Why You Shouldn’t Upgrade To The IHG Premier Card

Filed Under: Chase, Credit Cards
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In 2018, Chase launched the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card (review) and there are lots of great reasons to pick up this card.

The IHG Premier Card did replace the old IHG Select Card, and there has been quite a bit of confusion regarding who is eligible for the IHG Premier Card, especially for those have the old IHG Select Card.

Are You Eligible For The IHG Premier Card If You Have The IHG Select Card?

You are eligible for the IHG Premier Card (including the welcome bonus) even if you have the IHG Select Card. When you look at the terms of the card, you’ll see this spelled out:

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.

As you can see, the welcome bonus restrictions apply specifically to whether you’ve had “this credit card,” and it doesn’t list any other IHG cards.

To further support that, I applied for the IHG Premier Card during the last bonus (when it was offering 125K bonus points), and the points posted even though I also have the IHG Select Card.

If you also have the IHG Select Card, you absolutely should get the IHG Premier Card by applying outright for it, rather than upgrading to it.


The IHG Premier Card is offering a welcome bonus of up to 125K points

Comparing Benefits Of The IHG Premier & IHG Select Cards

On the most basic level, the IHG Select 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 consider the most valuable benefits to be:

  • 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 Select 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 125,000 points. Then you can also benefit from the additional free night certificate and 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
  • 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 (which you’re eligible to earn, assuming you don’t have the card).

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Comments
  1. If I have upgraded and received an upgrade bonus, can I cancel my card and later on re-apply for it and get the bonus? Many thanks.

  2. I did exactly what you said. But, in the end, I canceled the Premiere card due to the difficulty in redeeming the free night.

  3. Wow, TPG just posted an article whit the same title. Actually they recycled an old article but timing is interesting.

  4. My 140K offer says you are ineligible for the 140k “if you currently have an IHG Rewards Club Credit card from Chase.” Much different form “if you currently have this card.” And a bummer!

  5. @ Enjoy Fine Food — Click on the “offer details” immediately above where you see that, and you’ll see exactly what the terms are, which make it pretty clear.

  6. What about if you had the Prestige and Premier, but cancelled the Premier months ago and haven’t gotten a sign up bonus in 2 years?
    You didn’t mention the Prestige card at all and I’m wondering how you see that card in comparison to these other two or whether it’s a benefit to get another one

  7. But the annual free night is hard to use, and is only limited to 40,000 point redemptions which is limited to sad, mediocre holiday inns and holiday inn expresses. 🙁

  8. @ Emmanuel – heaven forbid someone ask a question about a card that isn’t the referral link of the day.

    @ Patrick – no dice. They wait for the full 24 months, regardless of whether you got the bonus on the last card. I know this because I tried.

  9. FYI, stacking these cards is no longer possible. I hold the old card w/ $49 annual – called Chase to confirm the now rephrased terms on the Premier offer page. I can either upgrade to the Premier card now (old annual fee is prorated to end early; new $89 annual fee charged today) and forgo the sign-up bonus -OR- I can cancel the old card now and wait 30 days to sign up for the Premier card and get the sign-up bonus. Canceling and signing up a month from now would be a no-brainer, but not keen on paying a higher fee every year for minimal added benefit (as lucrative as that sign-up bonus may be).

  10. @John Vogan- Where do you see “the now rephrased terms on the Premier offer page”? The T&C that I’m seeing right now appear to be the same as in Lucky’s post above and that’s pretty clear to allow both cards since they are different products. I’d be cautious with what a phone rep is telling you and rely on the data points.

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