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The Chase IHG credit card as know it will no longer be around pretty soon. That’s because, via Straight to the Points, Chase is apparently doing away with the current version of the IHG credit card and releasing two new credit cards. One version will likely come with a low annual fee of only $29 while another version, dubbed the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, will come with a $89 annual fee but a number of new benefits.
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The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
Here are the features of this new premier credit card:
- 80,000 point sign-up bonus
- 10,000 points after you spend $20,000 and make one additional purchase each cardmember year
- 5,000 bonus points if you add an authorized user within 3 months of opening the card
- Annual free night certificate at an “eligible hotel”
- 10X for spend at IHG
- 2X at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Automatic Platinum Elite Status
- 20% discount on purchases of IHG points
- 4th night free on award stays
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit of up to $100 every 4 years
- No foreign transaction fees
- $89 annual fee
The bolded are features not currently found on the current IHG Rewards Club credit card.
Is this an upgrade or a downgrade?
This new version has the potential to be even better than the old but that may not hold true for everyone. If you regularly spend money at IHG properties then the new card will rack you up IHG points twice as quickly. IHG already has one of the most rewarding hotel programs (in terms of points earned cash back value) and this new card will make them arguably the most rewarding with the mid-tier status (Platinum) + credit card spend combo.
And if you can utilize that 4th night free on award stays, that’s potentially a huge swing in value for this card. Even utilizing that perk one time a year could make up for the annual fee of this card alone. So these aren’t exactly light benefits we’re seeing with the new card.
But for some this change may not be an upgrade.
The current version of the card only has an annual fee of $49, which is extremely easy to justify given that it offers a free annual anniversary night which can be redeemed at any category property. Now, you’ll have to pay $89 for that benefit and we might even see restrictions on the use of that free night certificate based on the language of the new offer.
It’s possible you might be paying more for less in the future. We really don’t know at this point, though.
It’s also not clear what will happen to current card holders. I would imagine they will be grandfathered in and be able to keep their old IHG credit cards alive but you kind of never know what these banks will do in some cases.
This is an interesting development. On the one hand we might see this card become even more valuable to many people, especially those loyal to the IHG program. However, there’s a potential devaluation looming here depending on if restrictions on the free night come into fruition. We’ll see how it all plays out.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.