Some links to products and travel providers on this website will earn Traveling For Miles a commission that helps contribute to the running of the site. Traveling For Miles has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling For Miles and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities. For more details please see the disclosures at the bottom of every page.
Chase has now updated the welcome bonuses that it’s offering on both of its IHG co-branded credit cards and while the no annual fee card has just seen its welcome offer lowered, the welcome bonus being offered by the IHG® Rewards Premier credit card has, surprisingly, been made better…and it was already pretty good.
I’m on record as saying that the IHG® Rewards Premier credit card is a must-have card for anyone who pays to stay at IHG properties with any great frequency and that’s an opinion that I’m happy to stand by – this can be an excellent card to hold and even though I’m not the biggest fan of IHG One Rewards, you’ll find this card in my collection.
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.
The card’s key benefits
Leaving aside, for a moment, the value of the newly boosted welcome offer, this is a card that offers cardholders good key benefits…
- An annual free night certificate worth up to 40,000 points/night (this can be topped up with points for more expensive bookings).
- IHG One Rewards Platinum elite status (for as long as the card is held).
- A 4th night free on IHG award bookings of 4 nights or more
- A Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit of up to $100 every 4 years
- Up to $50 in TravelBank credits every year for United MileagePlus members.
- No foreign transaction fees
…as well as strong earnings at IHG properties around the world…
- Up to 26 points/dollar on spending at IHG properties worldwide*
…and bonus points for spending in other categories:
- 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 eligible spending in all other categories
*The 26 points/dollar earnings are broken down as follows: 10 points/dollar for using the IHG® Rewards Premier credit card to pay for spending at full-service IHG properties, 10 points/dollar for being an IHG One Rewards member, and 6 points/dollar for being an IHG One Rewards Platinum member (a benefit of this card).
The IHG® Rewards Premier credit card comes with a $99 annual fee and while some annual fees can be a little tricky to justify, someone who likes booking IHG properties should have no trouble recouping this card’s fee.
Just using the 4th-night free benefit as infrequently as once a year should cover the card’s annual fee with ease but even if a cardholder doesn’t get a chance to use this benefit, the annual free night certificate that IHG® Rewards Premier credit card offers should do the job nicely.
The annual certificate is worth up to 40,000 points and following a refresh earlier this year, it can now be topped up with as many points as are required to book any available IHG award and that makes it more flexible than ever before.
For anyone who is still unsure of how well this card will fit into their portfolio and how much use they’ll get out of it, the welcome bonus should provide enough of an incentive for them to give this card a try.
The welcome bonus
The new welcome bonus looks like this:
- Earn 140,000 IHG Rewards points + a free night certificate worth 40,000 points after spending $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months from account opening (link to more details).
Based on how much value I know that I can get out of my IHG Rewards balance with ease, I value IHG points at 0.4 cents each so this means that I value the points portion of welcome bonus points at $560. That’s not bad for a card that costs $99/year.
In terms of free nights, the 140,000 points that the IHG® Rewards Premier credit card is currently allowing eligible new cardholders to earn can be used to book multiple nights at a variety of top IHG properties around the world (when demand isn’t very high), or a single night at a top-IHG property when demand is booming, and I’m reasonably sure we can all agree that even a single night at a top IHG property is worth more than the card’s $99 annual fee.
As far as the free night certificate goes, I value this at less than face value (at around 35,000 points) because the certificate will expire 12 months after it was generated and the expiration date cannot be extended. That makes the 40,000-point certificate less flexible (and therefore worth less) than 40,000 IHG Points.
As there’s a chance that some people will earn this certificate and then not get around to using it (for whatever reason), I’m not going to say that this part of the welcome bonus is another way that everyone will more than cover the card’s annual fee in the first year, but it should be considered a lucrative addition to the welcome bonus by anyone truly engaged with IHG and the miles & points world (i.e. those people who will definitely use it).
Important Note: IHG has confirmed that unlike the annual free night certificates issued to holders of the IHG® Rewards Premier credit card, the free night certificate that comes as part of the welcome offer cannot be topped up.
The IHG® Rewards Premier credit card from Chase is now offering eligible, successful new applicants a welcome bonus that includes 140,000 points and a free night certificate worth up to 40,000 points when they spend $3,000 in the first three months following the opening of their new account.
Even if we ignore the welcome bonus, I think this is a great card for IHG fans to hold but for those who are still on the fence about its merits, the value of the welcome bonus should more than cover the annual fee and effectively, allow them to try the card out very, very economically.