One Mile at a Time and users on Reddit report Chase has sent out a letter with bad news: IHG annual reward night certificates issued from May 1, 2018 onward will be no longer be redeemable at any IHG hotel. They will now be redeemable at hotels that cost up to 40,000 points per night.
For years, the free night at any IHG hotel that comes with the IHG Rewards Club Select credit card made this card arguably the best ongoing rewards card benefit. I’ve used my free night at Intercontinentals from New York to Sydney on nights when paid rates were north of $500 per night.
Going forward, it will still certainly be possible to get better value than $49 per year. However, most of the IHG hotels in Manhattan now charge 50,000 points per night, so the certificate loses a lot of value for me since I often used mine in NYC and it will now be of much more limited use there.
While Greg has long predicted that this benefit was too generous to last forever (In fact, he predicted it almost a year in advance to the day — See: The next best credit card perks that will be taken away), I’m somewhat surprised to see the benefit devalue with such little notice as Chase has generally been good about grandfathering existing cardholders with benefits for quite some time after a change. I’m not sure how this will affect people who applied within the past week expecting to receive an uncapped certificate at their 1-year anniversary. It’s always worth keeping a screenshot of details like that, though since this benefit applies after first anniversary I’m not sure if it will be helpful in this case.
See the Reddit post linked at the top for a screenshot of the letter. If you have a certificate that is issued before 5/1/18, it should still be valid for any IHG hotel — but your next one will be capped.