Earlier today I wrote about how a major change was made to the IHG Rewards Club Credit Card. The best benefit of this card has been that it offers an anniversary free night certificate just for paying the $49 annual fee on the card, which is a heck of a deal. You could redeem this at virtually any IHG hotel in the world, including InterContinentals that would otherwise cost up to 70,000 points per night.
That’s changing. For IHG anniversary free night certificates issued on May 1, 2018, or later, you can only redeem at properties that cost up to 40,000 points per night. IHG free night awards cost anywhere from 5,000 to 70,000 points per night, so this excludes many of IHG’s top properties.
IHG has now published a full list of properties where you can’t redeem your anniversary free night certificate. IHG has over 5,300 hotels in the world, and there are 330 hotels where you can’t redeem this certificate. Here’s the breakdown by brand:
- 75 InterContinentals
- 62 Kimptons
- 25 Hotel Indigos
- 3 EVENs
- 29 Crowne Plazas
- 66 Holiday Inns
- 61 Holiday Inn Expresses
- 8 Staybridge Suites
- 1 Candlewood Suites
This is of course an unfortunate change that I’m not at all happy about. On the plus side, only about 6% of properties are excluded. Of course those are also among the properties that are most desirable, given that much of IHG’s portfolio includes roadside Holiday Inns and Holiday Inn Expresses.
Still, there are a good number of hotels you can redeem at. While 75 InterContinentals are excluded, that still leaves 100+ InterContinentals where you can redeem.
Going forward, what this comes down to is that you’ll come out ahead as long as you’re able to redeem anywhere, given that almost any IHG hotel will retail for more than $49 per night. I know the temptation for a lot of people is to cancel the card since a huge amount of value is being lost here. Personally I still think there’s value in the card, even if it’s just for a decent airport or city hotel.
While we’re (understandably) all disappointed, do you see yourself still getting value out of this benefit, or do you plan on canceling the card?