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If you stay at IHG properties with any great frequency you would be well advised to have an IHG co-branded credit card in your wallet and, with a welcome bonus of 125,000 points and a host of excellent benefits to make your IHG stays better and cheaper, the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card is probably the card you should hold.
The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
Here are some key things you need to know:
Earn 125,000 IHG Rewards Club points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening (Link to more details).
The welcome bonus is not available to current holders of this credit card or previous holders of this credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months. If you hold another IHG Rewards Club credit card (like the no annual fee IHG Rewards Club Traveler credit card) you’re eligible to earn the welcome bonus.
- 10 Rewards Club points/dollar on spending at IHG Hotels & Resorts worldwide
- 2 Rewards Club points/dollar on spending at gas stations
- 2 Rewards Club points/dollar on spending at grocery stores
- 2 Rewards Club points/dollar on spending at restaurants
- 1 Rewards Club points/dollar on all other spending
Note: Targeted IHG Rewards Club credit cardholders are currently being offered a total of 5 points per dollar spent on up to $1,500 per month in combined grocery store and gas station purchases through September 30, 2020. Check here for eligibility.
IHG Rewards Club members using this card to pay for stays at full-service IHG properties will earn 25 points/dollar on all IHG spending during their stay.
The 25 points/dollar earnings are broken down as follows:
- 10 points/dollar for using the IHG Rewards Club Premier card to pay for your spending
- 10 points/dollar for being an IHG Rewards Club member
- 5 points/dollar for being an IHG Rewards Platinum member*
*The IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card offers IHG Platinum status as one of its benefits
- Get a free IHG award stay (at properties costing up to 40,000 points/night) every year.
- IHG Rewards Platinum elite status for as long as the card is held
- Get the 4th night free on IHG award bookings of 4 nights or more
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit of up to $100 ever 4 years
- 10,000 bonus points after a cardholder spends $20,000 and makes one additional purchase each account anniversary year.
- Save 20% on points purchases*
- No foreign transaction fees
*Does not apply to IHG Rewards Club points sales
What Makes This Card Great
The Welcome Bonus
Based on how much value I can easily get out my IHG Rewards Club balance I value IHG points at 0.4 cents each and this means that I value the welcome bonus at $500. For those who prefer to look upon the welcome bonus in terms of free nights, the 125,000 points that the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card is currently offering can be used to book two nights at some of the better IHG properties around the world.
The very top-tier properties cost 70,000 points per night during busy times but thanks to dynamic award pricing, you’ll find that a lot of excellent hotels can be booked for a lot less than that (I’ve seen dates where the 125,000 bonus would be enough to book the Crowne Plaza London Embankment for 4 nights…and you’d have points left over.)
The 4th Night Free On Award Bookings
This is a benefit that, on its own, should easily cover the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card’s annual fee.
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 benefit can save a cardholder up to 70,000 points (the maximum cost of most IHG top-tier properties) and the fact that there’s no cap on how often this benefit can be used, the $89 annual fee looks like a bargain if you’re an IHG Rewards Club fan.
At 0.4 cents/point, this benefit will save a holder of the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card up to $280 on a 4-night stay and, even if the stay is made at a time when award costs are cheap (e.g. when you can book a great InterContinental for 40,000 points/night), the saving will still be close to double the card’s annual fee.
Annual Free Night Award
Holders of the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card are given a certificate valid for a free night at properties costing up to 40,000 points per night every year on or around their card anniversary. Thie benefit may not be valuable enough to book IHG’s top-tier properties during busier times but with dynamic award pricing now in action, cardholders should be able to find dates on which they can book some truly excellent properties:
Dynamic award pricing can be irritating, but it can also definitely help holders of the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card get excellent value out of their annual free night certificate.
The points I made above are the key reasons why I think this card can be a great addition to an IHG fan’s wallet and I’ve deliberately shied away from discussing some of the other benefits because, on the whole, they’re not particularly impressive.
I’m not going to suggest that anyone should be spending $20,000 on this card just to earn the 10,000 bonus points that are on offer (if you can spend that much at IHG properties that’s fine but otherwise there are a lot of other credit cards that will offer you a better return on your other spending), I’m not going to suggest that IHG Rewards Club Platinum status is amazing (I have it, and I can tell you that it isn’t), and I’m not going to suggest that the 20% saving on points purchases is a great deal as the discount isn’t available on sale pricing and you should never be buying IHG Rewards points outside of a sale.
What I am going to suggest is that the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card is a no-brainer for anyone who pays to stay at IHG properties with any great frequency – the card should more than pay for itself year after year.
For frequent visitors to IHG properties, the elevated earnings (at IHG properties) combined with the 4th-night free benefit should more than cover the annual fee and, in times when the 4th-night free benefit doesn’t get used (for whatever reason), the free annual night (worth up to 40,000 points) will cover the fee too…and what’s not to like about a card that pays for itself with such ease?