Per reports from Reddit and from other blogs, Chase is changing up the redemption policy for the IHG credit card’s free night. Previously, you could redeem this free night for any category IHG property. This allowed you to receive ridiculously outsized value at many location and made the IHG credit card arguably the best hotel credit card on the market. But now this free night certificate will be limited to properties going for 40,000 a night!
The new 40,000 point category limit
This puts the free night much more on par with the free night’s offered by Marriott and Hyatt credit cards. This devaluation has a bit of an extra sting to it because IHG recently upped the highest category to 70,000 points and increased the cost of many properties to 50,000 or 60,000.
This means that it’s going to be a lot tougher or just straight up impossible to utilize this free night certificate at nice properties in major cities like New York City (where we just recently used our free night at the InterContinental Times Square).
The changes are set to go into effect for free night certificates issued from May 1, 2018.
Chase is set to discontinue the current IHG card and replace it with two new credit cards. One new version of the IHG card will be known as the Premier and come with a higher $89 annual fee. It will also come with some other benefits like a 4th night free on award stays perk, but this a major hit for many people.
If the changes also apply to the Premier, the new IHG card will require you to pay $50 more and will come with a free night that is significantly more limited and less valuable. If you don’t regularly stay at IHG properties or think you’ll be putting the 4th night free benefit to use, the IHG credit card will become much less attractive. You can still come out on top in terms of value but nothing close to what you could do in the past.
A lot of us knew that the IHG free night certificate was a little bit too good to be true so it’s not really a surprise to see it go (at least to me). But it does hurt to see it pulled so quickly and it’s a big blow to many people who were planning on maximizing their value with the card or who just recently applied for it. Here’s to hoping that Chase/IHG make some exceptions for new applicants who had the rug pulled from under them.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.