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Last week IHG came out with news of a revamp to the IHG Rewards programs and the first change that was revealed was the elite status program with teasers about more changes coming as well. It appears the next change sees them updating their co-brand cards that are issued by Chase in the U.S.. and these changes for all intensive purposes are positive. Both the Premier and Traveler cards see an update and we’ll see a new small business card introduced in March.
The IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card will retain its 10 points per dollar spent at IHG Hotels worldwide and then see increased earn rates as follows:
- Travel: 5 points per dollar (currently 1 point/$)
- Dining, Restaurants, Gas Stations: 5 points per dollar (currently 1 to 2 points/$)
- All other purchases: 3 points per dollar ((currently 1 point/$)
Those are some big increases in earn rates and the changes don’t stop there. First off is the welcome bonus (Which is already available) it has been bumped up from 125,000 points to 125,000 and a free night award when you spend $3,000 on the card in the first three months of having it. This is on top of the free night award the card already provides as an anniversary bonus so in the first year and a bit you’ll receive two free nights. That’s where the next enhancement comes in, those free night awards are good for redemption up to 40,000 points but a new benefit as a cardholder is that you’ll be able to redeem for award nights that cost more than 40,000 points and you just redeem the points difference. For example, if a hotel is 60,000 points for one night you can redeem your free night award and pay the extra 20,000 points. Prior to this you were limited to that 40,000 point cap. The card will also retain its free night when you redeem for four or more nights.
Further updates to the card include receiving Diamond Elite Status if you spend $40,000 + one extra purchase on the card in a calendar year (the card still comes with automatic Platinum Elite Status), up to $50 United Airlines TravelBank Cash credit and a 10,000 points + $100 statement credit when you spend $20,000 + one extra purchase in a year.
Of course as with any enhancements there has to be some give and take and in this case the take is the annual fee on the card. The fee will be increased to $99 per year however if you apply for it right now you can lock in the $89 fee for a year. Yes right now you can get this card for $89 and get the new welcome bonus of 125,000 points and the free night award and in just under two months have all these new enhancements on your card.
Click here to learn more about the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card
The IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card is also being enhanced. It will retain its 5 points per dollar spent at IHG Hotels worldwide and then see increased earn rates as follows:
- Cable, Utilities, Internet, select streaming services: 3 points per dollar (currently 1 point/$)
- Dining, Restaurants, Gas Stations: 3 points per dollar (currently 2 points/$)
- All other purchases: 2 points per dollar ((currently 1 point/$)
As well the card will continue to provide automatic elite status, which for this card is now Silver Elite (same as the old Gold it provided) and also provides a new threshold bonus of 10,000 points when you spend $10,000 + one extra purchase on the card in a year.
Click here to learn more about the IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card
The final part of the announcement states they will also be launching a new small business card in March as well with very similar earn rates and benefits as the consumer Premier card.
The one thing that worries me with the increased earn rates on these credit cards (and some being significant at that) is that we are going to see the new IHG Rewards program increase the dynamic redemption rates at their hotels. I really hope this doesn’t happen and the changes in the cards are to better compete with other cards in the market rather than make up for increased points costs for award nights.
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