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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 but, for most people, this is probably a very poor option to take as it involves leaving a lot of value on the table.
The Upgrade Offer
“When you upgrade to the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, you’ll earn 10,000 bonus points if you make your first purchase before June 30, 2020.”
As I value IHG Rewards Points at 0.4 cents each, this upgrade offer is essentially offering me $40 to upgrade.
Thanks, But No Thanks
Here’s how Chase is trying to tempt cardholders to upgrade:
A little misleadingly, that chart doesn’t show two other key things that would change for a cardholder if they chose to upgrade:
- Their annual fee would increase from $49 to $89
- They would lose a nice benefit that no other Chase IHG Rewards Card offers – the 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 (no longer open to new applicants) from applying for the newer IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.
At the time of writing, the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is offering a welcome bonus of 140,000 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 140,000 point welcome bonus. Even holders of the no annual fee IHG Rewards Travelers Card are not excluded.
I value the welcome bonus at $560 (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 $560 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 $40.
For most this is a terrible deal.
Sure, for anyone who’s keen to apply for more Chase credit cards, an upgrade may be of interest as 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 even then I’d suggest not taking the upgrade and simply waiting a while until the 5/24 rule is no longer a factor and then applying for the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.
Create A Great IHG Rewards Club 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).
- The 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 annual fee of $138 for the two credit cards.
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 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 save up to 70,000 points on a 4-night stay which is an effective rebate of up to $280 (the savings are greater on stays of 8/12/16 etc…nights)
- The 10% rebate on all award bookings is a rebate of up to 7,000 points/night which I value at $28/night. 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.
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 half of a fantastic 2-card team that’s a “must-have” for a frequent visitor at IHG properties.