to process credit cards. The servers were infected between last August and December; the company declined to say how many payment cards were impacted.
In a statement released Friday, IHG said it found malware installed on servers used at popular destinations such as Michael Jordan’s Steak House and Bar in Chicago, the Holiday Inn San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf, the Copper Lounge in Los Angeles, and the Palm Bar in Aruba. A full list of locations impacted was posted by IHG.
The hotelier reported on Dec. 28 that it was investigating customer complaints of unauthorized charges on credit cards. At the time, the company said only a limited number of destinations were impacted before revealing more details on Friday.
“Findings show that malware was installed on servers that processed payment cards used at restaurants and bars of 12 IHG managed properties,” according to a statement. “Cards used at the front desk of these properties were not affected.”
According to IHG, the malware searched for magnetic stripe track data as it was being routed through servers. Track data included cardholder name, card number, expiration date and internal verification code. There is also no information provided on the strain of malware used in the attacks.
Hotels, restaurants and other hospitality outlets are frequently singled out as victims of opportunistic hackers. Last year alone there were nearly a dozen reports of card breaches. One of those breaches occurred in August and included 20 hotels run by HEI Hotels and Resorts, which owns chains Marriott, Sheraton, and Westin. Similarly, malware was used to siphon payment card data.
The prevalence of malware use to steal payment card data hit a peak in 2014 when it was at the center of several high-profile breaches, including Target and Neiman Marcus.
As recently as last November, security researchers at Trustwave said the Carbanak cybercrime gang, first discovered by Kaspersky Lab, had shifted strategy and began targeting the hospitality and restaurant industries with new techniques and malware. Part of the Carbanak tactics involved targeting hospitality call centers with elaborate ploys to get customer service representatives to accept and download emails with malicious macro-laced documents. The target was credit card data scraped from the memory of point-of-sale systems.
“We have been working with the security firms to review our security measures, confirm that this issue has been remediated, and evaluate ways to enhance our security measures,” IHG wrote in a statement regarding the breach.
Malware cyber attack exposes Credit Card details of InterContinental Hotel guests
A malware attack on a chain of hotels owned by InterContinental has resulted in the leak of credit card details to hackers. The Global Hotels Chain has also accepted the fact that the stolen details were used by hackers to make unauthorized transactions. The brands affected were Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza, Candlewood Suites and Daybridge Suites.
As per the sources of Cybersecurity Insiders, some 1200 US based franchised properties related to InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) based in Buckingham, UK were affected by the malware between September 29th and December 29th of last year.
The cyber crooks who launched the said malware attack managed to gain critical info from the server such as card holders name, the card number, its expiry date and internal verification code, along with the number which is behind the black magnetic strip of the payment card.
Intercontinental’s security team launched a probe in February this year and found that 12 of its 86 managed properties in America and one from Puerto Rico were affected by the malware.
IHG has urged its guests to check their bank statements for the said period. If they find any kind of suspicious activity the management has asked the victimized guests to visit the IHG website for more details on how to proceed.
Early this year, a hacking group from Russia hacked a Central Key Management server of an Austria-based luxury hotel and locked the hotel rooms in which some high profile guests were residing. The 4-Star SeeHotel Jaegerwirt hotel rooms remained locked until a Bitcoins ransom was paid to the cyber crooks.
Note- InterContinental Group (IHG) is a British Multinational hotels company which is headquartered in Denham, UK. It has over 5,288 hotels across 100 countries and over 28K workers working as employees for the hotel chain.