IHG cards add cell phone protection, eliminate price protection benefits
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
IHG credit cardholders are gaining cell phone protection benefits, but losing price protection benefits effective Nov. 17, 2019. Cardholders of both the IHG Rewards Club Select (no longer accepting applications) and the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card received similar emails this morning. TPG reporter Katie Genter got this email for her IHG Premier:
This isn't exactly unexpected, as Mastercard announced network-wide changes to its World and World Elite Mastercards back in April that we've seen mirrored across cards ever since. However, it's still a blow for cardholders who relied on the benefit when purchasing pricey ticket items that could go on sale — especially with holiday shopping season around the corner.
Chase eliminated price protection across its other cards a while back, but the IHG Rewards Club Select and IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card had held onto that benefit through Mastercard. With IHG cards now chopping price protection, it's even rarer to find this benefit on credit cards. Navy Federal Credit Union, Wells Fargo and HSBC all have select cards that still offer a price protection benefit, but it's possible we'll see those cut moving forward as well.
To offset the loss of some benefits, Mastercard did add perks such as cell phone protection, which IHG cards will begin offering on Nov. 17. On the IHG Select, you'll get $600 per claim and $1,000 per year in cell phone protection. That is slightly higher at $800 per claim and $1,000 per year on the IHG Premier.
Related reading: Credit cards that cover cell phone loss and damage
Even though these cards now offer cell phone protection, you're still better off using the Ink Business Preferred or Citi Prestige® Card (which both offer cell phone protection) to pay for your cell phone bill each month. With both IHG cards, you're only getting 1x points per dollar spent on your bill and those points are only worth .5 cents each — just a 0.5% return.
The Ink Business Preferred offers the best value with 3x on your bill at 2 cents each (a 6% return). The Citi Prestige only offers 1x on your bill, but ThankYou points are worth more than IHG points, at 1.7 cents each.
These IHG cards are only the most recent in a long line of cards to cut perks. Barclaycard has removed select perks across many cards and Citi has slashed most benefits from its cards as well. It's disappointing to see so many valuable benefits being cut from credit cards, even if issuers claim they aren't regularly used.
While the addition of cell phone protection is nice to have, that isn't an incredibly valuable benefit for these cards in my book. The best cards to use on your cell phone bill will continue to be cards that offer both a high return on your bill each month and cell phone protection benefits. While that's a rare combo at present, the Ink Business Preferred is one card that offers the best of both worlds.