Although I’ve not been into IHG Rewards like I used to be due to multiple devaluations over the years, I’ve still found value in both the old IHG Rewards Club Select Card and the new IHG Premier Card. Holding both has provided two free nights per year for a total of $138 out of pocket, which isn’t a bad trade. However, there are IHG Premier Card changes coming starting March 24, 2022.
IHG Premier Card Changes
I’ve read takes on the changes, and overall, they are positive. I’m not going to belabor things with commentary on the bulk of the changes. Here are the new earning rates for the card, a vast improvement over the old ones:
- 5x points per $1 on travel purchases (up from 1x points)
- 5x points per $1 on dining, restaurant, and gas purchases (up from 2x points)
- 3x points per $1 on all other purchases (up from 1x points)
- 10x points per $1 on stays with IHG Hotels & Resorts (no change)
Other changes being made to the card include:
- The $20,000 + 1 additional purchase spend threshold will earn you 10,000 points and a $100 statement credit.
- Combine points with your free night certificate to redeem at hotels over the 40K point level.
- Receive up to $50 in United TravelBank cash each year.
- You can now earn Diamond elite status by spending $40,000 each year.
- You no longer earn elite qualifying points through spend.
- Annual fee increasing to $99.
My Favorite IHG Premier Card Change
Being able to combine points with the annual free night certificate is a huge win. Ever since IHG got rid of the uncapped certificates, it’s been a game trying to find excellent properties where you can use your certificates. IHG also switched to a pseudo-dynamic pricing model where certificates sometimes work and sometimes don’t at many properties.
Now you really don’t have to worry. Property requires more than 40,000 points? No problem, assuming you have what you need in your IHG stash.
What I Dislike the Most
The loss of earning elite qualifying points through credit card spend is the biggest downside. This is replaced by the ability to earn IHG Diamond status by spending $40,000 each year. But it’s also not. Earning elite qualifying points through spend let’s you combine those with stays to earn enough for status. Now you’re looking at an either-or choice.
I think IHG misses the mark on this one. Where you might have people willing to spend a bit to earn the final points needed for top-tier status if they are slightly short, now you’re looking at spending $40,000. There are many other, better cards for that spend. Plus, IHG status hasn’t been worth much anyway.
This isn’t totally farfetched, though. I did actually spend my way to Spire elite status in 2020. More flexibility is usually better, so this is an unfortunate loss.
There are changes coming to the other IHG cards in addition to the IHG Premier Card changes. You can also expect to see a new IHG business card launching soon. Overall, I think IHG is making a much more compelling case for their card than they ever have before, given it’s new earning rates and perks.
What do you think of the IHG Premier Card changes?
I have been a Spire Elite member for over 10 years because of the spend combined with my stays. I am disappointed that the spend is going away. That said, I have never felt that Spire Elite members get much for the status. I rarely get upgraded. I tried the ambassador route for a few years and that was not much better.
Agreed, Spire is in the running for the worst top-tier hotel status among major chains. Not enough to make it worth really trying to qualify unless through work/spend/etc. it becomes easy. Even if rarely worth it, this change is negative.
I’ve not tried the Ambassador program. One of these years where I have a few IC hotel stays lined up, I might give it a whirl.
I recently signed up for the Premier card. Do you know if the free night included in the sign up bonus will be able to use points on on top of it as well? It has the 40K cap on it.
I don’t know for sure, but assuming it is the same sort of certificate as the annual free night from the card, you should be able to use points once that feature rolls out. That’s at least what I would expect.