Why You Shouldn’t Upgrade To The IHG Premier Card

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Yesterday I wrote about how the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is offering a new best-ever welcome bonus of up to 120,000 IHG Rewards Club points. The card is offering 80,000 points after spending $2,000 within three months, and an additional 40,000 points after spending a total of $5,000 within six months.

This is still a fairly new card, as Chase only introduced the IHG Premier Card last April, replacing the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card.

In addition to the new increased welcome bonus, several readers have reported that they received an offer to upgrade their old IHG Select Card to the IHG Premier Card for 5,000 bonus points, and asked whether that’s a good deal.

In this post I wanted to do a comparison of the benefits of the two cards, and explain why you should apply outright for the IHG Premier Card, rather than upgrading your old IHG Card.


The IHG Premier Card is offering a welcome bonus of up to 120K points

Comparing benefits of IHG Premier & IHG Select

On the most basic level, the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card ($49 annual fee, no longer open to new applications) offers:

  • An anniversary free night certificate valid at any IHG hotel retailing for up to 40,000 points per night
  • IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you have the card
  • A 10% refund on redeemed points, for a total of up to 100,000 refunded points per year

For the IHG Premier Card ($89 annual fee), I view the most valuable benefits as being:

  • An anniversary free night certificate valid at any IHG hotel retailing for 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, which can be used an unlimited number of times
  • A TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry fee credit once every four years


Redeem your anniversary free night award at the Crowne Plaza Changi

Deciding which IHG card is better for you

On the surface, the old IHG Select Card is probably an all around better value. The card has an annual fee of $49, which is $40 per year cheaper, and offers the same anniversary free night certificate and Platinum status for as long as you have the card.

The other biggest benefit on both cards is the extra value you get when you redeem points — the old IHG Club Card offers a 10% rebate on redeemed points (up to 100,000 points per year), while the new IHG Premier Card offers a fourth night free on award redemptions.

The fourth night free on award redemptions has the potential to be more valuable, since it could offer up to 25% off. However, that requires redeeming in increments of exactly four nights. If that matches your typical redemption patterns, then I’d say that benefit is more valuable, while otherwise the 10% rebate is likely to be more rewarding, since it applies to all redemptions.

Why you shouldn’t upgrade to the IHG Premier Card

While I think the IHG Premier Card is potentially more valuable for some (specifically, those who often redeem in increments of four nights), I wouldn’t recommend upgrading from one card to the other.

Why? Because you can have both cards, and you don’t want to cancel a card that you can never apply for again, especially one that has benefits that are this good.

You can continue to have the old IHG Select Card for the anniversary free night certificate and 10% refund on redeemed points, which is well worth the $49 annual fee.

Then you can complement that with the $89 annual fee IHG Premier Card, which has a welcome bonus of up to 120,000 points upon completing minimum spend and a fourth night free on award redemptions.

The best part is that you can stack those benefits — if you have both cards you get two anniversary free night certificates per year, and you can combine the fourth night free on award redemptions with the 10% refund on redeemed points, which gets you maximum value. If you redeem in increments of four nights, that’s the equivalent of up to 32.5% off redemptions, which is excellent.


By having both cards you can save up to 32.5% on award stays

Bottom line

While many people are tempted to upgrade their existing IHG Select Card to the new IHG Premier Card, I highly recommend against this. You’d be giving up a card that you’ll never be able to apply for again, and that has a lower annual fee and a unique 10% refund benefit on redeemed points.

I’d much rather keep the IHG Select Card, and then apply for the IHG Premier Card, which has useful benefits that you can stack, and a big welcome bonus of up to 120K points (which you’re eligible to earn, assuming you don’t have the card).

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Comments

  1. Also for the newer card- there is a 20% discount on point purchases, correct? For those who are redeeming nights with purchased points that further drops the cumulative cost benefit on 4 night award redemptions.

  2. @ Ben — Even with the Delta-like IHG devaluations over the last few years, IHG points redemptions can indeed still be an excellent value at 32.5% off! When there is the usual 100% bonus on purchased points, you can buy nights at IC SF or IC Barclay for just $236. That is a steal much of the time!

  3. Hey Lucky,
    I didn’t realize you would be writing another article that would answer my comment question from the last IHG card article, but thank you.

    Stacking the annual free night benefits by holding both cards sounds like a solid win.

  4. I think the headline would be less confusing and more helpful if you said something like “Don’t upgrade your present IHG card: Apply for a new one separately” or words to that effect.
    Thanks for this information.

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