I see most blogs in this industry recommending signing up for Amex SPG right now. It comes with 25000 SPG points after spending $5000 in 6 months. I would have to disagree. If you are going to get one, it really would be best to wait till summer. American Express will almost certainly increase the sign-up bonus to 30000 points. That’s 5000 points of the most valuable currency in the hobby that you would be missing out on.
In fact, if you are going to sign up for just one hotel card right now, I would make it Chase IHG Visa that comes with 80000 points after spending $1000 in 3 months.
I would argue that the sign-up bonus on IHG card currently beats the one on SPG Amex, something many bloggers would disagree with. That’s because most value 1 Starpoint at 2 cents and 1 IHG point at 0.5 cents. By that metric, SPG bonus would be worth $500 dollars and IHG bonus $400. If you have been reading my blog for some time, you probably know that I value SPG points much lower, at around 1.3 cents, mostly due to their miles transfer option. Your value may be higher, and that is perfectly fine.
In my opinion, even if you value Starpoint at 2 cents each, there are compelling reasons to consider going with IHG Visa at this time. I already mentioned the first one: the SPG bonus will most likely be increased in the summer. The second one: 80000 IHG bonus points is unofficial and could revert to the standard offer of 60000 points at any time.
The third reason: Point Breaks program. We have redeemed 2 nights at Crowne Plaza Oceanfront resort in Florida for only 5000 points per night per room. I also treated my family members to a stay there, since it was such a good deal. The hotel was on their list of Point Breaks hotels and was a spectacular redemption. Of course, it doesn’t always work out this way. But as long as they have that program, it’s very attractive for a family with semi-flexible plans. Even if you don’t have a lot of vacation days, you can always go for just a weekend like we did.
Also, I found quite a few decent hotels in Florida for only 10000-15000 points per night, like this one in Fort Myers close to Sanibel island, or this one in Orlando. No, they are not Westin or St. Regis, but they do provide a safe place to sleep at night. If you go to Disney, you most likely won’t be spending a lot of time in your hotel anyway. IHG beachfront hotels are rather expensive, and not a good value at 35000 points per night.
The best thing about Chase IHG Visa is the fact that it comes with a complimentary night each year for only a 49 dollar renewal fee. My husband and I each have this card, and I made my father and mother-in-law get one as well. That way, we can have a 2-day stay at the beach for 196 dollars total for both rooms. Looking at their redemption chart and the fact that they currently have PointBreaks program, I easily value each point at 0.5 cents, so the bonus is worth 400 dollars.
It’s true that the Point Breaks program could be discontinued, and IHG is due for devaluation with all the points the are giving out lately. Still, in my opinion IHG Visa is a far superior offer to Amex SPG for most regular families. Even in summertime!
P.S. New members can sign up for Southwest Rapid Rewards account and get up to 2500 points via this link
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.
I have been thinking about getting an IGH card but wasn’t sure if it was worth it. I’ll be looking more into it.
Amy, I highly recommend it. You can read more about it in my post here https://milesforfamily.com/2013/11/14/best-hotel-points-sign-up-bonuses-for-family/