When it comes to hotel loyalty programs, IHG Reward Club is one of the easier ones to understand. You earn points that you can redeem for hotel rooms. That’s pretty much it. No worrying about if you’re supposed to get a suite upgrade (you’re not) or a free breakfast (not unless everyone at the hotel gets one anyway).
Their co-brand credit card shares that no-nonsense sensibility. You don’t have to choose between multiple tiers of cards like you do when getting a Marriott or Hilton credit card. IHG only offers one card. But that single card offers some pretty great benefits for a reasonable annual fee which makes it a great card to consider adding to your collection.
Here are six reasons you should consider getting the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card from Chase:
Good Sign Up Bonus
The IHG Rewards Club Premier card is currently offering 80,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. (This is our referral link for the card. If you use our link to sign up and are approved for the card, we receive a referral bonus which is greatly appreciated).
There was a bigger bonus when the card was launched but 80,000 points has been the base offer for the card, except for a short-lived offer for additional points with a higher spending requirement. I use US Credit Card Guide to check what the sign-up bonuses have been before signing up for any card.
As with most Chase cards that earn rewards, this card falls under the 5/24 rule. If you’ve applied for more than 5 cards in the last 24 months, you’re almost 100% going to be denied when applying for additional cards from Chase. For a detailed explanation of 5/24, check out this post from Miles to Memories.
Hotel Options Where You Can Redeem Points For Oversized Value
I put the base value of IHG points at 0.5 cents each since that’s what I can purchase them for during one of IHG’s frequent point sales. However, if you pick your spots, they can be worth much more and I find them to be some of the most useful hotels points out there because of the value across the wide variety of IHG hotel brands.
You’re able to redeem points to stay at a really nice hotel, like a Kimpton property in Chicago or you can use the points to stay at a roadside Holiday Inn Express. It’s this flexibility that I really like about IHG hotels in general and using IHG Rewards Club points to redeem for free hotel nights.
IHG points can really come in handy for places where you wouldn’t expect to find an expensive hotel room. For example, let’s look at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Carlsbad, NM, located near Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
Carlsbad is kinda in the middle of nowhere. You either go past it on a road trip or it’s a long drive from anywhere else just to get there. You wouldn’t expect hotels to cost that much because of the location but you’d be wrong. For a weekend night in the summer, this is the best rate.
Luckily, you’re able to redeem IHG points for a free night.
Paying 25,000 points is a great value compared to almost $300 a night after taxes. You’d have enough points for 3 nights at a 25,000 point room with the signup bonus alone.
Earn 10x Points For IHG Hotel Stays
The IHG Rewards Club Premier card earns 10X points when you stay at any of the 5,200+ hotels worldwide. That’s a great return, netting a minimum of 5% back if you value points at 0.5 cents each. It’s worth even more if you can get 1 cent per point value or more, like in the example above. There’s no other card, not even the Sapphire Reserve or Citi Prestige, where you can earn 10% or more back on an IHG hotel stay.
Fourth Night Free On Award Bookings
When you have the IHG Rewards Club Premier card, you receive the fourth night free on any reward night stay of four nights or more.
For each standard room Reward Night stay of 4 or more nights, every 4th night is free. Applies only to 4 or more consecutive nights within the same Reward Night point redemption room stay at the same property. With this benefit, eligible members will be charged the Reward Night point redemption rate for the first 3 nights, and 0 points for the 4th night of the stay, as applicable.
This effectively reduces the number of points needed for a stay by 25%.
You Get A Free Night Every Year On Your Card Anniversary
Every year, you receive a voucher good for a free night which is good at hotels with a current point redemption level of 40,000 points or less. Free night stays must be redeemed, and stay must be completed, within 12 months from date of issue. You can visit IHG.com/AnniversaryFreeNight for a list of hotels that don’t accept the Anniversary Free Night certificate.
This certificate used to be good at any IHG hotel, but not to worry as there are plenty of places that charge 40,000 points a night worth staying at.
Automatic IHG Rewards Club Platinum Status
Cardholders are upgraded to IHG Rewards Club Platinum Elite status. This normally requires 40 stays at IHG hotels per year. IHG Platinum is one of the best hotel loyalty levels that can be obtained through having a co-brand card.
As I said in the opening, IHG’s loyalty program isn’t the most beneficial one for top tier elites but you’ll get 50% bonus on points earned when staying at IHG hotels, complimentary room upgrades, priority check-in and extended checkout (if available).
I’ve never gotten much at a fancy IHG hotel for being a Platinum guest but smaller Holiday Inn Express or Candlewood Suites will often upgrade us to a larger room or even a suite.
Bonus: TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry Reimbursement
Since so many other cards offer this benefit now, it’s losing some of the value. You’ll receive up to a $100 credit every four years for application fees charged to the card. This is the only base level hotel card to offer this benefit. It also leaves one less excuse not to get Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check.
There are seven reasons you should get the IHG Rewards Club Premier card. It does have an $89 annual fee that is not waived for the first year. You’ll recover that expense with the 80,000 points from the signup bonus the first year and from the free night certificate for the following years. I view the IHG card as a great one to sign up for and keep for the long term which fits right into my new card application strategy.
I want to get this card but Sharon and I both have the discontinued IHG Select card. It gives us an IHG free night certificate every year but only has a $49 annual fee. You are able to have both cards but I already have too many free night certificates so it’s not worth replacing the old card with the new one at the moment.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary