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New from Priority Club: Digital Rewards

New from Priority Club: Digital Rewards

Effective immediately, members of InterContinental’s Priority Club Rewards program may redeem their points for digital rewards, including music downloads, games, and software.

To bring the digital rewards into the program’s award catalog, Priority Club turned to the first club, "a global provider of digital rewards," for a turnkey solution that integrates seamlessly with the Priority Club website.

While the selection of software titles is underwhelming, there is plenty to choose from in the music and games categories.

According to the website, there are more than 7 million music tracks available. While the prices can be as low as 300 points per track, most recent hit songs were 400 points each.

Prices for computer games ranged from 800 points to more than 15,000 points for the likes of Call of Duty.

And software prices start at 1,150 points and go up from there.

So much for selection — what do the new rewards deliver in terms of value?

As a point of reference, most songs purchased through Apple’s iTunes service cost $1.29 apiece. Paying 400 points for a $1.29 track means you’re getting $0.003 (three-tenths of a cent) in value for every Priority Club point.

If, on the other hand, you redeemed points for a free night’s stay, you might find yourself cashing in the minimum 10,000 points for a stay worth $75. That works out to getting about $0.01 (1 cent) per point.

Clearly, using points for music downloads represents significantly poorer value than redeeming points for free stays.

No surprise there. With non-travel rewards, the underlying economics generally don’t allow the program operator to price the digital rewards attractively. So from a pure value standpoint, consumers are much better served by using their points for free room nights.

Still, there’s a place for low-priced rewards, even if they’re also low in value. As the Priority Club press release points out:

Leisure travelers, particularly families, want value from their hotel loyalty programs. Digital Rewards is a flexible option to help those with low point accumulations find an alternative point redemption option. And, all members will benefit from the fact that the Digital Rewards offers have been easily integrated with Priority Club’s existing point redemption choices.

Case in point: me. I have a few thousand Priority Club points and no plans to increase my account balance, even to the modest 5,000-point level at which I could redeem for a discounted PointBreaks award. I’m sure I can find five or six tunes to add to my music collection and zero out my account in the process. I’ll just stay focused on the music itself, not the fact that I’m overpaying for it.

Reader Reality Check

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  • Bucky

    Spending 10,000 points for a stay worth $75 works out to getting $0.0075 (0.75 cents) per point (cost / points).

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