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There are credit cards you hold for their points earning and then there are the credit cards you hold for the befits they offer and, for me, the current IHG Rewards credit card has always fallen into the latter category.
I book most of my paid hotels stays through Marriott so the bonus points the IHG Rewards card offers for my infrequent stays at IHG properties has never been a major attraction to me…..but the free night I get from the credit card every year is a benefit I love.
In its current guise the free night issued by the Chase IHG Rewards credit card allows me to book a standard room at any IHG property in the world and that’s a fantastic deal considering the credit card only costs $49/year.
Even if I didn’t place any value on any other the other benefits that comes with the card I would still only, essentially, be paying $49 for a night at any IHG property worldwide and that’s the kind of value that just can’t be beaten.
Clearly IHG & Chase agree which is why it looks as if this benefit may be going away.
One Mile At A Time was the first to report that a reader has been in touch to say that a recent letter from Chase signals the end of the amazing value the free night benefit offers.
This is what the wording in the letter says:
Update: We’re changing the Anniversary Free Night on your IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card
Thank you for being a Chase customer. On May 1, 2018, we’re changing the Anniversary Free Night benefit associated with your IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card.
Here’s what’s changing
Currently, we award this Anniversary Free Night each year after your anniversary date, and it is redeemable at any IHG property. Going forward, Anniversary Free Nights issued after May 1, 2018, will be redeemable at eligible IHG hotels with a redemption value up to and including 40,000 points.
Limiting the free night to properties costing 40,000 points or less (per night) is a huge devaluation especially when you consider that, up until now, we have been able to spend this free night at properties costing up to 70,000 points/night.
There have been strong rumours indicating that Chase & IHG are bringing out two new credit cards to replace the existing IHG Rewards card but the general consensus was that existing cardholders would have their benefits grandfathered in.
Now it looks as if we were wrong so it will be interesting to see how Chase & IHG handle this.
There will be cardholders who are still in their first year of card membership and who have therefore not yet had their first free night certificate. These cardholders will have signed up for the card under the impression that they’ll be receiving a free night certificate valid at ALL IHG properties….so will Chase/IHG honor that?
I suspect they’re going to have honour the benefit for those in their first year of card membership as there was no wording at the time of application that the free night certificate was limited to only certain properties – any attempt to impose such a limitation now could (and will) surely be challenged.
Personally I’ve been very lucky here as my card membership year starts on 28 April so I should get my next free night certificate 4 days before the rules on how the certificate can be used change….but that’s not going to be much consolation to others who aren’t so lucky.
The free night certificate was a great benefit while it lasted but, like so many other great credit card benefits that have come and gone, it was simply too good to last.
If there are any readers in their first year of card membership let me know your thoughts and what (if anything) you’ve been told by Chase.