Is Chase IHG Rewards Credit Card Worth More than Diamond, More than Gold?

The title is a play on the latest Sia’s video of the song “Cheap thrills.” Have you heard it? Man, is it catchy! Sorry, guys and gals, I’m in a  musical state of mind this week.

So, back to IHG credit card. Is it worth getting? Absolutely! I loved it way before it was cool. And when I say “cool,” I mean before it was added to the affiliate network. In fact, in the last few months, I’ve repeatedly mentioned 80K non-affiliate offer available only via phone call application. It’s no longer working, but the official offer has  been recently increased to 75,000 points once you spend $2,000 in 3 months and add an authorized user.

Of course, the real value is in the perks of the card. You get 10% of redeemed points back, Platinum status (far from worthless)  and yearly certificate valid at any IHG property after renewing and paying $49 annual fee. It does pay me commission.

So, should you jump on this offer? Only if you were planning on applying anyway. I don’t think this deal is “da bomb,” and in all likelihood, will come back at some point in the future. By the same token, the card itself is a true gem, and to me, worth more than diamond, more than gold. That said, IHG program is definitely a wacky one, so make sure to read my post I love IHG, I hate IHG before you pull the trigger.

So, here are a few things to consider if you are thinking about applying:

1) Go to and make a dummy reservation to see if you can get an offer of 80K points+$50 after spending $1,000 in 3 months.

It’s a targeted offer, and doesn’t come up for everyone. Definitely doesn’t hurt to check, though.

2) If you have a hard time spending $2,000 in 3 months, you can consider applying for non-affiliate offer that comes with 60K points+$50 and requires you to spend $1,000 in 3 months. 

No luck with finding targeted 80K points offer? You can consider applying for 60K+$50 bonus (direct link) if lower spending threshold is preferable. Afterwards, just ask bank to match you to 80K points’ bonus. You can do it in your online profile. I’ve written that some of my relatives have applied for 60K offer and then messaged Chase. All of them were able to get extra 20K points.

Caution! There is some risk involved if you go this route. Chase will most likely match you to at least 75K points’ bonus, but there is no guarantee. If you don’t want to take any chances, it might be better to apply for official affiliate offer and then message Chase. Reportedly, so far, nobody was able to get matched to $50 credit in addition to points.

Of course, it does depend on how you value IHG points. If it’s less than 0.34 cents a piece, than it might be better to apply for 60K+$50 offer to begin with. Confused yet? Welcome to my world.

3) You should think long and hard whether the timing is right.

That’s because you will receive your annual renewal certificates this time each and every year. If you are looking to mostly use them during Spring Break in April, planning  ahead could be problematic. Say they expire on April 15th, and your stay falls  on April 12th. If for some reason you need to cancel your reservation at the last minute, you may end up losing your certificates because you’ll run out of time. Something to think about.

Personally, IMHO the best time to apply for this card is in the early fall. That way, you’ll have a large window to plan spring or summer vacations.

4) If you are concerned about 5/24 rule, I strongly recommend you get this card while you still can.

According to some data points on DoC, this rule hasn’t been yet implemented on co-branded credit cards, but it could happen any day. It may not come to be, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.

I ain’t got cash, but I got you, baby! 

I absolutely love our $49 renewal certificates. Here are just a  few posts on places where we were able to redeem them:

Our Sanibel Getaway with Chase IHG certificates

Making Lemonade out of Lemons: Our Trip to Holiday Inn Lido Beach in Sarasota

This is one of the nicest beaches in Florida. And it can be yours for only $49 per night. I love cheap thrills!


Next month, we are staying in Holiday Inn Express and Suites Seattle-City Center while using  annual renewal certificates. The hotel normally runs at $175 per night (or 35,000 points) and includes breakfast. Our cost? You guessed it, $49.

We actually needed four rooms for just an overnight stay before the cruise, so we burned the certificates from four separate  IHG credit card accounts. Yes, everyone in my family has this product and I recommend it to all the relatives who ask for credit card advice.

So, readers, what do you think? Yay or nay to my analysis? Don’t hold back. I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart.

P.S. Speaking of IHG, they have a new promo for summer ( stays starting on May 1st) called Share Forever. I won’t be participating, but I encourage you to register and at least see the offer.

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12 thoughts on “Is Chase IHG Rewards Credit Card Worth More than Diamond, More than Gold?

  1. Even though I think there’s a good chance we might get declined if they count 5/24 I was thinking about applying to this for me and my wife to keep long term. We don’t have any hotel cards and I keep thinking it is worth a shot as our last attempts to get Chase cards for a long time.


    • Doug, I really love this card. We certainly got a ton of value out of it. The bonus itself, plus all the perks make it a winner in my book. Whether you should give it a shot or not is up to you. I don’t know when/if this 5/24 rule will materialize on co-branded cards.
      I would probably at least try. If rejected, call reconsideration and plead your case. Tell them the truth: you want it for long-term benefits (no need to say anything about the bonus unless you want to 🙂 ). Of course, see if you can pull up the 80K offer on first. It usually comes up close to the end of booking process, right before you put in your credit card info.
      Alternatively, you can just wait till you have less than 5 accounts in 2 years on your credit report. I don’t think the offer itself is a game changer. But the timing is what’s crucial.


      • So I went ahead and applied for both me and my wife. My wife was approved instantly, but I was given the decision pending message (which doesn’t surprise me as I already had 1 more Chase card than her and we were both over the 5/24). Should I assume that I should not call reconsideration right away and wait to see what happens? Or would you recommend calling recon immediately and pleading my case? I’m thrilled that we got 1, but if mine comes through that would be icing on the cake.


    • @Doug Congratulations on your wife’s approval! One out of two isn’t bad, considering how many cards you guys got recently.
      On your card: I’m glad it wasn’t denied. Personally, I would wait and see if it’s rejected before calling. Like I said, you got a lot of new offers recently, so it’s best to let it run its natural course. My opinion, of course. If it is denied, then call. I think you will have a decent chance if you offer to borrow some credit from another Chase card. Just be honest an tell them you want this card for long-term benefits and really like IHG properties. Let me know how it plays out!


  2. This was the first hotel card I got, totally worth the $49 AF. If IHG offered free breakfast with Platinum status, it would be the perfect card! Still, it’s a great deal as it is and definitely a keeper for the long term.
    Soon you’ll have another option close to home for your annual certificates, Leana: Nickelodeon Suites is becoming a Holiday Inn Resort Waterpark this summer. My son & his friends always had a blast whenever we went. As a middle schooler, he would be too old now to enjoy it as much as he did in the past, but your kids are in the perfect age bracket for that waterpark 🙂


    • @TropicGal Thanks for letting me know about Nick resort! My sister-in-law took my daughter there and they loved it. I checked and it looks like IHG is blocking points availability right now. I literally couldn’t find even one date available. I hope it’s a temporary issue, but I wouldn’t count on it. If award rate isn’t available, then unfortunately, it won’t be possible to use the cert. Typical IHG games. Fortunately, they have many properties, so there is always a Plan B.


  3. I have this card, got approved on November 17th last year. I wonder when they give you the annual certificate for the free night. I’m thinking about using my points for 3 nights in NYC next Thanksgiving. I’m not reserving yet but I’m thinking about a 30K hotel and I have around 70K points so I’d need that certificate for my third nigh. Do you recommend booking the first two nights and waiting until it gets close to that date? Thanks.


    • @Leticia If you got approved in November, then your renewal certificate will post some time in November of this year. If you are planning to stay during Thanksgiving, I strongly recommend you reserve it now on points. To be honest, by the time the certificate hits your account, that hotel may not be available. Remember, it has to be bookable via points in order for you to use your renewal certificate. You could consider booking a paid rate and hope for the best. If you decide to go this route, use points for the busiest days (call hotel and ask them). Of course, it depends on the rate. But if the cost is the same, check with hotel which day will be more likely to be available via points base on their prior experience.
      Another option is to book a “cash+points” rate for all three nights. It will let you stretch your 70,000 points and effectively buy 10,000 points for $70 (or something like that). Your call.


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