Chase’s IHG credit card is probably my favorite card to have, but not to use. Most cards are good for some people, but not for others. The IHG card, in my opinion, is a good option for pretty much everyone. For a low annual fee ($49), the card offers a free night certificate each year that you renew. The free night certificate is good for a free night at any IHG property including Intercontinental Hotels, some of which are crazy expensive. So, for those who jet around the world, the card is clearly a great deal since it provides the opportunity to stay at fantastic properties for free. However, even those who stay closer to home will likely find a use for the free night. Planning a road trip? Surely there’s an IHG property (Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, etc.) along the way.
But wait, there’s more (Note: I do not earn a commission from this card, so I feel free to have some fun sounding like a snake oil infomercial salesman). The card also offers:
An automatic 10% rebate on award stays (e.g. use 50,000 points for a stay and get 5,000 points back)
Platinum elite status
No foreign transaction fees
The primary downside of the card is that the points earned from spend aren’t worth a lot. Many other cards offer much more value for your spend (see, for example, Best Rewards for Everyday Spend. So, keep the card for its perks, but don’t use it for spend (or, use it only at IHG properties, where it earns 5X).
The best IHG signup offer
My usual recommendation for finding the best credit card offers is to check my Best Offers page (found under the Credit Cards menu on this site). That’s what I do when I’m preparing to sign up for new cards. In this case, though, that page will likely lead you back to this one. So, here’s how…
Log into your account and almost book a stay
This has become a common approach for finding the best offers for airline and hotel cards. In this case, simply go to IHG.com, log into your IHG account, then search for and almost book a hotel:
Search any city and time period
Pick a hotel and click “Check Rates”
View rates and click “Book this Room”
On the next page, scroll down to see if a good signup offer has appeared
Elite status offer
I currently have Platinum elite status with IHG, and when I follow the above steps I get an offer for 80,000 points after $1K spend plus a $50 statement credit:
When I log in as someone without status, though, the best I can find is an offer for 60,000 points after $1K spend plus a $50 statement credit:
Thanks to the $50 statement credit, this is better than the best available public offer (at the time of writing), but clearly not as good as the 80K offer.
Getting the 80K offer without elite status
UPDATE: The approach shown below probably won’t work. As pointed out by Neena, in the comments below, the website has the elite members’ number fixed in the application and there doesn’t appear to be a way to change that.
The powers that be over at IHG / Chase seem to have figured out how to make sure that the 80K link shown above isn’t shared. When I paste the link (or the resulting landing page link) into another browser, the offer reverts back to 60K or it simply doesn’t work at all.
Here’s an alternative approach that may work (NOTE: See update above. This probably WON’T work):
Find a friend or relative with IHG elite status and ask them to log into their account. Then, follow the steps above. When the 80K offer appears, click through and apply as yourself. The 80K offer should be honored. In the unlikely case that it is not honored, 60K really isn’t bad for such a great card.
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