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The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card features a fantastic rewards rate on IHG purchases as well as some great benefits such as free nights at eligible IHG hotels. However, if you’re looking for a versatile hotel or travel card, then it may not be right for you.
- Benefits and Features
- How Does the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card Compare to Other Credit Cards?
Review: Our Thoughts on the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
The main draw of the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is its very high 6.4% rewards rate on IHG purchases. The 10 points per dollar spent at IHG hotels—worth an estimated $0.0064 each—is great even when we compare it to other co-branded cards, which typically offer exceptional rewards on purchases with the company. However, for this you sacrifice flexibility, as the points you earn with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card have little value outside of being redeemed for IHG hotel bookings.
|Frequent IHG guests||Everyday purchases|
|Earning free hotel stays||Flexible rewards redemption|
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers one of the most desirable features of a hotel credit card—the ability to earn free nights. Cardholders who can use the annual free night should easily be able to recoup value equal to or greater than the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card's $89 annual fee. We estimate that people who use this benefit at hotels at the maximum 40,000 point redemption level should come out ahead about $167 (40,000 points x $0.0064 per point = $256 - $89 annual fee = $167) when considering the cash value less the annual fee.
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is not very good as a general use card. This is because its reward rate for non-IHG purchases—at either 1.28% for the 2 point spending categories or 0.64% for 1 point categories—is worse than you can get with a no annual fee cash back card like the Citi® Double Cash Card. For this reason, we would recommend consumers consider the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card as a specialty use card more than an everyday use card.
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is great for those that often stay at IHG hotels and can use the perks associated with the Platinum Elite status, which cardholders get automatically. This comes with many useful benefits that can be invaluable to frequent travelers, like free room upgrades (under certain circumstances), priority check-in and extended check-out. These benefits are some of the best we've seen among hotel cards.
Bottom Line: The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is worth getting for those who can utilize its high rewards rate for IHG purchases, free anniversary nights and some of perks that come with having Platinum Elite status. However, it works best when paired with a card that offers a good rewards rate on everyday purchases and has flexible rewards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Benefits and Features
With the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, you can earn 10 points per $1 spent at IHG hotels; 2 points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery store and restaurants; and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Cardholders can also choose to buy points, which they can do at a 20% discount. However—even with the discount—purchasing points is a poor value, as their cost will be more than their redemption value. The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card currently come with a sizable introductory spending bonus of 80,000 points. To qualify, you have to charge at least $2,000 in purchases within the first three months of your account opening.
Points can be used to book hotel stays or flights and can also be used to shop on IHG's online catalog or redeem gift cards. We found hotel reservations to be by far the best way to use points, with an average value of less than one cent or $0.0064 cents per point. Using your points for anything but hotel bookings is usually not recommended because you’ll get less value back. For more information about other redemption options see our guide on the IHG Rewards Club program.
What is IHG?
IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) is a massive hotel company with almost 5,300 hotels all over the world including brands such as:
- Staybridge Suites®
- Candlewood Suites®
- InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts
- Hotel Indigo®
- Even™ Hotels
- Holiday Inn®
- Holiday Inn Club Vacations®
- Crowne Plaza®
- Holiday Inn Resort®
- Holiday Inn Express®
One of the more desirable benefits that the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers is a free anniversary night at an eligible hotel that you can qualify for every year on the anniversary of your account opening. You only receive this benefit after you've had your card for a year, so you do not receive it when you open your account. This benefit can only be used at hotels with a point redemption level of 40,000 points or less, and expires after 12 months of being issued. The 40,000 point restriction only excludes very high-end hotels and still leaves more than 4,900 eligible locations.
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card users can also receive a free night when they use their points to book four nights or more. This can be very valuable for those who book longer trips a few times a year. The downside is that to use this benefit, you must first amass quite a large amount of points—at least 30,000—which might take a while for some cardholders.
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card cardholders automatically enjoy Platinum Elite status in the IHG Rewards Club. Normally to qualify for this, IHC Club members would need to stay 40 qualified night or earn 40,000 qualified points per calendar year. Platinum Elite status gets you 50% more point earnings only on points earned by being a IHG Rewards Club member-not to points earned by using the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. Additional Platinum Elite perks include:
- Complimentary room upgrades (subject to availability)
- A $30 in-room spa credit when you stay at participating Kimpton Hotels
- Priority check-in
- Extended check out
With the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, you can receive a credit of up to $100 to cover the application fee for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®. This is a fairly common benefit among travel cards. Global Entry members get all the benefits of TSA Pre✓® as well as expedited entry when entering the U.S. We typically recommend travelers opt for Global Entry for the greater covered benefit.
How Does the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card Compare to Other Credit Cards?
It's hard to evaluate a card’s value without knowing how it stacks up to other options. For this reason we always recommend that you compare features when shopping for credit cards. Below, we have compared the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card to some of the best hotel credit cards currently available.
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card vs Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
While the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cannot match the rewards that the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card earns for IHG purchases, for all other spending it offers much higher rewards. For travel and dining at restaurants the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns 2 points per $1 spent, which—when redeemed for travel the Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) portal—amounts to a 2.5% rewards rate. Furthermore, UR points are incredibly versatile as they can be transferred 1:1 with a number of travel and hotel partners. Ultimately the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card will be the better card for most, however those who frequent IHG hotels can still recoup excellent value with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and might consider getting both.
- Earn 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and dining at restaurants and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 50,000 bonus points for making $4,000 in purchases within three months of your account opening.
- Points are transferable to many leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Review
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card vs Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Though the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express are both co-branded hotel credit cards, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is far more versatile. The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is one of our favorite hotel credit cards because it offers a minimum high rewards rate of 1.8% on all spending (based on our estimated point value of $0.009 multiplied by the points earned). Also, with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express you can redeem your points across 29 different hotel brands and transfer them to over 40 airline partners. If you can travel often and stay in IHG hotels and utilize many of the IHG specific benefits of the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card then you should get it. Otherwise, you will get better value from the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.
- Earn six points on eligible purchases at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels
- Earn two points on all other eligible purchases.
- $95 annual fee that is waived for the first year.
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express Review
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card vs Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card
The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card offers great rewards and benefits for frequent Marriott guests. It features a 3% rewards rate for spending at Marriott locations as well an annual free night on your account anniversary. Ultimately picking between these two cards comes down to whether you stay more with IHG or Marriott more, as both cards offer excellent benefits for their respective hotels.
- Earn 5 points per $1 spent at Marriott locations; 2 points for every $1 spent on direct airline ticket purchases, car rental agencies and restaurants; and 1 point for every $1 spent everywhere else.
- Annual free night on account anniversary.
- $85 annual fee that is waived for the first year.
- Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card Review