Right now, Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) is offering 80,000 points for signing up for their branded Mastercard from Chase. Here are the details:
|80,000 Bonus Points||Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. This bonus offer is available to you as long as you have not received a new cardmember bonus for this product in the past 24 months.|
|Free Night||Annual free night|
|Earn 5X Points||Earn 5 points per $1 spent at IHG Hotels|
|Earn 2X Points||Earn 2 points per $1 on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores & restaurants|
|Earn 1X Points||Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases|
|10% Rebate||Automatic 10% point rebate whenever you redeem points|
|Platinum Elite Status||Status as long as you’re a Select cardmember|
|No Foreign Transaction Fees||No foreign transaction fees when you use your card for purchases abroad|
|Free for first year||$0 Introductory annual fee for the first year, then $49|
IHG is comprised of the following brands:
- Intercontinental Hotels – The luxury flagship brand
- Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts – The most recognizable mid-level full service hotel brand worldwide
- Holiday Inn Express – A mid to low-scale limited service brand
- Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts – A mid to upper-scale full service brand
- Hotel Indigo – Boutique brand
- Staybridge Suites – Extended stay executive brand
- Candlewood Suites – Budget extended stay brand
- EVEN Hotels – A new, lifestyle brand
- Hualuxe – Chinese brand designed exclusively for business travels in China
Value of IHG Rewards Club Points
IHG Rewards Club points are worth .7 cents per point if you purchase them. Since this credit card gives a rebate of 10% on redeemed points, you actually end up with 88,000 points .That makes this offer worth $616 at face value. What a fantastic deal considering the card is FREE for the first year. Even better, the value of these points increases substantially depending on where you book and when.
How We’ve Redeemed Points Over the Years
During New Year’s Day in 2011, we redeemed 90,000 points at The Intercontinental Hong Kong, IHG’s flagship hotel for Asia. During that time, rates were in excess of $500 per night after tax for a standard room. Since points could only be redeemed on standard rooms, we paid the $100 difference to have a view of Hong Kong’s famous harbor. Redeeming points for this stay got us an exceptional value of 1.1 cents per point.
Last year, we redeemed 25,000 points for a night at the Crowne Plaza in Lima, Peru. Standard rates begin at around $300 after taxes. However, since I booked ahead, we were able to book a $400 suite for the same number of points as a standard room. This hotel really wowed us with their service, which included champagne at check in and complimentary Pisco Sours (Peru’s signature cocktail). Redeeming points on this stay gave us a value of 1.6 points per point.
Earlier this year, in January, we decided to head to the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Our experience booking rooms was similar to our experience with the Crowne Plaza Lima in that we were able to book right into a $410 oceanview suite for 35,000 points – the same number of points as standard $270 room without a view. Since this hotel is all-inclusive, we literally did not pay a cent for our entire 4 day stay in Jamaica aside from our taxi fare to and from the airport. Our Platinum Elite status got us a private check-in, guaranteed reservations at all of the on-site restaurants, and an invitation to a VIP dinner that included steak, lobster, and lamb.
Just a few weeks ago, we returned from a stay at the Holiday Inn Resort Aruba. Paid rates for a standard room were around $290 after taxes or 25,000 points. Since Joy and I both have the card and we attempt to keep our balances even, I paid 75,000 points for the first 3 nights and Joy paid 25,000 points for the last night. This hotel only allows redemptions on standard rooms but with our Platinum Elite status that we get from the credit card, we were able to secure a high floor ocean view room. Our Platinum status also gave us 15% off of food and drinks, as well as the privilege of having one of the best beachfront cabanas automatically reserved for us for our entire stay instead of having to waiting in line with the masses to reserve one for the next day ever day. What a deal!
Annual Free Night
The annual free night is earned as soon as your card anniversary passes. Although a $49 fee kicks in the day after your card anniversary, I suppose you could cancel the card as soon as the e-certificate is posted to your IHG Rewards account and not have to pay the $49 fee. However, it’s absolutely worth it to keep paying the $49 fee year after year because you can use this free night at ANY IHG hotel in the world. When I mean ANY hotel, I mean places like the Intercontinental Park Lane in London and Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa, French Polynesia where rates run at over $600 and $700 per night respectively. These free nights aren’t always available if the hotel is at a certain occupancy level, but I have never had a problem locking down my free night by planning a few months in advance.
In terms of value, neither Joy or I have ever redeemed our free night certificate at a hotel that costs less $290 after taxes. We’ve redeemed our free nights at Intercontinental Singapore ($330 value), Crowne Plaza Singapore Changi Airport ($290 value), Intercontinental Montreal ($300 value), Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort Jamaica ($410 value), and the Z Ocean Hotel South Beach, Miami ($500+ value).
I got my card back in 2010 because it was one of the first credit cards issued in the US that did not charge foreign transaction fees. Since we lived in Japan at the time, I swiped that card EVERYWHERE around town until I got my Chase Sapphire Preferred card in 2012. Since many credit card companies charge 2-3% in fees for charges accrued abroad, this card offers substantial savings in foreign transaction fees.
This card also offers 2X points on gas and groceries. Although I have other cards that exceed this value, 2X points on gas and groceries is a very nice benefit, especially if you don’t like having more than a couple credit cards.
This credit card is worth every penny of the annual fee for the free night alone. The 80,000 point sign up bonus is the best I’ve ever seen and it’s not a stretch to get at least $700-800 of value out of these points. If you combine your annual free night with a booking on points, you could easily have a $1000-1500 stay for free depending on the location that you choose. Don’t miss out on this offer!
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Note: We do not receive any money or bonuses for advertising credit cards. We share our experiences exclusively for the benefit of helping others realize that their dream vacation is within closer reach than they believe.