Who is This Credit Card Best For?
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain
Hits the road often, whether for work or play
Loves to explore places and experience new things
Frequently shops with a particular merchant and wants to be rewarded for their loyalty
If you frequently stay at Holiday Inn, Intercontinental, or other IHG hotels, chances are you already earn rewards as a member of the IHG Rewards Club. But if you’ve got good credit and want to maximize your opportunity for free hotel stays, the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card can fatten that cache of loyalty points. An extra 10 points per $1 spent at participating hotels is quite generous for a co-branded hotel card, and the automatic Platinum Elite Status gets you perks like priority check-in and complimentary room upgrades. What’s more, you’ll get one free hotel night just for renewing your card every year.
On the other hand, if you only take occasional trips, this card may not be worthwhile, since it carries an $89 annual fee and pays a mediocre 2 points per $1 spent on gas, groceries and dining out. Less frequent travelers should consider the lower-tier IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card, also issued by Chase, because it has no annual fee.
Or, if you’re saving up for a big vacation, you may be better off with a flexible travel or cash-back card that offers more everyday rewards-earning opportunities—and redemptions at IHG or your choice of other eligible hotels.
Generous rewards for hotel stays
Automatic VIP status
Valuable sign-up bonus
Limited redemption value
- Generous rewards for hotel stays: The rewards you earn when you use your IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card for paid stays at hotels and resorts in the IHG network is one of the higher rewards rates for a major co-branded hotel credit card—about double the offer on some cards. Plus, you’ll earn extra rewards on those same purchases for being a member of the IHG rewards program with Platinum Elite status.
- Automatic VIP status: Carrying this card automatically gives you Platinum Elite status in the IHG Rewards Club, so perks like priority check-in, complimentary room upgrades, and extra points on paid stays become standard. More on this below.
- Valuable sign-up bonus: If you spend enough to earn the sign-up bonus, you’ll get 80,000 points worth $728 toward hotel stays, based on our calculations of the average point value. That’s a very competitive offer among co-branded hotel cards with similar annual fees.
- Annual fee: You’ll pay an $89 annual fee to carry this credit card, which offsets the value of the rewards you’ll earn. If you’re not sure how often you’ll want to stay at an IHG hotel, consider the more basic IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card, which doesn’t have an annual fee but pays fewer points per $1 spent at participating hotels.
- Limited redemption value: 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 an average of 0.91 cent when redeemed for U.S. hotel stays, according to our analysis. That’s less than the benchmark 1 cent, and underwhelming when compared to chains like World of Hyatt and Marriott Bonvoy, our research shows. What’s more, the transfer rate to partner airline programs is lousy, so other redemption options make little sense.
IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus
The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card gives new cardholders 80,000 points if they spend $2,000 within the first three months they have their account. That can be worth as many as 10 hotel nights, since reward nights start at 10,000 points and you receive a free reward night on stays that are four nights or longer.
Viewed another way, the bonus is worth $728 when redeemed for hotel stays in the U.S., based on the estimated average point value of 0.91 cent. That’s pretty generous as hotel cards go, even with the lackluster point valuation. For example, the bonus on a comparable Hyatt card is worth about $550, since cardholders get far fewer of its higher-value points.
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.
You’ll also earn 10 points per $1 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.
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.
Besides the hotel points, cardholders will earn 2 points per $1 spent on dining out, groceries, and gas. All other purchases earn a baseline 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 50,000 or 60,000 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.
Keep an eye out online for occasional PointBreak promotions that give you better redemption rates at select hotel sites for specific windows of time. These reward nights can be redeemed for as little as 5,000 points.
To stretch your rewards further, you will also receive a fourth night free when you redeem points for three 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 IHG points used for U.S. hotel stays are worth 0.91 cents, on average, according to our analysis. That’s twice the value of Hilton points, but far less than the value of Hyatt points (2.22 cents) or Marriott Bonvoy points (1.43 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 program’s 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.
IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card’s Excellent Perks
This card offers several perks we’ve categorized as excellent and out of the ordinary:
- Elite status: The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card gives cardholders automatic Platinum Elite status and 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.
- Free annual hotel stay: Get a complimentary night when your account renews just for being a cardholder. 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 received about average marks in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Credit Card Customer Satisfaction Study, which considered the opinions of more than 28,000 credit card customers nationwide. The company earned 807 out of 1,000 possible points in the study, in line with the industry average of 806.
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.