Why I churned the Priority Club Black Visa card

‘Hypocrite!’  I hear you cry.  ‘That Raffles bloke wrote a long post last week saying that he rarely churns cards, and now here he is admitting to it’!

Well, not quite.  What I said is that I had never applied for the same card more than twice.  And this is my only second application for the Priority Club (now IHG Rewards Club) Black card.


Because they made me do it!

Priority Club Black

Let me explain.  I was looking at my personal targets for IHG’s ‘The Big Win’ promotion.  (You can check your own personal targets here by logging in.)

My original plan was to ignore it completely as I had no stays lined up.  However, I ended up staying at InterContinental LeGrand in Paris two weeks ago (review to follow) which changed the dynamics a bit.

Firstly, one of my ‘Big Win’ targets is 20,000 points for booking a room with the Priority Club Black Visa card.

In addition, I knew that this special link (EDIT, deleted as now dead) which offers a whopping 40,000 IHG Rewards Club points for signing up, is still working.  Every few weeks a reader uses the link – which is on our ‘Credit Card Updates’ page – and confirms they got the points.  The latest report was only a fortnight ago.  Note, though, that the link is currently not working as of Friday night as Barclays is having technical issues with the Priority Club Rewards card site.

Thirdly, I found myself with a large chunk of expenditure coming up in a fairly short period of time.  This includes a £2,000 council tax bill which – with certain Visa and MasterCards, but not all – my council mistakenly treats as debit cards and so processes without a fee.  I have a good chance of achieving the £10,000 of spending required to trigger my free night voucher relatively quickly.

(The free night voucher is valid for a year and is good for a reward night at any IHG property.  This is worth up to 50,000 IHG Rewards Club points if used at a top-end InterContinental, which is definitely where I will use it.)

I was therefore looking at receiving a total of 60,000 IHG Rewards Club points (40k from the application and 20k from booking one stay via ‘The Big Win’ with the card) which I would value at £300.  I would also value the free night for spending £10,000 at £250 as that is what I would otherwise pay at a good InterContinental.

In total, I make that £550 of value for £99 spent.

Barclays does not have an official policy on churning.  It is 18 months since I cancelled my original Priority Club Black and two years since I originally applied.  That seems to be good enough for Barclays.

Other reports from people who have reapplied for the Barclays-run Hilton HHonors card imply that a year from cancellation seems to be enough.

I have no moral qualms about churning this one:

IHG personally targeted me via ‘The Big Win’ with the additional 20,000 points for taking it out

My £99 card fee is non-refundable

I will definitely spend £10,000 on the card in relatively short order

Barclays will do OK out of me here.

My full review of the Priority Club (IHG Rewards Club) Black Visa is here if you want to find out more.

(To see our complete list of all current credit card bonuses, click here to visit our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Bonus Clubcard points for buying Lego!
Still time to make ££ by playing redspottedhanky Fantasy Formula 1
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  1. davef says:

    You’ll have to chase IHG once you’ve booked it. Book it to win hasn’t tracked for anyone as far as I can tell.

    And nearly a month after they manually added the 20k points I’m still waiting for it to track in the Big Win for the 60k completion bonus to be awarded after completing the challenge. Poked IHG 3 times and ‘they’re dealing with it”.

    • James67 says:

      Are you calling or emailing them?

      • davef says:

        Email. It does eventually get results and I don’t have to put up with their ridiculous call centre.
        It’s so frustrating that they set up promotions they can’t track though. I had to chase the PCR Visa 30k points bonus and the platinum status upgrade as well.

        • James67 says:

          Thanks. I expect I will have to do so too. I think the card issue is with barclaycard rather than I HG though.

    • This is the main reason that I have moved to Hilton this year, IHG couldn’t get a straightforward promo right last year.

      Frankly I think it’s irresponsible to encourage taking out a card for this sort of promo, even if everyone here is responsible with money :p

    • Oh, I see… I had 14-15 bookings made by the PCR card, none of these have been tracked. I was even bothered to delete the stored card information in my account and newly created the same credit card entry choosing the “PCR credit card” option, but no chance. It’s only 2,000 pts for me, so cared less though…

  2. James67 says:

    I think you will be ok but big win does say apply for the 30k card and use to book one night for 20k points. It does have an apply button inside the big win site for the 30k offer. If they have some way of tracking this then perhaps the 40k offer will not trigger big win. I too have just churned but used 30k link inside big win site to be on safe side. Temptation was too much to resist: £99 fee gets me platinum next year and 2 Saturday night stays using 2 branda and best flexible rate one night (total £110) will net me ca.100000 points. Will bank me 4 nights in CP Osaka or 10 nights HI Wembley for £210!

    • I used the 40k link and IHG have confirmed my stay, paid for using that card, is eligible – just have to wait for the 20k to now post!

  3. Waiting for big win points to post is very frustrating! It looks like I will complete it for the first time this time round

  4. Flyoff says:

    Raffles your comment about the credit card fir your council tax is interesting. I have previously used 3Vs but these are being blocked with my council. I did try the fee based £50 cards from Tesco but these were wrongly identified as credit cards and a charge made so I processed them through NSI. I will try some other cards on the site.

    • Mark B says:

      It would be appreciated if you, Raffles or anyone else can post up what credit cards work without a fee for Council tax

      • Depends entirely on your council. It is basically an error on the Kensington system. MBNA BMI goes through as a debit ( or did last year and 2012). Will try PC this year first.

        • Mark B says:

          Ok thanks, will try the MBNA cards (American Airlines and when it arrives Virgin Atlantic) with my Council

  5. Got the card via the 40k link a few months ago. The 40k points posted quickly but was only given the gold tier. E-mailed IHG and the reply was ‘show us where on the application did we offer you the platinum tier!’.

  6. Waribai says:

    Also have applied for similar reasons. The pin came through the post on Monday but haven’t received the card yet. Do you know how much longer it takes?

    Got a stay on 29th April checking out on 1st May. Hopefully, it counts!

    Yes, thought of trying it with the council tax and also for npower utilities in advance!

    • Brian says:

      Hope it counts for your sake, too, but you might have been better off booking two single nights!

    • Kipto says:

      I applied via the link a couple of weeks back and have received the card and spent on it to activate the 40000 points. The customer service centre is dreadful though. There is nothing in the paperwork that comes with the card to inform you that you will get 40000 points or platinum status which involves frustrating calls and being passed around the world. The points and platinum status have been promised within 6-8 weeks. I don’t know if others have experienced similar or whether there is a quicker way of getting the points as I need to book some stays. In addition if booking ihg hotels now when I am gold status if when I stay at a hotel four months away does the status upgrade at the time or is it when you book ?

      • All barclaycard CS is equally awful but they do like handing out compensation

  7. I downgraded my black card as it was up for fee paying time, I was categorically told that I will never be allow a black card again once I down grade it.
    Seems very strange that they won’t want my money again in the future!
    Perhaps I should cancel it and reapply next year?

  8. pazza2000 says:

    I had problems with my free night also, it unexpectedly expired a month before the date given. Took much contact to get it reinstated. I recommend going via their web experience team based for any issues that can’t be resolved at the front end.

  9. Hmm…. I’m also waiting for the 20,000 get it to win bonus from applying for the black card in jan. Sounds like it’s not going to post automatically and I’ll have to contact IHG. I’m always a little reluctant to do this after hearing horror stories about people having their accounts closed for using bonus codes they weren’t targeted for.

  10. Frustratingly I got declined the credit card, but I expected to be, for legitimate reasons.

    The reason it was so frustrating is that my bonus for the card was 20k, but the big win bonus is 84k, so that card is effectively worth 104k points!

    Do you think it’s worth me appealing to IHG’s kind nature to see if they will giive me a different goal?
    I’ve got two more mattress runs for the end of April, which there’s no point in me completing if I can’t get the card.

    • Absolutely worth contacting them. I’d try the Global Care team via Twitter. I think for this particular task it should have been one of the options but you should only be required to complete (for example) 7 out of 8 tasks to get the Big Win – they seem to have done this for some people but not for many others. If you’ve applied in good faith then they should either just give you the points or give you a different target. Good luck and let us know what they say!

      • Waribai says:

        Yes, mine said complete 6 to get the big win but they are now insisting that I get the credit card too!

      • Will give it a go – what’s the twitter username, is it just @IHG ?

        • IHGCare or IHG_Care or similar

        • Thanks… No joy unfortunately. This is the reply…

          “Unfortunately, we are unable to adjust the offers provided on your Big Win 2014 offers. We suggest that you contact Barclay directly for further assistance regarding your Visa application. ”

          I won’t contact Barclays as I know the reason why they declined me.
          I’ll now go and cancel the nights I had booked to complete he promo.

          Never mind.

        • Sorry to hear that Tom, very frustrating – their loss though as you say given the nights you’re now going to cancel.

  11. Makeitmyhome says:

    Hi Raffles,

    There would always be some people who will criticize you in everything you do… You simply can’t keep everyone happy.

    With this blog of yours, you have made me look at credit cards/airline loyalty programs with respect. Previously, I used to ignore these schemes thinking I am never going to accumulate enough points to redeem something worthwhile. I am sure thousands (if not millions) would have benefited in the same way.

    Keep doing the good work.

  12. Hey
    Not entirely related, but does anyone have a screenshot saved of the site showing platinum membership as a benefit for the black card. I’m platinum through to next year off the back of legitimate stays, however now that the card has disappeared from the IHG and Barclays sites, I envisage an argument next year should I not hit platinum and require the status via the card. I’d like to have a PDF or screen shot on file to chase them with.

    • It was never on the Barclays sites. There is a promotional IHG video knocking around (the link probably still works) which promotes the Platinum card as a benefit.

  13. Sorry, when I said barclays site, I meant their white labeled ‘online-card.co.uk’ which has the microsites for all their branded cards. Might check archive.org/waybackmachine and see if there’s anything there.

  14. Link through from Big Win site to apply for this has been down for days…anyone else getting this? Time running out to apply, receive and book a stay before end-April!

    • Duncan Anderson says:

      I’ve been trying since Saturday and still no joy. Looks like Barclaycard’s poor service extends to new applicants too

      • I’ve seen this mentioned on FT too. Apparently they can still take applications by phone, but that would mean missing out on the 40k sign up bonus!