IHG Premier 140K welcome offer: Free night certificate can’t be topped off

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Recently, Chase increased the bonus on the IHG Premier card to a whopping 140,000 IHG points and one free night certificate (that is capped at a value of 40,000 points). This a huge offer for the Premier. We’ve seen 140K offers in the past, but the combination of the points and the free night cert makes this the best welcome offer that we’ve ever seen on the card.

The addition of the free night to the welcome offer seemed even sweeter as IHG increased the utility of these certificates for Premier cardholders earlier this year as part of an overhaul of their rewards program. Now, you can “top off” the certificates by adding an unlimited number of points as necessary in order to book a standard room reward at a property with a higher point redemption level. I did this recently in Seville, Spain, where I redeemed 40K certificates for a room at a Mr and Mrs Smith property that was 70K points/night by adding an additional 30K pts/night from my account. This is a great feature and it makes it much easier to max out the value of these certificates.

Courtyard of the Palacio de Villapanes in Seville, where I used flexible free night certs earlier this year.

We initially assumed that the free night certificate awarded as a part of this new welcome offer would have the same flexibility as any other cert awarded through the Premier card (makes sense, doesn’t it?). Well, we were wrong.

IHG has informed us that the certificates earned through this welcome offer WILL NOT be “top-offable.” This means that they will only be usable on properties that cost 40,000 points or less, making it more difficult to actually redeem the certificate for full value (and making them identical to the certificates earned by cardholders of the old IHG Select Card).

Key Card Details

Card Offer and Details
Chase IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card
140K Points + 1 Free Night
140K points plus one 40K free night certificate after $3K spend in 3 months

$99 Annual Fee

This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details).

Recent better offer: None. This is the best we've seen.


Card Type: Mastercard World Elite

Base
Travel
Dine
Gas
Brand
10X
(6%)

Earning rate: 10X IHG ⚬ 5X travel, dining, and gas stations ⚬ 3X on all other purchases

Big spend bonus: 10K bonus points + $100 statement credit after you spend $20K in a calendar year + make one additional purchase ⚬ Diamond status after $40K in purchases + one additional purchase in a calendar year

Noteworthy perks: Annual free night e-certificate good at IHG properties up to 40K points per night ⚬ Ability to add an unlimited number of points to a free night certificate to book a higher-level hotel ⚬ Fourth night free on award stays ⚬ 20% discount on points purchases ⚬ Platinum elite status ⚬ Up to $50 in United TravelBank cash per year (must register your card with your United account)

Quick Thoughts

This is a bit bizarre to me. I get why IHG originally differentiated between certificates earned through the old, legacy $49 annual fee IHG Select card and the $99 Premier. It makes sense that the more premium card has a better free night perk. But why award a different category of certificate for the welcome offer on the Premier than the one that’s awarded annually as an anniversary perk? It just seems unnecessarily confusing, especially since IHG/Chase wasn’t exactly clear that you’d be getting a different type of certificate than the one earned at each anniversary.

If this card appeals to you, the less-valuable certificate shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. It’s still the best offer we’ve seen on the card. But, anyone who’s tried to use the static, non-flexible certs will undoubtedly know the frustration of seeing property after property pricing at 41K or 42K, just out of reach of the point cap. The flexible certs made that a non-issue and it’s too bad that those aren’t the ones that are included with this welcome offer.

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[…] オファー2についてくる無料宿泊券は40k以下のホテルで追加でポイントを使っての予約はできないようです。 […]

[…] オファー2についてくる無料宿泊券は40k以下のホテルで追加でポイントを使っての予約はできないようです。 […]

Chris

Do you think the 40k SUB free night could be used for a points+cash redemption. For example, if booking a room for 38k points + $60 ?

Jason

Recently applied for this and was denied because I have the old Select card (thought they were considered separate products, but apparently not). Anyone had success PCing the Select to something else and calling recon to get the Premier approved?

Mike Chicago

I think the rule changed fairly recently. The current rule in the Premier application says “This product is available to you if you do not have a current IHG® Rewards Credit Card and have not received a new Cardmember bonus within the last 24 months. This does not apply to Business Card Credit Card products.” So it seems anyone with a Select or Traveler card can no longer get the Premier. I suppose they don’t like the douple dip of fourth night free and 10% back.
I think the only pc options for the Select are the Traveler and the Premier, so neither would work to get your Premier app approved. Maybe apply for the Business Premier instead?

Last edited 1 day ago by Mike Chicago
BML

Thanks for letting us know! I like the term top-offable! What a trap! I have another question, I still have the old $49 card, if I get the Premier card, will that also make my $49 anniversary cert top-offable?

BryanK

maybe i am reading this wrong but it says you can redeem your Anniversaryfree night for a property that is less than 40,000 points but can add on with other points previously earned. here is the text:

Anniversary Free Night: Anniversary Free Night will be available for redemption on your account anniversary date each year. “Account anniversary date” is the date that is twelve months after your account open date, and the same date each twelve months thereafter. Anniversary Free Night is valid at IHG® Hotels and has a point redemption value of 40,000 points or less (covers one standard room night and tax only), with the ability to add on points from your IHG® Rewards account to redeem your Anniversary Free Night at hotels above the 40,000 point redemption level. Anniversary Free Night must be redeemed, and stay must be completed, within 12 months from date of issue.

Retired Gambler

You are correct about the ANNIVERSARY free night certificates. The story is about an additional free night certificate included, along with the bonus points, for new card applicants after they hit the required initial spending.

BryanK

Gotcha!! That is confusing. Well, I applied anyway! Overall seems like I can get a lot out of this card, despite the confusion on that night

[…] Update 7/18/22: Still no bonus via doing a dummy booking and unfortunately you can’t top off the 40,000 free night certificate. Hat tip to FM […]

Captain Greg

Thanks Tim! Two quick questions: Do you know when this offer expires, and do free night certs count toward the 4th night free?

Tyler

Good timing — I noticed the same thing trying to use mine this weekend. It seemed so bizarre, I planned on asking them. Thanks for saving me the time.

Andy

In completely unrelated news, IHG has also just announced that they are renaming their rewards program from IHG One to IHG Bonvoy.

Last edited 23 days ago by Andy
Peter

My lesson from 2022 is all certificate SUB offers should come with an asterisk (guilty until proven non-YMMV innocent).

Aleks

What about the previous 125,000+Night Cert. card offer?

Raylan

Same thing. I took advantage of that offer in the spring and could not top off the certificate.

Aleks

That’s a crappy play from IHG – all bloggers were saying that those Certs can be topped off, and now they are not…

Raylan

I don’t think that was ever specified, for what it’s worth. If you look back at the language, IHG One Rewards consistently states that anniversary free nights can be topped off. I think most assumed that free night certs associated with sign up incentives could be topped off, but IHG never specified that. Flyertalkers discovered that such certs couldn’t be topped off sometime in April and assumed it was a coding error, but IHG has seemingly confirmed it’s not an error.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s an asinine business decision to draw such an arbitrary line, but I don’t think IHG is changing their messaging here.

Dave Hanson

Good point Raylan, +1 for your comment. It’s tone deaf on IHG’s part, not dishonest or bad faith. No Bonvoy here IMO,

IHG reps who might be monitoring: you might consider how much goodwill you’d earn for very little cost if you reversed your position on this.