IHG Bulldozes Annual Free Night, Earn Bonus Points for Staying at Marriott & Starwood, and More!

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IHG Bulldozes Annual Free Night, Earn Bonus Points for Staying at Marriott & Starwood, and More!

Million Mile SecretsIHG Bulldozes Annual Free Night, Earn Bonus Points for Staying at Marriott & Starwood, and More!Million Mile Secrets Team

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Here’s a quick roundup of miles & points news you should know about!

1.   Chase IHG Card Will Soon Be MUCH Less Valuable

IHG is severely devaluing one of the greatest benefits of any credit card!

The Chase IHG card currently comes with an annual free night at ANY IHG hotel in the world.  Including amazing resorts that cost 70,000 IHG points.   Some of those rooms can cost $1,000+ per night!

But starting May 1, 2018, you’ll only be able to redeem the annual free night for hotels costing 40,000 IHG points and below.

IHG Bulldozes Annual Free Night Earn Bonus Points For Staying At Marriott Starwood And More
Team Member Jasmin Received This Letter in the Mail Today

This is devastating news, but most folks should still be able to get a much higher value for the free night than the card’s $49 annual fee.

2.   Earn Bonus Points With Starwood and Marriott

Link:   Starwood More Nights, More Starpoints

Link:   Marriott MegaBonus

Starwood and Marriott released new promotions!  To qualify, you must register by June 30, 2018.  And stay between April 16 and July 20, 2018.

You’ll earn:

  • 250 Starwood points per night (starting with your 3rd night during the promotion period) at select Starwood hotels.  You can earn a total of 12,000 bonus points
  • 750 Marriott points per night (starting with the 3rd night during the promotion period).  You can earn a total of 36,000 bonus points

Note:   Stays at Marriott ExecuStay, Marriott Executive Apartments and Marriott Vacation Club® owner-occupied weeks do NOT qualify for this promotion

IHG Bulldozes Annual Free Night Earn Bonus Points For Staying At Marriott Starwood And More
You Can Use Starwood Points for a Free Stay at the Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort in Koh Samui, Thailand

If you have a stay planned at a qualifying Marriott or Starwood hotel, these deals are a no-brainer.  But they are NOT good enough to switch your hotel stays.  And because you can instantly transfer points between your Marriott and Starwood accounts at a 3:1 ratio (3 Marriott points = 1 Starwood point), the earning rate is effectively the same for both promotions.

3.   Bonus Choice Hotel Points Promotion

Link:   Choice “Book.  Stay.  Repeat.” Promotion

When you register and complete 2 stays at a Choice hotel by May 25, 2018, you’ll earn 8,000 Choice points.  That’s enough for 1 free night in one of their 1,500+ lower category hotels.

Most Choice hotels cost more than 8,000 points.  And the hotels you CAN book for 8,000 points aren’t always great.  But Choice points can be very useful in some cases, especially for folks traveling with family.  Because many are family-friendly, with large rooms, a pool, and free breakfast.  And with some of their brands, you can use points to book directly into a suite…even without elite status!

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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The changes is really worse than they have described. For example, these hotels are all 40k or less yet they are on the exclusion list.


40k Holiday Inn Paris – Notre Dame
35k Holiday Inn Paris – St. Germain des Près
40k Holiday Inn Paris – Elysées
40k Holiday Inn Paris – Gare Montparnasse
40k Holiday Inn Paris – Gare de l’Est

Million Mile Secrets

Thanks for sharing this, David. It’s sad to see such a good deal be replaced by something much less valuable.

I has become more difficult over the last few years to book the free room anyway. No rooms are available at the property to use the award. Cash rooms available. The properties obviously restrict the # of rooms available for points and especially free nights. It is very frustrating and devalues the program.

Million Mile Secrets

This is especially true if you’re traveling during peak-season. Thanks for sharing.

The letter also includes a statement about looking forward to an exciting offer regarding a new IHG Premium card…..

That seems like a positive to me….

Million Mile Secrets

Hopefully a new card will have the old anniversary night language. I’ll let you know when I hear something definite from Chase!

Johnny Whirlwind

I would call it more than devastating, and I’m not sure why this got lumped into a roundup about SPG and Choice points. It’s be biggest credit card devaluation of the past (year? decade?) and probably should have been its own story. Also, even after Chase sent out letters notifying cardholder of the change, they were still advertising the unrestricted free night, and accepting new applications. Does not seem like they’re operating in good faith.

Million Mile Secrets

Johnny, thanks for commenting. We’ve changed the way to share breaking news to try to give the staff more time to write other articles. So that’s why everything is lumped together.

I’m not sure what happened with Chase’s letters and their advertising. But it seems that everything is clear right now.

I agree, of all the subjects that seem to merit their own write-up, this one surely did. Combined with the recent article about how uber-exciting the 2 new IHG cards are, it seems like MMS is directly on Chase’s payroll these days 🙁
(I’m a longterm subscriber). Also, I haven’t seen anyone mention that this change is COMBINED with the very recent devaluation of hotels. I.e., the hotel that I was wanting to book for my free night USED TO BE 40,000 points anyway, so this revocation would not have mattered. BUT that hotel was just recently increased to 50,000 points, so combined with the this restriction, that hotel is doubly not available with the free night.

Million Mile Secrets

That’s for sharing. IHG has definitely taken a big hit with the devaluation and card changes.

Also, while we do earn a commission on certain Chase cards, we currently don’t earn a commission on either of the new IHG cards.

Derek (DebrianTravels.com)

I would not call the IHG devaluation “devastating” but it is certainly disappointing. In the three years I have received this certificate, all three properties where I have used it are on their “ineligible list.” These are centrally located properties in Rome and London and only one – the Intercontinental London Park Lane – could be considered top tier (and to be honest, I actually liked better the Hotel Indigo St. George in Rome where I used last year’s free night). There is some confusion on the threshold and the ineligible list. At the hotel in London where I am using this year’s cert, I booked a second night at 40K points which should be eligible still for the anniversary night. However, the property as a whole made the list. I tweeted them about this apparent discrepancy and did not get a clear response but they did say something about sending out more information in a communication to members. (https://twitter.com/IHGService/status/981137236702973952)

Million Mile Secrets

Great data point, here! If the annual free night restriction is >40,000 points AND select restricted popular hotels, it could be much worse than I thought.

Derek (DebrianTravels.com)

Agreed. That would be bad. I am fine staying in average properties, but I do tend to go for good locations – when on vacations my time is precious. Those are naturally higher points even for a fairly routine Holiday Inn in a city center. Granted, at a $49 annual fee, I will keep the card since even a HI Express in Middle of Nowhere, USA beside an interstate costs more than $49!