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IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card Review

At a Glance
4.2 / 5
Rating

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

  • Sign-up Bonus: For a limited time, enjoy a three-part sign-up bonus. First, earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months; then, earn an additional 40,000 bonus points after spending another $3,000 in the first 6 months; and earn a $50 statement credit after your first purchase.
  • Rewards: 10 points per $1 spent at IHG hotels; 2 points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases; Points redeemable at hotels including Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, and Holiday Inn.
  • Benefits:  Free night each year of card membership at over 5,000 hotels worldwide; Platinum Elite status (50% point bonus, priority check-in, complimentary room upgrades), as long as you remain a cardmember; 10,000 bonus points with $20,000 annual spend.
  • Intro APR: None
  • Fees: $0 foreign transaction fee
  • Annual Fee: $89
  • Credit Needed: Excellent

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. However, the opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

The information related to the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has been collected by Money Crashers and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card from Chase is a hotel rewards credit card with a $89 annual fee. It’s ideal for frequent travelers who regularly stay with InterContinental Hotel Group brands, which includes thousands of Holiday Inn, Staybridge Inn, and Candlewood Suites properties in the U.S. and around the world.

Every purchase with this card earns points that can be redeemed for hotel stays at more than 5,000 HG properties worldwide, usually at rates ranging from $0.005 to $0.01 per point. Cardholders in good standing also get a host of useful perks at IHG hotels, including 1 free stay per year and automatic upgrade to Platinum Elite status, which accelerates point earnings and entitles members to complimentary room upgrades.

If you’re interested in alternatives to IHG Rewards Club Premier, look to hotel-specific rewards cards such as Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card from Chase and Citi Hilton Honors Reserve. It may also be worth considering airline-specific credit cards such as United MileagePlus Explorer and British Airways Visa Signature, or general-purpose travel cards such as Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Key Features

Sign-up Bonus

For a limited time only, this card has a generous three-part bonus.

First, when you spend at least $2,000 in eligible purchases within 3 months of opening your account, you’ll earn 80,000 bonus IHG Rewards points.

Second, when you spend at least $3,000 in additional eligible purchases within 6 months of opening your account, you’ll earn an additional 40,000 bonus IHG Rewards points. That’s a total of 120,000 bonus IHG Rewards points when you spend at least $5,000 in eligible purchases during the first 6 months your account is open.

Finally, you’ll earn a $50 statement credit after making a qualifying first purchase.

Earning IHG Rewards Club Points

Every $1 spent at IHG properties earns an unlimited 10 points. Purchases made at restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores earn an unlimited 2 points per $1. All other purchases, including hotel stays at non-IHG hotels, earn an unlimited 1 point per $1.

Redeeming IHG Rewards Club Points

Points can be redeemed for free hotel stays at IHG properties, starting at a minimum of 10,000 points for lower-tier properties and 70,000 points for the highest-tier properties. If you don’t have enough points to pay for a full night’s stay, you can purchase up to 10,000 additional points at $0.007 apiece ($70 maximum) through IHG’s Points & Cash option. Redemption thresholds are subject to change at any time.

At redemption, point values usually range from $0.005 to $0.01, sometimes more or less. Points don’t expire as long as you redeem any or earn more – through card purchases or hotel stays – within any 12-month period.

Annual Spend Bonus

When you spend at least $20,000 in purchases and make one additional purchase within the same calendar year, you get an additional 10,000 bonus points.

Anniversary Free Night

Every year, you get 1 free hotel night, good for use at more than 4,900 properties worldwide. Redeeming your free night doesn’t cost any points, but you don’t earn any additional points for the stay.

Platinum Elite Status Upgrade

As long as you remain a cardmember in good standing, you enjoy IHG Platinum Elite status. You do have to formally apply for this status after you receive your card, but it doesn’t cost anything to do so.

Platinum Elite status confers numerous benefits:

  • Priority check-in
  • Complimentary room upgrades whenever available
  • Guaranteed room availability with at least 72 hours’ advance notification
  • 50% point-earning bonus for all IHG hotel stays – for instance, a stay that would have earned 2,000 points earns 3,000 with Platinum Elite status

Important Fees

The $89 annual fee is waived in the first year, and there are no foreign transaction fees. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 5% and cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%.

Credit Required

This card requires excellent credit.

Advantages

  1. Generous Sign-up Bonus. For a limited time, this card’s sign-up bonus promises 120,000 bonus points on $5,000 in eligible spending within the first 6 months, plus a $50 statement credit after your first purchase. That’s both more generous and easier to attain than most competing hotel cards at this price point.
  2. Automatic Platinum Elite Status Upgrade. The IHG Rewards Club Premier Card comes with an automatic upgrade to Platinum Elite status, IHG’s second-highest frequent traveler status. Platinum Elite entitles you to 50% faster point earnings when you stay at IHG hotels, complimentary room upgrades whenever available, 72-hour guaranteed availability, and other perks. This benefit doesn’t cost anything extra, and its value is potentially huge for frequent travelers. By contrast, Marriott Bonvoy Boundless cardholders only earn Silver Elite status, a lower frequent traveler level that doesn’t include complimentary room upgrades, guaranteed room availability, or 50% faster point earnings.
  3. Nice Redemption Rebate. Whenever you redeem your points for a free hotel night, you get a 10% rebate, no matter how many or how few points you redeem. As an example, a 10,000-point redemption produces a 1,000-point rebate, resulting in a net use of 9,000 points. Marriott Bonvoy Boundless, Expedia+, and Expedia+ Voyager all lack redemption rebates.
  4. 2x Points Categories Are Broad. The IHG Rewards Club Premier Card’s categories that reward 2 points per $1 spent cover broad, everyday expenses: gas, groceries, and restaurants. This is a big advantage for frequent travelers seeking a boost on everyday spending.
  5. No Foreign Transaction Fee. IHG Rewards Club Premier cardholders don’t have to worry about foreign transaction fees. That’s great news for cardholders who regularly travel abroad. By contrast, Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature has a 3% foreign transaction fee.

Disadvantages

  1. Has an $89 Annual Fee. This card’s $89 annual fee isn’t waived during the first year. That’s a bummer for cardholders looking to maximize the value of their sign-up bonuses and ongoing rewards.
  2. Inflexible Redemption Options. While you can redeem your IHG Rewards Club points at more than 5,000 properties worldwide, there’s not much else you can do with them. You can’t redeem them for merchandise, statement credits, gift cards, or even incidental purchases at participating hotels. Citi Hilton Honors Reserve allows you to redeem for hotel incidentals, while U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards allows you to redeem for general merchandise and cash equivalents, such as gift cards and statement credits, in addition to travel purchases.
  3. Limited Travel and Experience Benefits. Although it does come with an automatic upgrade to Platinum Elite status, the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card offers few travel and experience benefits not directly related to IHG hotels or the rewards system. For instance, it doesn’t have a concierge service, travel protection insurance, or exclusive/VIP event access (these things aren’t included in Platinum Elite status). By contrast, Citi Hilton Honors Reserve comes with 24/7 travel booking assistance and exclusive access to a raft of special events, such as concerts and sports contests.
  4. Potentially Low Point Values at Redemption. Although the value of IHG Rewards Club points varies based on the monetary cost of the hotel stay for which they’re redeemed, the range generally works out to $0.005 to $0.01, and IHG charges $0.007 per point when purchased through Points & Cash. U.S. Bank FlexPerks points are reliably worth $0.02 apiece, and points accumulated with Chase Sapphire Preferred are worth up to $0.0125 when redeemed for travel at Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal.

Final Word

InterContinental Hotel Group isn’t a well-known name, but some of its hotel brands certainly are. If you’ve ever stayed at a Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, or any other related property, you’ve stayed at an IHG hotel. Depending on how often you travel and how frequently you encounter IHG-branded properties along the way, this could be a powerful rewards card to keep in your wallet – even if you use another product, such as an airline rewards or cash back rewards card, as your primary card.

On the other hand, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card isn’t great for infrequent travelers, cardholders who prefer not to deal with annual fees, cardholders who prefer more flexible rewards programs with a wider variety of redemption options, and travelers looking for value-added perks such as concierge service and VIP access. Of course, if you prefer another hospitality family – say, Hilton or Marriott – there’s sure to be a suitable card for you as well, as many other hotel rewards credit cards are available.

Verdict
4.2 / 5
Rating

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card pays you back when you stay at nearly 5,000 hotel properties around the world, including commonplace, affordable brands like Holiday Inn Express and Candlewood Suites.

It’s great for frequent travelers who can spend enough – and redeem free nights frequently enough – to offset the $89 annual fee, and who don’t mind redeeming their earned points for hotel stays. Thanks to the 2-points-per-dollar earnings on gas, restaurant, and grocery purchases, it’s also great for frequent travelers who like being rewarded for everyday purchases – not just hotel stays, airfare, and car rentals

An attainable and generous sign-up bonus, automatic Platinum Elite status, and broad points-earning power are all nice perks.

However, the inflexible redemption options, limited travel benefits outside IHG hotels, and potentially low point values at redemption may be problematic.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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