Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfers Are Counting Toward IHG Elite Status
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InterContinental Hotels Group — better know as IHG — isn't known for having the best loyalty program. No matter how many nights you spend in a Holiday Inn, you won't earn a free breakfast benefit, and upgrade benefits aren't honored when you use your points for a free stay.
With that said, IHG is growing its portfolio of upscale and luxury hotels. Elite status could score you an impressive upgrade and help you rack up bonus points on each stay when you're paying for a stay.
You can easily score mid-tier Platinum Elite status through the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card. That elite status plus the anniversary free night easily justifies the $89 annual fee. However, in order to get top-tier Spire Elite status, you'll need to spend 75 nights in an IHG hotel or earn 75,000 elite-qualifying points. Or, you can complete a status match now through July 26 if you have elite status with another hotel loyalty program.
75 nights is a lot of time to spend in IHG hotels — as I know from personal experience spending having spent 113 nights at IHG hotels in 2018. So, travelers may be interested in short-cutting this however they can. Well, there's currently a workaround to spending 75 nights at IHG: transferring Chase points to IHG.
As first reported by No Mas Coach, IHG point transfers are currently counting as elite-qualifying points. Jon Nickel-D'Andrea found himself just under 1,000 points shy of Spire Elite status with 8 more elite-qualifying nights required, transferred 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to IHG and checked back to find he had earned Spire Elite status.
To confirm this for myself, I completed a similar transfer of 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to IHG Rewards. Immediately, the 1,000 points posted to my IHG account — but only as elite-qualifying points. Interestingly, my rewards points balance wouldn't be increased by 1,000 points for another 30 minutes.
Why You Shouldn't Try This
First of all, transferring points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to IHG Rewards is a poor use of your Ultimate Rewards points. TPG's most-recent valuation of Chase points is 2 cents each. Meanwhile IHG Rewards recently fell to just 0.5 cents each. So, we at TPG generally don't recommend transferring Chase points to IHG points.
The rare exception would be if you were just shy of a redemption and you're trying to minimize your out-of-pocket cost. After all, if you're just shy of a redemption, you can buy IHG points for no more than 1.35 cents each. Many members are currently targeted for a 100% buy points promotion that drops the cost of buying 5,000 points to just 0.675 cents, and there's currently a trick to minting IHG points for just 0.466 cents each.
Also, note that in the IHG Rewards Club terms and conditions, point transfers — as well as point purchases and point deposits — are explicitly listed as providing non-elite qualifying points:
In the T&C, the primary definition of "point transfers" is transfers of points between IHG Rewards accounts. However, point transfers from Chase clearly doesn't fall in any of the elite-qualifying point categories. So, it's definitely a gray area.
If you decide to go forward with transferring Chase points to IHG hoping to get elite-qualifying points, I'd recommend trying it with a 1,000-point transfer first to make sure that it's still coding as elite-qualifying. Also, there is a small chance that IHG could retroactively code these as non-elite-qualifying, so I wouldn't recommend relying on this work-around.