As I’ve mentioned in my yesterday’s post, starting May 1st, anniversary certificate on IHG co-branded credit card will be substantially devalued. Right now, you can use it on any IHG property as long as there is award availability. Going forward, the eligible rate will be capped at 40,000 points per night.
IHG has released the list of properties that will not be eligible for free night certificate. Inexplicably, quite a few cost 40,000 points per night. I have reached out to IHG via Twitter and the rep said he will forward my concerns to the appropriate department. Hopefully, they will fix it, so stay tuned. I certainly intend to follow up on this.
Make no mistake about it, this is a big devaluation. But is the anger in the miles and points community justified? Nope. To be clear, those who have signed up for the card less than a year ago, are entitled to at least one uncapped certificate. They applied for the card in good faith, counting on this particular perk. I encourage everyone who is in this boat to reach out to Chase as well as IHG and politely argue your case. I would. At the very least, you deserve some sort of compensation in the form of points.
Update: Chase reps on Twitter are now saying that anyone who has opened the card between 1/1/18 and 4/5/18 will receive an unrestricted certificate:
I’ve reached out to them and suggested they should also give it to those who got the card on May 1st 2017 or later. Developing…
But what about the rest of us, as in those who held the card for 2+ years? We have nothing to whine about, amigos. Sorry, but it’s true. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as bummed out as anyone else. I was hoping to check out Kimpton Zamora in St. Pete beach (costs 50,000 points). Ain’t gonna happen now. But I’ll survive somehow.
I see people reminisce about using these certificates at fancy Intercontinental properties in London, Tokyo and Bora Bora over the last few years. Sure, it was nice while it lasted. But the thing is, IHG and Chase don’t really care about us being able to pay $49 for a $500+ property. They were not offering this perk out of the goodness of their heart. They wanted to gain a profitable customer so that they can make money.
Let’s talk about IHG co-branded card in its current form (see more details here). It offers 5 points per dollar on IHG hotels (yawn, you will be better off using cards like Chase Sapphire Reserve that earns 3 UR points on travel); 2 points on gas stations, grocery stores & restaurants (double yawn); and 1 point on everything else (triple yawn). Since you can often buy IHG points outright for 0.57 cents apiece, very few savvy consumers bother with this card when it comes to their everyday spending.
So, most of us simply keep it for the anniversary night, and less valuable perks like 10% rebate on points redemption, plus Platinum status. All of this for $49 per year and Chase has virtually no consumer spending to show for it? Something doesn’t add up. Frankly, I’m surprised it took Chase this long to figure out that the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.
I’m happy I took advantage of this incredible deal while it lasted. And to be fair, many of the Florida properties where I tend to redeem the certificate cost 40k points or less, at least for now. I intend to keep the card as long as they don’t convert it to the new product (the one with $89 annual fee). If they do, I will have to think about it.
What IHG should do NOW
I really hope that IHG isn’t foolish enough to announce yet another devaluation in a near future. They should also make a few improvements to make up for this disappointing development. Namely: add meaningful/guaranteed benefits to Platinum status. Even a voucher of $10/per night toward room service or restaurant dining would be better than nothing.
In all likelihood, they would still make money and make members feel like they are getting extra value from the status. After all, Hilton gives away Gold tier with their co-branded credit cards. And let’s face it, Hilton properties are more consistent when it comes to quality.
While I’ve always said that IHG Platinum status is far from worthless, there is one major flaw. You are not guaranteed a suite upgrade and there is no way to burn extra points on it. I think giving members even one suite upgrade certificate per year in exchange for holding their credit card would be a welcome change.
Above all else, IHG should improve award availability. Unless you book far in advance, good luck finding something decent. This is my biggest pet peeve with IHG. Sure, they have an enormous footprint, but they limit award availability for their best properties. They also allow some hotels to play games without any consequences. Add to it brutal recent devaluations, incompetent customer service reps, plus frequent hacking of the accounts due to four digit pin, and there is a lot NOT to like about IHG.
The uncapped annual credit card certificate was their one saving grace, and now it’s gone.
I don’t want to keep beating a dead horse, but these type of devaluations are inevitable. Banks are not stupid, though they do appear to be a bit slow. The card in its current form was too good to be true. Everyone knew it, yet many old-timers seem to be shocked (shocked!). Once again, I’m not talking about those who signed up for the card recently.
I see many saying that they will cancel the cards in protest. I strongly recommend you take emotion out of it. Sit on it for few days or weeks, and think about your upcoming plans. If you don’t find any properties that cost 40,000 points or less to be appealing, by all means, consider canceling.
Otherwise, you should treat it as a business transaction. Paying $49 per night for this beachfront hotel in Sarasota, or this Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange lake resort is still a good deal. And there are many other examples. Don’t focus on the past, look towards the future.
If this sort of thing keeps you up at night and raises your blood pressure, perhaps it’s time to find another hobby. Just saying.
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.