Why You Shouldn’t Upgrade To The IHG Premier Card

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In early April, Chase made some major changes to their IHG credit card portfolio. They stopped accepting applications for the old IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card, and instead started accepting applications for the all new IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.

A lot of readers have asked if they’re eligible for this new card if they have the old IHG Card, and/or if they should upgrade their existing IHG Card to this new one.

So 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® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, rather than upgrading your old IHG Card.

Comparing benefits of IHG Club & IHG Premier Card

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® Rewards Club Premier Credit 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

Deciding which IHG card is better for you

On the surface, the old IHG Rewards Club Select Credit 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® Rewards Club Premier Credit 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.

Redeem your anniversary free night certificate at the Crowne Plaza Changi

Why you shouldn’t upgrade to the IHG Rewards Premier Credit 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 absolutely 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 Club 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® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, which has a welcome bonus of 80,000 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.

Stack a fourth night free with a 10% refund on redeemed points at the InterContinental Danang

Bottom line

While many people are tempted to upgrade their existing IHG Club 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 Club Card, and then apply for the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, which has useful benefits that you can stack, and a big welcome bonus. Also keep in mind that applying for the IHG Card isn’t subjected to the 5/24 restriction, and you are eligible if you have the old IHG Card.

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  1. @Lucky – thanks for the post! Do you know when the 10% IHG rebate will post? I made bookings (115,000 points total) I think in late April to early May for June stays but I haven’t received any rebate yet.

  2. @ GL — The rebate typically posts within a few weeks of when the actual stay happens, rather than when the points are redeemed. So hopefully the rebate posts soon for you.

  3. @Lucky, this is the same conclusion I came to. Thanks for writing this post in a way that lays out every important point so clearly!

  4. I’ll stick with the $49 / year version. My real world experience is that IHG points just aren’t worth very much. I find it hard to get more than $20 of value from 5,000 IHG points, even after the 10% points rebate. For those who stay at IHG a lot, and often stay for at least 4 consecutive days, maybe, for everyone else, no.

  5. No need to upgrade, just get both of them! That’s what I did for the points and benefits stacking. You get 2 nights for under $150 AF

    @GL, a quick call to the IHG line and the points will show up in your account.


  6. @Lucky: you mention the IC Danang. Searching today shows not a single night available for 2018 or 2019. Further, when I tried to do this in Denver, CO I could only get 3 not 4 nights. So while the photo looks good, I’m not sure you should be promoting that property anymore.

    I suspect people might have a hard time finding 4 consecutive award nights in desirable properties.

  7. @Anthony Thomas:

    I searched IC Danang via the ihg.com website and there are indeed nights available (including tonight!) for 70K points.

  8. @Lucky, plus with the recent reversal by IHG, most will still get one more unlimited free night on the old card so it would truly be crazy to give up that card now.

  9. Help is needed ,last time I was took the 100% bonus points purchase promotion fee days ago, credit card charged and email confirmation . However they said the promotion end and give me only the points plus 10,000 compensation. Not to mention I spend the whole morning to deal with them and not a trusted company.

  10. 1) How does the stacking work with 4th night free on points redemption and the 10% bonus?

    2) I have both cards and have just seen my 85,000 bonus points post to my account. This is the 80K sign up plus 5K companion card

  11. I’m also interested in knowing how the stacking of the 10% bonus and the 4th night free works when you have 2 different credit cards. How does that work when you’re redeeming points on the old credit card, but booking a 4 night stay with the new credit card. I just don’t understand the mechanics of making that work. Thanks

  12. @ Chris — You don’t actually have to use the credit card in order to take advantage of the perk. Rather your IHG account knows which cards you have. So if you have both it will know to not charge you for the fourth night when you book, and then after your stay you will get refunded 10%.

  13. Chase/Marriott found the clever words to cheat Amex SPG Golds out of Platinum in the new program. Bye. Bye. Let’s hope Chase/IHG doesn’t try the same kind of verbal trickery to eliminate stacking! Hyatt is nice, but I’d like to have IHG options, too.

  14. I haven’t seen a single data point yet of anyone with 1 of the new cards & the old Select card still receiving the 10% points rebate from the old card after getting the new card. Because the new cards were introduced in early April, I thought we would’ve seen this by now if the benefits are truly stackable. Maybe I’ve just missed them or need to give it a little more time.

  15. @BC – I believe Lucky mentioned in the comments of another post that he’s seen such data points. The 10% back points tend to take about 4-6 weeks to post anyway (goodness knows why) so that may be why you haven’t seen data points to that effect.

  16. @Anastasia – Thanks. Interesting, I’d love to see those DPs. I’ve searched through FlyerTalk and don’t see any there. I realize FT isn’t the whole universe, but really thought I would’ve seen some there by now. I have an upcoming reward stay so I guess I will also have my own DP soon enough.

  17. @Anastasia and @BC – I have both IHG cards and paid for a recent stay in Denver using points. I received the 10% rebate from the “old” about 3 – 4 weeks after the stay. Coincidentally, my 100k point welcome bonus from the “new” IHG card posted the same day as the rebate from my “old” card, so I’m happy to report it’s possible to hold both cards and double dip benefits!

  18. PLEASE remind your readers that, although “IHG Card isn’t subjected to the 5/24 restriction,” getting the card WILL count towards your 5/23 total.

  19. @BC – I can also confirm the two are stackable, as I’ve done it 3 times now (twice in June, once in August). At the time of the booking, the 4th night was no charge, then the 10% rebate posted about 4 weeks later.

  20. Lucky, do you know if the authorized user also qualify for the 4th night benefit if he/she owns a separate IHG Rewards account and tries to redeem points out of his/her own account?

  21. @ Ron — Unfortunately only the primary user qualifies for the benefit out of their associated IHG account.

  22. I mean… pretty easy to get more than $89 worth of value out of that annual free night so having both is kind of a no-brainer.

  23. I had the old card for a few years. I then applied for the new card and got approved immediately. The sign up points posted the same month I got the new card because I met the spend requirement.

    I made a reservation for four nights and sure enough, the fourth night automatically adjusted and only deducted three nights of points from my account.

    If I get back 10% of the three nights redeemed, I will be a happy camper but I will feel a little guilty because of the “double-dip” appearance.

    If IHG is willing to offer such a good promotion, it offsets some of the awful promotions we see at some of the other chain hotels.

  24. I’m surprised that IHG would allow you to get both card benefits particularly for the free room and the percent back/fourth night free when using points. With this said, you assume that people often stay in IHG hotels. They have become less convenient to Marriott/SPG hotels in many cities and in fact are much harder to redeem points. Often times there are no reward nights available

  25. Lucky, I also have the old IHG card and was approved for the new one. The rep from IHG told me that I would HAVE to combine both accounts into one since they are under the same name. Will that affect my annual free nights and points redemptions? I am afraid that they will somehow mess it up.

  26. @ JZ — Hmmm, I think the rep may have been confused. Maybe by “combine” accounts they meant it has to be linked to the same IHG Rewards Club account, which is accurate. But you can definitely have and keep both cards.

  27. @Lucky
    Thanks for the reply. Would you recommend for me to call and link the accounts together now or wait until the bonus points hit my other ihg account first and then link the accounts?
    Because as of now, the sign up bonus for the new premier card will be posted to the new ihg account number once it’s ready and in the end, I am still afraid that either chase or especially the ihg side would some how mess up. Lol

  28. @ JZ — You’re totally fine having both cards, so I’d give them the correct number sooner rather than later.

  29. Hi Lucky so do I understand this when I apply I can put my current IHG rewards number. I can have 2 credit cards to the same account number like Chase RCR and Marriott Premier? How when Ibredeem do they k ow which account to card gives me the 4th night free?

  30. Hi,

    Can I apply for this card based in the UK as the benefits that Americans get compared to the UK is way better?

    or just £99** a year, apply today* and enjoy:

    20,000 reasons to smile
    You’ll earn 20,000 IHG Rewards Club bonus points when you spend £200 in the first 3 months of opening your account.
    Earn 4 IHG Rewards Club points for every £1 you spend at any IHG family of hotels
    Earn 4 IHG Rewards Club points for every £1 you spend abroad
    Earn 2 IHG Rewards Club points for every £1 you spend everywhere else
    Platinum Elite Status†
    You’ll automatically receive Platinum Elite Status when you open your account*, meaning you can enjoy these benefits when you stay:
    50% extra bonus points on top of your usual points
    Complimentary room upgrades (subject to availability)
    Guaranteed room availability


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