We recently saw a refresh of the Chase and IHG Rewards credit card portfolio. As part of this, both the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card (review) and IHG® Rewards Premier Business Credit Card (review) received a new perk consisting of up to $50 in United TravelBank Cash each calendar year.
In this post I wanted to take a closer look at how this works, especially as registration is finally working correctly.
Get $50 in United credits annually with IHG cards
- One-time registration is required
- You’ll receive $25 in United TravelBank Cash deposited around January 1 each year, valid through July 15; then you’ll receive $25 in United TravelBank Cash deposited around July 15 each year, valid through January 15
- It can take up to two weeks after registration for the first $25 deposit to take place
- The TravelBank Cash will be associated with your United MileagePlus account, and can be applied toward the purchase of a United or United Express itinerary when booking directly with United
- This is only available to those with the personal or business version of the IHG Premier Card, and not to those with the IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card (review), or those with the IHG Select Card (which is no longer open to new applicants)
- You can only take advantage of this perk on one card, even if you have both a personal and business card
How to register your IHG card for United TravelBank Cash
The process of registering to receive your United TravelBank Cash couldn’t be much easier, especially when you consider that you only have to register once, and then the United TravelBank Cash will automatically be deposited for as long as you’re a cardmember.
To get started, simply follow this link.
On that page you’ll want to click the orange “Sign in” button at the bottom. Then you’ll just have to enter your United MileagePlus number and last name, and agree to the terms & conditions.
You’ll then receive confirmation that your first TravelBank deposit should post within two weeks.
To keep an eye on when this posts, just go to the “Wallet” section of your United MileagePlus account, and look at the “TravelBank” section. Eventually you should see the TravelBank balance deposited there — hopefully it’s in less than two weeks.
Does this perk change the value proposition of IHG credit cards?
Individually the United TravelBank Cash perk isn’t a reason to pick up the IHG Rewards Premier Card or IHG Rewards Premier Business Card. However, as part of the overall suite of benefits, I think it can change the value proposition.
First of all, when it comes to the value of United TravelBank Cash:
- If you book a United ticket at least once every six months, then this should more or less be worth the $50 face value
- If you book a ticket (roughly) between July 1 and July 15, or between January 1 and January 15, you could even potentially use two credits toward a single ticket
When you view this in the context of the overall value proposition of these cards, I do think this is hugely lucrative. Both the IHG Rewards Premier Card and IHG Rewards Premier Business Card have a $99 annual fee, and offer the following perks:
- An anniversary free night award valid at a property costing up to 40,000 points, and that can even be topped off with points to book a more expensive hotel
- A fourth night night free on award redemptions
- IHG Rewards Platinum status for as long as you’re a cardmember
- A Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS credit once every four years
The $99 annual fee is reasonable to begin with, but if you can get $50 worth of value out of the United TravelBank Cash every year, you’re potentially looking at an out of pocket of just $49 per year. I’d say that’s pretty incredible.
As a new perk, the IHG Rewards Premier Card and IHG Rewards Premier Business Card are offering up to $50 in United TravelBank Cash annually. You can now register for this benefit, and then every six months you’ll have $25 in United TravelBank Cash deposited in your MileagePlus account.
This is a generous perk, and one that can help with justifying the (already reasonable) annual fees on these cards.
Does this new United TravelBank Cash benefit change your math on the IHG Premier Card?