Whoa: Chase Isn’t Just Improving IHG Card Benefits, They’re Bumping The Up Front Bonus Too

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Earlier I wrote about how Chase is seriously improving the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.

It turns out that the card isn’t just adding new benefits. They’ve substantially increased the up front bonus, as well. The initial card offer had been to earn 125,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. They’ve added a reward night on top of this.

Now, after $3000 spend on purchases within 3 months you’ll earn 125,000 points and a Reward Night e-certificate valid for a one-night hotel stay at a property with a redemption level up to 40,000 points.

That’s an up front award night worth up to 40,000 points as part of the initial bonus (after meeting minimum spend requirement) in addition to the free night after each account anniversary year. And one of the great changes coming March 24, 2022 is that these certificates become more flexible. You’ll be able to ‘top them off’ with additional points so that they can be used at hotels that cost more than 40,000 points, too.

The card still comes with Platinum status, though starting March 24, 2022 $40,000 spend and one additional purchase each calendar year will earn Diamond. And it still comes with a free reward night each time cardmembers redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights, along with Global Entry or TSA Precheck fee credit (up to $100 every 4 years).

But as part of the March 24 additions it will also 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.

  • 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.

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

The card’s annual fee is still $89. Apply now because Chase has said it will be going up to $99, and that existing cardmembers will not be affected until 2023.

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

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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  1. @ Gary — Using my. valuation of $.0046 per point, their 165,000 point offer is worth $759 – $99 AF – $52 opportunity cost = $608. For $3,000 spend, that is a decent, but not amazing, offer.

  2. @Greg – yes, @Gene – $89 annual fee for now, and I do value the points slightly higher than you do… my being impressed is that they’re materially improving the bonus offer at the time they’re announcing a material improvement to the card itself, and the annual free night, status and 4th night free on redemptions make it a card worth hanging onto.

  3. I agree it is a card worth hanging onto. But is it a card worth wasting a 5/24 slot for?

    There are very few ihg properties where I would want to use the 4th night free….in most cases I feel like I am going there because I have to use those damn points somewhere but a Marriott or Hyatt or even a local hotel often bring me a lot more joy.

  4. @Gary is there any chance the bonus goes even higher in March or will it still be 125k+free night (and 99 instead of 89 fee)? I’m wondering if waiting may increase it even more.

  5. @Gary I’m also wondering if the sign-up bonus will be the same for the business version? I would rather get that card, even at $10 more, but not if the bonus is better on the personal card.

  6. Do you know if the United Travel Bank credit is a use it or lose it each year, or can you put it into your Travel Bank and let it grow year over year?

  7. whenever an article is preceded by ‘wow’ or ‘woah,’ I know it’s wise to devalue the contents of said article.

  8. Gary, Can we apply for this if we have the existing $49 version of the card? Do you have a referral link or affiliate link I could use. Tuning in from the One World Jetsetters facebook group and love your feed. Ron

  9. @ Omar. Don’t you have a copy of the Boarding Area style guide? The most effective titles always begin with a one-word exclamation. Even saw a “Woot!” today. That’s some next level attention-grabbing.

  10. @HT any time you add money to United TravelBank the expiration for all the money is extended five years. You can keep on pushing the expiration out. There can be TB money that comes in other routes that has a shorter expiration and different extension rules, but when you buy TB funds it pushes everything in that pool to 5 year expiration. I assume this will work with the Chase card.

  11. Actually, the official style guide for click bait articles states that every tenth post should start with “X reasons why” followed by either “I love the —-card”or ” you should have the —-card”.

  12. My goodness, there might actually be something here to get excited about. Of course, it doesn’t take much with IHG.

  13. @Ron, I have the $49 card, and I applied for and was accepted for the Premier card last year, when the bonus was also good. So yes, you can have both.

  14. The top up to use with the 40K award makes it much more useful. Maybe this will put pressure on the Marriott and Hyatt card awards to do the same.

  15. I’m in the airline business and have been a loyal Holiday Inn member for a long time. I haven’t traveled much (nor anyone else for that matter) in a long time. I recently booked the Holiday Inn University Plaza hotel for my visit to Statesboro, GA. Right as I got to the confirmation point, I noted on the charges a “service charge” of $10.00 in addition to all of the other taxes and fees. I have learned that Holiday Inns now charge this “fee” that has no rhyme or reason except for the room rate to look cheaper than the surrounding competition until you hit “the button”. I won’t stay in Best Western hotels because, at one time, they charged a “room safe usage fee” at checkout even though you didn’t use the safe! Well, “buh bye” iHG hotels!

  16. I have not seen the $10 Service Charge that Win noted. My wife and I each have both IHG cards and thus get four free nights a year for less than $300. We drive up and down California a lot and they really come in handy.

  17. “The card still comes with Platinum status, though starting March 24, 2022 $40,000 spend and one additional purchase each calendar year will earn Diamond”
    What the fook is Diamond?

  18. @Gary Just applied for the Premium last week l. Insta approved. Haven’t even received the card yet. Think they’ll match me to this offer with the free night?

  19. Does IHG (outside of HI Express) have a restaurant that makes breakfast?
    I have Platinum status.

  20. Pumping this card hard enough without mentioning a Business card is coming is just disingenuous. And this 125K+FN offer is not even highest compared to 150K+$50+no annual fee offer.

  21. Holiday Inn is the no tell Hotel, Holiday Inn

    There are a few decent Intercontinental Hotels but most IHG properties are hot garbage. Think low end Marriott’s sketchy Sheratons in NJ

  22. I probably will take heat for this but… am I the only one who does not look at IHG as being so bad???

    Sure, the Holiday Inn is the Holiday Inn, but an IHG is always were I need it to be. The Intercontinental’s, Crowne Plaza’s and Indigo’ have been good choices.

    Points are cheap to get, stays are/can be inexpensive on points…and all of this without the pretentiousness of a Marriot or Hilton, for example, which where, although excellent properties, I often feel that I could be anywhere.

    My stays are almost exclusively outside the US, so perhaps it is just my perspective.

  23. @Len agree with you. Have found IHG in many many locations and have NOT found Hilton/Hyatt in those locations.
    @Mets Fan in NC sorry but some of us will NOT stay at a Howard Johnson or Best Western unless there is NO option other then the YMCA. We have been to IHGs in Paris, Japan, Canada, Germany, do you really need to spend $$$$ to say 9 hours at a room overnight? Nope.

  24. There’s a lot of places I travel where there are IHG options but there’s not a Hyatt within a day’s drive.

    It’d be nice if they had better properties in the big cities, but for example, I have two trips planned later this year for a total of ~20 hotel nights. Hyatt only has an option for two of those ~20 nights. One of them, IHG is the only chain hotel in the town I want to stay in.

  25. We’re talking Chase here, so the 5/24 rule makes this impossible for a large number of us.

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