IHG Credit Card Adds Cell Phone Protection

Filed Under: Chase, Credit Cards
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The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is one of my all around favorite hotel credit cards. The $89 annual fee card offers some awesome perks, including:

  • An anniversary free night certificate valid at a property costing 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
  • A Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit

Well, some benefits changes have just been announced to the card, and I’d say they’re a net positive.

New Cell Phone Protection Benefit

As of November 17, 2019, the IHG Premier Card will offer cell phone protection:

  • Get up to $800 per claim ($600 per claim on the IHG Select Card) and up to $1,000 per year in cell phone protection against covered theft or damage
  • Applies to phones listed on your monthly cell phone bill when you pay with your eligible card
  • Maximum of two claims in a 12 month period
  • $50 deductible per claim

Price Protection & Mastercard Concierge Being Cut

As of November 17, 2019, the card will no longer offer price protection or Mastercard Concierge service:

  • Price protection is a benefit that is being eliminated on quite a few cards, given that it’s costly to offer due to the services that automate this nowadays
  • I can’t say I ever used Mastercard Concierge, so…

Why I Won’t Be Using IHG’s Cell Phone Protection

While I think this is a fantastic addition to the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card, I don’t plan on using this benefit, in spite of having the card. Why? Because you have to actually put your monthly credit card bill on the card in order to qualify, and the card only offers one IHG point per dollar spent on wireless services.

I value IHG Rewards Club points at 0.5 cents each, so long term that’s like a 0.5% return on cell phone spending, which is really low.

The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card also offers cell phone protection, and offers 3x Ultimate Rewards points on phone services (on the first $150,000 spent per year in combined bonus categories). I value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so that’s like a 5.1% return on those purchases — that’s a difference of 4.6%

Purely in terms of return, the best card for cell phone spending is the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card. The card offers 5x points on cell phone spending (on the first $25,000 spent per year in combined bonus categories), though it doesn’t offer cell phone protection. Still, earning 5x points that I value at a return of 8.5% is pretty compelling.

Of course it’s worth acknowledging that both of those are business cards, and not everyone pays their cell phone bills with business cards. So for someone looking for a card with cell phone coverage and a reasonable annual fee, this might not be a bad option.

Bottom Line

The IHG Rewards Club Premier Card will be getting an awesome new cell phone protection benefit as of November. This is a very nice addition to the card, though the downside is that there’s quite an opportunity cost to actually putting your cell phone spending on this card.

By my valuation, you’re forgoing anywhere from 4.6-8% of value compared to some business cards out there.

Does anyone plan on taking advantage of the new cell phone protection benefit on the IHG Card?

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Comments
  1. Why assume everyone has business cards? For those with only consumer cards, I’m not aware of any great point earning opportunities on phone bills. This looks like a points opportunity cost of a cup of coffee per month on a monthly family phone bill (Freedon Unlimited vs IHG cards) for decent cell phone insurance. For people earning the 4x first year points on the IHG card there probably is no opportunity cost worth considering among consumer cards in year one. And I suspect this comes as a welcome surprise for those who were using the Prestige for coverage but are cancelling at renewal.

  2. My reason for switching from the Ink to my Premier is the lower deductible. My bill is only $115 so the points earned vs shelling out the extra $50 is not worth it to me.

  3. Ben, you’re missing a key difference here. Sure IHG points are worth less than UR points, but the IHG benefit covers phones up to $800 with a $50 deductible while the Ink benefit covers phones up to only $600 with a $100 deductible. So if you lose a $1000 iphone, you’re gonna pay more to replace it with the Ink card.

  4. hi. just as an fyi, the $49 ihg select credit card has cell phone protection also. i got an email regarding both the select and premier credit cards adding cell phone protection and price protection/mastercard concierge benefits being removed.

  5. @Jeffery. Reminds me of the lobby at the Intercontinental Phu Quoc but I can’t tell for sure from the picture.

  6. @Mark P, even if you don’t lose the phone, the extra $50 deductible will eat those URs up. Using a valuation of 1.6 cp you would need to obtain 3,125 UR to cover that cost alone which would be $1,041 spend…i hope my math was right. I understand the upside that maybe nothing will happen to your phone. Like I said, for me that is almost a year of cell bills so it would wipe out any earnings if i had to use it.

  7. I will be switching my bill to this card next month. I don’t have a business card, not do i want one. I like the free night (now devalued) and use it every year, so the card pays for itself.

  8. Are there any other non-business cards that offer cell phone protection? If not the switch seems worthwhile.

  9. Personally I am excited about this. I don’t have any of the business cards with cell phone coverage (have Amex Platinum, CSR, Hilton Aspire Amex, Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant, Barclays AA Red and now IHG Chase MC). Each of these has value (except Barclays AA card which doesn’t do anything my lifetime Platinum status doesn’t provide so dropping it before the next renewal).

    I have 4 cell phones on my plan with AT&T. Also, I just got the IHG card under the recent promotion so get 4x on this the first year (I know 2% isn’t as good as other cards I don’t have but better than .5%). More importantly I’m paying for insurance since I can’t trust my kids (and sometimes my wife) with an $1000 I Phone without insurance. That is $8.99 a month per phone so almost $36 a month will come off my bill plus the nominal value of the IHG points.

    I’m sure many of you will get better value but this works for me!

  10. You also did not mention the Citibank Prestige card, which has slightly better benefits and which points are comparable to UR.

  11. From experience, can someone tell me if I get an unlocked phone and didn’t finance it through any carrier, will those be covered? The carrier does recognize my phone make and model on the online account but doesn’t say it on my monthly bill.

  12. @SEAguy Totally agree, I know the credit card blogs need to make money but it’s pretty absurd how they tout business cards as being applicable to people generally. The vast majority of people are not eligible and don’t have them! Most people work for an employer….

  13. I switched my cell phone bill payment from my Ink Cash (5 x UR) to my no annual fee REI mastercard for the free cell phone insurance and 1% REI dividend. I have the IHG card, but won’t switch to it because the IHG return is lower than the REI return. My wife can lose or break a cell phone nearly every year, so this free insurance on these cards is a great value and a very nice perk.

  14. You should read the terms and conditions really carefully. At least in the case of the IHG Select card, it does not cover you if you lose the phone or it “Mysteriously Disappears.” Only theft and damage are covered. I was excited until I saw that, because I don’t want to end up leaving my phone somewhere by mistake and being unable to make a claim.

  15. @leo

    Most people overlook what is a business.
    On the contrary of your beliefs, there are no restriction of what is “eligible” for a business. Your lemonade stand over the summer counts. Will you get approved, maybe. But that doesn’t mean you are not “eligible” to have one. A business card helps you separate personal (buying itunes) and business expenses (buying lemons). For doing taxes, that saves a lot of time.

  16. The IHG Phone Benefits also has $200 more per claim ($800) than Ink Preferred ($600). That alone is a huge difference

  17. Does the phone have to be financed thru your service provider or is it merely that the phone is listed on the service providers invoice. We never finance a phone, so we just have the service bill. Can anyone define this for me? I would call Chase, but I find that in general calling any customer service ends in frustration for me.

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