Why I Will Hold Onto My IHG Rewards Mastercard & Never Upgrade It
Chase made a lot of waves a little over a year ago when they changed around their IHG credit card lineup. They launched the Chase IHG Premier card and discontinued the old IHG Mastercard. During this time they also destroyed the best perk of the old IHG card, the uncapped free night. The free night is now capped at 40,000 points which was a sizable devaluation. My annual fee recently posted and I decided to keep the card even though that was my last uncapped free night. I also have decided that I will never upgrade the card to their Premier version.
Why I Am Keeping the Card
You may be thinking, but Mark you have called IHG Pointbreaks trash and you put them on your list of do not touch hotel programs, so why keep the card? The answer is simple, the value offered is still good. A 40,000 free night certificate is no where near as valuable as an uncapped free night but it still has a value of up to around $200-$250. Paying $49 for a room that will be in the $200 range sounds like a good deal to me. And since my wife has the card too we can get a weekend somewhere every year for $100 all in.
It is also nice to diversify our portfolio a bit in case IHG has the best option in an area. This gives us a life preserver when that is the case since I will not be actively accruing their points in any meaningful way.
Why I Will Never Upgrade the Card
I will keep the old IHG Mastercard as long as Chase keeps the card at the $49 annual fee price point. I will never upgrade it to the Chase IHG Premier card because that card has the same capped 40K anniversary night but it comes with an $89 annual fee. Why would I want to pay $40 more for the same thing? The fact that their upgrade offers are laughable at best is another reason I say pass.
If I was an IHG loyalist then it may make sense to take the upgrade since you get the 4th night free on award stays with the card. It also earns better rates on paid stays. It would actually be best to get the IHG Premier card and keep the old card since their perks stack. You could get 10% off all award stays (max 10K back each year) and get the 4th night free. But since I am not actively accruing IHG points it doesn’t make sense for me to pay more for the Premier card.
Even though I am not an IHG loyalist I still find value in the capped free night. As long as Chase keeps the annual fee at $49 I will keep it open. I am still getting around $150 in value for $49. That’s a win in my book. If I upgraded the card then the numbers wouldn’t look as good.