Doctor of Credit (H/T) has reported last night that Chase is offering a transfer bonus to IHG! This is only the second ever transfer bonus from Chase. The first one was in April 2019 to British Airways.
Traditionally, transfer bonuses are a highlight of American Express Membership Rewards (MR) and Citi Thank You (TY) point-earning cards. But Chase has decided to test the transfer bonus waters again in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chase is offering a 60% bonus on Ultimate Rewards (UR) points transfers to IHG! This bonus is temporary as it ends on August 31, 2020.
Furthermore, a 60% bonus on IHG transfers is very useful for budget hotel stays and last-minute summer road trips. IHG also has some luxury hotels that require more UR points per night than a lower-end hotel. But the transfer could help you stay one more night at a luxury hotel on just points.
The Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, and Ink Preferred are the only UR-earning cards that let you directly transfer points to Chase’s partners. If you have another UR-earning card, you also need one of the above cards to take advantage of this bonus.
Chase’s IHG transfer bonus is likely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bank of Morgan probably got some reports that Sapphire and Ink Preferred cardholders are not transferring as many points to transfer partners as normal. In other words, more people are holding onto their points or redeeming them for groceries, gas, dining, or even cash.
Moreover, Chase offering a transfer bonus has only happened once before. Therefore, this bonus is a rarity unless Chase begins to offer more of them to boost travel redemptions.
On the other hand, Doctor of Credit believes that this bonus was IHG’s idea. IHG is suffering as much as the rest of the travel industry. And they wanted to raise funds in different ways to encourage more people to stay at their hotels.
However, this bonus is not worth getting too excited over despite its rarity. IHG’s points are still not worth more than 1 cent apiece (CPP) even with the bonus. In other words, you are better off transferring to another partner or even redeeming points for cash. You should always look at the value of your points before blindly transferring them over. This is because you cannot undo the transfer once it has been done.
Chase offering a transfer bonus to IHG is something that I would never think I would write about. But strange events are happening in response to the pandemic. This is no exception.
However, this transfer bonus is not something to get excited about despite its rarity. IHG’s points are still worth less than 1 CPP even with the bonus.
Nonetheless, it is nice to see Chase reenter the world of transfer bonuses. I hope to see more bonuses like this one for different partners such as Hyatt and Southwest Airlines.