IHG and Chase unleashed a bunch of major changes to their co-branded credit card portfolio on Thursday — including the addition of an IHG business credit card! Plus, all three cards boast special welcome bonus promotions.
Here’s a recap of what happened.
IHG’s Loyalty Program Changed Names. Kind of.
IHG is refreshing its loyalty program in the coming weeks. With it comes a name change.
The program is now known simply as “IHG One Rewards.” No more “Club” tacked on to the end.
“Rewards Club” was included in the name of the program’s two consumer credit cards: the Premier and the Traveler. So, those products received name refreshes, new artwork, and a host of other changes.
IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card
Say hello to the updated IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card.
The welcome promotion offers 140,000 bonus IHG Rewards points for new cardholders who spend $3,000 on purchases within three (3) months of being approved for the card. This isn’t the card’s biggest welcome promotion. That was 150,000 bonus points. The previous offer was 125,000 bonus points and a free night certificate (which is potentially worth more than the 150,000 bonus points).
So, I’m a little underwhelmed by this welcome offer.
But given that IHG Rewards’ upcoming revamp seems like it will be an upgrade (hopefully) from where the program is now, those 140,000 bonus points may be worth more than in the past. We’ll see.
Let’s rip off the bandage right away: the card’s $89 annual fee increases to $99. But, really, it’s just ten bucks. Annoying? Sure. But that’s not as steep of a jump as some others we’ve seen lately. (Like someone whose name starts with an “A” and ends with “merican Express.”)
But here’s good news: the card added spending bonus categories — and hiked some earnings.
- First, cardholders can earn up to 26 points per dollar charged to the card during stays at IHG properties. (This is an increase from 25X. Hey, it’s better than no change.)
- Next, there’s a new bonus category: travel purchases. Those earn 5X per dollar. (That doesn’t stack with the 26X on IHG stays.)
- Gas station and restaurant purchases are now 5X. They were 2X. So, that’s quite a positive change!
- All other purchases earn 3X. That’s up from 1X!
Remaining in place are several staples:
- Annual Anniversary Night: Starting the second year of card membership, you earn a certificate redeemable toward a complimentary night at any IHG property valued at 40,000 points or fewer.
- IHG Rewards Platinum Elite Status: Cardholders automatically receive complimentary Platinum Elite status in the IHG Rewards program. Benefits include:
- Room upgrades (when available)
- Priority check-in
- Complimentary internet
- Welcome amenity (usually a drink in the bar or bonus points)
- $30 In-room spa credit (when available)
- Fourth Night Free: Redeem points for stays of three consecutive nights and you can tack on a fourth night for free. This is a fantastic perk of the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card. Using it once or twice a year easily offsets the annual fee.
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® Application Fee Credit: Charge someone’s application fee to the card once every four years and it’ll be credited back to your statement.
IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card
Here’s the refreshed, no-annual-fee IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card.
This card offers a very decent welcome promotion: earn 120,000 bonus IHG Rewards points for new cardholders who spend $2,000 on purchases within three (3) months of being approved for the card. That’s a decent chunk of points for not a lot of spending. Especially on a no-annual-fee card.
Plus, the card also features the same Fourth Night Free feature as the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card.
Here’s where things get interesting. The IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card now boasts several 3X categories:
- Internet, cable, and phone services
- Select streaming services
- Gas stations
- Restaurants (including delivery services)
3X IHG Rewards points probably aren’t worth as much as, say, 2X American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One points, or Citi ThankYou points when those “currencies” are redeemed for travel. But the “utilities” addition could be especially useful if you don’t have a 2X card.
Cardholders can earn up to 17 points per dollar charged to the card during stays at IHG properties. This is an increase from 15X.
There are no free status or annual anniversary night perks. But remember the IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card doesn’t charge an annual fee.
Drum Roll, Please: The New IHG Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
The newest member of the IHG and Chase co-branded family is the IHG Rewards Premier Business Credit Card. I believe IHG had a business card some time ago. So, I guess this is sort of a relaunch? (Maybe it’s still around in a legacy version not available to new applicants. Can someone drop a note in the Comments section?)
For the most part, it’s a business version of the personal/consumer Premier credit card.
But it adds more bonus spending categories.
Just like its personal/consumer card counterpart, the IHG Rewards Premier Business Credit Card earns 5X on travel, gas stations, and restaurant purchases. Here’s where it differs: the card also fetches 5X on social media and search engine advertising purchases as well as spending at office supply stores.
Other than that, it’s pretty much the same thing as the personal/consumer version. It offers:
- $99 annual fee
- Annual Anniversary Night: Earn a certificate redeemable toward a complimentary night at any IHG property valued at 40,000 points or fewer. (Starts the second year of card membership.)
- IHG Rewards Platinum Elite Status
- Fourth Night Free
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® Application Fee Credit
The IHG Rewards Premier Business Credit Card awards 140,000 bonus points to new cardholders who spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three (3) months of card membership. Technically, I guess this is the card’s best ever welcome bonus! (And worst, if we’re playing the cutesy, snarky game.)
I plan to apply for this card. The bonus points and annual anniversary night will come in handy. I know I can meet the welcome promotion’s minimum spending requirement (especially since I knocked out the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card‘s early spend bonus requirement!).
Plus, my crush on IHG is well-documented. 🙂 I’ll try out the card for a couple of years and see how it fits into my business and travel patterns.
Side note: I appreciate that the IHG Rewards Premier Business Credit Card awards restaurant purchases. Sure, plenty of consumer/personal cards feature that bonus category. But not many business credit cards offer bonuses for restaurant spending. For people like me who generally treat clients to drinks, lunches, and dinners, this is a welcome addition. Sure, you can charge restaurant bills to a personal card and pay the statement from a business account. (Disclaimer: I’m not a tax professional or financial expert.) But putting business charges on business credit cards generally makes accounting cleaner and easier. (At least, it does for me.)
Two IHG Rewards credit cards received new names, artwork, features, and welcome bonuses. In one case, the annual fee went up ten bucks. But I think the changes are promising — especially with the bonus category improvements and the IHG Rewards refresh coming soon.
Plus, there’s now (again?) an IHG business credit card.
What do you think of the changes and additions? Please share your thoughts in the below Comments section!
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