Should You Upgrade To The New IHG Credit Card?

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In early April, Chase made some major changes to their IHG credit card portfolio. They stopped accepting applications for the old IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card, and instead started accepting applications for the all new IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.

A lot of cardmembers with the old IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card have been receiving upgrade offers, where they can earn 5,000 bonus points for upgrading and making one purchase with the card. @MickeyBoggs asks the following on Twitter, and I’m sure he’s not the only one with this question:

To determine whether or not it’s worth upgrading from the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card to the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, let’s compare the benefits of the two cards.

Comparing the benefits of the IHG Club & IHG Premier Credit Card

On the most basic level, the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card ($49 annual fee, no longer open to new applications) offers:

  • An anniversary free night certificate valid at any IHG hotel retailing for up to 40,000 points per night
  • IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you have the card
  • A 10% refund on redeemed points, for a total of up to 100,000 refunded points per year

For the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card ($89 annual fee), I view the most valuable benefits as being:

  • An anniversary free night certificate valid at any IHG hotel retailing for up to 40,000 points per night
  • IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you have the card
  • A fourth night free on award redemptions, which can be used an unlimited number of times
  • A TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry fee credit once every four years

Deciding which IHG card is better for you

On the surface, the old IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card is probably an all around better value. The card has an annual fee of $49, which is $40 per year cheaper, and offers the same anniversary free night certificate and Platinum status for as long as you have the card.

The other biggest benefit on both cards is the extra value you get when you redeem points — the old IHG Club Card offers a 10% rebate on redeemed points (up to 100,000 points per year), while the new IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers a fourth night free on award redemptions.

The fourth night free on award redemptions has the potential to be more valuable, since it potentially offers 25% off. However, that requires redeeming in increments of exactly four nights. If that matches your typical redemption patterns, then I’d say that benefit is more valuable, while otherwise the 10% rebate is likely to be more rewarding, since it applies to all redemptions.


Redeem your anniversary free night certificate at the Crowne Plaza Changi

Why you shouldn’t upgrade to the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card?

While I think the IHG Premier Card is potentially more valuable for some (specifically, those who often redeem in increments of four nights), I absolutely wouldn’t recommend upgrading from one card to the other. Why? Because you can have both cards, and you don’t want to cancel a card that you can never apply for again, especially one that has benefits that are this good.

You can continue to have the old IHG Club Card for the anniversary free night certificate and 10% refund on redeemed points, which is well worth the $49 annual fee.

Then you can complement that with the $89 annual fee IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, which has a welcome bonus of 80,000 points upon completing minimum spend and a fourth night free on award redemptions.

The best part is that you can stack those benefits — if you have both cards you get two anniversary free night certificates per year, and you can combine the fourth night free on award redemptions with the 10% refund on redeemed points, which gets you maximum value.


Stack a fourth night free with a 10% refund on redeemed points at the InterContinental Danang

Bottom line

While it might be tempting to upgrade to the new IHG Card for 5,000 points, I’d highly recommend against it. You’d be giving up a card that you’ll never be able to apply for again, and that has a lower annual fee and a unique 10% refund benefit on redeemed points.

I’d much rather keep the IHG Club Card, and then apply for the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, which has useful benefits that you can stack, and a big welcome bonus. Also keep in mind that applying for the IHG Card isn’t subjected to the 5/24 restriction.

Anyone have a different take, and think it makes sense to upgrade from the IHG Club Card to the IHG Premier Card?

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Comments

  1. @Lucky – thanks for the post! Do you know when the 10% IHG rebate will post? I made bookings (115,000 points total) I think in late April to early May for June stays but I haven’t received any rebate yet.

  2. @ GL — The rebate typically posts within a few weeks of when the actual stay happens, rather than when the points are redeemed. So hopefully the rebate posts soon for you.

  3. @Lucky, this is the same conclusion I came to. Thanks for writing this post in a way that lays out every important point so clearly!

  4. I’ll stick with the $49 / year version. My real world experience is that IHG points just aren’t worth very much. I find it hard to get more than $20 of value from 5,000 IHG points, even after the 10% points rebate. For those who stay at IHG a lot, and often stay for at least 4 consecutive days, maybe, for everyone else, no.

  5. No need to upgrade, just get both of them! That’s what I did for the points and benefits stacking. You get 2 nights for under $150 AF

    @GL, a quick call to the IHG line and the points will show up in your account.

    Cheers!

  6. @Lucky: you mention the IC Danang. Searching today shows not a single night available for 2018 or 2019. Further, when I tried to do this in Denver, CO I could only get 3 not 4 nights. So while the photo looks good, I’m not sure you should be promoting that property anymore.

    I suspect people might have a hard time finding 4 consecutive award nights in desirable properties.

  7. @Anthony Thomas:

    I searched IC Danang via the ihg.com website and there are indeed nights available (including tonight!) for 70K points.

  8. @Lucky, plus with the recent reversal by IHG, most will still get one more unlimited free night on the old card so it would truly be crazy to give up that card now.

  9. Help is needed ,last time I was took the 100% bonus points purchase promotion fee days ago, credit card charged and email confirmation . However they said the promotion end and give me only the points plus 10,000 compensation. Not to mention I spend the whole morning to deal with them and not a trusted company.

  10. 1) How does the stacking work with 4th night free on points redemption and the 10% bonus?

    2) I have both cards and have just seen my 85,000 bonus points post to my account. This is the 80K sign up plus 5K companion card

  11. I’m also interested in knowing how the stacking of the 10% bonus and the 4th night free works when you have 2 different credit cards. How does that work when you’re redeeming points on the old credit card, but booking a 4 night stay with the new credit card. I just don’t understand the mechanics of making that work. Thanks

  12. @ Chris — You don’t actually have to use the credit card in order to take advantage of the perk. Rather your IHG account knows which cards you have. So if you have both it will know to not charge you for the fourth night when you book, and then after your stay you will get refunded 10%.

  13. Chase/Marriott found the clever words to cheat Amex SPG Golds out of Platinum in the new program. Bye. Bye. Let’s hope Chase/IHG doesn’t try the same kind of verbal trickery to eliminate stacking! Hyatt is nice, but I’d like to have IHG options, too.

  14. I haven’t seen a single data point yet of anyone with 1 of the new cards & the old Select card still receiving the 10% points rebate from the old card after getting the new card. Because the new cards were introduced in early April, I thought we would’ve seen this by now if the benefits are truly stackable. Maybe I’ve just missed them or need to give it a little more time.

  15. @BC – I believe Lucky mentioned in the comments of another post that he’s seen such data points. The 10% back points tend to take about 4-6 weeks to post anyway (goodness knows why) so that may be why you haven’t seen data points to that effect.

  16. @Anastasia – Thanks. Interesting, I’d love to see those DPs. I’ve searched through FlyerTalk and don’t see any there. I realize FT isn’t the whole universe, but really thought I would’ve seen some there by now. I have an upcoming reward stay so I guess I will also have my own DP soon enough.

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