The title is a play on the latest Sia’s video of the song “Cheap thrills.” Have you heard it? Man, is it catchy! Sorry, guys and gals, I’m in a musical state of mind this week.
So, back to IHG credit card. Is it worth getting? Absolutely! I loved it way before it was cool. And when I say “cool,” I mean before it was added to the affiliate network. In fact, in the last few months, I’ve repeatedly mentioned 80K non-affiliate offer available only via phone call application. It’s no longer working, but the official offer has been recently increased to 75,000 points once you spend $2,000 in 3 months and add an authorized user.
Of course, the real value is in the perks of the card. You get 10% of redeemed points back, Platinum status (far from worthless) and yearly certificate valid at any IHG property after renewing and paying $49 annual fee. It does pay me commission.
So, should you jump on this offer? Only if you were planning on applying anyway. I don’t think this deal is “da bomb,” and in all likelihood, will come back at some point in the future. By the same token, the card itself is a true gem, and to me, worth more than diamond, more than gold. That said, IHG program is definitely a wacky one, so make sure to read my post I love IHG, I hate IHG before you pull the trigger.
So, here are a few things to consider if you are thinking about applying:
1) Go to IHG.com and make a dummy reservation to see if you can get an offer of 80K points+$50 after spending $1,000 in 3 months.
It’s a targeted offer, and doesn’t come up for everyone. Definitely doesn’t hurt to check, though.
2) If you have a hard time spending $2,000 in 3 months, you can consider applying for non-affiliate offer that comes with 60K points+$50 and requires you to spend $1,000 in 3 months.
Update: the affiliate offer currently comes with 85K points’ bonus. Some have received a targeted offer of 105K points, and reportedly, Chase has been matching it. YMMV
Caution! There is some risk involved if you go this route. Chase will most likely match you to at least 75K points’ bonus, but there is no guarantee. If you don’t want to take any chances, it might be better to apply for official affiliate offer and then message Chase. Reportedly, so far, nobody was able to get matched to $50 credit in addition to points.
Of course, it does depend on how you value IHG points. If it’s less than 0.34 cents a piece, than it might be better to apply for 60K+$50 offer to begin with. Confused yet? Welcome to my world.
3) You should think long and hard whether the timing is right.
That’s because you will receive your annual renewal certificates this time each and every year. If you are looking to mostly use them during Spring Break in April, planning ahead could be problematic. Say they expire on April 15th, and your stay falls on April 12th. If for some reason you need to cancel your reservation at the last minute, you may end up losing your certificates because you’ll run out of time. Something to think about.
Personally, IMHO the best time to apply for this card is in the early fall. That way, you’ll have a large window to plan spring or summer vacations.
4) If you are concerned about 5/24 rule, I strongly recommend you get this card while you still can.
According to some data points on DoC, this rule hasn’t been yet implemented on co-branded credit cards, but it could happen any day. It may not come to be, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.
I ain’t got cash, but I got you, baby!
I absolutely love our $49 renewal certificates. Here are just a few posts on places where we were able to redeem them:
This is one of the nicest beaches in Florida. And it can be yours for only $49 per night. I love cheap thrills!
Next month, we are staying in Holiday Inn Express and Suites Seattle-City Center while using annual renewal certificates. The hotel normally runs at $175 per night (or 35,000 points) and includes breakfast. Our cost? You guessed it, $49.
We actually needed four rooms for just an overnight stay before the cruise, so we burned the certificates from four separate IHG credit card accounts. Yes, everyone in my family has this product and I recommend it to all the relatives who ask for credit card advice.
So, readers, what do you think? Yay or nay to my analysis? Don’t hold back. I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart.
P.S. Speaking of IHG, they have a new promo for summer ( stays starting on May 1st) called Share Forever. I won’t be participating, but I encourage you to register and at least see the offer.
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.