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Emily and I both love our Chase Priority Club credit card!
Priority Club is the hotel loyalty program of InterContinental Hotel Group which includes Candlewood Suites, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Hotel Indigo, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, and Staybridge Suites brand hotels.
I’ve always been surprised at how little publicity the Chase Priority Club card gets compared to other hotel cards (I’m looking at you, American Express Starwood card) which offer far fewer benefits for keeping the card beyond the 1st year.
Emily and I both gladly pay the $49 annual fee for our Chase Priority Club cards.
Because the 80,000 point sign-up bonus after the 1st purchase was great (currently $2,000 within 3 months), and the 1 free night after the 1st year of having the card more than makes up for the annual fee.
This free night is valid in any InterContinental hotel. Emily and I just redeemed our free night at the InterContinental Thalasso in Bora Bora. The Priority Club card is one of the best cards for getting free hotel stays in French Polynesia because there is 1 InterContinental each in Moorea and Tahiti and 2 InterContinental hotels in Bora Bora.
We can basically have the hotel cost covered for a free weekend or 2-day trip covered just by having this card!
Keeping this card also builds our history with Chase (we’ve set our Netflix subscription to automatically renew on the card).
Plus the card also offers top-tier Platinum status with Priority Club and no foreign transaction fees for using the card outside the US. Not to mention a 10% rebate on Priority Club points redeemed during the year.
The only drawback of the card is that it isn’t a great card for spending money on because the earning rate is weak compared to either other hotel cards like the Hyatt or Starwood card, or the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
For most folks who don’t spend much on credit cards and aren’t Big Spenders, the Chase Priority Club card is a much better card to keep than the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest card.
As I wrote in my previous post – The AMEX SPG Credit Card is Overrated & Not Worth its Annual Fee to Me, But I’ll Still Get it – get the Starwood card for the sign-up bonus, but pay the annual fee for the Chase Priority club card to get a free hotel night each year!
Chase Priority Club Review – Pros
1. 80,000 point Sign-up Bonus. You get 80,000 Priority Club points as a sign up bonus after your 1st purchase which is great if you’re working on minimum spending requirements on other cards.
You can buy Priority Club points for 0.7 cents using the Cash & Points Trick, so the sign-up bonus is worth $560 (80,000 points X 0.7 cents per point) to me.
Top Tier InterContinental hotels cost 30,000 to 50,000 points, whereas Holiday Inn Express and Holiday Inns go for 10,000 to 25,000 points a night.
2. Free Annual Night. The best perk of the Chase Priority Club card is that you get a free night certificate by email each year after your 1st year of having the card. The certificate is valid for 1 year from when it is issued and the stay must be completed before the certificate expires.
This free night is valid at ANY Priority Club hotel (unlike Hyatt or Marriott which restrict their free night to lower category hotels) – including the expensive InterContinental hotels. Emily and I redeemed our certificates for 2 free nights at the InterContinental Thalasso where the rooms start at ~$800 a night! Not bad for paying only a $49 fee, right?
Here’s a list of InterContinental hotels around the world. But you can get much more than $49 value, even if you don’t redeem it at an InterContinental hotel.
For example, there are Holiday Inns which cost ~$250 in New York, London and other expensive cities. Or use the free nights at the Z Ocean hotel in Miami or anwhere where you can save money by not paying for a hotel night.
You can use your free night certificate in any hotel as long as there is an award night available on the Priority Club website. Just call 877-318-5890 to redeem your free night.
Emily and I value the free night at ~$250 based on our redemption goals, so it is a no-brainer to keep the card for only a $49 fee and get a free hotel night without another credit inquiry.
3. 10% Points Rebate. You get 10% of your points back after completing an award stay. For example, you would get 2,500 points back after a 1-night stay at a Holiday Inn costing 25,000 points.
The rebate is capped at 100,000 points in a calendar year, so you’d have to redeem 1 million points in a year to hit the cap!
4. Free Platinum Elite Status. You get Priority Club’s top-tier Platinum elite status which gets you a 50% points bonus on paid stays and upgrades subject to availability.
The terms of the Priority Club program say that elite benefits don’t have to be provided on award stays (quite a nasty policy), but in my experience, most hotels outside the US do provide some benefits on award stays. We got upgraded to a higher category room when we stayed at the Holiday Inn in Phi Phi Thailand.
But Priority Club Platinum status is somewhat inconsistently recognized in the US, in my experience.
Also note that Priority Club Platinum status is not recognized at InterContinental hotels which have their own Ambassador loyalty program.
5. No Foreign Transaction Fee. There is no foreign transaction fee, which saves ~3%, when you use the card outside the US.
6. 2X points on gas, restaurants & groceries & 5 X points on Priority Club hotels. This isn’t a great card for regular spending, and you can do better than 2X points on other cards.
For example, you get 2X points for dining with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, and I value 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points more than I do 2 Priority Club points.
But it is a close call when it comes to using the Priority Club card at Priority Club hotels, since 5 Priority Club points could be worth, at least, the same as 2 Ultimate Rewards points.
7. First Year Annual Fee Waived. The $49 annual fee is waived for the first year.
8. Lots of Priority Club Hotels. Priority Club has far more hotels than Starwood or Hyatt, which means that you can usually count on having a Priority Club hotel in the places you want to visit.
Some may scoff at staying in a Holiday Inn or Staybridge Suites, but I’ve had many great stays at Holiday Inn Express and Holiday Inns, which were made even better at the thought of having Big Travel with Small Money!
Chase Priority Club Review – Cons
1. Not Good for Everyday Spending. As I explained in #5 above, this card isn’t great for putting your actual spending on – even with the category bonuses for gas, restaurants, and groceries.
2. Occupies a Chase Slot. This isn’t a drawback, but more of an inconvenience. Many folks run up against a maximum of 4 or 5 personal cards with Chase. Sure, some folks manage to have more than that, but many readers run-up against a limit.
Emily and I have chosen to keep our Priority Club card open for as long as the free night makes it worthwhile. At the same time, we build a relationship with Chase by having one card open for a long period of time.
At some point, you’ll have to decide whether to keep your Priority Club card open. For us, it is an easy decision to keep a card open which gets us at least a $250 value every year (in the form of the free night & 10% points redemption) without needing another credit inquiry.
I can think of very few reasons why you wouldn’t want to get this card and pay the annual fee on it.
The one free night each year makes this a great card with which to have Big Travel with Small Money!