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The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card is a fantastic card to hold if you’re a fan of IHG properties as not only does it currently come with a great welcome offer, but it also offers cardholders a number of key benefits that can improve their stays with IHG and, crucially, save them money and points.
The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card
Here are some key things you need to know:
Earn 140,000 IHG Rewards points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening (link to more details).
Note: This product is not available to current cardmembers of any IHG Rewards personal credit card, or previous cardmembers of any IHG Rewards personal credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for that credit card within the last 24 months.
- 10 points/dollar on spending at IHG properties worldwide
- 5 points/dollar on spending at restaurants
- 5 points/dollar on spending at gas stations
- 5 points/dollar on travel spending
- 3 points/dollar on spending in all other categories
IHG One Rewards members using this card to pay for stays at full-service IHG properties will earn 26 points/dollar on all IHG spending during their stay.
The 26 points/dollar earnings are broken down as follows:
- 10 points/dollar for using the IHG® Rewards Premier card to pay for your spending
- 10 points/dollar for being an IHG One Rewards member
- 6 points/dollar for being an IHG One Rewards Platinum member*
*The IHG® Rewards Premier credit card offers IHG One Platinum elite status as one of its benefits
- Get a certificate of a free night at properties costing up to 40,000 points/night every year. The certificate can be topped up with points for more expensive bookings.
- IHG One 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 every 4 years
- $100 statement credit and 10,000 bonus points after a cardholder spends $20,000 and makes one additional purchase each account anniversary year.
- United MileagePlus members get up to $50 in TravelBank credits every year.
- Save 20% on points purchases*
- No foreign transaction fees
*Does not apply to IHG One Rewards points sales
What makes this card great
The welcome bonus
Based on how much value I can easily get out of my IHG Rewards balance I value IHG points at 0.4 cents each so this means that I value the points portion of welcome bonus points at $560.
For those who prefer to look at the points in terms of free nights, the 140,000 points that the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card is currently offering can be used to book two nights at a variety of top IHG properties around the world.
Most of the top-tier properties cost 60,000 – 120,000 points per night during busy times (so the welcome offer would cover between one and two nights when cash rates are high) but thanks to dynamic award pricing, you should find that a lot of excellent hotels can be booked for a lot less than that.
The 4th night free on award bookings
This is a benefit that, on its own, should easily cover the IHG® Rewards Premier credit card’s annual fee.
Here are the key aspects of this benefit:
- Every 4th night of an award booking is free (so an 8-night stay would see a cardholder get two free nights).
- There is no cap on 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)
- 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 120,000 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 $99 annual fee looks like a bargain if you’re an IHG One Rewards fan.
At 0.4 cents/point, this benefit will save a holder of the IHG® Rewards Premier credit card up to $480 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
Every year on or around their card anniversary, holders of the IHG® Rewards Premier credit card are given a certificate valid for a free night at properties costing up to 40,000 points per night. On its own, this benefit may not be valuable enough to book IHG’s top-tier properties during busier times but with IHG now permitting members to add points to bookings made with these certificates, the certificates can be used to, effectively, reduce the cost of most award booking by 40,000 points. This makes them more valuable than ever before.
Also, as IHG uses dynamic award pricing, cardholders should be able to find dates (during quieter times of the year) on which they can book some truly excellent properties without having to top up their certificates with points:
Dynamic award pricing can be irritating, but it can also definitely help holders of the IHG® Rewards Premier credit card get excellent value out of their annual free night certificate.
United TravelBank credits
On or around 1 January and 1 July every year, a $25 TravelBank credit is issued to cardholders who have linked their United MileagePlus number to their IHG Premier Card (here).
Credits issued in the first half of the year will all expire on 15 July of the same year and those issued in the second half of the year will expire on 15 January of the following year.
If you’re someone who books at least one United Airlines revenue flight every six months, you’re effectively being given a $50 rebate on those flights every year and that will, effectively, reduce the Premier Card’s annual fee to just $49.
If, however, like me, you’re not a big United Airlines flyer, this will only be a benefit that’s of any consequence every now and again and so cannot be used to effectively discount the cost of the Premier Card’s annual fee.
The points I made above are the key reasons why I think this card can be a good 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 $100 credit + 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 One Rewards Platinum status is amazing (I have it, and I can tell you that while it’s definitely better than it was before the recent refresh, it still isn’t a super-exciting elite status), I’m not going to suggest that anyone should be spending $40,000 on this card just to earn IHG One Rewards top-tier Diamond status (if you can spend that much at IHG properties that’s fine but otherwise, as I mentioned a few sentences ago, there are a lot of other credit cards that will offer you a better return on your other spending) 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 Premier Card is a must-have card for anyone who pays to stay at IHG properties with any great frequency – the card should more than pay for itself year after year.
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 great welcome offer and a host of excellent benefits to make your IHG stays better and cheaper, the IHG® Rewards Premier credit card is probably the card you should hold.