Negative Changes To Chase IHG Free Night Certificate – Limited To Properties Under 40,000 Points

Chase has sent out a letter to IHG Rewards Club Select credit cardholders informing them that on May 1st, 2018 the anniversary free night benefit is being devalued. Currently the free night certificate can be used on any IHG property worldwide, certificates issued after May 1st, 2018 will only be able to be used on properties that cost up to and including 40,000 points per night.

This is a significant negative devaluation as this benefit previously could be used on properties that cost 70,000 points per night. I suspect the majority of the best places to use your free night certificate will no longer be eligible after this change.  The Chase IHG card comes with a $49 annual fee and making the decision to keep the card has always been easy due to this benefit, this change will make that decision significantly harder for cardholders. It’ll be interesting if the same restriction is in place on the IHG Premier card when it launches or not (update: As reader Richard points out it likely will have the same restriction as the website detailing this change has the Premier card pictured).

Hat tip to reader Alex

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Gene
Gene

@William Charles
has anyone had a problem using the cert for someone else?
adding the cert owner’s name to the reservation should work, but in my case 2 people would need to check in before the cert owner.
thanks for any DPs

Giovanni
Giovanni

I listen to people whine about “How Chase is going to lose customers” “I’m cancelling the card” The truth is, myself include NEVER used the card beyond the initial spend and free night benefit. Even on the free night stay, I use a different CC for better spend on room service. The card was useless to MS.
So all Chase did was get rid of the deadbeats and “Cull the herd.” I am not big on free night benefits as I would rather receiver 40k in points.
Remember this isn’t France so you’ll get no cheese with that whine..

Gene
Gene

so you’d have book (not necessarily stay in the hotel) before May 1, 2018 in order to use the free cert on a property that costs more than 40k? thanks William Charles

Navy Diver
Navy Diver

Chase sucks and so does IHG with their routine devaluation of points. Cashback has become the only way to go to maintain reward value. This card is now worth about 50-150/year but a bit of a hassle to find a hotel to redeem for value since many hotels cost more than 40,000 points… Case in point one of the hotels we stay at has gone from 15,000 to 25,000 to 35,000 to 40,000 to now 50,000 points over the last few years. No better than IHG and worst than others.

VL
VL

A question to some of you who have or will cancel. T&C states that the “free night” is added to your Rewards IHG account on anniversary date, but the AF is usually reversible if the card is cancelled within 30 days of the date when the billing cycle has closed (so 30-60 days after that). Is it possible to “double dip” (not actually the double, but using this term for the lack of better one) and get the free cert, and still close the card and avoid paying the AF?

For the record – I would not consider such tactics under normal circumstances, but in this case if they change the rules a week after I signed up for the card, I would not feel too bad about taking advantage of their rules either.

Good luck.

Rob
Rob

It will be interesting to see what they do with those who just signed up for the card. I got my new card in the mail yesterday and it clearly states one of the benefits is “An anniversary free night at any IHG hotel worldwide.” If this applies to me beginning on May 1, 2018, that looks to me like changing terms of the card within 12 months of sign up if my first certificate isn’t for any IHG hotel.

VL
VL

+1 – exactly my thoughts… I am in exactly the same boat as you, but I am sure if they did it to the people who signed up 6 months ago, they can do that for people who just signed up. Did not research the T&C, but I am sure Chase has law team who checked that out…

That would be some sort of “black humor” to receive “ANY hotel worldwide” and “just up to 40K” letters 2 days apart 🙂

Matt Katakis
Matt Katakis

I’m really unhappy about the change like many others, but am also feeling a little lucky that my renewal date is actually April 14, which means that I will still receive one more certificate (my SO too). Definitely want to make these last ones count.

I’m thinking that the signup bonus on this card is going to have to increase or otherwise the applications are going to decrease quickly. If you can get a 70-80K bonus for each signup (maybe even 100K) every 24 months, that’s not so bad. Assuming this card doesn’t move into the restricted 5/24 column.

JoNellie
JoNellie

Using it for exactly 40k each year will be difficult although the goal. I do encounter plenty of 20k to 10k holiday inn expresses driving from midwest (chicago) to east cost (Boston, DC, Charlotte) that normally are at least $100/night (plus tax). So although I am disappointed, I clearly will continue to come out ahead of $49. Sad to miss a free Kimpton night every year though – that option just opened up! At least the 10% back in reward use is preserved. After an easy accelerate, I have 200k points, so ~22k points could have evaporated…..

rochelle
rochelle

I’d be better if they just gave us 40k points yearly

Ric
Ric

My letter arrived yesterday as well, one interesting thing is that my letter has an extra section at the bottom that says

“COMING SOON! Be on the lookout for an exciting offer to upgrade to our new IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card”

Did anyone else have this on their letter?

Carl P
Carl P

Mine had the same language.