IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card


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Checking-In to the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers loyal patrons unprecedented earning potential towards the IHG Rewards Club which can be redeemed for complimentary or discounted hotel stay, airline miles, and more. With IHG ® having over 5,000 properties in 100 countries around the globe, their co-branded hotel card from Chase makes it easy to turn every adventure into a luxurious embarkment – wherever your travels may take you. 

This card features an annual fee of $89 which is not waived during the first year. However, cardholders can immediately recoup the card cost with valuable membership perks, a generous signup bonus and the card’s strong earning potential.   

How it Works 

Earning Points: 

  • 25X points on hotel bookings – Earn 25 points per dollar spent at any IHG® Hotels and Resorts property 
  • 2X points on gas, groceries, and restaurants  Walmart and Target, however, are excluded from eligible grocery store points earning 
  • 1X points for everything else – Earn one point per dollar for all other purchases wherever Mastercard is accepted 
  • Anniversary Bonus – Earn 10,000 bonus points for spending at least $20,000 within the account anniversary year 

Redeeming Points: 

  • Reward Nights – The most valuable method of point redemption. Points can be used for complimentary hotel stays for as little as 10,000 points at the thousands of IHG Hotels and Resorts locations. The specific redemption amounts will vary by hotel property (you can look up the specific rates here) and requires advance reservations. While there are no blackout dates, all reservations are subject to room availability.  

The average value per point varies by hotel and the location but, after comparing rates from cities around the United States typically fell between $.003 and $.005 – less than 1¢ each. While there were no clear trends between hotel brands, it appeared that the more popular destinations (South Beach and New York City) had the least valuable redemption rates. To get the most bang out of your IHG rewards program, redeeming points at less coveted destinations will stretch point balances further.   

  • Shopping – The IHG Rewards Club offers members the opportunity to redeem points for merchandise through their online catalog which includes highend appliances, furniture, and electronics. The average point value for catalogs is a disappointing $.002, and therefore, not a recommended redemption method for any IHG® Rewards Club Premier earnings. 
  • Gift Cards – Available through the same online catalog, gift cards are available from well-known names such as Uber, Amazon, and Best Buy. Unfortunately, this method of redemption also has a subpar redemption rate averaging between $.002 – $.0025 per point.      
  • Magazine Subscriptions – Dozens of well-known publications are available via pointsIHG Members can choose from several 1-year subscription options, ranging in cost between 1,000-8,500 points. 
  • Airline Miles  IHG® Rewards Club features 39 airline partners ranging from Aeromexico to Velocity Frequent Flyer and includes major U.S. airlines. The majority of their partnered airlines have an exchange rate of 10,000 IHG points for 2,000 miles – a rate of 5 points per airline mile. When taking the amount needed to spend to generate such a number of points, this redemption option quickly loses its appeal.  

Using American Airlines as an example: To purchase 2,000 miles directly on the aa.com site would cost $101.05. Earning 10,000 points using the IHG® Rewards Club Premier credit card would cost: 

    • $400 in bookings at an IHG property, or 
    • $5,000 in gas, groceries, or restaurants, or 
    • $10,000 for non-bonus category purchases 

While the exchange may not look bad on paper, the actual discrepancy in value is apparent once you crunch the numbers. As such, thiredemption method isn’t highly recommended either. 

Buying miles directly from American Airlines
Figure  1 – Source: aa.com
  • Donate to Charity – IHG Members can donate between 2,500 – 10,000 points to five establishments: Goodwill, the American Red Cross, The Prince’s Trust, Youth Career Initiative, and CARE International UK.  
    It’s difficult to accurately valuate each IHG point for this redemption method, as the actual dollar value of the donation is not shown. Instead, selecting a charity “product” will only display a description of what the donation could be used for.  
    While giving back to the less fortunate is always a worthy cause, our one caveat about this redemption option is that donated points are not counted as tax-deductible donations. 

Today’s Bonus Offer 

Spend $2,000 within the first 3 months of opening an account and you’ll find yourself with 80,000 bonus points – and with complimentary hotel stay starting at 5,000 points, this signup bonus can go a long way.  If your annual spending tops $20,000 per account calendar year, you’ll be well-rewarded with an anniversary bonus of 10,000 points.

While $20,000 may seem steep to earn enough points for potentially one night’s staythose who were likely to spend that muchwhether there was incentive or not, will find this perk an easy way to earn extra rewards for the purchases they were already intending to make. 

On top of an impressive signup bonus, new cardholders can enjoy amplified earning potential on purchases for the first 12 months of opening an account: Earn a whopping 40X points per dollar spent at any IHG hotels or resorts and 4X points per dollar on all other purchases. 

Getting Under the Sheets with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Hotel Perks: 

  • Platinum Elite Status – Automatically be upgraded to the mid-tier of IHG® Rewards Club membership which otherwise would require 40 qualified night stays per calendar year or 40,000 Elite Qualifying Points. This elevated status entitles members to a host of benefits including exclusive booking rates, enhanced hotel stays, and accelerated point earning capabilities.  
  • Anniversary Free Night – A night of complimentary hotel stay will be made available each year that your account is active, on the account renewal date (12 months from the initial open date, reward nights will be given on the same date every year). Unfortunately, this award is not eligible for use at all IHG properties and can only be used for one standard room’s night rate with a current point redemption level of 40,000 or less. View the complete list of ineligible IHG hotels and resorts here. Anniversary Night will be forfeited if not used within 12 months from when it was issued. 
  • Fourth Night Free – Book four or more nights of consecutive stay using your points and receive the 4th night free. During the booking process, cardholders will be charged the point redemption rate of the first three nights only. There is no limit to how many times this benefit can be used, however, bookings that are paid for in cash or through partial cash payment (Points & Cash bookings) are not eligible for this offer. 

Travel Perks: 

  • Global Entry or TSA Pre® Fee Credit – Receive a statement credit when using the IHG® Rewards Club Premier credit card to pay the $100 application fee for Global Entry or the $85 application fee for TSA Pre®. Reimbursement is only eligible for one application every four years. 

  • Baggage Delay Insurance – Receive reimbursement for essential purchases (toiletries, clothing, etc.), up to $100 for 3 days, if baggage is delayed for over 6 hours.  
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement – If checked or carry-on bags are damaged or lost by the carrier, receive up to $3,000 per passenger (applies to you and immediate family members that you are traveling with). 
  • Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance – If sickness, severe weather, or other eligible situations result in a trip cancelation, receive up to $5,000 in reimbursement (per trip) for pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses. This includes passenger fares, tours, and hotels. 
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees – Feel free to use the IHG® Rewards Club Premier credit card at any of IHG’s thousands of international properties. There are no additional charges for making purchases outside of the United States.  

Additional Perks: 

  • Save 20% on Point Purchases – Use your IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card when purchasing points towards the IHG® Rewards Club. All points acquired through purchases will not count towards Elite qualification to move to a higher membership tier. 
  • Purchase Protection – New purchases are covered against damage and theft for 120 days and up to $500 per claim ($50,000 claim limit per account). 

“Suite” Perks That Make the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card Worthwhile: 

  • Automatic Platinum Elite Member status – This perk saves cardholders a considerable amount of hassle from having to discern between Elite Qualifying purchases and Non-Elite Qualifying purchases – and, of course, having to spend on the 40 nights of hotel stays that’s required. Further, having Elite status means that points will never expire as long as you’re a cardholder, allowing the opportunity for individuals to accrue enough points to redeem for some of IHG’s most luxurious properties.   
  • Multiple ways to earn free hotel stay – Everyone likes “free”, and the IHG® Rewards Club Premier credit card provides plenty of opportunities to get your share of it. In fact, the card automatically pays for itself ($89 fee) by providing cardholders with a free night for every account anniversary.
  • Internationaltravelerfriendly – Cardholders can enjoy complimentary Global Entry or TSA Pre® and zero foreign transaction fees, perfect for those who frequently travel abroad for business or family. 

“Reservations” About the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card 

  • Point redemption value – Although there are multiple point redemption methods, the only worthwhile option is to use points towards hotel stays, and even then, point value is typically below half a cent. The next best options for redemption — transferring points for airline miles or redeeming for magazines and gift cards – bring down the value of each point even further.  
  • High spend for anniversary bonus points – While not a detraction from the overall card itself, the 10,000 bonus points that cardholders have the potential to earn comes at a pretty high spend threshold.

Cardholders who wouldn’t already spend $20,000 per calendar year should not push their spending to unnatural limits just to reach this. Considering that the average 2-night stay requires between 30,000-70,000 points, aiming to reach such a high threshold wouldn’t result in achieving additional IHG award stay.  

Time to Check-Out 

Overall, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier credit card is an incredibly compelling hotel card. It’s difficult to ignore such a substantial signup bonus and the unmatched earning power of the card within the first 12 months. If you’re not already a loyal IHG Hotels & Resorts patron, this card might make you consider becoming one.  

Opportunities for a free night stay are available at nearly every turn – even after earning the signup bonus. The IHG® Rewards Club Premier credit card provides value to cardholders long after the introductory period is over, even if only in a limited capacity. The automatic Elite status hosts a bevy of benefits and would still make a strong case to apply for this card, even if that was the only perk offered. 

Although the card includes bonus rewards for gas, groceries, and restaurants, the low value of each individual point better lends this card to be used solely for booking hotel stays. Other rewards cards will likely provide far more lucrative returns on those popular categories. While it may be tempting to make this your primary credit card because of the annual fee, cardholder can rest assured they’ll get their money’s worth out of the IHG® Rewards Club Premier credit card simply from the free reward night that’s given on every account anniversary. 

The only shortcomings of this card are that the perks and redemption methods are almost exclusively geared towards hotel-related stays. There are no options for cash back or a statement creditwhich makes this card slightly less versatile compared to other cards – but what this card does offer more than makes up for the specificity of the redemption options.  

If you travel at least once a year to a location where lodging is needed, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier credit card is a strong hotel card that will continue delivering value for years to come. Want the perks with a lower annual fee? Check out the IHG Rewards Club Traveler credit card.

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