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UPDATE – The offers mentioned in this post have now expired
Holders of the legacy IHG Rewards card are getting emails from Chase offering them a 5,000 point incentive to upgrade to the IHG Rewards Premier Card so I thought I’d take a look at how the two cards differ and if it’s a good idea to consider an upgrade.
First the offer from Chase…
That’s simple enough…but should anyone be considering taking up this offer?
Legacy Chase Card vs IHG Rewards Club Premier Card
The legacy card has an annual fee of just $49 while the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card has an annual fee of $89.
This is how Chase is depicting the differences between the two cards:
* NOTE: IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card Anniversary Free Night Certificates issuedcan be redeemed at any of IHG’s 5,300+ properties worldwide. If you chose to upgrade to the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, all Anniversary Free Night Certificates have a redemption value of 40,000 points which can be used at 95% of IHG properties worldwide today
So what do you get for an extra $40?
- Twice as much earning power at IHG properties worldwide
- A free reward night when you make an award booking of 4 nights or more
- A credit towards Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
There are actually two questions that need to be asked here:
- Is the additional $40 annual fee worth it?
- Should I accept the upgrade offer if it’s worth it?
The answer to question (1) is almost certainly ‘yes’.
Presumably, you hold an IHG Rewards card in the first place because you like to earn and burn IHG Rewards points so you’ll more than make up the additional $40 outlay when you book a 4-night award stay with IHG.
I value IHG Rewards points at 0.4 cents each so every dollar spend at IHG properties with the upgraded version of the IHG Rewards card will effectively earn you 2.0 cents more than the legacy card – this means that it will take $2,000 of spending at IHG properties to see the upgraded card pay for the difference in annual fee.
If you’re serious about miles & points it’s unlikely that you don’t already have at least one credit card which already offers a Global Entry credit but, if it is only one credit that you already have, this card could be used to pay for a spouse, partner, child which will help offset part of the increased annual fee.
The answer to question (2) will depend on your own personal circumstances.
If you haven’t been applying for many credit cards of late you probably won’t be affected by Chase’s 5/24 policy (or any other credit card issuer’s application policies) so you should not be taking up this upgrade option.
The IHG Rewards Club Premier Card is currently offering a sign-up bonus of up to 120,000 points for anyone who successfully applies for the card and spends $5,000 on it in the first 6 months of holding the card. (THIS OFFER HAS NOW EXPIRED)
This is a much better proposition than the upgrade option….even if you only earn 80,000 points.
As Marc pointed out in the comments (and as I rather embarrassingly forgot to note), the legacy IHG Rewards card offers a 10% rebate on points redeemed ever year (up to a limit of 100,000 rebated points per year) which is not part of the benefits of the new Premier card.
Holding both the legacy and Premier cards (i.e not upgrading) would allow you to get a 4th night free on an award booking (courtesy of the Premier card) AND a 10% rebate (courtesy of the legacy card).
If you also happen to have InterContinental Ambassador status with which you were given 10% rebate on points redeemed, its 10% rebate will kick in too so you can end up with 4 nights at a top-tier property (70,000 points/night) costing just 168,000 points (42,000 points/night).
Having made such a strong argument for not upgrading the card I should also point out that there may be a situation where taking the upgrade makes sense….specifically if you’re someone who’s generally opening and closing credit cards on a frequent basis.
If I was someone who’s credit report frequently showed a lot of credit card applications I would use the few times when it was ‘safe’ to apply for credit cards to apply for cards that earned me seriously big bonuses (100,000 Amex Points, 80,000 Chase points etc…) rather than ‘wasting’ an application on a less important card like this one.
The IHG Rewards Club Premier Card is very nice to have if you’re an IHG fan but it’s not as lucrative as a lot of other cards you can apply for…that’s why I’d be tempted to take the upgrade.
Think carefully before jumping a the chance of an easy 5,000 IHG Rewards points.
Essentially you’re only being offered points worth around $20 so the bonus itself isn’t all that fantastic.
The only moment the bonus probably becomes worthwhile is if you’re in a position where you really don’t want another hard-pull on your credit score but you really want the credit card, so a 5,000 point bonus for upgrading is better than nothing.