Home Credit Cards Chase Credit Cards Careful: This is why you shouldn't upgrade your IHG Rewards Credit Card

Careful: This is why you shouldn’t upgrade your IHG Rewards Credit Card

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Once again Chase is sending out a new batch of emails in an attempt to tempt holders of the legacy IHG Rewards Club Select Card to upgrade to the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card (review) so, as this is probably a very poor option for most people to take, here’s another reminder why taking an upgrade would see a cardholder leaving a lot of value on the table.

The upgrade offer

“Here’s an opportunity — upgrade to the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and earn 5,000 bonus points after you make your first purchase by December 31, 2021.”

As I value IHG Rewards Points at 0.4 cents each, this upgrade offer is essentially offering cardholders just $20 to upgrade.

Thanks, but no thanks

Here’s how Chase is trying to tempt cardholders to upgrade:

Leaving aside the fact that past upgrade emails have offered an incentive of at least 10,000 bonus points, a big issue that I have here is that this chart is a little misleading- it doesn’t show two other key things that would change for a cardholder if they chose to upgrade:

  • A cardholder’s annual fee would increase from $49 to $89 (the $89 annual fee is mentioned in the narrative under this table).
  • They would lose a nice benefit that no other Chase IHG Rewards Card offers – a 10% rebate on all points redemptions (up to 100,000 refunded points per year)

What Chase also fails to mention in the upgrade email is that there’s nothing to stop holders of the IHG Rewards Select Card (which is no longer open to new applicants) from applying for the newer IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card (review) and earning a very nice welcome bonus.

At the time of writing, the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is offering a welcome bonus of 125,000 points when a new cardholder spends $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening their new account, and the terms and conditions of the offer are very clear:

“This product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months.”

Holders of the legacy IHG Rewards Club Select Card are not excluded from earning the welcome bonus. Even holders of the no annual fee IHG Rewards Travelers Card (review) are not excluded.

I value the welcome bonus points at $500 (based on the value I know I can easily get when I use my points) so through the current upgrade offer Chase is asking cardholders to forgo the opportunity to earn $500 of value from the welcome bonus and the ability to earn a 10% rebate on all award bookings (up to 100,000 points) in exchange for points worth just $20.

For most cardholders, this is a terrible deal.

For someone who’s not keen to apply for more Chase credit cards, I can see how an upgrade may be of interest – it will not count towards the 5/24 rule that Chase uses when deciding whether or not to approve someone for a new card – but this is such a poor upgrade offer that waiting until the 5/24 rule is no longer a factor and then applying for the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card would probably be the better course of action.

Create a great IHG Rewards credit card “team”

What is actually happening here is that Chase is attempting to tempt cardholders into giving up their only chance to create a very useful card “team” for all future IHG stays because once a cardholder gives up the Select card, there’s no going back (at least that’s what I’ve been told by Chase – if anyone has ever successfully downgraded to the Select Card please let me know).

Ideally, IHG loyalists should hold both the IHG Rewards Select Card and the newer IHG Rewards Club Premier Card for the following combined key benefits:

  • IHG Rewards Platinum status
  • An earning rate of 25 points/dollar at all IHG properties (10 points from the Premier Card and 15 Points for being a Platinum IHG Rewards Club member)
  •  2 free night certificates every year valid at properties costing up to 40,000 points/night
  • A 10% rebate on all IHG Rewards Points redemptions (up to 100,000 points back per year).
  • A 4th night free on all award night bookings
  • A credit of up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every 4 years.

All of this for a combined ongoing annual fee of $138

The view from the InterContinental Sydney

If you hold the IHG Rewards Club Select Card and are a fan of IHG and its properties, making sure that you add the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card (review) to your wallet is as close to a “no brainer” as things get.

  • The 2 free night certificates will cover the combined annual fees with ease.
  • The 4th night free on all award bookings can easily save 75,000 points on a 4-night stay which is an effective rebate of up to $300 (the savings are greater on stays of 8/12/16 etc… nights)
  • The 10% rebate on award bookings can easily be worth 7,500 points/night (which I value at $30/night) when booking at higher-end properties so even if a cardholder can’t make use of the 4th-night free benefit or use either of the annual free nights, just 5 award nights could see the rebate cover the annual fee for both cards.

Unless you suddenly stop visiting IHG properties, it’s hard to see how holding these two cards together can be anything but a great idea.

Bottom line

If you hold the IHG Rewards Club Select Card do not be tempted into giving it up. No other card offers a 10% rebate on IHG award bookings and, when it’s paired with the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card, it forms one-half of a fantastic 2-card team that’s a “must-have” for a frequent visitor at IHG properties.

Find out how to apply for the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card

A Favorite Card

The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is currently offering a welcome bonus of 125,000 points (after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months) and with an annual fee of just $89 and with an impressive list of benefits and strong earnings at IHG properties worldwide, it is a must-have card for any serious IHG Rewards fan.

Our Favorite Benefits:

  • IHG Rewards Club Platinum Elite status
  • Get every 4th night free when you make a points booking of 4 or more nights
  • Receive a free night at a property worth up to 40,000/night every year
  • Earn 25 points/dollar on spending at IHG properties*
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit of up to $100 every four years

Click for more details on the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

*Includes points earned from being a member of IHG Rewards Club and for having Platinum elite status.

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  1. I just cancelled my IHG Premier card a month ago. I am still holding my old Select card. If I have figured out things correctly, I will be able to sign up for the Premier card again and get the bonus since it’s been over 24 months since I received that bonus.

    • I think you’re right, unlike Citi, Chase doesn’t appear to have a clause in place that stipulates that a time gap is needed between canceling card and then reapplying for it.

  2. I have both cards, but other than Intercontinental’s (love SYDNEY & that view from super Club! & I’m an Ambassador, renewing on points ) I really don’t want to stay in Holiday Inns, etc compared to Hilton (Diamond with CC) and no status recognition on award stays

    The two free nights get used on one nighters while traveling. This year on Oregon trip w Portland Crown Plaza and Eugene Staybridge, that might have a nice view of River across 4 lane highway

    But $49 & $89 a night is okay 😉

  3. My presumption commented above back in March was correct. I reapplied and was approved for the Premier Card and I received a nice infusion of points, so I’m back to 2 cards. I also cancelled my wife’s card and reapplied with the same result. Double the pleasure.
    Don’t take the upgrade. Do the application if you are eligible.

  4. The 5k upgrade offer is insulting to long term customers. If they would increase this to just a moderate 50k or something I bet a lot more folks would pull the trigger. Bill n DC comments makes sense in that I’d rather stay at IC’s than Holiday Inn but to say that all Hilton brands are better isn’t true. Is a Hilton hotel better than Holiday Inn, usually but a Hampton Inn isn’t always better and they usually have a view of a highway. So I get it but Hilton’s require many more points and Diamond status at a run of the mill Hilton motel property doesn’t get you more than Ambassador status does at a IHG motel property.


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