I broke down and got the Chase IHG Rewards Club credit card

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Yes, I fell in a moment of weakness.

Chase has been targeting me relentlessly for months about opening up a dang IHG credit card with them.

With regularity, I get these emails:

Chase IHG targeted email

Chase IHG targeted email

They interested me for a number of reasons:

  • I have no status with IHG
  • I don’t have any paid stays within the past 2 years
  • My only stays have been reward stays
  • I only had 550 “orphan points” that have been sitting there forever
  • I already have 5 open credit cards with Chase – why are they trying to push a 6th one so hard?
The emails from Chase

The emails from Chase

I got this email in September, October, November, December, and January. I probably would’ve gotten one in February too – six months in a row – had I not pulled the trigger.

Why I got the IHG credit card

For one, I wanted to see if Chase would actually give it to me.

I currently have 5 active credit cards with Chase (Sapphire Preferred, Freedom, Ink Plus, British Airways, and Hyatt) and wanted to see if they’d let me have 6.

I’ve heard reports that 5 is the max Chase is willing to give – unless they really like your profile/credit history for whatever reason. It seems they like me.

The highest public bonus on this card right now is 70,000 points.

So this offer beats that by 10,000 points, and who knows when a public 80K bonus will return.

I really want to have a huge chain to rely on when Hyatt and Club Carlson aren’t around or available.

I have a trip to Ireland coming up in May and am still padding out the hotel situation. 80,000 points could come in handy for a free stay at a new chain – although Club Carlson properties are plentiful in Ireland (I counted Radisson properties in Dublin, Cork, and Limerick at a glance).

IHG has always been a mystery to me.

Drew from Travel is Free seems to loooove IHG. I really like Drew and trust his opinions about matters like this, so thought I’d go ahead and jump in with both feet.

I will also get top-tier Platinum status with IHG just for having the card.

I’m curious to see how this plays out in actuality – as of right now, it is only a vague concept.

The annual free night.

Pay $49 and get a free night at any IHG property?

Use your free night at ANY IHG hotel, like the InterContinental San Juan

Use your free night at ANY IHG hotel, like the InterContinental San Juan

Some of them are $500-$600+ per night. I’ve analyzed what the US Bank Club Carlson Visa Signature’s annual bonus is worth, and really liked that value proposition, and this one seems right on par with it. For that price, it’s a card worth holding on to forever… and the first year is free.

I also registered for IHG’s new Set Your Sights promo and though I got a crappy offer (IMO – more on that later), I kinda wanna play their game to see how it shakes out. If I get 50,000 more points + all the bonus points for using the Chase IHG card and being Platinum + stacking other promos, I could come out with a nice haul – and that would be plenty to start exploring the program in-depth.

According to the marketing materials, I also get these benefits from having the card (the 10% rebate and no forex fees are nice):

Earn on Everyday Purchases:
•  5X points per $1 spent when you stay at any hotel in the IHG® family of brands
•  2X points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
•  1X point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Enjoy More Benefits:
•  Free Night every year at any of the more than 4,700 hotels worldwide in the IHG® family of brands
•  Platinum Elite status status as long as you’re a Select cardmember
•  10% points rebateearn points for using points, up to 100,000 points back each year
•  No foreign transaction fees
•  $0 introductory annual fee the first year—$49 thereafter

Data points

For what it’s worth, it establishes that Chase is willing to let some people have 6 active credit cards with them.

The application process was curious to me for a few reasons. 

I thought I would be auto-rejected, or at the least, see an “application pending” message. But no. Instant approval.

Approval from Chase

Approval from Chase

Not only that, but they gave me my highest credit limit yet – higher than the Ink Plus or Sapphire Preferred, even, and with the lowest available APR (still a dismal 15.99). For a 6th card, I was expecting a lower limit and/or a worse APR.

Shortly after, I got an email saying the card was on its way, and the next day, the card appeared in my Chase online banking profile.

Between the auto-approval, high credit limit, and the fact that it was my 6th (and the “low” APR), I was puzzled – in a good way. I like you too, Chase!

Bottom line

Excited to explore IHG a little more now that I have the Chase IHG card. I sorta wish I’d combined this app with two or three others to have a proper app-o-rama, but I left well enough alone. I will, however, be on the prowl for Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa promos. If they do another 40K offer with that, I will snatch it right up.

This is awesome because it gives me a whole new chain to explore – one of the biggest in the world, in fact. I look forward to staying at a few more IHG properties in the future, and now I’m thinking of how to get into the Set Your Sights promo…

The points world is certainly an interesting one, and variety is the spice of life, right? (As I get ready to go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.)

Does anyone else use IHG as their go-to program?

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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  1. Welcome to IHG, we love it 😀

    I got the IHG 80K bonus about a year ago, but we only use the points from the bonus at point breaks hotels, so 5K each night. We’ve so far stayed 16 free nights from that 80K, and counting. (10% back from each reservation + we’ve earned other points along the day), we still have 25K left.

    Each hotel retail cost when we stayed was at least $100, so that’s $1600 in free hotel stays from just the bonus. (That is of course probably a rather high estimate). A tad more value than most other bonuses regardless though!

    Most of the hotels have been around the East Coast, but also Costa Rica for a few nights. We’ve never used it at an InterContinental, it’s best for smaller local Holiday Inns and Holiday Inn Expresses, although InterContinentals do often show up on Point Breaks. Our international travel is not always based around it, more domestic.,

    Highly recommend IHG!

  2. I’m not a huge IHG fan, but I also finally applied for this card on an impulse. (Though only for the 70,000 public offer as I was not targeted for the 80,000 one.) I love Kimpton hotels and am hoping that with the recent acquisition, it’ll be more integrated into the IHG program, so that we’ll be able to earn IHG points for Kimpton stays… and he’s hoping that the credit card annual free night will eventually be able to be used at Kimptons as well!

  3. I love the IHG rewards points – however, I think the credit card stinks! Not friendly, answer is always no. and the APR is higher than any of my other cards. Only keep it for the points, can’t wait to pay it off!

  4. I am so In love with IHG. I work in a hotel that uses the program solely and the platinum status is certainly NOT worthless. You get comp Early check-in, Comp’d Late Check-out, Comp Upgrades for your room, Free wifi, and alot of other amenities its kinda like you’re just their priority. Of course this is always based upon availability but the hotel tries when you’re a platinum member. You just have to really know how to take advantage of the membership. For example… so they give you 70,000 points… in some places a free night is 20,000 points (im going to aruba and thats how much a ALL INCLUSIVE HOLIDAY INN is over there) some places its 60,000 like vegas Venetian, and Palazzo and Bora Bora. (your platinum membership gets you the little houses on the water) and this is just points not including the free night you get. Also on IHG.com you can use your points to buy things i literally went Christmas shopping with points alone. I bought myself a laptop, piano and i am currently waiting on a bike. Lol. Also On IHG.com they have something called the points breaks list where you can stay in select hotels for only 5,000 points a night. and these places include fiji, paris italy… like i just can’t. I can’t talk good enough about this membership. Don’t sleep on it guys!

    • Are you talking about the “Holiday Inn Resort Aruba-Beach Resort & Casino”? If so, I am a little confused looking at your web site that it is all inclusive. I see an option while attempting a booking for “Book Early & Save with Breakfast” that only include breakfast but a guest named janexyz posted on 4/7/2016 that it was all inclusive. Maybe that guest booked before they changed or IHG’s website is hosed up. Not sure…

    • I think something fishy is going on with the Aruba property. The website “http://www.holidayarubaresort.com/packages.htm” shows the property as an all inclusive and a review of this property on ihg.com by janexyz dated 4/7/2106 states “Our all inclusive stay was a great value and a great time” but when you try to book a room you can only add breakfast for cash upgrade to “Best Flexible with Breakfast”.

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