When it comes to hotel loyalty programs, IHG Reward Club is one of the easier ones to understand. You earn points that you can redeem for hotel rooms. That’s pretty much it. No worrying about if you’re supposed to get a suite upgrade (you’re not) or a free breakfast (not unless everyone at the hotel gets one anyway).
Their co-brand credit card shares that no-nonsense sensibility. You don’t have to choose between multiple tiers of cards like you do when getting a Marriott or Hilton credit card. IHG only offers one card. But that single card offers some pretty great benefits for a reasonable annual fee which makes it a great card to consider adding to your collection.
Here are six reasons you should consider getting the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card from Chase:
There are so many reasons to keep the American Express Platinum card. The $200 yearly airline fee credit. The $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Pre-Check credit. The $200 yearly UBER credits ($15 per month and an additional $20 in December). Centurion Lounge access. Saks Fifth Avenue credit. Priority Pass.
There’s just one reason the cancel the card. Five Hundred and Fifty Dollars.
The hotel chains have spent a lot of money on marketing to try to get you to book a hotel room directly with them by using their website or app and have gone with the “carrot and stick” approach to achieve that goal. On one hand, they’ve gone out of their way to market special low “Member Exclusive Rates” that are only available to members of their loyalty program and “Best Rate Guarantees” that tell you if you find a cheaper rate after booking with them, they’ll match it and lower the rate even further. At the same time, the hotel chains penalize you for booking anywhere except directly with them. Some of these “sticks” are they don’t give you any recognition of your loyalty status or let you earn any points in their program when staying on externally booked stays. They’ll also only give perks like free Wi-Fi if you’ve booked directly with them.
When I say you need to book direct with the hotel, I mean you use the hotel’s website, the hotel chain’s website, the smartphone app for the hotel chain, or by calling the hotel to make a reservation.
When I mention using an “external” website, that is basically everything else. Websites like Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotels.com, Priceline, Hotels Tonight, Hotwire and Booking.com are just some of them. If you’re completing the booking anywhere but with the hotel, it’s an external website.
Hotel search engines like Trivago, Kayak and TripAdvisor show you prices directly from the hotel as well as from external sites, so it’s best to use something like that to see who has the cheapest price.
Faithful to a cause, ideal, custom, institution, or product
That’s the Merriam-Webster dictionary’s definition of loyal. I think it’s important to remember this when we talk about loyalty programs. Whether it’s airlines, hotels, rental cars, restaurants, gas stations or Amazon.com, the goal of these programs is to make you loyal to their product. Even more, they’re designed to increase how loyal you are and they’re really good at it.
It used to be that you were loyal to a company because of the product they offered. That might be due to any of these reasons:
Companies decided that instead of competing only on those areas, they wanted to add another variable and the loyalty programs were created. Over the years, the programs have added many reasons for you to be “loyal” to them. Some can be viewed as rewards but others can often look more like punishments for not being loyal.
Discounts for members of programs
Special treatment on the phone and in person with dedicated staff for members
Upgrades to the product received
Free perks for members (when buying directly from the company)
Rewards (when buying directly from the company)
I can see the last two as being extras for members but they can also be seen as punishments for those who look for a lower price elsewhere. You might pay more by booking directly but that’s what you need to do to prove loyalty. But wait, I thought I was getting rewarded for loyalty, not having to prove that I’m loyal by paying extra. That’s not how it’s supposed to work?!?!?!
Hotel elites get perks as a result of their hotel stays or through some other magic done with a combination of spending large amounts on co-branded hotel credit cards, status matching arbitrage and something about running around with mattresses.