[Update: The current offer for the Chase IHG Rewards Club Select MasterCard is 75,000 IHG points. It’s one of my favorite hotel credit cards and and you can apply for it here. To find other top deals check out the top credit card offers.]
Chase recently switched its IHG Rewards Club Visa to its new product, the IHG Rewards Club Select MasterCard. The exciting news is that the MasterCard version of the card still has an 75,000 bonus point sign-up offer.
Apart from that, most of the card benefits stayed the same, except for the few small differences between a Visa and MasterCard credit card–mostly purchase protection and insurance benefits.
I’ve written about getting 80,000 points from the IHG Rewards Club Visa in the past and it’s still one of my favorite hotel credit cards with its annual free night certificate. In fact, my free night just posted to my account last week and I’m looking forward to using it at the InterContinental Hong Kong or InterContinental Koh Samui.
One of the biggest perks of this card is that every year, you pay the $49 annual fee and you get a free night certificate that can be used at any IHG hotel. This basically means you spend $49 for a hotel stay that costs up to $800–not a bad deal!
Chase IHG Rewards Club Select MasterCard Review
75,000 IHG Points Sign-up Bonus
You’ll get 75,000 points after spending $2,000 in 3 months on the IHG Rewards Club MasterCard. Along with a great sign-up bonus the card comes with some amazing perks including a free night every year–making the card worth keeping after the first year.
Application Link: Chase IHG Rewards Club Select MasterCard
The value of the 75,000 point sign-up bonus is easily worth a minimum of $450 in free hotel stays since you can buy IHG points for 0.6 cents each using the Cash & Points loophole. With that said, you can it’s possible to get ~$2,000 worth of free hotel stays from 75,000 IHG points.
Award nights at IHG hotels range from 10,000 points up to 50,000 per night. You can get a night at top tier IHG hotels from 30,000 to 50,000 points, so the bonus can get you 1 to 2 free nights at InterContinental hotels.
Lower tier hotels such as the Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express start at 10,000 and go up to 25,000 per night. If you use the points during IHG’s PointBreaks promotion you can get 16 free nights at an IHG hotel.
I used 45,000 points for a 3 night stay at the Holiday Inn Sisli in Istanbul that normally runs $350 per night and on top of that I was upgraded to a suite. As a program, IHG has some of the most valuable redemptions across all hotel categories.
Annual Free Night
One of the top perks from the Chase IHG Rewards Club Select MasterCard is that you get a free night certificate each year after the first year of having the card. This means that every year you pay the $49 annual fee you get a free night certificate that you can use at ANY IHG hotel.
The free night certificate is emailed on the card’s anniversary and valid for 1 year from the issue date. You do have to book and stay before the certificate expires in a year.
The fact that you can use the free night at ANY IHG Rewards Club property means you can use the night at the most expensive aspirational InterContinental hotels and get up to ~$800 of value.
The Citi Hilton Reserve is the only other card that allows you to use the free night at top tier hotels and for instance the certificates that Marriott and Hyatt give out can only redeemed at their lower category hotels.
The annual free night certificate alone can make it worth paying the $49 annual fee.
The free night will easily pay for the $49 annual fee even if used at a lower tier hotel that costs $100 to $300 per night. For whatever way you find the best use of it you will end up saving money. The anniversary bonus along with keeping this card to build a history with Chase are two good reasons to keep this card after the first year.
You can book a free night with the certificate as long as there is award night availability — you can easily check on the IHG Rewards Club website or call 877-318-5890 to redeem your free night.
Free Platinum Elite Status
The IHG Rewards Club Select MasterCard gives you automatic Platinum elite status and will get you perks such as:
- Free internet (plus free breakfast at Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites)
- Room upgrades subject to availability
- 50% points bonus on paid stays
From my experience most international IHG hotels treat elite members well, but I have heard that IHG elite benefits can be hit or miss depending on the hotel. During my stay at the Holiday Inn Sisli in Istanbul I received a suite upgrade and a welcome bottle of water.
One downfall of the IHG Platinum status is that it is not eligible for benefits at InterContinental hotels since they have their own loyalty program.
10% Points Rebate On Redeemed Points
You get a 10% points rebate when you redeem your points for award stays. For instance, when I redeemed 45,000 points for a 3 night stay at the Holiday Inn Sisli I got 4,500 points back.
With award nights starting at 10,000 points you almost get an additional free night from redeeming the 80,000 point bonus. Note: the maximum points you can earn in a calendar year is 100,000 (just in case you plan on redeeming 1 million IHG points)
Card Earning – 2X points on gas, restaurants & groceries & 5 X points on IHG hotels
After earning the bonus, this card is not the best card for everyday spending. There are better cards for everyday spending, such as the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® that will earn you 2.2% back on every dollar spent. However, you will earn 5x points when you use the card at IHG hotels, so it’s worth earning some extra points on your paid stays at IHG hotels.
Lots of IHG Hotels to Choose From
IHG has far more hotels by sheer numbers than most other hotel programs. Having a wide selection to choose from makes it easier to use your points and having IHG points can be a great plan to fall back on when you can’t find a Starwood or Hyatt hotel at your destination.
- Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts
- Hualuxe Hotels and Resorts
- Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts
- Hotel Indigo
- Even Hotels
- Holiday Inn
- Holiday Inn Express
- Holiday Inn Resorts
- Holiday Inn Club Vacations
- Staybridge Suites
- Candlewood Suites
IHG PointBreaks – Award Nights for 5,000 Points
For cheap award nights IHG PointBreaks are one of the best hotel program promotions out there. Every couple months they publish a list of participating properties where you can redeem award nights for 5,000 points per night including some InterContinental hotels.
The new list just came out for stays between March 24 through May 31st, 2014. As award night availability goes fast be sure to book soon after the new PointBreaks hotels list is published.
You can get up to 16 free nights if you use all 80,000 points at PointBreaks hotels, and these could even be InterContinental properties. Ideally, the list is for flexible travelers and can be hit or miss with properties that work, but when they do it’s a great way to save lots of points.
No Foreign Transaction Fee and $49 Annual Fee
The IHG Rewards Club Select MasterCard does not have a foreign transaction fee which makes it a good card to use on international trips.
The annual fee is waived the first year, then $49 per year. I’m happy to pay this fee every year to get the free night that I can use at any InterContinental hotel.
Drawbacks of the IHG Rewards Club Visa
One drawback that does come to mind is that the card fills up a spot of the 4-6 personal cards that Chase usually allows at one time. I would still choose the free night bonus over an additional credit pull in order to earn a new card bonus every year.
On top of that, this is not the best card to use for everyday spending. Sure the bonus is great, but after hitting the required minimum spend to earn the 80,000 points, you can earn a higher return by spending on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® or Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Can You Earn the Bonus If You Have the IHG Rewards Club Visa?
In the past Chase has awarded sign-up bonus offers for the same card when it has changed from a Visa to MasterCard, which has been essentially a ‘new product’. Their rule has generally been that you can earn the bonus once for each unique card product. So, is this a unique product? I would think so and when I called in to ask a week ago the representative said that I could qualify for the bonus on the card, but I would have to close my existing IHG Visa first.
But, it’s not that clear. Since then there have been multiple reports of people confirming that they have been told both that they will and will not receive the bonus. Is it worth the risk of closing your IHG Visa and applying for the new MasterCard product? That’s up to you, but judging on the recent chatter it would be wise to close your current IHG visa before April 1st. At first I considered closing my account and going for the new 80k point offer, but now I am on the fence as to whether or not I’ll give it a try. Either way I’ll report back and if you have any experiences leave a comment below!
This is still one of the BEST hotel credit cards out there. Between the 75,000 points bonus and a free night certificate every year after the first year, this is a great card to have (and keep) in your wallet.
The 1 free night every year is easily worth much more than the $49 annual fee. Plus the card has some great perks, such as automatic Platinum elite status which gives you room upgrades upon availability and free internet.
Being able to use the free night certificate at any IHG hotel that can cost up to $800 makes keeping the card open completely worth it.
To learn about how to maximize IHG Rewards Club points check out these posts:
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