How to Get the Most Big Travel With Small Money From the IHG Card
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The 70,000 point sign-up bonus on the Chase IHG card is a great deal!
That’s because you can use the points for terrific award stays at luxury IHG brands like Intercontinental Hong Kong. Or stretch them for more award nights at family-friendly Holiday Inns or PointBreaks hotels.
I’ll explain how to get the most out of this card!
Big Travel With the Chase IHG Card
The sign-up bonus on the Chase IHG Rewards Club card is currently 70,000 IHG points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account.
You’ll also get:
- 5,000 bonus IHG points when you add an authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months of opening your account
- Free Platinum Elite status (free upgrades, priority check-in, and elite rollover nights)
- A free night at any IHG hotel worldwide on each card anniversary
- 5 IHG points for every $1 you spend at IHG hotels
- 2 IHG points per $1 you spend at restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations
- 1 IHG point per $1 you spend on everything else
- 10% rebate on redeemed points (up to 100,000 IHG points a year)
- NO foreign transaction fees
- Annual fee of $49, waived for the 1st year
Recently, Chase has been tightening their credit card application policies. There are rumors they’ll apply the stricter rules to co-branded hotel cards, like the Chase IHG Rewards. If you’ve opened ~5 or more credit cards (from any bank) in the past 24 months, you’re unlikely to get approved (although some folks report exceptions).
5 Tips for Using Your IHG Card & IHG Points
1. Using Your 70,000 Point Sign-Up BonusIHG is one of the biggest hotel chains in the world, with over 4,900 hotels in nearly every state and country.
Remember, you’ll earn at least 77,000 IHG points between the sign-up bonus, authorized user bonus, and meeting minimum spending requirements (70,000 + 5,000 + 2,000).
Want to head to Orlando for a Disney World vacation with the family? Read my tips on how to fly there with Small Money, and then consider staying at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Across From Universal Orlando with your IHG points!77,000 IHG points is more than enough for a 3-night stay in July 2016.
Feel like treating yourself to a night at a luxury hotel? You can use 60,000 IHG points to stay at the InterContinental London Park Lane, which retails for ~$475 or more a night.
And, you’ll still have 17,000 IHG points left over, which you can use for 3 award nights at PointBreaks hotels!
Or, take your family to Jamaica and stay at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort (All-Inclusive). For 35,000 points per night, up to 2 adults and 2 children under 12 are included.
So you’ll get 2 nights at an all-inclusive resort from one credit card sign-up bonus (with points left over). That’s a fantastic deal!
2. Free Anniversary Night
The free night on each card anniversary can be used at any of the more than 4,900 IHG Hotels…even at top-tier luxury hotels that normally cost hundreds of dollars a night!
Check out my posts for ideas on where to make the most of the Chase IHG card anniversary free night:
- 5 Top Hotels in Europe to Book With IHG Card’s Free Night
- 5 Great Hotels in the US With IHG Card’s Free Night
- 5 Outstanding Hotels in the Caribbean & Mexico With IHG Card’s Free Night
- 5 Terrific Hotels in Asia & Australia With IHG Card’s Free Night
- 5 Excellent Hotels in Central & South America With IHG Card’s Free Night
- 5 Fantastic Hotels on the Mediterranean Sea With IHG Card’s Free Night
If you’re thinking of visiting Europe, you could use your anniversary night at the InterContinental Paris – Le Grand. The hotel is ideally located near the Opera House, and is walking distance to the Louvre and the world-famous Champs-Elysees. Using your free night could save you ~$730, which is the cash cost of a room night in June 2016.
3. Take Advantage of Promotions
IHG is currently offering the Share Forever Promotion. You can earn 7,000 bonus IHG points if you register and stay a night by May 31, 2016. Stay additional nights through September 5, 2016 and you will earn even more points!
Plus you can earn a free night to share. The promotion is different for each IHG member, but it’s worth registering even if you just stay one night!
Remember to pay for your stay at IHG hotels with the Chase IHG Rewards card to earn 5 IHG points per $1 you spend.
Earlier this year IHG offered the Priceless Surprises promotion which didn’t even require a hotel stay! Folks earned thousands of IHG points to stay at nearly any IHG hotel in the world just by entering via mail entries.Daily Getaways recently offered discounted IHG points for 50% off the normal purchase price.
4. Use Points & Cash Trick
Link: IHG Points & CashIHG allows you to book award nights using a combination of points and cash. If you don’t have enough points for an award night (or don’t want to use them all), you can buy the points you need to make up the balance.
You can also use points and cash option to “buy” IHG points at a reduced rate! If you make a reservation using points and cash and then cancel the reservation, you will effectively have purchased IHG points at ~0.7 cents (or less) per point.
Not all folks are comfortable doing this, but you can read my post for step-by-step instructions on how to make the most of this deal.
IHG is also a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, so you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to IHG at a 1:1 ratio. So 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points becomes 1,000 IHG points.
This is an easy way to top off your account if you’re close to an award stay, but I don’t recommend it. Because you’ll usually get a better value by transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to other partners, like United Airlines, Southwest, or Hyatt.
5. IHG PointBreaks
These are terrific deals because IHG hotels normally cost 10,000 to 50,000 IHG points per night. The current 70,000 point sign-up bonus could be worth 14 free nights at PointBreaks hotels!
If you find one you like, remember the best hotels fill up very quickly.
Additional Card Perks
The Chase IHG Rewards card comes with free Platinum Elite status. This means you’ll get complimentary room upgrades (if available), 50% bonus points during your stay, and much more. Platinum Elite status normally requires 40 qualified nights during a calendar year.
You’ll also get a 10% rebate when you redeem points for a stay. For example, if you use 60,000 IHG Points for a night at the InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora, you will receive a rebate of 6,000 IHG Points (10%) after you stay.Note: This benefit is capped at 100,000 IHG points a year.
Make the most of your Chase IHG card with:
- Free Card Anniversary Night
- IHG Promotions
- Points and Cash option
- PointsBreaks Hotels
The annual free night at ANY IHG hotel on your card anniversary each year is potentially worth much more than the annual fee.
Using the sign-up bonus at IHG PointBreaks hotels could be worth 14 free nights. You can also book rooms with Points & Cash.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardAPPLY NOW
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
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