When IHG announced the forthcoming changes to IHG Rewards Club last week, I was broadly neutral.
IHG is adding a new elite level after 75 nights or 75,000 base points. This currently unnamed level, which begins on July 1st, has no major benefits so far apart from a 25,000 point bonus for reaching it (or a free Platinum card for a friend). You will also get a 100% base points bonus on your stays.
There is some talk of ‘new benefits coming in 2016’ but we need to wait and see what they are.
If you currently have Gold or Platinum status in IHG Rewards Club, you won’t lose anything directly. You may lose out if hotels start upgrading the new elite tier and choosing to no longer upgrade Platinum members, but we don’t yet know if that will happen.
Both my wife and I have the IHG Rewards Club Premium Visa cards. They carry a £99 fee but we get a free night at any IHG property after spending £10,000 per year, which we make sure we achieve.
As of today, we have both triggered the voucher in our current membership fee. My next £99 fee is looming in June.
I have renewed these cards for the last two years. Now, though, I have decided to cancel them.
Why? Human nature! IHG has a new top tier status and I fancy having it. The problem is that I will never achieve 75,000 base points.
Recently, however, IHG was offering 60,000 points for signing up to the Premium credit card. These points DO count towards status.
This is my new plan:
Cancel our IHG cards now and start the clock on when Barclaycard will let us reapply (this appears to be 6 months but some people have been successful after 3 months. I won’t be reapplying for 8 months.)
Hope that, next Winter, IHG repeats the 60,000 point offer
Apply for the card no earlier than December so that the 60,000 bonus points hit after January 1st
Get up to 75,000 base points via card spend or hotel stays to reach the new top tier. I would then have this status for the majority of 2016 and all of 2017.
Will this plan work? There are no guarantees – I am clearly reliant on IHG bringing back a generous bonus on the IHG Premium card. I am willing to take a punt.
There is no downside. Our free night vouchers are triggered for this year. In the worst case scenario I re-apply and get a lower bonus. I may or may not get to retain Platinum status next year on the basis of having had the card for the first four months of this year, although that is not certain.
IHG probably didn’t expect these changes to lead to credit card cancellations! However, loyalty schemes are a delicate balance of cogs and wheels, and when a programme makes a change somewhere you can never be sure what will pop out somewhere else.
(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards? Click here to visit our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)