Time for “retention calls” after latest Chase IHG Mastercard MEGA devaluation. This was the only card I never called about – well, not anymore!

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Time for a phone call !

Yesterday OMAAT posted the flat out nasty news that one of the best ever travel cards on the market for years was about to be destroyed. Later that day I received the notice in the mail from Chase confirming the changes. Ugh.

Cut-N-Paste “we are (not) sorry” tweets.

IF you take the time to peruse the @IHGService Twitter feed you will notice you and I are not the only ones who are, shall we say, displeased with the MEGA devaluation of this rock star travel card. At least we can sleep well tonight knowing our complaints have been “properly documented” i.e. tossed in the trash can and “shared with the appropriate department for future review” i.e. let’s see just how many gripe to see if we really have a problem on our hands.

Here is a tip, Chase – you’ve got a BIG problem on your hands.

…and rightly so. This card is was one of the hands down best value travel cards ever created and one I have held for years and even used for years – not for much longer. The value has just been simply decimated. Hotels for 40,000 points (with exclusions inside those levels as well) or fewer are not impressive and the newly acquired Kimpton hotels are just not gonna happen at that redemption level. Really Sad!

So what do we do now? Do we simply cancel the card? What if you “just” got the card and are now greatly upset over the change? You do have options.

Thanks a lot Chase!

First off, if you just applied for the card, I would be calling and demanding Chase honor the terms you agreed to when you applied for the card. Chase, more than any other bank it seems, gets really upset if you are considering CFSB complaints, or worse, legal action to have them honor what they promised when you applied for the card (think compliance).

But what if you have had the card for a while? Do you have any recourse? Yep, it is time for a retention call that should yield really good results (read up on Essentials point E13 if you don’t know what I am talking about).

I have for a long time when speaking at frequent flyer events said there is only 1 single card I never ever call for a retention bonus and that was the IHG Mastercard (I always call on all the rest). The IHG card was simply worth the fee so I never called Chase once. Honestly I have one other card I gave up calling on because I use it so little that I never get any kind of credit but suck it up and pay due to all the perks (its the non-Delta Amex Platinum Business card that now is the hands down best card worth the fee each year).

Unlike airlines that can simply change the rules whenever they want willy nilly and you have to take it, banks have to be a bit more careful. Thus depending on when you got the card you should be able to negotiate one more cert under the old terms. I am not saying this will be an easy task but I bet it could be accomplished. What else?

I will keep the card another year if fee free!

Clearly you can request a one year free waiver for the fee after this nauseating devaluation. Keep in mind Amex, for almost anyone who called (and had not had years of retention offers already) gave most of the $450 Reserve card fee back after the change to ¼ million spend for the MQD Diamond waiver. My guess is Chase will be happy to waive the $49 fee for at least one year if you ask. Are there even more options? Maybe.

Perhaps you are in a situation that you are in-between where you will be hit with this change over the coming months and have already burned your last year’s free cert. You clearly can work on the 1 year fee free idea but another option may be something more valuable that $49. Maybe you can ask for enough points to offset the huge loss in value with some amount of IHG points to make up for the change. Again, not saying they will be happy to do this, but my guess is with this massive of a change it could happen.

Lastly, if all of the above fails and Chase can not make you whole for their bad choices then at least request, before you cancel, for most of your available credit to be transferred to another Chase card you have. This way you retain your credit available when and if you apply for other Chase cards and can request to have credit moved to another card for an approval.

So are you dumping the card due to this change? Are you keeping it one more year if Chase offers you something in return for the changes? Do you still find value under the new 40k max price hotel offer for the fee? You tell me! – René



  1. Dumping it as soon as I get the new free night in May. It is not about the $49 fee but about keeping another card that I won’t have use or much value for it. A free stay at a Holiday Inn a year? No thank you.

  2. Same as above. Not worth anymore, will be closing it after this year certificate.

  3. The change stinks. True. But it’s still worth it. It’s not hard to find a hotel for $250+ that you can still use the free night for. Hard to ditch the card when I can still use it and get great value.

  4. It wouldn’t be so bad if it just limited stays to 40k. There are plenty of nice 40k hotels in major tourist cities and near National Parks. Try visiting Moab or Grand Canyon in the summer and you’ll easily pay $250+ a night.

    It’s that additional gutting and exclusion list that gets me. They went through and took out any possible remaining chance of anyone getting some useful value.

    It may still be worth it if you regularly travel to expensive destinations with 35k or cheaper hotels, but now that requires extra planning. I’m not in a rush to cancel, but I’ll see how this shakes out first.

  5. I opened the card a week ago. Havent even put any spend on it. Maybe Chase can just cancel the card and show the line of credit was never even opened?

  6. I’ll wait to see what the “upgrade” offer is that was referenced in the letter.

  7. I just want to point out that the Holiday Inn Express in Sandusky, Ohio is now out of reach for annual free night certificate bookings.

    Let that sink in for a moment.

  8. As long as the fee stays $49, it is still a good deal. Even the crappiest freeway exit HIX is going to cost more than that, especially with taxes factored in. No, you don’t get the properties, but it is still useful. Compared to the Marriott Premier card (also a Chase product), the IHG free night @ 40,000 max offers some better properties than the Marriott category 5 limit (in the US, at least) and the fee is much lower ($85 for Marriott).

  9. I agree with keeton’s Statement, I think a free night is still worth more than $49 and nobody complains about the $85 fee for a Marriott Night with a max of cat 5

  10. I personally dont see it as so bad. $49 still is cheaper than most (all?) hotels. —Sure I no longer can use it at top 5* hotels, but there is still more than a $49 value there.

    My thinking is that it is not unreasonable for the company – any company – to rethink what benefits they offer. I do look forward the ‘upgrade offer’.

    Anyhow, I might be interested in both the old card AND the new – better bonus points, better redemption value and 2x free certificates!

  11. I’m really annoyed, as I got this card only last August and it looks like I won’t get an unrestricted free night. But, I have a family of 5 and it has been difficult to find award space available for 5 in an actually nice hotel. Using my sign up bonus for a road trip at HIX and Staybridge Suites (I do like the latter). Meh.

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