Chase Comes Out With a New IHG Rewards… MasterCard?

There has long been an 80,000 point signup bonus for the IHG Rewards co-brand card.

Points and Pixie Dust points out that the new card on offer appears to be an IHG Rewards MasterCard.

IHG Rewards promotes it here.

Here’s the offer:

This is one of those cards that is ‘good to have but not very good for spending money on’ and never hits the top of my list because IHG Rewads points – while very easy to earn through stays – frustrate me to actually use .. not because of availability but because there’s no option to use points for better than a base room, and because while some hotels may go above and beyond the terms and conditions of the program do not require most elite benefits to be honored when using points (or other free nights).

The card has a $0 fee the first year and offerings 60,000 points after $1000 spend within 3 months, a bit more than a free night at top hotels and which of course can be stretched further. I value IHG Rewards points at a bit less than 0.6 cents apiece so this bonus is effectively worth ~ $350.

It comes with an annual free night on cardmember renewal (subsequent years after year one are $49), 10% back on points redemptions, IHG Rewards Platinum status, as well as no foreign transaction fees.

Earning is 5 points per dollar at IHG Rewards hotels (I’d much rather earn 2 Chase points from Sapphire Preferred Card by a long distance), 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants (which are worth less to me than one airline mile), and 1 point everywhere else (which is better than earning nothing but I’d never put a non-bonused charge on this card).

What’s interesting is that the new IHG Rewards card is a MasterCard while Chase predominantly issues Visas, and has been moving away from MasterCard with products that have been of that flavor in the past.

Chase and Visa are closely aligned. But what I only really understood fully a year and a half ago is that each product is a negotiation between the issuing bank, between the payment network (Visa, MasterCard, American Express), and between the co-brand partner.

It’s not that Visa or MasterCard picks the benefits, but they want to attract the charge volume from the card so are part of negotiations and will give a break on their transaction fees as part of a deal.

I imagine that MasterCard wants to keep its (small) foothold with Chase, and so was willing to go out of its way to cut a very good arrangement here.

(Note that cards the IHG Rewards card does not offer any credit to me at the time of this writing, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card does. The opinions, analyses, and evaluations here are mine. The content is not provided or commissioned by American Express, by Chase, by Citibank, US Bank, Bank of America, Barclays or any other company. They have not reviewed, approved or endorsed what I have to say.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I have a CHASE VISA Priority card. I think the IHG program is great. I have almost never had any difficulty getting upgraded as a Platinum even when I have been on a rewards stay. Often it is to a suite but even a better room is nice. If I now apply for a CHASE Mastercard do you think I will get the signup bonus?

  2. Interesting change. Definitely worth a “wait and see” approach to find out if there will be higher bonus promotions that make it worth adding later.

  3. I’ll second that I have never had an issue getting elite benefits (without asking even) on 20-30 award stays with IHG over the years. Might be worth it to wait until the bonus ratchets higher, cancel my Visa and get the MC, since it’s a ‘new product’.

  4. Rather than canceling the visa, it seems like it should be possible to keep a Visa version and a MC version of the card in order to get two free nights each year? Certainly worth $100 in fees to spend two nights at an Intercon without having to wait for PointsBreak to hit the right dates/places!

  5. This may be a really noob (if that’s the term) question, but how would one go about asking for an upgrade when you have the IHG rewards card? When you book the reservation with your IHG card, does it just show up so that the concierge will know to upgrade you when you check in? Or do you have to ask for it every time and flash your card?

  6. @Henry – your account that is accumulating IHG Rewards points that is linked to the card will get upgraded to Platinum status. That status will show up on all of your reservations. The hotel will see it. No card flashing necessary, though reasonable to ask what kind of room you’re being assigned to and if it’s not what you’d like as if an upgrade might be possible?

  7. I noticed when booking a room this morning that I was offered a 60,000 mile card with a $50 statement credit during the checkout process.

    It looks like the 80,000 point offer is still available by watching a 90 second vide here:

    Use offer code PGFTNHNAD3 or SAMPN3YAA39. After the video you should get an offer for the 80,000 point MasterCard card from Chase. The initial video screen may only say 60,000 bonus points, but after the video it should revert to 80,000.

  8. Just got the IHG Visa recently. Haven’t seen anything written about this card giving elite status. The 80,000 IHG Visa came with Platinum status for the life of the card. I assume this one does not. And for those considering canceling the Visa, might be a consideration. I was status matched to Platinum last year but was told I could only do it once and it was somewhat of a motivation to get the Visa. Glad I got it before it disappeared!

  9. @smittytab, if you click through to the offer for the MC card, it does give Platinum elite status as long as you have the card.

  10. I recent booked 2 cash and points nights with IHG. Long story short, the IHG credit card will only give you 1x on the cash portion of the cash and points reservation. I talked to IHG and Chase and they both confirmed 1x. Therefore, use your CSP or Arrival card for cash and points stays.

  11. “…there’s no option to use points for better than a base room, and because while some hotels may go above and beyond the terms and conditions of the program do not require most elite benefits to be honored when using points (or other free nights).”

    I disagree. The 80,000 points from the credit card offer (actually 60,000 is enough) gets you Platinum status as long as you keep the card. Because of that status, I almost always get a very nice upgrade to some sort of suite, sometimes with a kitchen, when I arrive at a Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express. I especially like the latter, because of the free breakfast. Holiday Inns and Holiday Inns Express are most everywhere and are easy to book with points. For example, soon I will be getting 5 free nights on points in Paris at a Holiday Inn Express close to a subway station near the center of things.

  12. I have had the VISA version of this card. I called Chase and they said that since I had the VISA version and that they are transitioning this program over to Mastercard, I would not qualify for the bonus a second time. Has anyone heard differently?

  13. @chuck, that sounds like the party line to me. I would be surprised if you did not get the 60 or hopefully 80k bonus with the MasterCard version.

  14. I tried to get the card and then called recon. I was told I had been declined for non-credit-related reasons. It seems no one holding the IHG Visa will be allowed to get the MasterCard, bonus or not. Around March 26, they will start sending out new cards to IHG Visa holders. I told him this should be stated on line. He agreed and assured me that no credit pull had occurred. I spoke to customer service, and requested some compensation of “a few extra points.” The jury is still out on this one

  15. I’ve had the Visa version since 2011. I got the new Mastercard in the mail last week.

  16. I haven’t yet heard that as being treated as a different card, that isn’t to say that it’s not just that i haven’t followed the question

  17. Also IHG has a program online where you can trade points for airline miles, rental cars,and merchandise. However i dont know the exchange rate from point to miles

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