Almost Confirmed: Big Changes To The Chase IHG Rewards Card


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UPDATE 2 April 2018: Hold off applying for the existing IHG Rewards Card – strong indications are that the existing card will be devalued with the anniversary night being limited to properties costing 40,000 points or less.

The IHG Rewards credit card has long been one of the very best deals you can get in the miles & points world. As a card that offers a free night at any IHG hotel in the world in exchange for an annual fee of just $49 it has been selling itself for years. But the card looks to be on its way out and the opportunities to sign up for it as fast disappearing.

The Chase IHG Rewards Card – As Things Stand

Chase has pulled the application links for the existing IHG Rewards credit card from it site but, at the time of writing, the link on CreditCards.com is still working.

The offer you may see is this one….

…but anecdotal evidence suggests that, after you’ve been approved, you can call up Chase and asked to be matched to an 80,000 point bonus offer that I can’t seem to find anywhere.

This is what the card offers:

  • 60,000 bonus points (possibly 80,000 bonus points if Chase will oblige) after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months of having the card.
  • 5,000 bonus points when you add an authorized user and they make a purchase in the first 3 months of having the card.
  • Bonus points for spending:
    • 5 points/dollar spent at IHG properties worldwide
    • 2 points/dollar spent at gas stations, grocery stores & restaurants
    • 1 point/dollar on all other spending
  • A free night at any IHG property in the world each year on the anniversary of opening the card.
  • 10% points rebate when you redeem your IHG Rewards points (up to 100,000 points each year).
  • Platinum Elite IHG status for as long as you hold the card
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 annual fee in the first year and then $49/year thereafter

Note: these details are correct at the time of writing but things are fluid right now so there may be changes.

The Chase IHG Rewards Cards(s) – What Will Probably Be Announced Very Soon

Straight to the Points has details of two new Chase IHG Rewards that are set to be released and it looks as if they will be issued in place of the existing card discussed above.

This is unverified information but the evidence is compelling.

Chase will soon issue a new standard credit card that will offer:

  • 60,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 5 points/dollar spent at IHG properties (just like the current card)
  • A super-low annual fee of just $29

There will also be a second IHG Rewards credit card – the Premier Card – that will offer a lot more:

  • 80,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 5,000 bonus points when you add an authorized user and they make a purchase in the first 3 months of having the card.
  • 10,000 bonus points after spending $20,000 on the card in a cardmember year
  • Free night certificate at an “eligible hotel” every card anniversary
  • Spending bonuses:
    • 10 points/dollar spent at IHG properties worldwide
    • 2 points/dollar spent at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
    • 1 point/dollar on all other spending
  • Platinum Elite IHG status for as long as you hold the card
  • 20% discount on purchases of IHG points
  • 4th night free for award stays
  • Up to $100 credit towards Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every 4 years
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $89 annual fee

That’s a lot of changes that Chase may be making and some interesting new perks/benefits/bonuses.

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Thoughts

It’s important to reiterate that none of the information posted above has been confirmed by Chase….but there’s a lot of detail there that makes it look very plausible.

The $29 annual fee card doesn’t look particularly interesting but the Premier Card certainly does.

Compared to the current IHG Rewards credit card it offers:

  1. Double the points on IHG spending
  2. 4th night free on award stays
  3. 20% discount on IHG points purchases
  4. 10,000 bonus points for $20k of spending on the card
  5. Up to $100 credit towards Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every 4 years

Not That Interesting

Point 3 isn’t a big benfit as the dicount doesn’t on points purchases made during one of IHGs frequent sales….and who buys IHG points when they’re not on sale?

Point 4 isn’t really a big deal as 10,000 IHG Rewards points aren’t worth much more than $50 and the $20,000 spent to get those points would be much better spent on a lot of other credit cards

Point 5 isn’t much to get excited about either as there are a lot of other credit cards that offer this benefit (although admittedly not for an $89 annual fee).

Definitely Interesting

Points 1 and 2 are very interesting and will make this card attractive to a lot of people.

If you’re spending a lot of time at IHG properties the 10 points/dollar you’ll earn will help you rack up Rewards points quite quickly…and you’ll need to if IHG keeps devaluing the currency!

The 4th night free on award stays would be a very nice bonus to have and, if you can use this at one of the better IHG properties, it would save you 70,000 every time you used it – that’s a value of $280.

Possible Downsides

It’s interesting that the information seen by Straight to the Points uses the phrase “eligible properties” when the annual free night is mentioned.

This could mean something innocuous or it may mean that the free night will only be available for use at properties up to a certain tier/points value.

I’ve read rumors that IHG was looking to limit the free night certificate to properties costing up to 40,000 points per night so is this what “eligible properties” means? I really don’t know but I don’t like the possible implications of that phrase.

Lastly, there doesn’t appear to be any mention of the 10% points rebate current cardholders get every year and I suspect that this has been offset by the “4th night free” on award stays.

Personally, I prefer the 10% rebate but others may disagree.

What Will Happen To Existing IHG Rewards Card Holders?

At the time of writing, no one (outside of Chase) can give a definitive answer to that question but, if past history is anything to go by, Chase will grandfather in cardholders with their existing benefits.

That’s what’s happened very recently with Chase Ink Bold cardholders and means that, if you have the current IHG Rewards card before applications are closed down completely, you’ll have the free annual night locked in (at least for a few years).

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Bottom Line

The removal of the current IHG Rewards card from the Chase website is more than enough evidence that change is coming so, if you want the current version of the IHG Rewards card (which isn’t subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule), apply as soon as you can because your chances to do so are disappearing quickly.

The new Premier card that is strongly rumored to be on the way certainly has a number of positives but I don’t like the thought of the annual free night being capped at a level below top-tier.

Personally, the extra points the card will earn at IHG properties doesn’t make any difference to me as I don’t spend much with IHG as it is…..and the Global Entry benefit and the bonus points for spending $20k are of no interest whatsoever.

I don’t think I’d get as much use out of the 4th night free on award stays as I’d like to – my IHG stays tend to be 2-3 nights in length and a 4th night would, ordinarily, be more than I needed so I’d be staying somewhere just for the sake of staying.

I’m happy with my $49 annual fee, an unrestricted free night and 10% rebate on the points I spend every year. Opinions will vary depending on how often people stay with IHG but, if I didn’t already have the existing IHG Rewards card, I’d be getting it very soon.

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