My very first rewards credit card was a hotel rewards card: The Starwood Preferred Guest credit card by American Express. Since I’ve had the SPG Amex, I’ve only applied for one other hotel rewards credit card, and that’s the IHG Rewards Club card by Chase. The IHG Rewards Club doesn’t have airline partners, nor are the points very valuable, but the card’s low annual fee easily pays for itself and being an IHG Platinum Elite member does come with some nice perks.
IHG Rewards Club Card
The card itself is not much for the eye; in fact it reminds me of the interior of a 1990s model German S-Bahn (regional underground train). But it is a WORLD MasterCard and, with that, a fully grown travel rewards card:
- No Foreign Transaction Fee
- 60,000 point sign-up bonus, after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
- 5,000 bonus points after adding an authorized user and making the first purchase in the first 3 months
- 5 points per $1 spent at IHG properties
- 2 points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Anniversary Free Night at over 5,000 IHG properties worldwide
- $49 Annual Fee, waived the first year
- IHG Platinum Elite status
- Travel & Purchase coverage
The low annual fee and free anniversary night make this card a no brainer. There are InterContinental properties with rooms in the $500+/night range all over the world. After you are charged your first annual fee, you’re eligible for the free night. Research their properties and make that free night count. The automatic IHG Platinum Elite status is another nice perk and really helps with accumulating points quicker, among other benefits. Keep in mind that Chase is very strict with their SCRA benefits and will only adhere to what they’re required to by law.
Make the Most of IHG Points
As stated above, IHG points are far from being the most valuable points on the market. I estimate them somewhere in the 0.78 Cent range when used by themselves. But, part of being a Platinum Elite member, you’ll enjoy a 12 percent discount on Points & Cash reservations. In most cases, this discount raises the value of the points to the 1 Cent area. Still not great when compared to SPG points of course, but enough to justify investing in the IHG program, in my opinion. The Points & Cash feature has the potential to save you hundreds of Dollars on your next vacation, and the generous 60,000 point sign up bonus (plus 5,000 points extra for an additional user) is enough to kickstart your investment.
The InterContinental Hotels Group has a very versatile selection of properties around the globe. For most travelers, a Holiday Inn is more than suitable. For those that need a little more “Extra” in their life, there are Crown Plaza and InterContinental hotel properties. Note that IHG Rewards points are currently not redeemable at Kimpton properties. The IHG Rewards Club card practically pays for itself with the free anniversary night, especially at that very low annual fee. When paired together with cash, IHG points can be decently valuable.
Are you currently on the market for a hotel rewards card? What’s your take on the IHG Rewards Club card? Comment below or on our social media pages.