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Following recent leaks of the current Chase IHG card being retired from new applications in favor of two new cards, there was a big rush to apply for the current card in the hope of being grandfathered into an annual anniversary free night certificate good at any IHG property.
The grandfathering reasoning was dubious, based primarily on how Chase treats its self-branded cards, rather than it co-branded cards with travel partners. Ink Plus sticks around, Fairmont is gone. It was worth the gamble to some, who were promptly disappointed, along with existing cardholders, with the announcement that all current IHG cards will have their upcoming anniversary certificates capped at properties 40,000 points and less per night, effective 5/1/18. Well, that’s not quite true because a subsequently published exclusion list has some 40,000-point properties, too.
It must have been costing a lot to IHG to have this benefit to motivate them to dump their card’s headline benefit. Complexity over simplicity. Not smart to include an insert titled, “Travel the Way You’ve Always Wanted.”
Walking Back How Far?
IHG fumbled on implementing this without a grace period. Update: they’ve walked back this walk balk.
Already they have walked it back for new cardmembers who applied 1/1-4/5/18, who will now get their first-anniversary certificate honored as advertised when they applied.
This still leaves applicants from 5/1-12/31/17 who will never get the full certificate on their card.
And what about existing cardholders with an anniversary falling on the other side of 4/2/18? I got mine in February, my wife won’t in June. Chase and IHG have ensured they will receive complaints that will take time to handle and resolve. The CFPB still exists, folks, and even the MAGA hats around here like that part of government when they can use it as a weapon.
The sensible solution is to honor for any new application from 5/1/17-4/5/18 and anyone having their card anniversary 4/2-31/18. We’ll see on that.
The Outrage is Humorous, At Least
Looking through the comments across the blogs is a riot. Rob on Doctor of Credit, “I can’t believe I just wasted a credit pull on this flaming piece of garbage.”
Others are more sanguine. $49 for a capped annual certificate, Platinum status, and 10% points rebate on awards would be great in any other context. Other hotel cards charge more for less.
The funniest part of me is that usually with such a change you hear people screaming, “I spent $x on this card last year and they do this?!”
I’ve not seen a single complaint mention that anyone has spent anything on these cards, ever. Out of guilt I used to have a monthly $2.49 subscription charged to my card. I’m not sure we used my wife’s card in the past year so I’ll charge a dollar for something.
Chase and IHG probably don’t value customers who find a 40,000 point hotel beneath them, yet who:
- Never use the card for purchases
- Call every year for card retention offers
- Either stay once a year at an IHG hotel using the certificate, or
- Every stay at an IHG hotel contact the GM in advance to get an upgrade, contact the sales manager in advance to get an upgrade, contact housekeeping in advance to get an upgrade, demand at the front desk for an upgrade, demand at the front desk for free breakfast because the upgrade isn’t good enough, charge nothing to the room, clean out the toiletries, clean out the lounge (where available), and manufacture a complaint to get compensation
We’ll be missed by IHG!