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Chase issues two IHG Rewards Club co-branded credit cards and while the premium card usually gets most of the attention, this post focuses on the less often discussed no annual fee IHG Rewards Club Traveler credit card which is currently offering a fantastic welcome bonus and which gives cardholders one of the most valuable IHG Rewards benefits around.
The IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card
The IHG Rewards Club Traveler credit card is the entry-level no annual fee IHG Rewards Club credit card that can be an extremely useful addition to the wallets of travelers who like to redeem points for free night stays at IHG properties around the world but who don’t make a significant number of paid stays with IHG.
Here’s what you need to know about the IHG Rewards Club Traveler credit card:
- $0 (Zero)
Cost of Authorized User Cards:
- $0 (Zero)
Current Welcome Bonus:
- Earn 100,000 IHG Rewards Club points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening (Link to more details).
Are You Eligible?
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 IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card) you’re still eligible to earn the welcome bonus.
Also, as this is a Chase-issued credit card, if you have opened 5 or more new credit cards in the past 24 months you are unlikely to be approved for this card.
- 5 points/dollar on spending at IHG Hotels & Resorts worldwide
- 2 points/dollar on spending at gas stations
- 2 points/dollar on spending at grocery stores
- 2 points/dollar on spending at restaurants
- 1 point/dollar on all other spending
IHG Rewards Club members using this card to pay for stays at full-service IHG properties will earn between 15 and 25 points per dollar (when combined with their IHG Rewards Club status earnings).
- Club Member – 15 points/dollar
- Gold Elite Member – 16 points/dollar
- Platinum Elite Member – 20 points/dollar
- Spire Elite Member – 25 points/dollar
- 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 when IHG Rewards Club is selling points at a discount
Why This Is A Great Card
The Welcome Offer
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 $400. That’s $400 of points from a card that doesn’t charge an annual fee so as long as you never carry a balance on this card and get charged interest (no one should ever carry a balance on an interest bearing travel rewards card), this is effectively free cash.
For those who prefer to look upon the welcome bonus in terms of free nights, the 100,000 points that the IHG Rewards Club Traveler credit card is currently offering can be used to book a free night at any of IHG’s top properties around the world with enough points left over for a stay at a mid-tier property….but it can get better.
The very top-tier IHG 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.
Here’s the InterContinental Sydney priced up at just 35,000 points per night:
Here’s the Kimpton La Peer in West Hollywood charging just 42,500 points per night:
Here’s the InterContinental O2 London charging just 40,000 points per night:
And here’s the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown charging just 40,000 points per night:
If you’re prepared to put ina little bit of research and as long as you’re prepared to travel outside of the busier times of the year, the 100,000 point welcome offer that the IHG Rewards Club Traveler credit card is currently offering can book 2 free nights at some truly fantastic IHG properties and still leave you with points to spare (just be careful not to fall foul of any “resort fees” that some properties have started to charge).
The 4th Night Free Benefit
Here are the key aspects of this benefit:
- There is no cap on the number of 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 just 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 can be 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 usually 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).
That’s not bad for a card that costs nothing to hold!
An Alternative Card
For anyone who pays to stay at IHG properties with any great frequency, the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card may be a better all-around choice.
This card is currently offering a huge 140,000 point welcome bonus, 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. However, unlike the IHG Rewards Travelers card, this card charges an $89 annual fee.
The IHG Rewards Club Traveler credit card is currently offering an incredibly generous welcome offer, it costs nothing to hold, doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, and can save travelers a substantial number of points by offering cardholders a 4th night free on all IHG Rewards Club award bookings. If you like booking award stays at IHG properties but you don’t pay to stay at IHG properties often enough to warrant paying $89/year for the more premium credit card (which also offers this benefit), the no annual fee IHG Rewards Club Traveler credit card would be a great addition to your wallet.