Chase/IHG Is Seriously Devaluing The IHG Rewards Card


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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.

InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam

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.

InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam

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.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I signed up the card for me and my partner after reading OMMAT urging his readers to “take advantage” of the news of new cards rolling in, to sign up immediately to capitalize on the benefit that new card members will potentially be grandfathered with this old uncap free night benefit.

    As it seems, from the FT forums, we would not be honored this benefit anymore. Felt kindda cheated by both the blogger’s aggressive push and IHG/Chase for not being clear about this. Then again, it’s partially my fault for being so gullible taking advice from a blogger that obviously takes commission for cc applications. He just lost a avid follower for ALL of his future card referral applications.

    Either way, we already have the cards, just going to put our spending for the bonus points now and wait for IHG/Chase official announcements on this.

    • To be fair I thought that people should probably apply for the current IHG Rewards card too and I indicated as much in a recent post….but I completely understand your frustration.

      For my part I thought that Chase would grandfather in existing cardholders just like they’ve grandfathered in Chase INK Bold cardholders with their benefits (that’s a card I hold too).

      As I mention in the blog above I’m very interested to see how Chase deals with customers like you who signed up for a credit card believing that you would be receiving the set of benefits outlined during the application process.

      I’m not 100% clear on the law in this area but I can’t see how Chase can take away a benefit that was promised to a cardholder before the cardholder has even had a chance to use that benefit.

      For cardholders like me I get that Chase can change the rules as and when it wishes to…but I’ve has a few good years of free night certificates at IC properties around the world so I’m not being “cheated”. I’,m not sure the same can be said for people in your situation.

      • In the grand picture, it would make more sense to apply for the new cards to stack the benefits for a value redemption viewpoint. But I’ll wait it out first to see the people test it out or maybe a bigger sign up bonus promo before I jump into it. Just the feeling of that sour taste in the mouth makes it really hard to swallow.

        I read the T&C in the application page, Chase reserves the rights to change their rewards at any point in time. So in a legal perspective, they already got it covered and nothing more I can do but complain.

        I already stopped hearing the complaints from the community anymore and before we know it everyone else will forget. Especially with the crazy Starriott leaks that causing major panic in the whole travel community.

        It’s good that you managed to enjoy a good run with that benefit. It’s just so sad for people like us to get so late in the game to see so many devaluations in all these travel programs. If the starriott rumors turns out to be true, we’ll just go back to basics and stick to our gold hotels.com rewards. Easy peasy 10 stay 1 free night rebate program. Nothing too complicated, prices are always competitive.

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