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I cannot remember the last time I saw a credit card issuer actually lower the annual fee on one of its cards, but that appears to be exactly what Chase has done on one of its less well known and often undervalued credit cards.
If you head on over to the Chase website you’ll struggle to find the IHG Rewards Club Traveler credit card mentioned anywhere at all. If you elect to see the “hotel cards” that Chase issues the card doesn’t appear and, rather mysteriously, if you choose to view “all cards” you’re presented with 29 perfectly good credit cards but none of them is the IHG Rewards Club Traveler card.
It’s a little odd that this card is so hard to find (I found the page I was looking for via the IHG website) because I genuinely think that, in the right hands, this can be a very useful card indeed…and it just became free!
The IHG Rewards Traveler Card was introduced in 2018 when Chase closed the IHG Rewards Select credit card to new applicants and it was unveiled with a $29/year annual fee.
Now, approximately 18 months after it was introduced and without any announcement, Chase appears to have removed the annual fee.
IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card
Here are some of the key facts you need to know about this card:
Earn 100,000 IHG Rewards Club points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Note: If you currently have an IHG Rewards Club Credit Card from Chase, or you earned a new cardmember bonus on that credit card within the last 24 months, you are not eligible to receive another of the same credit card.
- 5 Rewards Club points per dollar on spending at IHG Hotels & Resorts worldwide
- 2 Rewards Club points per dollar on spending at gas stations
- 2 Rewards Club points per dollar on spending at grocery stores
- 2 Rewards Club points per dollar on spending at restaurants
- 1 Rewards Club points per dollar on all other spending
IHG Rewards Club members using this card to pay for stays at full-service IHG properties will earn the following (when combined with their IHG Rewards Club status earnings):
- Club Member – 15 points/dollar (10 as Club Member + 5 as a Traveler Card holder)
- Gold Elite Member – 16 points/dollar (11 as Gold Member + 5 as a Traveler Card holder)
- Platinum Elite Member – 20 points/dollar (15 as Platinum Member + 5 as a Traveler Card holder)
- Spire Elite Member – 25 points/dollar (20 as Club Member + 5 as a Traveler Card holder)
- Get the 4th night free on IHG award bookings of 4 nights or more
- Save 20% on points purchases*
- No foreign transaction fees
- Gold Elite status after spending $10,000 on the card in a calendar year
*Does not apply to IHG Rewards Club points sales
Why I Like This Card
This is a card that now costs absolutely nothing to hold, doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees and comes with one very key benefit that may save a cardholder a substantial number of IHG Rewards Club points – the 4th night free on award bookings.
Here are the key aspects of this benefit:
- There is no cap to how many times this benefit may be used
- The is no cap on the points value of the award booking (this can be used at top-tier IHG properties worldwide)
- Every 4th night of an award booking is free (so an 8-night stay would see a cardholder get two free nights).
- This benefit cannot be used in conjunction with a Points & Cash booking
When you consider that on a single 4-night stay this credit card can save a cardholder up to 70,000 points and that there’s no cap on how often this benefit is used the value of holding this card becomes obvious.
I value IHG Rewards Club points at 0.4 cents each based on how I earn my points, how much IHG Rewards sells them for in its promotions and how I tend to redeem them so, based on that valuation, the IHG Rewards Club Traveler credit card can save a cardholder up to $280 worth of IHG Rewards Club Points in a single 4-night stay (assuming the stay is at a property charging 70,000 points per night).
Not bad for a card that costs nothing to hold!
For anyone who pays to stay at IHG properties with any great frequency, the IHG Rewards Club Premium Credit Card may be a better all-around choice as it earns twice as many points for stays at IHG properties (10 points/dollar) and bestows IHG Rewards Platinum status on the cardholder for as long as the card is active (all for an $89 annual fee), but the Traveler credit card would be a great card to have for pretty much everyone else.
The benefit of getting a 4th night free on IHG Rewards Club award bookings is a fantastic benefit to have, and if you don’t pay to stay at IHG properties often enough to warrant paying $89/year for the IHG Rewards Club Premium Credit Card (which also offers this benefit), you can now enjoy the same benefit without having to pay an annual fee all.