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.
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.
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.
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?