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When Chase added a free night certificate to the already excellent welcome offer on the IHG® Rewards Premier credit card a couple of weeks ago it looked like a very generous move but on closer inspection, the upgraded offer isn’t quite as amazing as we first thought. It’s still a fantastic offer, but it comes with a caveat that anyone considering applying for this card should know about.
A bit of background
Earlier this year, Chase and IHG made a significant improvement to the annual free night certificate that comes as one of the benefits of the IHG® Rewards Premier credit card when they announced that the certificate would no longer be limited to properties charging up to 40,000 points/night for an award booking.
The annual free night certificates issued by the IHG® Rewards Premier credit card are still only worth up to 40,000 points but they can now be topped up with as many points as are required to book any hotel in the IHG One Rewards portfolio (subject to availability).
What this means is that while in the past, it could be tricky to use the annual free night certificate to great effect (because fewer and fewer great IHG properties can be booked for 40,000 points or less), now, the annual certificate is effectively a coupon offering a 40,000 points discount to anyone who makes at least one IHG award booking per year.
The caveat to the new welcome offer
When the new welcome offer on the IHG® Rewards Premier credit card was announced, we assumed that the free night certificate that the welcome offer now includes alongside the 140,000 bonus points (in return for $3,000 of spending in the first 3 months following account opening) would work in exactly the same way as the annual free night certificate that the card offers (why wouldn’t it?). As it turns out, we were wrong.
Frequent Miler has had it confirmed by IHG that the free night certificate that comes as part of the Premier Card’s new welcome offer doesn’t work in the same way as the annual free night certificate that the card issues every year – the certificate from the welcome offer cannot be topped up so its use is limited to properties costing no more than 40,000 points per night.
That’s a shame.
There’s no doubt that a welcome offer that allows new cardholders to earn 140,000 bonus points and a free night certificate worth up to 40,000 points in return for $3,000 of spending (in 3 months) is still an incredibly good offer to be given, but it’s not as good an offer as we first thought.
Personally, I don’t think this moves the needle one little bit when it comes to deciding whether or not this is a card that you should be applying for – if you stay at IHG properties more than once or twice a year the IHG® Rewards Premier credit card is a great card to hold – but anyone considering applying for the card should be aware of what, exactly, they’ll be getting if they trigger the welcome bonus and in this case, what you’re getting isn’t quite what we first thought.