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Which IHG-branded Credit Card Is Best for You? [Detailed Comparison]

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Christine Krzyszton
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Christine Krzyszton

Senior Finance Contributor

316 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 98U.S. States Visited: 45

Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, deta...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...
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Kellie’s professional experience has led her to a deep passion for compliance, data reporting, and process improvement. Kellie’s learned the ins and outs of the points and miles world and leads UP’s c...

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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.

Best IHG-branded Cards — Overview

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:

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Benefit

IHG One Rewards Traveler Credit CardIHG One Rewards Premier Credit CardIHG One Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

Welcome Offer

Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.Earn 5 Free Nights after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.Earn 140,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

Earnings

  • Up to 17x points at IHG properties (5x for spending on the card, 10x for IHG membership, 2x for Silver Elite status)
  • 3x points on utilities, gas stations, and restaurants
  • 2x points on all other purchases
  • Up to 26x points at IHG properties (10x for spending on the card, plus 10x for IHG membership, 6x for Platinum Elite status)
  • 5x points on travel, gas stations, and restaurants
  • 3x points on all other purchases
  • 10,000 IHG One Rewards points after spending $20,000 + 1 additional purchase in a calendar year
  • Up to 26x points at IHG properties (10x for spending on the card, plus 10x for IHG membership, 6x for Platinum Elite status)
  • 5x points on travel, gas stations, select advertising, and restaurants
  • 3x points on all other purchases
  • 10,000 IHG One Rewards points + $100 statement credit after spending $20,000 + 1 additional purchase in a calendar year

Annual Free Hotel Night

None

1 free hotel night per card year anniversary

Elite Status with IHG Rewards

  • Automatic Silver Elite status as long as you hold the card
  • Gold Elite status after spending $10,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • Automatic Platinum Elite status as long as you hold the card
  • Diamond Elite status after spending $40,000 on the card in a calendar year

Fourth Reward Night Free

Yes

20% Points Purchase Discount

Yes

Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS credit

None

Up to $100 once every 4 years

Travel and Shopping Protections/Benefits

Yes


Foreign Transaction Fees

None

Annual Fee

$0$99$99

The Value of a Welcome Bonus

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.

LIMITED TIME OFFER
IHG One Rewards Traveler Credit Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

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.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
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.
Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
100,000 bonus points
$500
$0
21.49% - 28.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

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.

Pros
  • Up to 17x total points per $1 on IHG stays
  • 3x points per $1 on monthly bills, at gas stations, and restaurants
  • 2x point per $1 on all other purchases
Cons
    • Not as rewarding as the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card
  • Limited Time Offer! Earn 100,000 bonus points
  • No Annual Fee
  • Earn up to 17 total points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG Hotels & Resorts
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on purchases on monthly bills, at gas stations, and restaurants. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Redeem 3 Nights, Get the 4th Night Free
  • IHG One Rewards Bonus points are redeemable at Hotels & Resorts such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.49% - 28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

IHG Rewards Loyalty Program Review

OUR BEST OFFER EVER
IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The perfect card for IHG fans, offering a free night every year, automatic Platinum Elite status, and your fourth night free on award stays.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
The perfect card for IHG fans, offering a free night every year, automatic Platinum Elite status, and your fourth night free on award stays.
Earn 5 Free Nights after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
5 Free Nights
$1,500
$99
21.49% - 28.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

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.

Pros
  • Up to 26x points per $1 on IHG stays
  • 5x points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, at gas stations, and restaurants
  • 3x points per $1 on all other purchases
Cons
  • $99 annual fee
  • Does not earn transferable points
  • Our Best Offer Ever! Earn 5 Free Nights
  • Enjoy an Anniversary Free Night at IHG Hotels & Resorts. Plus, enjoy a fourth reward night free when you redeem points for a consecutive four-night IHG® hotel stay.
  • Earn up to 26 total points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG Hotels & Resorts
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, at gas stations, and restaurants. Earn 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Automatic Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier cardmember
  • Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS Statement Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
  • IHG One Rewards Bonus points are redeemable at Hotels & Resorts such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.49% - 28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
IHG One Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The IHG Premier Business card is the perfect option for business travelers who regularly stay at IHG hotels.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
The IHG Premier Business card is the perfect option for business travelers who regularly stay at IHG hotels.
Earn 140,000 Bonus Points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
140,000 points
$700
$99
21.49% - 28.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850)

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.

Pros
  • Up to 26x total points per $1 spent on IHG Hotels and Resorts
  • 5x points per $1 spent on travel, at gas stations, select advertising, and restaurants
  • 3x points per $1 spent on all other purchases
Cons
  • $99 annual fee
  • Does not earn transferable rewards
  • Earn 140,000 Bonus Points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Enjoy an Anniversary Free Night at IHG Hotels & Resorts. Plus, enjoy a fourth reward night free when you redeem points for a consecutive four-night IHG® hotel stay.
  • Earn up to 26 total points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG Hotels and Resorts
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, at gas stations, select advertising, and restaurants. Earn 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Automatic Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier Business cardmember
  • Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS Statement Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
  • IHG One Rewards Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.49% - 28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Earning Rewards With IHG Credit Cards

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.

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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.

Bottom Line: Each IHG-branded card offers the opportunity to earn a generous welcome bonus worth several free hotel nights. IHG credit cards also earn elevated rewards points at IHG properties and on select everyday purchases.

Redeeming IHG One Rewards Points

Holiday Inn Dead Sea
Redeem the points earned on your IHG-branded credit card for free hotel nights. Holiday Inn Dead Sea. Image Credit: IHG

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:

  • Airline miles
  • Digital rewards
  • Free hotel nights
  • Gift certificates and gift cards
  • IHG Foundation
  • Intercontinental Ambassador membership
  • Merchandise
  • Rewards Concierge
  • TSA PreCheck
  • Use Points & Cash for hotel nights

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.

Bottom Line: The best points earning and redemption options are using your card to pay at IHG properties and redeeming your points for free hotel nights. 

How IHG Credit Cards and IHG One Rewards Work Harmoniously Together

Holiday Inn Resort Bali
The combination of having an IHG-branded credit card and being a member of IHG One Rewards ensures you’ll get all the benefits you deserve. Holiday Inn Resort Benoa Bali. Image Credit: IHG

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:

IHG One Rewards Platinum Elite Status

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:

  • Bonus point earnings on IHG stays
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Late checkout
  • Room upgrades
  • Welcome amenity

Hot Tip: Need more info? We’ve put together an overview of all the benefits of IHG One Rewards elite status.

Elevated Earnings at IHG Properties

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.

Fourth Reward Night Free

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.

Rewards Nights Count Towards Elite Status

Both paid and reward stays count toward earning elite status with IHG One Rewards.

Promotions

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.

20% Point Purchase Discount

When you use your IHG-branded card to purchase IHG One Rewards points, you receive a 20% discount on the price of the points.

Card Anniversary Free Night

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.

Bottom Line: Your IHG-branded credit card works harmoniously with your IHG One Rewards membership to deliver elevated earnings, on-site benefits, additional redemption options, and member discounts.

Travel and Shopping Benefits and Protections

Flight delay board
With an IHG-branded credit card, you’ll receive travel and shopping protections you can actually use. Image Credit: Ciurea Adrian via Shutterstock

Travel Benefits and Protections

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:

  • Trip Interruption and Cancellation Coverage — Receive up to $5,000 per covered trip, per person if your trip (paid for with your IHG-branded card) is canceled or interrupted by a covered event. There is a maximum of $10,000 per trip and $20,000 per 12-month period for each coverage.
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver — Complimentary secondary car rental insurance is provided for rentals 31 days or less for damage and theft.
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement and Baggage Delay — Luggage lost, damaged, or stolen during your trip is covered, up to $3,000. Coverage is also provided for luggage delayed more than 6 hours at $100 per day for up to 5 days.
  • Travel Accident Insurance — Receive up to $500,000 if there is a covered serious injury or death involving a common carrier.
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services — Get help when you need it while traveling with 24/7 emergency referral assistance. Receive referrals for English-speaking doctors, emergency transportation, and more. The cardholder pays for the actual cost of services provided.

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.

Shopping Protections

IHG-branded credit cards come with these useful shopping protections:

  • Purchase Protection — Pay for your eligible item with your IHG Premier card or IHG Traveler card and receive 120 days of coverage from the date of purchase for damage or theft. Coverage is limited to $500 per claim, $50,000 per account.
  • Extended Warranty — Purchase an eligible item with either card and the manufacturer’s warranty of 3 years or less will be extended for 1 additional year.

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.

Everything Else You Need To Know

IHG-branded credit cards are subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule, so you’ll want to review the rule before applying for any Chase credit cards.

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.

Final Thoughts

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, or 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best IHG credit card?

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.

How many IHG One Rewards points does it take for a free night?

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.

How does the IHG credit card cell phone protection work?

Chase removed cell phone protection from IHG-branded cards in January 2022.

How does the IHG fourth night free work?

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.

Do IHG One Rewards points expire?

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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About Christine Krzyszton

Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, detailed content for UP.

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