New Look, New Perks & Big Bonuses on IHG Hotel Cards

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IHG Premier Card

New Look, New Perks & Big Bonuses on IHG Hotel Cards

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After revamping their hotel loyalty program earlier this year, Chase and IHG have finally rolled out some major changes to their portfolio of hotel credit cards. And in a rarity, it’s largely good news for anyone with an IHG card on their radar.

Back in January, IHG announced many updates to its loyalty program including an entirely new tier of status as well as a new structure for racking up more IHG points. At the time, the hotel chain behind properties from Holiday Inn to Intercontinental also spilled the beans on some upcoming(and shockingly good) improvements to their suite of credit cards like the Chase IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card, the IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card, and even the rollout of a new IHG Premier Business Card.

That day has finally come. In exchange for a modest increase to the annual fee on the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Cardthey’ve added new money-saving benefits, bigger bonus categories to earn more points, and more flexibility to use free hotel night certificates. Plus, both the Premier Card and no-annual-fee IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card are out with bigger welcome bonuses.

Read on for everything you need to know about the latest on the Chase IHG credit cards.

 

ihg rewards premier credit card

 

Click Here to learn more about the IHG® Rewards Premier Card.

 

Updates to the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card

Welcome Bonus of 140K IHG Points

After spending $3,000 in your first three months of card membership, you’ll earn 140,000 IHG Rewards points.

Considering free nights start at 10,000 points and go as high as 70,000 nights for top-of-the-line Intercontinental properties, you have some great options to get a lot of value out of this bonus. Best of all, IHG offers a fourth-night free on award stays – book three nights using points and your fourth night on the same stay is free. That’s one night sooner than any other hotel chain with a similar benefit, helping you stretch these points even farther. 

Read more: These Hotel Chains Provide Additional Free Nights on Award Bookings

 

Updated Spending Category Bonuses

Starting for both new and existing cardmembers on March 24, the IHG Rewards Premier Card now earns bonus points in the following categories.

  • 5x points per dollar spent on travel (previously 1x)
  • 5x points per dollar spent at gas stations (previously 2x)
  • 5x points per dollar spent at restaurants (previously 2x)
  • 3x points per dollar spent on all other purchases (previously 1x)

Those are some impressive additions that could sway you to continue using your IHG Rewards Premier Card on everyday spending.

 

Added Flexibility to the Annual Free Night Certificates

This is a big one.

For years, IHG Anniversary Free Night certificates have been capped for properties costing 40,000 points. You get one of these certificates each year you renew your card, starting in year 2.

Now, IHG Rewards Premier cardholders will be able to add an unlimited amount of IHG Rewards points to redeem those certificates at hotels above the 40,000 point redemption limit. That means you could book a 50,000-point per night award stay using a certificate and kicking in another 10,000 points. Or put in another 30,000 points to book a 70,000-point award stay. You get it.

Overall, this is a very positive change – it makes IHG free night certificates much more flexible and valuable. Marriott made a similar change when they also announced their Bonvoy program is implementing dynamic pricing starting in March.

 

Up to $50 of United TravelBank Cash Each Calendar Year

This is a brand new card benefit, easily outweighing a slight increase to the annual fee.

IHG Rewards Premier cardholders can now link their United MileagePlus account and get up to $50 of United TravelBank cash each calendar year.

If you are not familiar, this is essentially a voucher that can be used towards any purchase with United Airlines. There is no spending threshold required to use it, so think of it as $50 free to put towards almost any United expense.

 

Bonus Points & A Statement Credit After Spending $20,000

Starting in March 2022, cardmembers who spend $20,000 on purchases in a calendar year will get 10,000 bonus IHG Rewards points and a $100 statement credit. That statement credit alone essentially offsets the annual fee.

 

Increased Annual Fee

With the new benefits being added, the card’s annual fee has increased from $89 to $99 as of March 24. But only new applicants will pay that higher fee – existing cardholders won’t pay $99 a year until their next renewal date in 2023.

That $10 increase seems more than fair when you factor in the $50 United TravelBank cash, the added flexibility of the free night certificates.

 

Ability to Reach Top Status

Cardmembers will continue to receive automatic Platinum Elite status but can now also earn IHG Rewards Diamond Elite status after spending $40,000 on purchases and making one additional purchase each calendar year with their card, instead of receiving Elite Qualifying Points (EQPs) on purchases made with their card.

Diamond Elite is IHG’s new status tier that would otherwise require staying 70 nights or earning 120,000 points. While $40,000 is a ton of spending to rack up in a year just in the pursuit of top hotel status, it could be worth it for some travelers.

 

IHG status

 

Existing Benefits

The card has a handful of existing benefits that aren’t going anywhere, including…

 

ihg rewards premier credit card

 

Click Here to learn more about the IHG Rewards Premier Card.

 

Updates to the IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card

The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card is the no annual fee card in the Chase IHG card portfolio. It’s gotten an overhaul as well – but luckily, the annual fee isn’t going anywhere.

 

Earn 120K IHG Points

You can now earn 120,000 IHG points after spending $2,000 within the first three months. That’s a sizable bonus for a hotel card with no annual fee.

 

Updated Spending Category Bonuses

Starting for both new and existing cardmembers as of March 24, the IHG Rewards Premier Card will now earn bonus points in the following categories:

  • 3x points on utilities, internet, cable, phone, and select streaming services purchases (previously 1x)
  • 3x points per dollar spent at gas stations (previously 2x)
  • 3x points per dollar spent at restaurants (previously 2x)
  • 2x points per dollar spent on all other purchases (previously 1x)

 

Automatic IHG Rewards Silver Elite Status

Cardholders will get automatic Silver Elite status and can build up to Gold Elite status after spending $20,000 on purchases and making one additional purchase each calendar year, instead of receiving Elite Qualifying Points (EQPs) on purchases made with the card.

 

Bonus Points & A Statement Credit After Spending $10,000

Starting in March, cardmembers who spend $10,000 on purchases in a calendar year will get 10,000 bonus IHG Rewards points.

 

Existing Benefits

The card has a handful of existing benefits that are not going away, including:

  • No annual fee
  • Fourth Night is Free with booking with points
  • Cell Phone Protection Coverage

 

IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card

 

Click Here to learn more about the IHG Rewards Traveler Card.

 

Our Analysis

It’s not often that a credit card company or loyalty program hints at changes to a travel rewards card that wind up being good for travelers. But if you ask us, that’s clearly the case here.

Overall, these are positive changes to both cards – especially the Premier Card. Though annual fee increases are never fun, a $10 bump isn’t much. More importantly, that’s more than justified by the addition of a $50 United TravelBank credit, additional flexibility to use free night certificates, and more.

The increased spending category bonuses on both cards are nice, too – but not enough to sway me. At the end of the day, IHG points simply are not as valuable. I’d much rather earn 5x Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar on airfare by using The Platinum Card® from American Express over 5x IHG points per dollar with the Premier Card.

It’s important to note that Chase’s 5/24 rule does apply to these cards. If you have opened more than five credit cards from any bank (not just Chase) in the last 24 months, you will not be eligible for card approval.

 

Bottom Line

Chase and IHG have added a slew of new perks and benefits to their top co-branded credit cards while also introducing a new business card.

We think the changes to the IHG Rewards Premier Card more than justify a modest annual fee increase – and keep in mind that existing IHG Rewards Premier cardholders will not pay the higher annual fee until their 2023 renewal date. 

 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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