Live: Fantastic IHG Rewards Credit Card Changes

Live: Fantastic IHG Rewards Credit Card Changes

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In late March, major improvements were made to IHG Rewards’ co-branded credit card portfolio, including changes to the two existing cards, and the launch of a new business card.

While these changes have been live for a few weeks, the new IHG One Rewards program has just been launched as of April 2022, so I wanted to look at the credit card changes in light of the new program, since a lot more people may now be interested in these cards. It’s now possible to earn top tier elite status through credit card spending, so I imagine that will be tempting to many.

IHG credit card changes as of March 2022

The Chase & IHG Rewards credit card portfolio has been significantly refreshed. Often when there are changes to credit cards it’s not good news, though in this case it’s almost entirely good news. Not only have we seen changes to the two existing personal credit cards, but we’ve also seen the introduction of a new business credit card. Let’s go over the details.

IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card changes

The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card (review) is offering a welcome bonus of 140,000 IHG points after spending $3,000 within the first three months. The annual fee on the card has been increased by $10, from $89 to $99 (this applies as of 2023 for existing cardmembers).

Other than the slight annual fee increase, all the other changes to the card are positive. For one, we’ve seen the rewards structure on the card improve considerably. The IHG Premier Card now earns:

  • 5x points on travel (vs. 1x points previously)
  • 5x points on purchases at gas stations and dining (vs. 2x points previously)
  • 3x points on all other purchases (vs. 1x points previously)

On top of that, the card has several additional new perks, including:

  • Anniversary free night certificates have more flexibility; while they’re capped at 40,000 points per night, you’re now able to redeem them at more expensive hotels by paying the difference in points (in other words, you could book a 50,000 point hotel for a free night certificate plus 10,000 points)
  • You receive $50 in United TravelBank Cash each calendar year, after registering your IHG Rewards Premier Card with your United MileagePlus account; this comes in the form of a $25 credit twice per year, though the credits do expire
  • You receive 10,000 bonus points and a $100 statement credit after spending $20,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • You continue to receive complimentary IHG Platinum status, and are able to earn IHG Diamond status after spending $40,000 on the card in a calendar year

Except the $10 annual fee increase, these changes are fantastic across the board. You get up to $50 in United Airlines credit annually, and free night certificates are much more flexible. IHG Diamond status also has the potential to be worthwhile, as it offers complimentary breakfast, plus with the Milestone Rewards program you can earn confirmed suite upgrades plus club lounge access. The value here is potentially huge.

The value of putting spending on the card is also much better, given the improved points earning structure and threshold bonuses. The other existing benefits not mentioned continue to exist, including a fourth night free on award redemptions, a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit, etc.

Get up to $50 in United TravelBank Cash with the card

IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card changes

The IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card (review) is offering a welcome bonus of 120,000 IHG points after spending $2,000 within the first three months. The card continues to have no annual fee, and has a few positive changes.

The rewards structure on the IHG Traveler Card has improved considerably, as the card now earns:

  • 3x points on utilities, internet, cable, phone, and select streaming services purchases (vs. 1x points previously)
  • 3x points on purchases at gas stations and dining (vs. 2x points previously)
  • 2x points on all other purchases (vs. 1x points previously)

On top of that, the card has all kinds of additional new perks:

  • Automatic IHG Silver status (no status was offered without spending previously)
  • You’re able to earn IHG Gold status after spending $20,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • You can earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $10,000 on the card in a calendar year

The changes here are awesome, as the no annual fee card finally offers some elite status without spending, and the points earning structure has also improved considerably.

Earn more IHG points for your credit card spending

New IHG Premier Business Card details

The new IHG® Rewards Premier Business Credit Card (review) has recently been launched, which is IHG’s first business credit card. The card is offering a welcome bonus of 140,000 IHG points after spending $3,000 within the first three months. The card has a lot of overlap with the IHG Premier Card — both cards have a $99 annual fee, and the perks are also largely similar.

As far as the rewards structure goes, the IHG Premier Business Card earns:

  • 10x points on IHG spending
  • 5x points on travel and hotels
  • 5x points on gas stations
  • 5x points on dining
  • 5x points on social media and search engine advertising, and office supply stores
  • 3x points on all other purchases

The card offers the following perks:

  • An anniversary free night certificate just for being a cardmember, plus a second free night certificate if you spend $60,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • Up to $50 in United TravelBank Cash each calendar year
  • IHG Platinum status for as long as you’re a cardmember
  • A fourth night free on award redemptions
  • A Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit once every four years
  • IHG Diamond status if you spend $40,000 per calendar year on the card
  • 10,000 bonus points and a $100 statement credit after spending $20,000 on the card in a calendar year

This is an extremely compelling business credit card, and I’m sure it’s a card many will want to apply for.

IHG’s new business credit card is awesome

Bottom line

Significant changes have been made to the IHG credit card portfolio, and I’d say this is overwhelmingly good news:

  • The IHG Premier Card now has a significantly improved points earning structure, plus new perks that include a $50 annual United credit, more flexible anniversary free night awards, the ability to earn Diamond status through spending, and more
  • The IHG Traveler Card now gets IHG Silver status without a spending requirement
  • The IHG Premier Business Card has launched, and offers many of the same perks as the IHG Premier Card, so this is an extremely compelling new option
  • Most exciting is that positive changes have been made to IHG’s loyalty program in general, and both Platinum and Diamond status are going to potentially be compelling, especially with the Milestone Rewards program

In addition to these cards generally having a great value proposition, we’re also seeing fantastic welcome offers on all of these cards, so this is a great time to apply.

What do you make of these IHG credit card changes?

Conversations (68)
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  1. CD Guest

    I hope they don't change the select card. I like the benefits without the high annual fee. If they change my card then I will probably cancel it. I don't need it just hold onto it and use it for the benefits. I might even start to look at other brands and cards if this happens. It could be a deal breaker for my business.

  2. iamhere Guest

    I don't value IHG rewards. I do value the credit card because of the free night certificate and the value of the hotel room could easily be more than the annual fee of the credit card. This said, none of the levels under their new program allow late check out OR club access and these two benefits are of the more useful ones.

  3. Steve Guest

    IHG website doesn't show any indication that I am signed up for the UA benefit but when I try and do so it says my number has already been submitted.

    Anyone else having this problem?

  4. Brad Guest

    Have one night cert with the old select card and when trying to redeem "no chase nights" are avail when most hotels are BELOW 40,000 that night.

    Out of 15 hotels below 40,000 a night only 3 are offering chase nights

    A glitch? or some very bad news for the IHG Select?

  5. Bryan Guest

    Just to clarify ff I have the IHG Select Card, I couldn't get the sign-up bonuses for any new IHG Credit Card right anymore? Or anybody has had a different experience?

    1. Tennen Gold

      Yes, you *can* get the sign-up bonus for the Premier, Traveler, and/or Business. The IHG Select is considered a separate product. I have the Select and the Premier and got bonuses for both (and loads of others probably have, too, including Ben).

    2. Tennen Gold

      @Bryan, hmmm... based on @Ben Schlappig's latest posts about the IHG cards, you might not be eligible for the sign-up bonus if you have a personal card. This definitely wasn't the case before.

      From his post: "The welcome bonus on the IHG Premier Card isn’t available to those who currently have a personal IHG Rewards credit card, or those who have received a new cardmember bonus on a personal IHG Rewards credit card in the past 24 months."

  6. Andrew Gold

    Ctrl-F, "breakfast", not found, skip article.

    Sorry IHG. Someday you have to play with the big boys. Until then I won't even read articles about you.

  7. Brian Guest

    Anyone else cannot register their United MileagePlus number? The "Register" button seems fake, and nothing happens after clicking it on ihg.com/united.

    1. also named Brian Guest

      I'm having the same problem - I tried multiple browsers and multiple platforms but it seems you cannot click that button. Anybody figured it out?

  8. Thomas Guest

    I have the old IHG Reward Club Mastercard (annual $49 fee)
    Any changes on the earning structure on this card?

  9. Pahanin Guest

    I have both the select and premier. I’d be interested to know if it is possible to product change the ihg traveler card to the premier and if yes, I’d get the traveler card now.

  10. Karen Guest

    I currently have both the select and the premier cards. Should I cancel the premier card and then reapply for it since I won't be able to do that once the new rules kick in? (it's been over 2 years since I received the Premier bonus)?

  11. Gene Guest

    If I open the card now and get the sign up bonus, can i open the new card when it comes out and be eligible for its bonus as well? or is the old bonus blocks me out for 2 years for the new bonus as well?

  12. Sean T. Guest

    What about the free night included in the current sign up bonus? It's capped at 40K, will I be able to top that off?

  13. DWT Guest

    It looks like the UA Travel Bank credit will be deposited in $25 installments twice a year, and each one will expire after 6 months. This is different from regular Travel Bank credit that either expires after five years or doesn’t expire so long as there is activity at least once every 18 months. So this isn’t going to be as useful to people who don’t regularly fly UA.

    Also, spending on the Premier card no longer earns elite qualifying points.

  14. Danny Guest

    I just got a letter in the mail telling me that my IHG Select is being changed to the Premier at the $99 fee (fee starting in 2023). No opting out, no way to fight the change, it's being forced on me.

    With that in mind, any thoughts on keeping two Premier cards??

    1. Eskimo Guest

      When was the letter dated? But according to this post, @Lucky states no changes to the Select card.

      That being said, I wouldn't mind keeping 2 Premier cards.

      Getting a 40k for $99 is still a great deal. If you get the UA travel bank credit twice is even better. Losing the 10% rebate is a bit sad.

    2. Bobby Gee Guest

      Is this the IHG Select Business card or the regular Select? I've read that the Select Business card is indeed being automatically converted to the new Premier Business card, but have not seen anything about the regular Select being automatically converted to Premier. Please let us know, it's an important data point.

  15. BobbyGee Guest

    The old Select card came with automatic Platinum status. Has there been any indication if this will continue, or are they going to drop us down to Gold?

  16. DCS Diamond

    For example, both IHG and Hyatt credit cards have historically offered 1x points in non-bonused categories, while I value a Hyatt point at 3x as much as an IHG point.

    - Ben

    You simply must stop making that claim in the way you mean it because it is utterly bogus.

    By I value a Hyatt point at 3x as much as an IHG point, you meant that the Hyatt point is worth 3x more...

    For example, both IHG and Hyatt credit cards have historically offered 1x points in non-bonused categories, while I value a Hyatt point at 3x as much as an IHG point.

    - Ben

    You simply must stop making that claim in the way you mean it because it is utterly bogus.

    By I value a Hyatt point at 3x as much as an IHG point, you meant that the Hyatt point is worth 3x more than the IHG point. While numerically the Hyatt point is 3x the IHG point, the two points currencies are worth exactly the same. I will, again, explain by analogy.

    Class is in session...

    In the abstract, i.e., when “points” currency denominations are all referred to generically as simply “points', 1.5cents/”point” is indeed more “valuable” than 0.5cent/”point”. It assumes that the numerator (cents) and denominator ("point") are the same in all cases.

    Things are, however, shocking when one goes farther and asks…

    Sidebar:

    1.5cents of which points currency is more “valuable” than 0.5cent of which other points currency, e.g., is this inequality,

    1.5cents/WoH point > 0.5cent/IHG point,

    which is universally claimed to be true in travel blogosphere, correct?

    The correct answer is that you do not know a priori because, look at the denominators! You no longer have the “point” in the abstract. You have specific points currency denominations and because 1 WoH point is not the same as 1 IHG point, that inequality is comparing apples and oranges!

    That is like claiming a priori that

    1.5cents/gallon > 0.5cent/liter

    You do not know that a priori because, look at the denominators!!! We know that 1 gallon is not the same as 1 liter, therefore, that inequality is comparing apples and oranges. To do the correct comparison, we need to use the known fact that 1gallon of gasoline is exactly the same as 3.8 liters of gasoline and then convert liters to gallons or vice versa:

    1.5cents/gallon *1gallon/3.8liters = 0.4 cent/liter,

    which is less than 0.5 cents/liter, meaning that the inequality is wrong, just as the universal claim that

    1.5cents/WoH point > 0.5cent/IHG point (or 0.5 HH point)

    is wrong!!!

    If you understand what is is in the sidebar and everyone should because it is utterly trivial, then you will agree with the following simple proof and stop once and for all making the bogus claims about the relative worth of points currencies based on their nominal or average "values" in cents per generic "point", when there is no such thing as a "generic" points currency.

    You stated that 1 WoH point = 3 IHG points, which is essentially correct - numerically. So, like for the gallon vs. liter comparison, we can make the Hyatt point vs. IHG point comparison apples to apples by converting Hyatt points to IHG points or versa:

    1.5WoH cents/WoH point * 1WoH point/3IHG points = 0.5 cent/IHG points

    See? Like
    1.5cents/gallon = 0.4cent/liter (you get exactly the same volume of gasoline in either case)

    1.5cents/WoH point = 0.5cent/IHG point (the two redemption values are worth exactly the same).

    The equality sign means that the quantities on its left and its right are. well, equal or the same!

    The math is trivial. It is simply incredible that the whole of blogosphere and its entire priesthood of self-anointed "travel gurus" continues to get such simple concepts totally wrong.

    ...Class dismissed!

    1. DCS Diamond

      Did not terminate html tag for italics so doing it here

    2. Eskimo Guest

      Now let have @DCS explain Bitcoin values. Extra credits if you can compare Bitcoins in gallons and liters.

    3. DCS Diamond

      Nah, it would be a waste of time to get into cryptocurrencies considering how much difficult there is grasping the first thing about much simpler concepts involving points currencies.

      BTW, you've heard that the Bitcoin is collapsing, right?

    4. Bill Guest

      The value is indeed much more for Hyatt points compared to IHG and Hilton.
      So not much incentive.

  17. tassojunior Guest

    assuming 4th night free stays on Premier.

  18. Ralph Guest

    Good Morning: How and where do I register my IHG Rewards Premier Card with my United MileagePlus account?
    Thank you for your help.

  19. EricZ Guest

    Major devaluation coming when the rest of the changes are announced.

    too many categories from 1x to 5x for only $10 more a year?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ EricZ -- My guess is that this is a genuine effort to increase cardmember spending across the portfolio, which is in the best interest of both Chase and IHG. I suspect people just haven't been spending a lot on these cards due to the lackluster rewards structure. For example, both IHG and Hyatt credit cards have historically offered 1x points in non-bonused categories, while I value a Hyatt point at 3x as much as an IHG point.

    2. Kiwi Guest

      My guess is that card spend points will no longer count as qualifying points towards elite status. It’s way to easy to hit spire currently with the reduced qualification threshold. The other way to look at it is the chase/MC co-brand deal is so valuable that with the increased bonuses they know they have to raise the threshold otherwise the modeling shows a huge increase in Diamonds, in which case I would expect similar deal...

      My guess is that card spend points will no longer count as qualifying points towards elite status. It’s way to easy to hit spire currently with the reduced qualification threshold. The other way to look at it is the chase/MC co-brand deal is so valuable that with the increased bonuses they know they have to raise the threshold otherwise the modeling shows a huge increase in Diamonds, in which case I would expect similar deal in other major growth markets for IHG so they remain relevant internationally.

      Side note I used to work for MC principle competitor so have some idea how these deals are structured/incentivized

  20. iamhere Guest

    "The bad news is that the annual fee will be increasing by $10, from $89 to $99, as of 2023 for existing cardmembers. Everything else is positive."
    - 100% disagree. You are not taking into account the downgrading of the value of points. When you redeem they charge more points than they used to. This has happened many times and is likely to happen soon.....

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ iamhere -- We can only go off of what we know so far. You're right, it's possible that we see a further devaluation of points, but with IHG having recently introduced dynamic award pricing, I don't think we're going to see huge changes on the redemption side.

  21. Sven Guest

    Is the certificate with old select card also worth 40,000 points that can be applied along with 10,000 additional points against a 50,000 point room ?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Sven -- We don't know yet. Officially only the certificate on the IHG Premier Card will add that flexibility, though personally I'd speculate that it's likely that all certificates will work in the same way.

  22. Paul Guest

    The feature of the free night cert being able to use it on more than 40K points by paying the difference is great. I hope it forces the Chase/AMEX Marriott and Hyatt cards to do the same.

    1. Jim Guest

      You can do that with Marriott
      Chase/Amex

  23. Bob Guest

    The Chase site currently says if you have any IHG Rewards card you are not eligible for the bonus.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Bob -- That has caused confusion for years, but you are eligible for the IHG Premier Card (including the bonus) if you have the IHG Select Card. If you click on the actual offer terms, it clarifies that the eligibility restrictions are for those who have the same exact card they're looking to apply for.

  24. Adam Guest

    Can you still get the bonus on the Premier Card if you have the old select? Seems like with the current offer of 125K + a free night after $3,000 could be worth picking it up like you say!

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Adam -- Yep, at least as of now you can, though I'm told one won't be eligible once the cards switch over. Of course I can't vouch personally for whether or not that will be the case. I'd definitely apply now if you don't have it.

    2. Adam Guest

      Thanks so much for responding so quickly! The language --> "If you currently have an IHG Rewards Club Credit Card from Chase, [...] you are not eligible to receive another of the same credit card." Got me worried, but sounds like I should be all set and its a no-brainer. Thanks for posting!!

    3. Bob Guest

      I am not sure what is reassuring. I thought about getting it as well but the language seems pretty clear that you will not get the bonus so I am am dissuaded from attempting it, since I would have zero grounds to claim the bonus unless I got lucky somehow. I would grab the premier if I could right now since i have the old card as well but not to waste a card signup for nothing.

    4. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Bob -- Click on the actual "Offer Details" button, and you'll see the following, which clarifies that it's about that specific card:
      "This product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months"

      The application has had the same language for years, and many of us have gotten the bonus on the card.

  25. Rico Member

    I thought I was done using the premier card when they discontinued the phone insurance last year. I guess I'll need to dust it off and use it for 5x on gas in March.

  26. Tennen Gold

    It's a good thing that they're changing the rewards structure, but TBH, it just moves them up to average. Still, it'll be a huge relief to put spend on the card for bonuses/account activity and not feel disheartened by the pittance in returns. Too bad utilities/internet/cable/phone/streaming won't be a bonus category on the Premier. I would probably use the card more if it got 5x.

    The UA Travel Bank is interesting. Do those funds expire?...

    It's a good thing that they're changing the rewards structure, but TBH, it just moves them up to average. Still, it'll be a huge relief to put spend on the card for bonuses/account activity and not feel disheartened by the pittance in returns. Too bad utilities/internet/cable/phone/streaming won't be a bonus category on the Premier. I would probably use the card more if it got 5x.

    The UA Travel Bank is interesting. Do those funds expire? For infrequent UA travelers, it won't really be a benefit if those $50 go poof every 1-2 years...

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Tennen -- United TravelBank funds expire after five years of inactivity. However, if you load your account every year, the funds don't expire.

  27. Dave Guest

    Have been waiting for long to be under 5/24 to apply for IHG card. Now that I am eligible should I wait more until 3/24 to see if there is new and better signup bonus offer on the premier card?

    1. Francois Guest

      @Dave If you're eligible for biz cards you can be at 4/24 to get a personal AND a biz. When at 4/24 apply for biz, get approved, you'll still be at 4/24 as chase biz cards don't report unless 60 days delinquent, then apply for personal. Just make sure you can hit both spend requirements.

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Dave -- I updated the post to add a section with my thoughts on applying for the IHG Premier Card vs. waiting. There's not a right or wrong answer, though with the excellent bonus available, I think there's merit to applying now.

    3. T_18_G Guest

      I got the IHG Premier in November 2021 while at 6/24 at the time of application. Chase seems to have removed the 5/24 requirement for many of their cobranded cards.

  28. Ethan Guest

    Also, if the $40000 spending Diamond means IHG is open to giving top status to credit card holder, then I'm so looking forward to an IHG Aspire (Though doubt if Chase can pull it off.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Ethan -- Hah, that sure would be cool, given the parallels. Too bad we only usually see one new product at a time. If there is an uber-premium IHG Card, it'll probably take at least a year or so until that's introduced.

  29. Ethan Guest

    I'm all for a business card so I can add a backup plan without adding to my 524 count.

  30. Sel, D. Guest

    Lucky - will the miles buy-up for free night certs work on existing ones? I believe some of us likely have 2-4 of these on hand given the Covid extensions.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Sel, D. -- Unfortunately I haven't been able to get a clear answer on that yet. I suspect the answer is yes, but that's just my speculation. I'll report back if I get a definitive answer.

    2. Ron Mexico Guest

      Yes. I have one now. Want to use it on a 1 night stay in savannah over Memorial Day. Please let us know.
      Thanks

  31. Khatl Gold

    Any news on any changes for the old Select card?

    1. Khatl Gold

      scratch that, I should read the other comments!

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Khatl -- I asked about this, and was told that there is no info about IHG Select changes yet, but if I get more details I'll be sure to pass them on.

  32. MrChu Guest

    What about the old IHG select card that some of us are grandfathered in it? Does it get any upgraded benefits. Thanks

    1. James K. Guest

      +1 to this question

    2. Art_Czar New Member

      SO has the old IHG card with the $49 AF. I too was hoping Ben would have addressed cardholders grandfathered under the old card.

    3. Brands Guest

      Frequentmiler confirmed no changes to the old Select card. I will definitely be keeping that one as long as I can, with a free night cert and 10% points rebate on all award stays for only $49. The new business card looks a lot like the premier, except you can earn an additional free night cert after $60K spend in a year.

    4. Allen Guest

      My guess is that there won't be any improvements on this card since Chase has actively tried to lure those cardholders toward the Premier card for the past few years. Or else, they'll raise the fee, making it less worthwhile to keep just for the free night certificate.

    5. Khatl Gold

      I assume Select will have the same new free night option as the Premier - i.e. you can use it on a room at 50k and just have to pay the extra 10k points?

    6. Brutus Guest

      Considering how many times we've all been offered to upgrade for 5,000 points, I don't think you'll see any improvements.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

MrChu Guest

What about the old IHG select card that some of us are grandfathered in it? Does it get any upgraded benefits. Thanks

4
Thomas Guest

I have the old IHG Reward Club Mastercard (annual $49 fee) Any changes on the earning structure on this card?

2
Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Khatl -- I asked about this, and was told that there is no info about IHG Select changes yet, but if I get more details I'll be sure to pass them on.

2
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