IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card Review

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The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card from Chase is for serious travelers who love hotels like Holiday Inn or Intercontinental and want to maximize the value of their loyalty. 

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

overall rating
2.5
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 17.49% - 24.49% variable
Annual Fee $89
Rewards Earning Rate 10 points per dollar at IHG hotels and resorts, 2 points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, and 1 point on all other purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
2.1
for Fees
1.3
for Rewards
4.8
for Credit
2.2

Current Offer:

Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
    Deal Seeker
  • Avatar for Road Warrior Persona
    Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
    Road Warrior
  • Avatar for Adventure Seeker Persona
    Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
    Adventure Seeker
  • Avatar for Brand Loyalist Persona
    Frequently shops with a particular merchant and wants to be rewarded for their loyalty See more cards
    Brand Loyalist

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.

Pros
  • Generous rewards for hotel stays

  • Automatic VIP status

  • Valuable sign-up bonus

Cons
  • Annual fee

  • Limited redemption value

Pros Explained

  • 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 140,000 points worth $1,274 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. 

Cons Explained

  • 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 140,000 points if they spend $3,000 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 $1,274 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.   

Redeeming Rewards

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.

Transferring Points

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

Customer Experience

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. 

Security

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. 

For IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
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CURRENT CARD
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
overall rating
2.5
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 17.49% - 24.49% variable
Annual Fee $89
Rewards Earning Rate 10 points per dollar at IHG hotels and resorts, 2 points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, and 1 point on all other purchases.
Our Methodology
  • At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. IHG. "IHG Rewards Club," See 'Platinum Elite Member.' Accessed Jan. 14, 2020.

  2. JPMorgan Chase. "IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card." Accessed Jan. 14, 2020.

  3. IHG. "Reward Nights." Accessed Jan. 14, 2020.

  4. JPMorgan Chase. "IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card," See 'Offer Details.' Accessed Jan. 14, 2020.

  5. IHG. "IHG Rewards Club Membership Terms and Conditions," See No. 53. Accessed Jan. 14, 2020.

  6. IHG. "Redeem Rewards." Accessed Jan. 14, 2020.

  7. IHG. "Redeem for Miles with IHG Rewards Club Partner Airlines." Accessed Jan. 14, 2020.

  8. JPMorgan Chase. "Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card," See '1:1 Point Transfer.' Accessed Jan. 14, 2020.

  9. J.D. Power. "Credit Card Rewards War Reaches Inflection Point as Competition Grows, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed Jan. 14, 2020.

  10. JPMorgan Chase. "IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card," See 'Pricing & Terms.' Accessed Jan. 14, 2020.