IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card Review – Is It Worth It? [2020]

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IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card Review – Is It Worth It? [2020]

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"Earn tons of points when staying at an IHG hotel."

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

Apply Now (at Chase's secure site)

If you’re someone who regularly visits IHG hotels throughout the year, then the IHG® Rewards Club 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 like automatic elite status, an annual free night certificate, travel protections, and much more, all for a relatively modest annual fee of $89.

Pros

Cons

  • $89 annual fee
  • Free anniversary night is capped at 40,000 points

IHG Premier Card — Snapshot

  • Welcome Bonus & Info (Partner Content)
    • Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
    • Enjoy a Reward Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide. Plus, enjoy a reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights
    • Earn up to 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
    • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
    • Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member
    • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
    • IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®
  • Card Type:
    Credit Card
  • Card Categories:
  • Related Articles

The Ideal Cardholder

relaxed and happy young couple in modern hotel room
The IHG Premier card is best suited for individuals or families who enjoy visiting IHG hotels. Image Credit: dotshock via Shutterstock

The IHG Premier card is a stellar option for individuals or families who travel at least a few times a year, like staying with IHG-branded hotels, and can easily take advantage of the benefits of the card.

Anniversary Free Night Certificate

The free night certificate, given to cardholders each year on their account anniversary, can easily offset the cost of the $89 annual fee on its own. You can redeem the certificate for a free night at any IHG hotel that costs up to 40,000 points per night.

IHG Rewards Club no longer publishes an award chart, but rest assured that a 40,000 points hotel in the portfolio can easily cost between $200 to $300 a night depending on the location and season.

Hot Tip: If you want some ideas on the types of hotels where you could your free night certificate, check our ultimate guide for some of your best redemption options for IHG Rewards Club points!

Platinum Elite Status

IHG Rewards Club Platinum Elite status, usually earned after 40 qualifying nights or 40,000 qualifying points, comes complimentary to cardholders of the IHG Premier card.

Your new Platinum Elite status comes with the following perks:

  • 50% bonus points earned on IHG stays
  • Extended checkout and priority check-in
  • Complimentary room upgrades
  • Welcome amenity

The 50% bonus jumps your points earned from 10x points per $1 to 15 points per $1 on your IHG stays. Don’t forget, when you use your IHG Premier card to pay for your stay you’ll earn another 10x points per $1 for a total of 25 IHG Rewards Club points per $1 on stays. This represents a return of 12.5% on your IHG stays based on our points and miles valuations.

As if that’s not enough, you’ll also receive complimentary room upgrades, a welcome amenity during check-in, and extended checkout times. So if you stay at IHG hotels with any sort of regularity, you should be able to get plenty of value out of your IHG Platinum Elite status.

Fourth-Night Free on Award Stays

Once you’ve racked up a large balance of IHG Rewards Club points, your IHG Premier card will help you stretch those points even further by giving you your fourth-night free on all award stays. Keep in mind that this benefit only applies to award stays and not paid stays.

Great Card if

  • You enjoy staying in IHG-branded hotels
  • You want IHG Platinum Elite status
  • You know you’ll get more value out of the card than what you’ll pay for the annual fee

Don't Get if

  • You’re not a fan of IHG hotels, or don’t travel much
  • You want a card with no annual fee
  • You want a card that earns transferable travel points

IHG Premier Card — Fees

  • Annual Fee
    • $0 for the first year; $89 thereafter
  • Foreign Transaction Fees
    $0
  • Interest Rates
    • 15.99% to 22.99% variable
  • Balance Transfers
    • 15.99% to 22.99% variable
    • Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR
    • 24.99% variable
    • Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

How to Earn More IHG Rewards Club Points

Six Senses Koh Yao Noi Hotel
The best way to rack up IHG Rewards Club points is by staying in IHG hotels and paying with your IHG Premier card. Image Credit: IHG

IHG Hotel Stays

Unsurprisingly, the largest bonus category for the IHG Premier card is for your IHG stays, so you’ll want to make sure you’re using this card when you settle the bill for your stay.

The IHG Premier card earns 10x IHG Rewards Club points per $1 spent with the hotel chain. These points give you a 5% return value on your spend at IHG hotels, based on our 0.5 cents per point valuation for IHG Rewards Club points.

Hot Tip: Don’t forget that you’ll also receive 15x points per $1 for being an IHG Platinum Elite member. When you combine this with your IHG Premier card earnings you’ll receive 25x IHG Rewards Club points per $1 spent. 

Gas Stations, Grocery Stores, and Restaurants

With your IHG Premier card, you’ll also earn 2x points per $1 on all purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. While 2x IHG Rewards Club points per $1 aren’t the best in terms of return on spend, the fact that these categories tend to make up a large part of someone’s budget can help you earn a solid number of points, twice as fast.

Everyday Spending

On all other purchases, your IHG Premier card will earn 1x point per $1 spent. Again, you could easily earn more points, or receive more value, with another card. But if you’re trying to earn as many IHG Rewards Club points as possible then this will certainly help.

IHG Dining Program

When you link a credit card to the IHG Rewards Club Dining program you can earn between 2x and 8x points per $1 spent at eligible restaurants, depending on your level in the program. This is in addition to the 2x points you’ll earn when paying with your IHG Premier card.

Refer-a-Friend Bonus Rewards 

If you weren’t already aware, Chase allows cardholders to refer their friends and family to sign-up for their Chase card. Through this, you can earn up to 50,000 IHG Rewards Club points per year — 10,000 for each person you refer to the card. To see if your card is eligible, visit the Refer-a-Friend website and enter your last name, zip code, and the last 4 digits of your credit card number.

Adding Ultimate Reward Cards

IHG is one of the Chase Ultimate Reward transfer partners, so if you have a stash of Ultimate Rewards points from those credit cards, you can use them to top off your IHG balance.

Read about your Chase credit card options with our favorites for personal and business use.

Hot Tip: We value Chase Ultimate Rewards points significantly higher than IHG Rewards Club points. So unless you just need to move a small number of points in order to make a booking possible, we wouldn’t recommend this option.

How to Use IHG Rewards Club Points for Max Value

So now that you’ve got a solid stash of IHG Rewards Club points burning a hole in your pocket, how should you redeem the points for maximum value?

IHG Stays

Redeeming your points for IHG award stays is both the best and most obvious way to maximize your IHG Rewards Club points.

With over 5,600 hotels worldwide, you’ll have no shortage of options when it comes time to redeem your points. While IHG no longer publishes an award chart, award nights can range anywhere between 10,000 to 70,000 points per night depending on the quality of the property and its location.

Hot Tip: Don’t forget that your IHG Premier card gives you your fourth-night free on all award stays. So if you make sure to redeem your points for 4 nights at a time — this effectively stretches the value of your points by 25%.

Gift Cards

You’ll have the option to redeem your IHG Rewards Club points for gift cards with a wide variety of merchants. However, when you redeem your points this way, you’ll only get about 0.25 cents per point. This figure is 50% less than the 0.5 cents per point that we value IHG Rewards Club points at, so we do not recommend you redeem your points this way.

Merchandise

IHG allows you to redeem your points for merchandise through its online catalog. The types of merchandise you can purchase include electronics, beauty products, sporting products, and more. But, as with gift cards, you’ll receive just 0.25 cents per point when you redeem them this way.

Alternative Cards to the IHG Premier Card

World of Hyatt Credit Card

If you’re not a fan of the IHG Rewards Club program, or are more agnostic when it comes to hotel loyalty programs, then you should consider the Hyatt Credit Card. Many people love the World of Hyatt program due to its great elite benefits and reasonable award chart. Similar to the IHG Premier card, the Hyatt Credit Card offers a free night each year, great earnings on Hyatt stays, and automatic elite status.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

If you’re someone who prefers the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program, then you should consider the Marriott Boundless card. The Marriott Boundless card offers cardholders automatic Silver Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program, an annual free night certificate, and 15 Elite Night credits each year to help you reach higher levels of elite status.


Frequently asked questions

What is the annual fee on the IHG Premier card?

The annual fee is $89.

Is the IHG Premier card worth it?

If you visit IHG hotels at least a few times year, and would get value out of IHG elite status and the annual free night certificate, then yes the IHG Premier card would likely be worth it to you.

Do IHG Rewards Club points expire?

Your IHG Rewards Club points will expire after 12 months of no account activity. To keep them alive, you just need a qualifying activity, like earning or redeeming points.

Is the IHG Premier card metal?

No, the IHG Premier card is plastic, not metal.

Is the IHG Premier card subject to the Chase 5/24 rule?

Yes, the IHG Premier card is subject to the Chase 5/24 rule. So if you’ve opened up 5 or more new credit card accounts within the last 24 months, it is very unlikely that you’ll be approved for the card.

Does the IHG Premier card charge foreign transaction fees?

The IHG Premier card is a $0 foreign transaction fee card. So the card can be used anywhere in the world that accepts Mastercard.

Jarrod West

About Jarrod West

Born and raised just outside of Cincinnati, Jarrod became fascinated with using points and miles as the perfect way to visit dream destinations without breaking the bank. Thanks to points and miles, Jarrod was able to spend 3 months traveling Europe financed nearly entirely with points and miles; while flying in premium cabins and staying in 5-star hotels along the way. To date, Jarrod has traveled to 16 countries and 22 US states.

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