Review: IHG Rewards Club Credit Cards

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

 

Oftentimes, IHG is the forgotten major hotel chain for travelers. Travelers, especially award travelers, think of Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt before they consider IHG. This may be a mistake! There is incredible value in IHG and its credit cards.  The IHG credit card family includes two options: IHG Rewards Club Travelers Credit Card and the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.  We'll explore these two cards in detail.

Current Offers

IHG currently has an exclusive credit card offer with Chase.  The IHG Rewards Club Travelers Credit Card currently gives you 75,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.  Meanwhile, the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers 125,000 points with a $3,000 spend in the first three months of account opening.  The annual fee of $89 is not waived the first year.  For reference, award rates vary from 10,000 to 70,000 points per night depending upon the property. Unlike other hotel programs with Chase, you can hold both IHG credit cards at the same time. Before doing so, however, please consider your 5/24 status and if both cards are worth 2 valuable 5/24 spots.

Earn Rates

Both cards have the following earn rates:

  • 2x gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants
  • 1x on all other purchases

Meanwhile, the earn rate when staying at IHG hotels varies.  The IHG Travelers credit card earns the following:

  • 15 points per $1 spent when staying at an IHG hotel

The IHG Premier credit card earn is higher at:

  • 25 points per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel

Additional Benefits

Both of these cards feature no Foreign Transaction Fees and the Fourth Night Free benefit.  Simply put, your fourth night is free when staying at an IHG hotel, including the following brands: InterContinental®, Crowne Plaze®, Kimpton®, Even® Hotels, Indigo®, and Holiday Inn® and others.

Further, the IHG Premier credit card provides additional benefits including a Rewards night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels and a reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔® of up to $100 every four years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your credit card.  Additionally, you can earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $20,000 and one additional purchase past the $20,000.  You can also save 20% when you purchase IHG points to top off your account for a redemption

Elite Benefits

The IHG Premier credit card provides you with platinum status as long as you have the card. Platinum status gives you 50% more points on paid stays, late checkout, priority check-in, space-available room upgrades (but excludes suites), guaranteed room availability with 72 hours notice, and a welcome amenity.

Our Analysis

While both of these cards offer nice sign-up bonuses, the IHG Premier credit cards wins out for me, even with the annual fee.  Spending an extra $1000 for the sign-up bonus plus the $89 annual fee to provide an additional 50,000 points is a no brainer.  Many cards offer the Global Entry/TSA Pre✔® credit, but when you have a family, having extra reimbursements can be a bonus.  While the 10K bonus points after $20K in spend and one purchase is a benefit, it is not one that is worth “going for” as there are much better ways to maximize your spending.  Further, we rarely recommend purchasing points, even at a discount, unless you need them to top off an account for a specific redemption. However, both of these cards are “long-term keepers”.  The 2x earn on gas can be a plus.  However, what makes the IHG Premier credit card is the free night anniversary night after year.  While this anniversary night used to be uncapped, it is now capped at 40,000 points per night. However, with IHG moving to dynamic pricing, many luxurious properties are 40,000 points or less. This doesn’t mean you can’t get excellent benefits from it, which balances out the $89 annual fee.

Final Thoughts

The IHG program can be very beneficial as they have properties around the world and many different brands.  Having points with multiple hotels can make planning a dream vacation or a last minute trip more plausible.  If you don’t think you will be utilizing the free night in a calendar year, it is night to be able to downgrade the IHG Premier to the IHG Travelers card and changing it later as needed.  Let us know your thoughts on the two IHG Rewards Club credit cards in our Facebook group.

 

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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