Who Is This Credit Card Best For?
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
Frequently shops with a particular merchant and wants to be rewarded for their loyalty See more cards
If you frequently stay at Holiday Inn, Intercontinental, or other IHG hotels, the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card can fatten your cache of loyalty points. The extra points you'll earn at participating hotels are generous for a co-branded hotel card, and cardholders can enjoy late checkout and more with automatic Platinum Elite Status. What’s more, you’ll get one reward hotel night just for renewing your card every year, and when you redeem points for four or more consecutive nights, the fourth night won’t cost you any points.
On the other hand, if you only take occasional trips or you’re not sure how much you want to stay at IHG hotels when you do travel, this card may not be worthwhile. You may instead want to consider the no-annual-fee IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card or a flexible travel card that lets you use your points on a wide range of hotels, as well as flights and rental cars.
Generous rewards for hotel stays
Automatic VIP status
Valuable bonus for new cardholders
Above-average bonus spending requirement
Points are not very valuable
- Generous rewards for hotel stays: The 10 points you earn for every dollar you spend on the card for paid stays in the IHG network are on the high side for a top co-branded hotel credit card—about double the offer on some cards. Plus, you’ll earn extra rewards (10 points per $1) on those same purchases if you join the IHG rewards program, and even more with Platinum Elite status (more on that below).
- Automatic VIP status: You’d typically need a whopping 40 nights of stays to earn Platinum Elite status in the IHG Rewards Club. Carrying this card automatically confers the status, so perks like priority check-in, complimentary room upgrades, and extra points on paid stays become standard.
- Valuable bonus for new cardholders: If you spend enough to earn the bonus, you’ll get 140,000 points worth about $1,050 toward hotel stays, based on our calculations of the average IHG point value. That’s one of the best among co-branded hotel cards with similar annual fees.
- Above-average bonus spending requirement: Only a handful hotel credit cards require $3,000 or more in spending in three months to earn a welcome bonus, and this is one of them.
- Points are not very valuable: It’s a good thing cardholders earn so many points on hotel stays, since they’re not that valuable. Each point from IHG is worth about 0.75 cents when redeemed for U.S. hotel stays, according to our analysis. That’s less than the benchmark average 1 cent for standard rewards credit cards, and less than the average value in programs from other chains such as Marriott and Wyndham, our research shows.
Bonus for New Cardholders
The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card gives new cardholders 140,000 points if they spend $3,000 within the first three months they have their account. Based on The Balance’s point valuations, the bonus is worth about $1,050 when used to book hotel stays. That can be good for as many as 14 hotel nights, since reward nights start at 10,000 points (although given the points required for many mid-tier and premium IHG rooms, three or four nights seem more likely).
Earning Points & Rewards
The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is a hotel card, after all, so hotel spending is where you’ll get the biggest rewards. You’ll earn 10 points for every $1 you charge to your card at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) properties including Holiday Inn, Intercontinental, Kimpton Hotels, Crowne Plaza, and Hotel Indigo, among others.
On top of the base credit card rate, you’ll earn another 10 points per $1 spent at those properties for being a member of the IHG Rewards Club—the company’s loyalty program—and another 5 points per $1 because the card automatically gives you Platinum Elite status in that program. While that adds up to a whopping 25 points per $1 spent at IHG, it’s important to remember that you can earn 15 of these points without the credit card, if you regularly travel with IHG already.
The IHG Rewards Club is free to join, so if you don’t have the card you can still get 10 of these points by simply enrolling in the club and making eligible purchases. Platinum Elite status, however, isn’t as easy to come by without the credit card. IHG customers without the card need to earn 40,000 qualifying points or stay 40 qualifying nights in a calendar year.
You'll get another 10,000 bonus points every year on your account anniversary, too. It does require some jumping through hoops, though. You’ll receive the bonus points after you’ve spent at least $20,000 and then made one other purchase (of any amount) at least one day after you spent $20,000.
Besides the hotel points, cardholders will earn 2 points per $1 spent on dining out, groceries, and gas. All other purchases earn a baseline of 1 point per $1. While 2 points per $1 on popular spending categories isn’t bad, if you’re not a diehard fan of an IHG brand or don’t travel very often, you can find travel cards offering more hotel options and similar or better everyday rewards-earning opportunities.
Reward nights can be redeemed at almost 5,200 IHG hotels around the world. They typically start at 10,000 points and can go up to 60,000 or 70,000 points, depending on brand and location. While the program documents say there are no blackout dates, per se, the company acknowledges that room inventory is limited and subject to prior sale. That has been known to seriously reduce availability—especially at high-end properties.
To stretch your rewards, you receive a fourth reward night when you redeem points for four or more consecutive nights at the same hotel. There is no limit to how often you can use this benefit.
Or, if you have at least 5,000 points but not enough to cover an entire night at your desired location, you can cover just part of the cost of a room and pay the rest in cash.
Keep in mind that IHG points used for U.S. hotel stays are worth 0.75 cents, on average, according to our research. That’s a lot more than the value of Hilton points (0.45 cents), but far less than the value of Hyatt points (2.01 cents) or Marriott Bonvoy points (1.11 cents), our research found.
Among the redemption options offered by IHG, hotel stays will generally get you the best bang for your buck. Still, it’s good to know your choices. You can use your points for merchandise, gift cards, charitable donations, event tickets, and video games, among other things.
You can also transfer them to any partner airline’s rewards program, though we wouldn’t recommend it. There are dozens of eligible partners—including United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and British Airways—but the transfer ratios are paltry, as is the case with many co-branded hotel cards. With most partners, you’ll need to transfer 10,000 IHG Rewards points to get 2,000 of the airline miles, but for some partners you’ll get fewer than 100 miles.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
Besides using your card to purchase all your IHG hotel stays, make sure to use your points for hotels rather than merchandise to get the best bang for your buck.
You should also consider pairing this card with a flexible travel card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Capital One Venture Rewards Card, which reward additional types of purchases. Points or miles from either card can still be used for hotel stays within the IHG family, but they’ll be worth at least 1 cent each. Or, with the Chase card, you can transfer your points to the IHG Rewards Club at a 1-to-1 ratio.
To see how the IHG Rewards Club’s points stack up against other travel rewards, check out our in-depth analysis of what credit card points are worth.
IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card’s Excellent Perks
- Elite status: The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card gives cardholders automatic Platinum Elite status, along with all the related perks.
- Global Entry/TSA Precheck application fee reimbursement: Receive up to $100 in credit on your statement every four years when you charge the application fees for these expedited airport clearance programs.
- Annual hotel stay: Get a complimentary night when your account renews just for being a cardholder and paying the annual fee. This anniversary benefit is good for hotels with a redemption value of 40,000 points or less per night and must be redeemed within a year.
- Insurance coverage for lost or delayed luggage: You and your immediate family members will receive up to $3,000 per passenger if your baggage is lost or damaged by an airline or other common carrier. You’ll also get reimbursed for incidental expenses (up to $100 per day for three days) when your baggage is delayed for over six hours.
- Insurance coverage for trip cancellation or interruption: Get up to $5,000 if your trip is cut short or canceled due to sickness, severe weather, or other covered reasons. This per-trip benefit reimburses prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses.
IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card’s Other Features
- Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
Not only does Chase offer customer service by phone 24 hours a day, but it has a mobile app and online account management platform that makes it easy to track your purchases and pay bills using your computer or phone.
Chase ranked fourth (out of 11) in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Credit Card Customer Satisfaction Study, which considered the opinions of more than 29,000 credit card customers nationwide.
Chase offers standard security measures including encryption, account monitoring for suspicious purchases, and multiple authentication checks.
IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card’s Fees
The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card charges relatively standard fees for the industry. It’s worth noting that there are no foreign transaction fees for purchases made abroad.