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I recently received an email AND letter in the mail with an “opportunity” from IHG to upgrade to the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card to earn 5,000 bonus points after making a single purchase. I received similar upgrade offers from Chase in 2019 but at least then I was offered 10,000 bonus points. I’m a big fan of getting easy points where I can, but this current offer is even worse than the last one.

My Current IHG Rewards Credit Card

Chase has been trying to lure me into closing the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card for a while now. I have held the card since 2015.  With only a $49 annual fee and an anniversary free night at an IHG property, it has been one of the cards that I believe makes sense to hold long term. Every year I have been able to get a free night that would cost $250 or more at the cash prices.

This free night offer used to be amazing. Several years ago, we were able to stay at the Intercontinental in Paris for a weekend using each of our free nights. At that time the cash price of the room was almost $500 per night. Unfortunately, that superb value ended when IHG capped the free night at hotels that cost 40,000 points or less.  Even with this change, I think the benefits including the anniversary night and 10% rebate on points redemptions helps to justify the $49 annual fee.

IHG’s Upgrade Offer

Here is the letter inviting me to upgrade to the IHG Reward Club Premier Card.  Is this a worthwhile move?  Thankfully IHG included a handy chart to help weigh out the added benefits of an upgrade.

What New Benefits Would I Get in Exchange for the Annual Fee Increase?

  • 5k bonus points: This is available after an upgrade and one purchase. It’s always nice to get free points but as I’ll discuss below there is a way to get 125k points PLUS a Reward night with the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card as long as you are under 5/24.
  • 10x points over 5x points on IHG purchases: If you stay at IHG properties frequently this may make a difference, but for me IHG points aren’t overly valuable.
  • Earn 10k bonus points each year after spending $20,000 on purchases and making one additional purchase: Frankly, there are better ways to earn points with that much spend.
  • 4th Reward Night Free: This is a great benefit if you are flush with IHG points. If you are not, it may be tough to take advantage. This is where the 125k points I mentioned above may come in handy.
  • TSA PreCheck or Global Entry Credit: Everyone should have TSA PreCheck and/or Global Entry.  If you have children, it’s even more valuable. With that being said, the odds are that most travelers have another card that offers this credit as well. I have a few cards that offer this credit so for me this benefit would have no additional value. For travelers who need a card to cover TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, this does offer a value.

What Are the Downsides of Upgrading?

  • Annual fee would increase from $49 to $89
  • Lose the 10% points booking rebate that the Select card gives on every redemption
  • The Anniversary Rewards Night shifts to your account upgrade date. If your free night is coming up in 2 months, you will forfeit that night.

Conclusion

After reviewing the updated offer to “upgrade” (and close out the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card), I doubt most people should make the switch. There is one possible exception: If you are a frequent traveler who prefers IHG properties and are over 5/24. With that being said I could also make an argument to add the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card to your wallet while ALSO keeping the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card. That is exactly what my wife did last year.

The current offer for the Premier card is for 125k bonus points + 1 Reward night after $3,000 in spend in the first three months. You can compare that card to the IHG Rewards Club Traveler card here (click through to Apply Now to the Traveler card and it will compare the two).

By keeping the Select Card, you will receive a rebate of 8k points when you spend the 80k points earned from the Premier. By keeping both cards, you will also have 2 anniversary nights that you can book for a cost of $138 yearly. While the value at $89 for a free night is not as attractive with the Premier, it will not be difficult for most people to find a hotel that has a higher price point than that. Overall, while the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card has some decent benefits, I don’t believe it is worth upgrading from the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card if you are lucky enough to still have it.

Have you received this offer?  Did you upgrade?  Is it worth it?  Or do you plan to hold both cards…or neither?  Let us know in the comments below!


Points With a Crew has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Points With a Crew and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Other links on this page may also pay me a commission - as always, thanks for your support if you use them
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