Chase Revamping IHG Credit Cards: Real Improvements Coming!

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Along with a of IHG Rewards elite status Chase is making changes to their IHG co-brand credit cards, effective March 24, 2022.

The primary consumer card will improve points-earning, offer new benefits, and rewards for hitting spending targets (including top tier elite status). Meanwhile the no annual fee card is improving, and a revamped business card is coming too.

Real Improvements To the Main IHG Credit Card

Currently the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, which has an offer to earn 125,000 bonus points + a Free Night after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • a free night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide.
  • Platinum status just for being a cardmember
  • a free reward night each time cardmembers redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights. (That’s better than the ‘5th night free’ from Hilton, and amounts to a 25% discount on four night award stays.)
  • There’s also a Global Entry or TSA Precheck fee credit (up to $100 every 4 years) as well.

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card will be renamed the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card in line with the program’s rebranding and offer:

  • Increased points-earning for spending: 5X points (up from 1X) on travel; 5X points (up from 2X) on purchases at gas stations, dining / restaurants; 3X points (up from 1X) per $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • More flexibility for Anniversary Free Night certificates add unlimited points to redeem Anniversary Free Night certificates at hotels above the 40,000 point redemption limit.

  • United® TravelBank Cash Up to $50 each calendar year in TravelBank Cash from United Airlines purchases after registering the card with the cardmember’s MileagePlus® account. This comes as the United premium club card gets an IHG status benefit as well, an interesting tie-in given United’s relationship with Marriott.

  • Threshold bonus 10,000 bonus points and $100 statement credit after spending $20,000 on purchases and making one additional purchase each calendar year

  • Earn Diamond status The card still comes with Platinum status, but $40,000 spend and one additional purchase each calendar year will earn Diamond (the re-named Spire Elite top tier).

The card’s annual fee will increase from $89 to $99 in 2023 for existing cardmembers. That’s still a reasonable price point considering the revamp that gives both real substantive new benefits – more valuable (because more flexible) free nights, United credit – as well as it seems a case to put spend on the card.

Previously this was a card to get for the status and free night but not spend on, but tripling the points-earning for unbonused spend and offering top tier status and additional points and a statement credit as a reward for hitting spending targets will change the calculus for some.


Intercontinental Tahiti

No Annual Fee Card Changes

The no annual fee IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card is also being rebranded IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card in line with the program name change. It currently has an offer to earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

  • Increased points-earning for spending 3X points (up from 1X) on utilities, internet, cable, phone, and select streaming services purchases; 3X points (up from 2X) on dining / restaurant and gas purchases; 2X points (up from 1X) per $1 spent on all other purchases

  • Automatic silver status and spend to gold after spending $20,000 on purchases and making one additional purchase each calendar year, instead of receiving Elite Qualifying Points (EQPs) on purchases made with the card.

  • Threshold bonus 0,000 bonus points after spending $10,000 on purchases and making one additional purchase each calendar year.

One of the best features is that cardholders receive a free reward night each time they redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights. That to me is the reason to keep this card. If you’re going to spend on an IHG card, though, I think it makes sense to put that spend on the annual fee product.


Intercontinental Boston

New Small Business Card Coming

Chase and IHG will be introducing a new $89 annual fee IHG Premier Business Card on March 24 as well. Apparently there’s an existing group of cardmembers with a legacy business card, which I don’t think I actually realize. They’ll be migrated to the new card, with the annual fee going into effect in 2023.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of advertisers Citibank, Chase, American Express, Barclays, Capital One or any other advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

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Comments

  1. Any idea what happens to the Rewards Select Card that many of us have – the discontinued $49/annual fee version?

  2. @Gary – any word on whether those of us with the old IHG card with $49 AF will be affected by these upcoming changes?

  3. a free reward night each time cardmembers redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights. (That’s better than the ‘5th night free’ from Hilton, and amounts to a 25% discount on four night award stays.)

    LOL. Back to trying to punch down his favorite piñata, but ending up punching himself instead!

    In the abstract 25% is “better” than 20%, just like 1.5cents/”point” is more “valuable” than 0.5cent/”point”, when “points” currency denominations are all referred to generically as simply “points.”

    Things are shocking when you go further and ask…

    Sidebar:

    25% of what is “better” than 20% of what?
    or
    1.5cents of which points currency is more “valuable” than 0.5cent of which other points currency, e.g., is this inequality,

    1.5cents/WoH point > 0.5cent/HH point

    which is universally claimed to be true in travel blogosphere, correct? You do not know a priori because, look at the denominators! You no longer have just “point” in the abstract. You have specific points currency denominations and because 1 WoH point is not the same as 1 HH point, that inequality is comparing apples and oranges! Like claiming a prior that

    1.5cents/gallon > 0.5cent/liter

    You do not know that until you convert liters to gallons or vice versa!

    1.5cents/gallon *1gallon/3.8liters = 0.4 cent/liter,

    which is less than 0.5 cents/liter, meaning that the inequality is wrong, just as the universal claim that

    1.5cents/WoH point > 0.5cent/HH point

    is wrong!!!

    Returning to the question at hand. Let’s do the simple math using real data.

    Class is now in session…

    I just booked a 5-night award stay at WA Maldives for January 2023 @ 120K HH points/night, for real.

    I will get 1/5 night free and that is a 20% discount.

    120K * 5 * 0.20 = 120K

    i.e., 120K HH points is the discount I got, so that rather than paying

    120K * 5 = 600K

    for 5 nights, I paid

    600K – 120K = 480K (or 120K/night for 4 nights = 480K) — real numbers

    Now, suppose I got 1/4 night free instead, which is a 25% discount.

    120K * 4 * 0.25 = 120K

    i.e., 120K is the discount I’d get, so that rather than paying

    120K * 4 = 480K

    for 4 nights, I ‘d pay

    480K – 120K = 360K (or 120K/night for 3 nights = 360K)

    So, dear @Gary Leff, how is that “better” than Hilton’s 5th award night free?

    — With Hilton, one saves 120K but stays for 5 nights.
    — While with IHG, one saves 120K but stays for 4 nights.

    If the IGH member decides to extend her stay to 5 nights because she’s having too much fun, she would have to pay 120K extra

    360K + 120K = 480K,

    which exactly what I paid for my 5-night award stay with 5th award night free.

    25% of what is “better” than 20% of what?

    – A 20% discount on 5 nights (5th night free): 0.2 * 5 = 1
    is exactly the same as
    – a 25% discount on 4 nights (14th night free): 0.25 * 4 = 1).

    Advantage would have been IHG if the benefit had been 25% on 5 nights, 5th night free

    0.25 x 5 = 1.25 or 25% more

    and that is an apples and apples comparison.

    Shocking, ey? No, it is called “Math”!

    Both programs offer the same discount, which are both tremendously generous. One just wonders when the “best program by orders of magnitude” will catch up and start to offer this, the single most valuable perk in hotel loyalty, to the”best” top elite status of any program…

    …Class dismissed!

  4. @DCS that is a deranged comment. You know you’re commenting on a blog in 2022, right?

    With a fourth night free, you get either the fourth night free or the fifth night free if you decide to stay five nights.

    With a fifth night free, if you decide to stay four nights, you get nothing free.

    ***

    I also note many people have both IHG credit cards (legacy and new). This gives a 10% rebate on redemptions. So it’s actually 32.5% discount. A third night free, almost!

  5. Similar question. Will the legacy card also gain the ability to top up with more points so the annual free night can be used at hotels that require more than 40,000 points?

  6. @ DCS Wow, that’s a lot of math. What if you can only stay four nights? Doesn’t IHG prevail in this scenario? Please explain how they are equally valuable.

  7. What if you can only stay four nights? Doesn’t IHG prevail in this scenario? Please explain how they are equally valuable.

    Well, no, the two situations are identical. They stay 4 nights, but I get to enjoy more time in the sun sipping “umbrella” drinks!Then, if they envy me too much, can’t stand it, and want to stay a day longer, they must pay for it, which would cost them their 120K points. My extra night is worth exactly their 120K points, quite literally. The math actually says that clearly:

    20% of 5 = 25% of 4 = 1

    because 20% = 1/5 and 25% = 1/4

    A lot of math but trivial math.

  8. @Gary do you have a source or could you link to the press release? I was unable to find it. Thank you.

  9. Your comment does not shine brightly, @starman . What is it that you do not understand in my long explanation filled with trivial math? That 20 % of 5 is the same as 25% of 4, or that a 4-night stay with 120K saved is equivalent of a 5-night stay (not mentioning the 120K also saved), as the extra night is worth exactly the 120k points saved? You have the points but I have the extra night that cost me exactly the same the number of point that you have. It’s like one person having $120 in the bank and the other person spending $120 for a meal. The meal is worth exactly the same as the $120 in the bank, because the person with $120 in the bank can’t have the same meal unless they withdraw and spend the money.

    You, in fact, made my point. If you stay 5 nights under the IHG scheme, then you are exactly in the situation of a 5-night award stay at a Hilton property, except that under the IHG benefit, the way I understand it and I am sure you’ll correct me if my understanding is off, you get one night free when you cross the 4-night threshold. So, you still get one just free if you book 8 or 10 nights, whereas in the case of Hilton, you get every 5th award night free up to 20 nights, so you could get up to 4 free nights.

    I suggest anyone else with a “challenge” read my long explanatory comment first.

  10. DCS, the math is simple but the conclusion is wrong.

    On 5 nights, each gets on free.

    On 4 nights, only IHg gives anything.

    Has anyone posted tin one of these threads that they agree with you? Ever?

  11. @Beachfan — One takes advantage of benefits as they are offered. I would book a 5-night award stay because of the 20% discount, and not 4 nights. Why do 4 nights when you can get another one for free?!

    Just like, why do just 3 nights if IHG gives you the 4th for free? The threshold is 4 nights. When you hit it you get one free night (25% off). If you want a 5th night you must use the points you saved when you crossed the 4th night threshold (it becomes 20% off). But you are limited to one night after crossing the threshold. With Hilton you get one free night every fifth award night up to 4 free nights..

    So, 10 award nights at @ IHG would cost: (120K * 10) -120K = 1,080,000
    10 award night @ Hilton would cost: (120K * 10) – 240K = 960,000

    — a difference of 120K points, which would grow to 240K after 15 night and to 360K after 20 nights…that is, assuming I am interpreting the IHG card benefit correctly.

  12. @Alphons – Of course, you find it tedious, as I doubt you can even follow the trivial math…

  13. Has anyone posted tin one of these threads that they agree with you? Ever?

    — Beachfan

    Nor has anyone, including you, posted that they agree with me here either, even though I made a case that is both logically and mathematically as tight airtight as can be? The conclusion is, therefore, inescapable, and it is the exact opposite of what you had in mind or meant to insinuate by posing the question.

    G’day.

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