Your final answer to the IHG Rewards Club Premium MasterCard free night question

On Sunday I wrote about the confusion being caused over the issuance of the ‘end of year’ free hotel night voucher with the IHG Rewards Club Premium MasterCard.

I am very positive about the IHG Rewards Club Premum MasterCard and I think that most cardholders WILL want to continue with it after the first year.

All you are paying is £99, and this gets you:

on-going IHG Rewards Club Platinum status which comes with some decent benefits on your InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo etc stays

a free night voucher for spending £10,000 (worth £250+ if spend wisely)

an excellent earnings rate of 2 points (worth about 0.8p – 1p) per £1 

double points on overseas spending and spending at IHG hotels

and these points count towards status if you are going for top tier Spire Elite

As a legal reminder, this card has a representative APR of 41.5% variable including the £99 fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit.

IHG Rewards Club credit card premium

Some people, however, will want to cancel.  The voucher is triggered on the anniversary of opening your account.  Your annual fee of £99 appears on your next statement, which could be a few days or a couple of weeks later.

Creation, which issues the card, has to date been all over the place when readers have contacted them to ask how they should deal with this situation.  To be fair, the first anniversary of the launch of the card does not come round until later this week so it has been a purely theoretical discussion so far.

I have been speaking with Creation about this and there is now a position on how the process will work if you choose to cancel your card.  The customer service centre has been fully briefed about the policy and you should not have any problems.

Cancelling mid-year:

If you have spent £10,000 on the Premium card but cancel during your card year, you will not receive the free night voucher.  You must hold the card for the full year.

Cancelling at the end of the year:

Once the 12-month anniversary date has passed, you will receive the free night voucher as long as you spent over £10,000 in the previous year

If you ring Creation to cancel your account after the 12-month anniversary date has passed, but before your next statement is issued, you will still receive the free night voucher.  There is not a problem with the fee as it will not have been added to your account yet.

If you have just received a statement which includes the £99 fee for the second year, you can close your account before the next statement date and fee will not be due.  The only exception is if you have spent on the card after the £99 fee has been applied – in this case, you will be deemed to wish to continue with the card for another year. You will still receive the free night voucher.

After 30 days from the date that the fee for Year 2 is added to your account, you are liable to pay it.  You can still cancel your card but you will not receive a fee refund.  You will still receive the free night voucher.

The free night voucher should be added to your IHG Rewards Club account within a month, give or take, of the £99 fee being charged.  It does not matter if you cancel your credit card before the voucher appears on your IHG account – you will still receive it.

I hope that is clear.  The bottom line is that, if the card is not use, you have at least four weeks from your card anniversary date to cancel without paying the fee.

That said, as I wrote above, you should think carefully before cancelling because the card does offer an EXCELLENT package and you will struggle to find a better Visa or MasterCard offer to replace it.

If you speak to anyone at Creation who gives you a different line to what I have written above, get in touch with me and I will give you the details of the person to contact.

If you don’t already have the IHG Rewards Club Premium MasterCard and want to find out more about it, my full review is here.

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Comments

  1. Joseph Heenan says:

    I think Creation were already somewhat taking the mickey by making you wait upto 12 months after you hit the spending target to get the free night voucher.

    If I read what Rob has written correctly, it’s now upto 14 months – you need to wait for the anniversary, then 30 days for them to charge you the fee, then ‘a month, give or take’ for you to actually receive it.

    That really seems like a particularly poor way to reward the card holders that actually consider holding the card long term. As others point out, the contrast to the BA AMEX 241 voucher is startlingly and shows Creation in a very bad light.

    • I agree it should be at the 12 month mark (not 14), but I can understand why they don’t issue it immediately – see other comments from many of us that hold back on spend on cards like Lloyds as we don’t want to trigger a voucher. This must generate them a lot more revenue in interchange fees as a result.

    • Klaus-Peter Dudas says:

      It’s not too different from the Amex Gold though, right (12 months rather than 14 but still)?

  2. Pangolin says:

    I struggle to see the value of Platinum status at IHG, having held it for six months due to owning this card.

    At IC it’s worth nothing – you have to have AMB to see any benefits.
    At HI(X) the rooms are essentially the same, so you can get an enhanced room on a higher floor but that’s really it. Even when I have received a category upgrade I’ve noticed that the room I’ve been upgraded to is essentially identical in size/facilities, with the only difference being an in-room coffee machine, for instance.
    There’s Indigo and Kimpton but neither of those has much of a footprint within the program so they won’t have much impact on a frequent travellers’ experience.
    That only leaves CP – which was the one brand that DID give lip service to status and treated Plats well. Except that now CPs have been told they don’t have to give any lounge access to Plats and user experiences (see forums like FlyerTalk) show that it’s become a lot harder to get lounge access without Spire, even in Asia.

    Even Spire doesn’t have much guaranteed recognition – you’re still at the mercy of individual properties who can withhold any benefits they want apart from the welcome drink/points. Don’t even compare IHG Spire to SPG Plat – it’s a joke in comparison.

    So what you’re really left with is the ability to build up points quicker. And this is the one area where IHG actually works. You can rack up points quickly, especially with the Accelerate programs. So if your main goal is getting award nights then there’s still value in it. Yet unlike the others (e.g. SPG, MR) IHG doesn’t treat reward stays the same as cash booking (OK Marriott is also lousy at recognition for Resort hotels but SPG is untouchable in every respect).

    But don’t take my word for it – read the IHG forums on Flyer Talk for some excellent commentary on how poor the IHG recognition is in comparison to others.

    • Maybe I’m just lucky, but I seem to do okay out of being Spire. If I check into anywhere with someone else I always get 2 drinks vouchers, usually a nice room even if it’s not an upgrade, though I do usually get upgrades, I even got upgraded to a penthouse suite once, though that was for a special occasion. As Spire in China recently I seemed to get F&B credit too, which was most useful in the IC HK where I had about £14 knocked off my £17 cocktail!

      It would be nice if the benefits were more concrete rather than “turn up and hope” but my experience has usually been fairly positive.

      • Alex W says:

        Sorry but 2 free drinks and/or a £14 cocktail does not cut it compared to Marriott or Hilton where I always get free breakfast, lounge access where there is one, and usually other extras thrown in too.

  3. I can confirm that after raising this in social media yesterday, BNP Paribas have advised me via email of the exact same information contained in this article.

  4. Mild OT-IHG

    I haven’t used Q2 Accelerate at all, but is there generally a Q3 (JUL-SEP) Accelerate or other similar promotion?
    Also IIRC current 5000 points reward nights finishes at end of this month. Do we know if this repeats for 1st August onwards?

    • Andrew says:

      They don’t really work to Quarters – at least not to the official English or Scottish Quarters.

      The current Accelerate promotion started mid-May and runs until the end of August. There’ll probably be another one from September to December, but you can never be sure until they start.

    • Pangolin says:

      The Q1, Q2, etc. is not quite the same as quarters. Generally there are 3 main periods for Accelerate. The current one (known as Q2) runs to August 31. Then there will be a short hiatus and the next one will start (early Sep – mid Dec). Confusingly, this can be referred to as Q3 (and some could even call it Q4). American sites will also call it the ‘Fall Promotion’.

      Of course this is going on what’s happened previously and the Accelerate programme could change at any time but currently you should expect the next program to start in the dates given above.

  5. Having had the Barclaycard version for many years when they lost the contract Creation refused me both their free and paid for versions. However, they issued the free one to my wife who has no income. It wasn’t accepted online to book a HIE and the Westin Grand in Berlin couldn’t get it to work for our prepay deposit last weekend.

    I rang in when Barclaycard wrote to me about their replacement but they refused not to issue the replacement and have issued cards accordingly which I’ve had to cut up.

    I will use the Barclaycard Hilton card for further purchases.

  6. I’ve complained about not being be able to download ANY statement data from my account ever since taking out the Marriott Card! Managing Barclaycard online was great. So many cool features. Even spending analysis! Creation is just really bad in both CS and IT. One day I tried to book flights using my IHG card and it got rejected. The next day had a call from Creation letting me know there was some weird activity on my account(doh) so they’ve cancelled my card and gonna send me a replacement card in post! I miss Barclaycard :(

    • Interesting – I’ve not had any transactions refused yet for Creation. Barclaycard got better but a couple of years ago their website was absolutely woeful, could never access Hilton Visa statements – had to switch back to paper just to make sure I actually got them! Thankfully they seemed to fix that issue.

  7. The_Real_A says:

    Very timely, i will be cancelling this month and currently spending the final few quid on the card to trigger the voucher. Two other items of note:

    1) The anniversary date is NOT the date the fee hits the statements. Its the point the application was APPROVED which is approximately 5 days before the card arrives and the fee was charged. You should ring up and find out exactly what the date it.

    2) Transactions need to settle on the account (i.e. not be pending) for the spend to count. So the final transactions really need to be made a week before the anniversary date.

    All in all you might need to complete spend 2 weeks earlier than what you thought…

  8. Scottydogg says:

    Thanks Rob for the information , its been worrying me this , I don’t want to pay for the second year but still want the voucher ive earned . When I phoned Creation to discuss this , the guy said if I didn’t pay for the second year then I would not get the voucher (he was a manager I spoke to after the first guy did not know) , he also said I was ‘trying to expose a loop hole that doesn’t exist’

    Im leaving IHG and taking out the Barclay card HH card for all my non Amex spends , Creation are a pretty bad company to deal with

  9. Fred G says:

    Is this a good card to pay HMRC bills with? I have been using the Virgin Black card but since the devaluation am less interested in continuing with them

    • Alex W says:

      In a word yes. One of, if not the best.

      • RussellH says:

        Marriott M’Card is cheaper, if you have one.

        As to whether the IHG Black card is worth it, I cannot see the value myself:

        a) I cannot see paying £10 000 in a year on the card, unless I spent absolutely everything on that card, meaning no Amex, no Hilton spend at all.

        b) If you do spend £10 000, then you will get around 19 700 points rather than 9 850 with the white card, plus a voucher for one night, for £99. I would not normally dream of spending as much as £99 on a hotel room (though there are occasional exceptions, true).

        For me, the maths on fee cards, apart from Amex for a month or two at most, in order to hit a target, just does not work.

        • Alex W says:

          You can’t pay HMRC with an Amex. Shame I know, but if you have a big tax bill then you want a good MC/visa to pay it with.

        • Wally1976 says:

          +1 on this; that’s my thinking too. Only fees I pay are Amex Plat and SPG for as small a time as possible. Bank the bonus points and hotel statuses and move on!

    • Yes. The fee is a touch higher than usual (0.4%) but a no-brainer given that you are getting 2 points per £1 which also count towards Spire Elite status, even if you would otherwise trigger the voucher without HMRC payments.

  10. Are there any Hotel groups that will status match my Spire elite ?

    • Genghis says:

      Check out status matcher. Best Western hand them out easily…

      • Alex W says:

        +1. Matched mine to BW Diamond. Only used it once and the benefits were non-existant except for extra points which I probably won’t use.

        Is Hilton still doing a status challenge for Diamond?

        • Recently it was a challenge rather than a match, would be glad to be shown to be wrong!

        • Scottydogg says:

          I matched my IHG platinum (that I got free from having the black card) to Best Western diamond and Hilton Diamond , I think the Hilton one might only be for 90 days and you can extend if you stay 4 or 10 times ?
          Ive 2 Hilton stays coming up so I will see if its worth it

  11. The Original Nick says:

    O:T, I have seen some comments just recently about adding Lloyds Avios Duo Amex and Mastercard to Curve and using abroad to withdraw from an ATM. Is this possible?

  12. nothing being uploaded about the 48hr Qatar sale? Was looking forward to an overview :)

  13. memesweeper says:

    I’ve found the IHG card to be hopeless so far for making tax payments, if you pre-pay the card with sufficient (or nearly) cash to make the large HMRC payment they suspend the card without warning. Unless you get Creation to give you a whopping limit, this card is of limited use for high-turnover folks.

    • I struggle to get more than £2,000 through on either Creation or MBNA cards (Creation I find £1750 is easier). Given that I have VAT, PAYE and income tax to pay this is not hugely convenient. I am thinking of making weekly payments although that would mean prepaying my tax bills.

      • Joseph Heenan says:

        I got a 10K limit on my IHG Black card, and have made multiple £6K+ payments to HMRC on it with no issue, then made a payment to the card 2-3 days later as soon as they come out of pending on website, then done more payments to HMRC 2-3 days later as soon as the website shows the payment has hit the card. I’ve never run into any issues.

  14. Slightly off-topic.
    I logged into my IHG account today to use my free night earned from my Barclaycard last year. The free night was due to expire mid-August this year. However there is no sign now of the free night, and the ‘Free Night Status’ option on the LH side of Account Summary has disappeared.
    Before I try and contact IHG I wonder whether anyone has the same problem, or is there a known glitch, or are Barclaycard free nights being wiped if you take out the Creation card?

    • I remember there being a glitch before with Accelerate free nights and we had to call them to book – don’t think it’s related to Creation at all. Does anyone have the free night status option in the menu now? I’ve not had it for months.

  15. Boon Koh says:

    I’m still confused! My anniversary just passed (5th July). Should I cancel now, or wait till the statement comes out with the £99 fee?

    Rob’s post states that the voucher will be issued 1 month after the £99 fee is charged.

    If I cancel before the statement with the £99 fee is issued, will the free night cert not be automatically sent to my IHG account? Or will it still?

  16. Stephen Denny says:

    Hi, Just wondering if anyone else is hanging onto the IHG black card long term, i plan to keep it for a second year and i am now passed the anniversary date yet the counter for this years free night has not reset to zero. I want to pay my July tax bill with it but want to make sure its not going to do down as spend for the first tax year? Anyone else noticed their counter has not reset?

    Cheers

    • Has your statement generated yet? I’m holding onto it too, but would wait for that first.

    • Genghis says:

      My actual anniversary date was earlier this week but the statement generated probably tomorrow will be 12 statements from the initial statement generated. I’m putting off some large payments too until they count towards next year’s spend target.

      • Ditto although already had some spend I couldn’t hold off on given Bank Holiday tomorrow, so have ended up a grand total of £11k over the target this year!!

        • Genghis says:

          You lucky Scottish lot!

          • Haha although we didn’t have the one you had earlier in the year – varies all over Scotland as to which area gets which. NI is the place to be for extra bank hols though – think they have 2/yr more than everyone else 😀

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