Chase, Intercontinental IHG

Conundrum: IHG card now or IHG card later?

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The Chase 5/24 rule can sometimes really make card application sequencing tough.

I’ve always planned to get the IHG card for one reason: It comes with a free night you can use at any property in the world – including Intercontinental and, now, Kimpton, all for a low annual fee of $49.

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But the card is NOT subject to 5/24 and therefore I’d been slowly getting a few other business cards and Chase cards in a delicate order so as to not go over 5/24 before the new Chase Marriott/SPG cards come out. There is expected to be both a new small business card and also a super-premium consumer card. I want both and if I hit 5/24, I may not be able to get either. The current Marriott Business card isn’t subject to 5/24, yet the consumer one is and so we don’t know how that will go. I care about getting and holding those cards long term.

Now, Spencer of Straight to the Points reports that there is a new Chase IHG card on the way (two, actually) that seem to be replacing the existing one, though the existing one remains available.

Spencer reports that there will be two cards, a $29 version (details are unclear on this card) and an $89 version called the Premier that seems to replace the existing card with the following features:

  • Sign-up bonus: 80,000 IHG Rewards points
  • 10,000 bonus points after you spend $20,000 and make one additional purchase each cardmember year
  • Annual free night certificate at eligible hotels
  • 10X points per dollar at IHG
  • 2X points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
  • 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
  • 5,000 bonus points if you add an authorized user within 3 months of opening the card
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $89 annual fee

Now, much of this matches the current card, but with a couple of very key changes…

The 10% rebate on points stays appears to be replaced by a 4th night free when using points benefit. I really like this, but if you do a lot of 1/2 night stays, this is worse. The annual fee (now $49, waived the first year), would be $89.

But the BIG one is the annual free night certificate at “eligible hotels” – nobody knows what that means but everyone is speculating that it portends exclusions. It could exclude anything over a certain category level or even outright exclude high-end brands like InterContinental or Kimpton.

For me, where miles and points are purely a path to high-end luxury with little to no out of pocket cost, that exclusion could make or break the card’s value to me.

But then again, while Chase tends to grandfather existing card benefits, it’s also possible that Chase would convert existing cardmembers over to one of the new cards and/or change that benefit to align with the new one.

So the conundrum is: get the current card and use up 1 of 2 remaining 5/24 slots?  Or roll the dice and wait, possibly watching everyone else enjoy that free night anywhere and having total FOMO?

UPDATE 3/28/18: a member of the MilesTalk Facebook group. reports he was able to call and get matched to the 80,000 signup offer on the current card version.

I ask you… what would you do?  Let me know here, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

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