Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Kellie Jez
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IHG Hotels & Resorts has always been innovative. The brand was the first hotel group to ever franchise their brand and also the first to receive an online hotel booking.
Its worldwide footprint is diversified with everything from basic accommodations to unique specialty hotels and high-end luxury resorts. With its collection of nearly 6,000 properties and 865,000 guest rooms, it’s easy to find a hotel room that fits both your style and your budget.
You don’t have to stay frequently or be an IHG loyalist, however, to appreciate the value of an IHG co-branded credit card. These Chase-issued cards are packed with robust rewards earning possibilities, easy free hotel night redemption options, and benefits such as elite status and travel/shopping benefits.
IHG-branded credit cards also provide an added dimension to membership in the IHG One Rewards program. You’ll find that having an IHG-branded card enhances your IHG One Rewards membership and vice versa.
In this article, we’ll discuss 3 IHG-branded cards — the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card, IHG One Rewards Traveler Credit Card, and IHG One Rewards Premier Business Credit Card. We’ll talk about how each card earns rewards, your redemption options, how the cards work in harmony with the IHG One Rewards program, and look at card-provided benefits.
It’s a great lineup, so let’s move on to all the information you’ll need to pick an IHG credit card.
Before we detail each card, let’s pause and review with a snapshot of the core IHG credit card benefits. We think you’ll find a level of value in every IHG credit card, but let’s look at card specifics in a side-by-side comparison.
Here’s how the cards compare:
|Benefit||IHG One Rewards Traveler Credit Card||IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card||IHG One Rewards Premier Business Credit Card|
|Welcome Offer||Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.||Earn 140,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.||Earn 140,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.|
|Annual Free Hotel Night||None||1 free hotel night per card year anniversary|
|Elite Status with IHG Rewards||
|Fourth Reward Night Free||
|20% Points Purchase Discount||
|Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS credit||None||Up to $100 once every 4 years|
|Travel and Shopping Protections/Benefits||
|Foreign Transaction Fees||
The IHG One Rewards cards we’re featuring here each offer a welcome bonus once you are approved for the card and complete minimum spending requirements within the first 3 months after approval.
We value these points at approximately 0.5 cents each — that’s up to $700 in value. However, with free hotel nights starting at just 10,000 points, you can see that your points have the potential to give you considerably more value.
Earn up to 17x when you stay at IHG hotels, 3x on monthly bills, at gas stations, and restaurants, and 2x on all other purchases.
If you’re someone who is looking to enhance your IHG stays by earning more points and benefits, without paying an annual fee, then the IHG One Rewards Traveler Credit Card might be the perfect fit for you.
In this guide, we will provide a detailed view of what the card can offer so you can decide if it makes sense to add to your wallet.
The perfect card for IHG fans, offering a free night every year, automatic Platinum Elite status, and your fourth night free on award stays.
If you regularly visit IHG hotels throughout the year, then the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card is probably a perfect card to have in your wallet.
The IHG Premier card offers a great bundle of perks and benefits, including automatic Platinum elite status, an annual free night certificate, and travel protections.
The IHG Premier Business card is the perfect option for business travelers who regularly stay at IHG hotels.
IHG Rewards and Chase have teamed up to offer the IHG One Rewards Premier Business Card, a compelling option for those who travel often for their business and stay at IHG hotels.
In this review, we will cover all of the benefits of the card, including earning rates, perks, fees, and more to help you determine whether the card is a good fit for your travel goals.
IHG-branded cards offer elevated earnings at IHG properties but also reward those everyday purchases you make. In fact, every purchase you make on your IHG-branded card earns IHG One Rewards points.
|IHG Premier card||
|IHG Traveler card||
|IHG Premier Business card||
Earning on IHG-branded credit cards is enhanced by your membership in the IHG One Rewards program.
You will receive up to 26x earnings at IHG properties with the IHG Premier card and IHG Premier Business card and 17x earnings on the IHG Traveler card. We’ll cover more shortly on how membership and having an IHG credit card work together to deliver these elevated earnings.
Although there are nearly endless ways to redeem your points, the best value for your rewards is redeeming for free hotel nights and using points combined with cash to purchase free hotel nights.
Here are your options for redeeming points earned on any IHG-branded card:
In addition to the above redemption options, the IHG Premier card and IHG Premier Business card offer the option to use your rewards points to supplement your free night anniversary certificate (worth 40,000 IHG One Rewards points). If you find a hotel that costs more, you can use IHG One Reward points for the additional amount.
The combination of having an IHG credit card and being a member of the IHG One Rewards creates the best scenario for earning, redeeming, and receiving elite benefits. Before applying for an IHG-branded credit card, you’ll want to sign up with IHG One Rewards.
This is because the points you earn on your IHG credit card will be deposited into your IHG One Rewards program account each month when your credit card statement closes. The points will then be ready for you to redeem.
The IHG Premier card and IHG Premier Business card come with automatic Platinum Elite status in the IHG One Rewards program so you will realize more benefits immediately over the IHG Traveler card that offers just Silver Elite status. Here’s how the cards and the rewards program work together:
You will need to stay 40 nights or earn 60,000 base rewards points to achieve Platinum Elite status each calendar year, but this status is automatically included with your IHG Premier card or IHG Premier Business card. With Platinum Elite status you can expect the following benefits:
Hot Tip: Need more info? We’ve put together an overview of all the benefits of IHG One Rewards elite status.
You’ll receive base earnings when paying for your IHG hotel stay with your IHG-branded card. You earn 10 points per dollar spent with the IHG Premier card and IHG Premier Business card and 5 points per dollar spent with the IHG Traveler card.
However, the Platinum Elite status that comes with the IHG Premier card and IHG Premier Business card earns you an additional 16 points per dollar, for a total of 26 points per dollar spent. The IHG Traveler card comes with Silver Elite status that will earn you an additional 12 points per dollar for a total of 17 points per dollar spent.
Book 4 consecutive reward nights at the same property and receive the fourth night free. There is no limit on the number of times you can use this benefit, even during the same hotel visit. If you were to book 12 consecutive award nights, for example, you would receive the fourth, eighth, and twelfth nights free.
Both paid and reward stays count toward earning elite status with IHG One Rewards.
The IHG One Rewards program runs frequent promotions that include additional bonus rewards incentives for using your IHG credit card to pay for your hotel room. These bonus points are in addition to the points you earn on your card and for being an IHG One Rewards member.
When you use your IHG-branded card to purchase IHG One Rewards points, you receive a 20% discount on the price of the points.
The IHG Premier card and IHG Premier Business card come with a free hotel night at each card anniversary. This free night can be redeemed via your IHG One Rewards account. Each of these cards also allows you to use points to supplement the free night hotel certificate (worth 40,000 points) if a free hotel night should cost more.
When it comes to travel benefits and protections, IHG-branded cards will serve you well. First, none of the cards charge a foreign transaction fee, a real plus that can save you 3% or more on your foreign purchases.
Here is a sampling of the benefits and protections you can expect:
In addition to the above, the IHG Premier card and IHG Premier Business card come with a $50 United TravelBank credit. You’ll receive $25 twice each year when you link your IHG card with your United MileagePlus account.
IHG-branded credit cards come with these useful shopping protections:
There are plenty of travel and shopping benefits on IHG-branded cards, but please note that in this article we have abbreviated coverage descriptions and do not list all of the benefits/protections. You can find full coverage terms and conditions in the specific card’s Guide to Benefits.
To be sure you’ll earn maximum rewards and receive on-site elite benefits, you’ll want to book all of your stays directly with IHG. Third-party bookings such as those with online travel agencies will cause you to miss out on these perks.
Some IHG property brands earn fewer points per dollar spent — stays at Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites earn 5 base points per dollar versus 10 points per dollar spent at all other IHG properties.
There’s no doubt that an IHG credit card can be extremely useful and provide bottom-line economic value. We recommend the IHG Premier card as a choice for a personal hotel rewards credit card because of its annual anniversary free hotel night, 26x earnings at IHG properties, automatic complimentary Platinum Elite status with IHG One Rewards, and Global Entry/TSA PreCheck/NEXUS credit.
If you own a business and frequent IHG properties, the IHG Premier Business card can help offset your travel expenses by rewarding your common business expenses and earning free hotel nights quickly.
If you absolutely do not want to pay an annual fee, the IHG Traveler card still offers entry-level elite status, a solid earning structure, and good-value redemption options.
Even if you stay at an IHG property just a few times each year, you’ll benefit from having any IHG-branded card.
Whether you’re a road warrior, day tripper, world traveler, or family vacationer, the IHG credit card is a hotel-branded credit card that offers value for nearly everyone.
The best IHG credit card is the one that fits your travel preferences, spending mix, and whether you’re comfortable paying an annual fee. If you stay at IHG properties often, however, you’ll find tremendous value with the IHG Premier card or IHG Premier Business card as each offers a free hotel night at each card anniversary, Platinum Elite status with IHG One Rewards, earnings of up to 26x at IHG properties, trip interruption/cancellation coverage, and more.
If you are uncomfortable paying an annual fee, you can always opt for the IHG Traveler card that still allows you to earn up to 17x points at IHG properties, bonus earnings on everyday purchases, and good-value redemption options.
You can purchase a free hotel room for as few as 10,000 points. However, occasionally IHG runs a promotion during which free hotel nights can be purchased for less.
Chase removed cell phone protection from IHG-branded cards in January 2022.
When you book 4 consecutive hotel nights at the same property using your points, you will receive the fourth night free.
There is no limit as to how many times you can use this benefit, and you can even use it on the same visit. For example, if you book 8 consecutive rewards nights at a hotel, you would receive the fourth and eighth nights free.
IHG One Rewards points expire after 12 months of inactivity unless you have IHG elite status.
You can keep points from expiring by earning points, redeeming points, purchasing points, or maintaining any level of elite status.
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