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Today’s post comes as a response to reader Terry, who wrote in to say

My wife and I currently each have the IHG card. We received the bonus over 24 months ago.  I would like to cancel the card and wait 30 days and reapply. I believe that if you cancel the card you will lose your points. Is that true?

Does IHG have another card that I could use to hold my points if I cancel my IHG card.  Do they have a business card like Marriott does.

This is a good question and one that seems to come up every now and again.  There are actually 2 different answers, depending on whether you’re talking about a card that gives bank points or one that is “co-branded” meaning a card issued by a bank that gives points in another program, such as airline miles or hotel points

Keeping points on a bank card

If you are talking about a bank card, such as one that gives Chase Ultimate Rewards, Barclay Arrival miles, American Express Membership Rewards, or Citi ThankYou points, then you DO need to use or transfer your points out before canceling the card.  This actually almost bit me a few months ago when I closed my Chase Sapphire card

(SEE ALSO: Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards between accounts before closing an account)

Another thing to note is with Citi ThankYou points, if you transfer the points, then those points DO have some limitations on how and when they can be used.  As far as I know, Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards have no such restriction.

Here's how to keep your airline miles and hotel points if you cancel a credit card.  Don't make the mistake of losing all your points when you cancel your card!

Keeping miles and points on a co-branded card

But that wasn’t Terry’s question – he was asking about the Chase IHG card, which earns IHG points.  In this case, he is in luck!  Once your points have been sent to your frequent flier (or hotel) account, canceling the card doesn’t do anything – the points will stay in your account even when you cancel the card.

In Terry’s case, he can cancel his Chase IHG card and the IHG points will remain in his IHG account.

A couple of other things to be aware of is that Chase is currently cracking down on credit card churners, so if you’ve opened up 5 or more accounts from any bank in the past 24 months, you’re unlikely to be approved for a Chase Sapphire or Chase Freedom card.  Thankfully, although it appears that the Chase Ink card is soon going to fall under the 5/24 rule, the co-branded cards such as the IHG card are not affected by it.

Also Chase typically has language in their applications that you can not receive a bonus on a card if you’ve received a bonus within the past 24 months.  It appears that Terry has already thought about this, based on his email, but it’s good information to know if you are in a similar situation.  For the IHG card, the standard offer is 60,000 points, though there are some reports of a higher signup bonus being available.

Hope this helps! If you have a miles and points question, send me an email at dan at pointswithacrew dot com – I’m always happy to help!

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