In Light Of IHG’s Latest Devaluation…

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As I wrote about earlier, today is the last day to book IHG free nights before the cost of reward nights at over 650 hotels changes tomorrow. There’s no denying that the value of IHG points has decreased over the past year.

Early last year IHG increased the number of points required for stays at their most expensive properties, and also increased the cost of stays at many other properties. Now they’re raising the cost for award stays at roughly 500 of their hotels.

So while my valuation of IHG points is going down, in my opinion there’s more value than ever before with the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card, which I consider to be one of the most lucrative hotel credit cards out there. As a matter of fact, for the “average consumer,” I tend to think it’s the single best hotel credit card out there.

Why?

Get an annual free night at any IHG hotel

This perk is huge, and a reason that many people should get this card. Just for paying the $49 annual fee each year you get a free night certificate that you can use at any IHG property. This includes InterContinental hotels that ordinarily retail for over $500 or 60,000 points per night. For example, last year I used this free night at the InterContinental London The O2, where the paid rate would have been $400+ for the one night stay.

IHG-Free-Night

But even if you’re not going for an aspirational property, I think a vast majority of people can get more than $49 per year of value out of an annual free night. IHG has hotels around the world, so a vast majority of people should be able to get value out of this.

Get a 10% refund on the points you redeem

You can receive a 10% refund when you redeem your points, for a total of up to 100,000 refunded points per year (that means it’s valid for up to a million redeemed points per year). With the cost of many award nights increasing, this means you’re looking at bigger points refunds for lots of hotels.

Keep in mind that IHG often also sells points at a very reasonable cost, which can be even more worthwhile if you’re getting a 10% refund when you redeem those points. That makes redemptions at some high end properties more worthwhile.

IHG-Points-Refund

IHG Platinum status for as long as you have the card

You receive IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you have the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card. I’ll be the first to say that Platinum status isn’t that great, but it’ll often lead to a room upgrade, and you receive a 50% bonus on earned points.

For example, at the Crowne Plaza Doha I received an upgrade to a suite for being a Platinum member.

Crowne-Plaza-Doha-09

This card isn’t subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule

Keep in mind that Chase often won’t approve people who have opened more than five accounts in the past 24 months. That makes it tough for some people to apply for new Chase cards. However, the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card isn’t subjected to Chase’s 5/24 rule, so that should help a lot of people with getting approved for this card.

Bottom line

With IHG increasing the number of points required for stays at many properties, there’s even more value than before with the annual free night offered on the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card. The card has just a $49 annual fee, and for that you get a free night that you can redeem at 60,000 point per night properties each year. Add in the Platinum status and 10% refund on redeemed points, and there’s huge value to be had with this card.

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

More articles by lucky »

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Comments

  1. Regarding 5/24, I understand that if I am over the limit (say 8 opened cards in 24 months) that Chase wouldnt in fact deny this IHG application because I have more than 5 cards opened in the last 24 months. Therefore, they would look at other perimeters like income, credit history, etc.

    But if I’m at say 2/24…and apply for this card, obviously a hard unquiry hits my credit report. Im guessing that Chase would also approve me in this instance, but does this app add to my 5/24 thus making me 3/24 now?

    Or even though it still hits my credit report, in the eyes of Chase I would stay at 2/24 from their perspective because this card is completely obselete of their 5/24 viewpoint?

    Any further explanation would be great.

    I signed up for Chase’s credit journey and it says I have 2 opened accounts in the last 24 months. However, my credit report shows 5 opened cards in that period. But now I am realizing 2 of those hard inquires on my report are authorized users (wont do that again) and that maybe the the other app is a card that chase forgives in their 5/24.

    I know no one has found a hard fast rule, but Im realzing that I didnt maybe need to check out like I did when 5/24 became a solid rule. Thanks.

  2. Wow, I hope you guys realise what amazing deals you get! In the UK we have to pay £99 for the IHG Premium card, earn 2 points per £ (no discount on redemptions) and have to spend £10,000 per year on the card to get the same free night!!!

  3. Well I’m not being paid, and I love my IHG card. The free night for $49 bucks is amazing, and by booking properties just below Club level I always upgrade into the better room, getting the free breakfast, drinks and evening snacks (which is Southeast Asian hotels are virtual dinners. There are also a few point acceleration sites that let you load codes onto your card so paid stays add up to a lot more points. Last year I had 18 nights at 5 different InterContinental hotels during one extended trip, but added 13,000 points above what I should have received on straight “nights stayed” alone. In addition, Ambassador status gets you free Internet, early check-in & late check out, movies, 2 free laundered items, bottled water and a free gift on check-in. If you buy the status instead if earning it, you would have to pay $200 per year.

    So what’s wrong with telling people to get a card which offers any room you can score for only $49 along with a lot of other perks? It’s a total no brainer.

  4. Donald, you don’t earn Ambassador status. You have to buy the $200 membership (or $150 renewal)

    And the bonus codes you speak of, are grounds for having your account banned by IHG.

    Btw

  5. I see CX have extended their “Convert hotel point for 30% more Asia miles” promo until 1 Mar 2017 .. could be a good way to burn stale IHG pts ?

  6. I have the IHG card and I love it. They are fantastic at passing on my Spire Elite benefits to my husband or kids when I am not traveling with them. Love this card!! Is the Hyatt credit card affected by 5/24 rule with Chase. I tried for the Sapphire Reserve and was told I had opened 19 new credit cards in the past so was not approved even with an 849 credit score. I’d like to take advantage of the Hyatt 2 free nights again and use at either the Park Hyatt Vienna or Park Hyatt Vendome (two of my favorite Hyatt properties)but I don’t want credit pulled if I know I won’t be approved.

  7. As you probably know, IHG discontinued their CC offering in Canada which was with Capital one and have not replaced it with another Bank. A real pity as it was a terrific card that gave 5000 bonus points for every $10000 spent and automatic Platinum status.

  8. Ben, if you end up in Beijing I highly recommend you checking up the newish IC Beijing Sanlitun, my wife and I really enjoyed the 2 nights we spent there (using our free nights)!

  9. IHG usuallly runs an Accelerate promo a few times a year and you can earn alot of extra points fairly easily. I found redemptions at Holiday Inn Express to be very reasonable in towns near national parks in the US, where a basic room, shower, and a free basic breakfast are all we need for family travels, especially when we needed 2 rooms iper night in a few different locations over a week long road trip.

  10. Sean, well you buy Ambassador Status for $150 – $200, which you do get for the price of the yearly card. As for the points, they are all legitimate bonus offers from various sources. I’m just learning about them in one spot instead of searching the net for them. If they are attached to my account and they are being totalled in, who am I fooling? They all show up separately under their individual names and titles in my monthly balance. I’m just taking advantage of the bonuses that IHG puts out. I’ve been doing it for over 5 years, btw.

  11. > With the cost of many award nights increasing, this means you’re looking at bigger points refunds for lots of hotels.
    This certainly it’s true, but it’s also true that when the price of a specific bicycle doubles in price, you’ll get lots more points when you buy that bike. But that’s a lousy reason to buy that bike when other bikes are still for sale. Based on a few comparison tests, I’d say that IHG points are now worth just under .3 cents each.

  12. Many of the hotels increasing in value were undervalued pointswise… Formerly working at an IHG hotel in college, points value is based entirely off annual ADR (by contract.) The individual hotels are compensated by actual ADR of the night redeemed. Part of me wishes IHG went to a seasonal model, as the point value would be closer to the actual nightly rate during the season used.

  13. In your opinion, what is the best program ton transfer Amex miles to where I will get the most bang? Either hotel group or less airline program.

  14. Using my free night to stay at the Venetian and being an “Ambassador” they upgraded me to a big suite with a strip view. You cant really beat the IHG card…less than $50 a year…

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