Massive IHG Credit Card Anniversary Night Devaluation

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That sound you may have just heard wasn’t the Chinese space station crashing into the Pacific Ocean, it was the other shoe dropping on the IHG credit card. I shared some rumors about coming changes to the IHG card line-up last week, but frankly, today’s announcement is even worse than what I thought would happen.

Big devaluation of the IHG credit card anniversary award night

Existing IHG cardholders have been sent communications that IHG credit card anniversary award nights issued after May 1, 2018, will be redeemable at eligible IHG hotels with a redemption value up to 40,000 points per night. The IHG award chart currently goes up to 70,000 points per night, so say goodbye to the Kimpton Seafire in Grand Cayman, the Intercontinental Times Square, and Intercontinental Bora Bora with that anniversary award night as all are way more than the new 40,000 point per night limit.

Fear not though as the Intercontinental Kansas City rings in at ‘just’ 40,000 points per night, so you should still be okay there. 

Goodbye Bora Bora, hello Kansas City

Seriously though, this is a breathtakingly bad devaluation not only in terms of the devaluation itself, but also the 30-day notice on the change of benefits for existing cardholders. Historically, major credit card benefit changes are given with up to a year’s worth of advance notice for existing cardholders, so this is a stark left turn from that standard.

The communication to existing cardholders also stated that they should be on the lookout for an ‘exciting’ opportunity to upgrade to the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, so maybe there will be something to get excited about in that arena.

I’ve reached out to IHG to ask if there is a list of hotels 40,000 points per night and under that are not ‘eligible’ for the new version of the anniversary award night and will update when I hear back. I think the $49 per year version of the IHG credit card is still probably worth it to many since most hotels that are 40,000 points per night will cost more than $49 when paid for with cash, often by at least double. However, this new version of the anniversary award night is a very far cry from when you could use it to stay at any IHG (or Kimpton) property around the globe.

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Comments

  1. IHG program is a disgrace so not surprised with this change. What to expect of a program that still uses a 4 digit PIN code on their accounts and blames the account holder when the account is hacked?

    • That’s exactly what I’ve used my anniversary night for. Fortunately, I get my anniversary night this month (before the new rules kick in on 5/1), so it’ll be able to use it one last time.

  2. Well, I have booked Westin Grand Cayman using points and Kimpton Seafire using IHG free night since I was undecided which hotel to stay. Now, the choice is easy.

  3. Major bummer, but we’ll probably still keep both of our cards. Certainly won’t put so much energy in where to use the certificates anymore.

  4. My anniversary certificate was issued in Nov. of 2017 so just to be clear I’m still eligible for the top tier 70k places one last time? Sad to see this coming to and end but it’s understandable as a $49 annual fee was great for many years.

  5. Hmm… looks like I’ll burn my points in NYC (didn’t plan on it) and cancel. Hubby and I have 180,000 points between us.

    • Very interesting – you are right it is on that list, but the list also states that it is a list of hotels over 40,000 points per night, which it is not. Very confusing.

  6. Wow, this used to be a great program. I’m afraid the “good old days” of miles and points are fading very quickly. I’ve got a reservation for the Intercontinental Times Square for May, probably now for the last time. A real shame!

  7. Sad to see it change. I’ve used the free night certificates for:
    IC Hong Kong
    IC Sydney
    IC Boston in fall foliage season where hotels in Boston are $300+
    Willard IC in Washington DC, at the peak of Cherry Blossoms where hotels are $200+

    I’m highly interested in what the Premier credit card will offer.

  8. I used it at Willard IC in Washington DC at Christmas one year–awesome decorations for Christmas…but you don’t need to stay there to see the hotel’s lobby decorations lol

    $49 for a free night is still a good deal, provided you are traveling to places that you can use the free night. But yeah, it is a bummer to not have the free night at any hotel anymore. Most of the places people would want to use the certificate is likely gone, and now its going to be more of the “well, we are going to visit the family and have to stay somewhere” kind of thing is my guess, which is a shame. Or another way to look at it is, it has gone from being used for one night at a $200-$400 (or more) per night and then getting to book second on points or effectively cutting your stay in half on a two night stay to, “hey, we basically got this Holiday Inn for half price…when it costs only $100 per night…”

    PS Don’t be taking a side swipe at KC mommypoints! KC is awesome. What’s next, criticizing Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes? I’m going to tell daddypoints!

        • They must have read my post. 🙁
          That said, IHG tells me the excluded list has errors on it that will be addressed soon. Hopefully that means those properties that are 40k and under come off.

  9. Has anyone heard if the annual fee will increase to $89? I’ve seen on other websites that the new card will have an annual fee of $89. If my annual fee increases, not sure if I’ll keep the card. In the past we have used the certs at IC Fiji, IC HKG, IC JNB, IC Bora Bora Thalasso, Crown Plaza AKL, Kimpton AMS and are using this year’s at the Hotel Indigo Paris.

    • Deborah, we don’t know yet if/for how long current IHG cardholders will be grandfathered in a the current $49 rate.

  10. Major bummer, use it to stay in NYC every year! I may just start tossing the fee cards if they are going to become relatively worthless.
    Nice heads up on KC though, love that city!

  11. I don’t know why people are “crying”. I’ve had my IHG card for 7 years of booking any hotel.( like others said: Sydney, Geneva, Rome) Just booked the Kimpton Seafire for next January which runs about $1100 per night. The Hyatt card and the Marriott cards for me have always been, Ok where do I use this limited option card? All good things eventually come to an end.

  12. For what it is worth, my wife and I also applied a week or so ago and received our cards today. The letter that came with the card states one of the benefits is an anniversary free night at any IHG hotel worldwide.

  13. My first use of the certificates was in IC La Moana Bora Bora. You said that are going to change Bora Bora for Kansas City, but reality is that there is never availability for points or cert for the Bora Bora properties. My last use for them will be IC Los Angeles next month. I know that there still good use for them for $49 but I will probably cancel our cards.

  14. BOOM! This card is GOOOOOONE! The real rub is that my wife got this card last September with the understanding that after 1 year of card membership, she will get a certificate valid ANYWHERE. It even said so on the application. This is the ONLY reason she applied with the intention to keep it into the second membership year and beyond. Does she have any recourse? I probably already know the answer. I’m pissed and I’m really considering blasting my other Chase cards in protest.

  15. They should have grandfathered the folks who signed up within the last year under the old plan. We signed up as they advertised – not to be downgraded before we got our anniversary night. Too bad this is on top of them changing their Points Breaks program.

  16. I sent a secure message to Chase lodging my complaint and received a stock copy/paste answer. However, I still think every one affected should send a message with the hopes that a collective voice might persuade them to reconsider or to be more thoughtful with any future changes.

  17. After a month of reading so many other consultant bloggers-for-hire in this space making excuses for IHG’s recent awful changes (loyaltylobby on down), it’s refreshing to come across your candid, nicely written critical take on the bad news…. This site just moved way up on my go to reading. 🙂

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