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The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card features a solid rewards rate on IHG hotel purchases, but unfortunately its $29 annual fee and lack of extensive IHG benefits make it a tough sell. Most travelers will get better value from this card's bigger brother the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card—which features an excellent rewards rate and valuable IHG-specific benefits—or a no-annual-fee cash back card like the Citi® Double Cash Card.
- Benefits and Features
- How Does the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card Compare to Other Credit Cards?
Review: Our Thoughts on the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card
The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card is easily outperformed by the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card in terms of IHG rewards and benefits. This is because the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers twice the rewards for IHG purchases and features some excellent additional benefits. These include annual free nights (valued at $256), a Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit every four years (valued at $100) and automatic Platinum Elite status in the IHG Rewards Club. Travelers that can take advantage of all of these benefits should recoup a value much greater than the annual fee of $89.
While the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card might seem like a decent low-cost alternative to the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, it does not have enough benefits to make it a better option than a no-annual-fee cash back card such as the Citi® Double Cash Card. This is because to earn more rewards with the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card than the Citi® Double Cash Card—after accounting for the $29 annual fee—you would have to spend more than $2,400 at IHG hotels. However, anyone who spends this much at IHG would get even better value with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.
Bottom Line: We do not recommend applying for the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card. Instead, we recommend the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card for those interested in IHG benefits.
Benefits and Features
The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card's main feature is that it allows cardholders to earn points in the IHG rewards club for making purchases with their card. Travelers can also earn an additional 60,000 points if they are able to make $2,000 in purchases within 3 months of account opening. Based on our valuation of these points, we estimate the value of this bonus to be $384.
The points you earn with the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card can be used to book hotels nights and flights, and they also can be used to shop on IHG's online catalog or can be redeemed for gift cards. Our analysis found that when you use your points to book hotel nights—which we found to be the best redemption option—the points are worth $0.0064 each. For more information about how to get the most from your points, read our IHG Rewards Club program guide.
IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) includes 5,300 hotels all over the world including the following brands:
- Staybridge Suites®
- Hotel Indigo®
- Holiday Inn®
- Holiday Inn Resort®
- Candlewood Suites®
- Even™ Hotels
- Holiday Inn Club Vacations®
- Holiday Inn Express®
- InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts
- Crowne Plaza®
- Kimpton® Hotels
This card rewards cardholders that spend $10,000 on purchases within a calendar year with Gold Elite status in the IHG Rewards Club. When you hit the $10,000 yearly spending threshold, you are eligible for Gold Elite status until Dec. 31 of the following year. Gold Elite status includes a number of valuable benefits for IHG guests including extended check-out, priority check-in and a $30 in-room spa credit when you stay at participating Kimpton hotels. Normally qualifying for Gold Elite status requires staying 10 nights per year at IHG hotels or earning 10,000 Elite qualifying points per year.
However, if you care about elite status with IHG, know that the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card gives you automatic Platinum Elite status, with no prerequisite spending requirements.
How Does the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card Compare to Other Credit Cards?
Comparing a card to similar offers is an important part of shopping for credit cards. This is because it gives you a sense of a card’s strengths and weaknesses. Below we have compared the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card to some of the top hotel and travel cards.
IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card vs IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is the better card for those that can take advantage of its annual free night benefit. The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card's annual free night we value at $256, which more than makes up for this card’s $89 annual fee. Anyone who can't use at least one free night at an IHG hotel each year shouldn't get an IHG credit card in the first place. If that describes you, we recommend a general travel card, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
- Earn 10 points per dollar spent when you stay at IHG® hotels.
- Free anniversary nights at IHG hotels with a point redemption level of 40,000 points or less.
- Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.
- IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card Review
IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card vs Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, one of our favorite hotel cards, is the better option for those who are interested in earning versatile rewards. While the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card's points are really only good when used for hotel nights, the points that the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express earns can be redeemed across 29 hotel brands or transferred to over 40 airline partners.
- Earn six points on eligible purchases at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels.
- Earn two points on all other purchases.
- $95 annual fee that is waived for the first year.
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express Review
IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card vs Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of our favorite travel cards and is better than the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card for anyone looking for a general use travel card. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which can be transferred to a number of hotel and airline loyalty programs—including the IHG® Rewards Club.
While it does have a higher annual fee than the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card—$95 (waived for the first year) compared to $29—the increased rewards earned on restaurant and travel will make up for this if you can make over $5,410 in non-IHG purchases per year within these categories. If you can meet this spending threshold, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card will be worth the larger annual fee—if not, you are better off with the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card.
- Earn two Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and dining at restaurants and one 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