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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card, The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express
One of the easiest decisions for travelers to make is getting the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card — even if you don’t stay at IHG hotels or never spend anything on the card. Simply put, getting a free night certificate each year more than makes up for the $49 annual fee (waived the first year). That certificate can be used at any IHG hotel in the world, including InterContinental properties that can cost hundreds of dollars per night.
And when the other perks are put to use, the card gets even better. A 10% redemption rebate helps your IHG points go further. Plus, just for being a cardholder, you’ll get mid-tier IHG Platinum Elite status — which TPG values at $880 each year. Platinum Elite status will get you late checkout, bonus points, a welcome amenity and room upgrades. Particularly outside the United States, I’ve found these room upgrades to be quite nice, including suites in Berlin and corner rooms in Taipei:
However, there’s another perk of IHG Platinum Elite status that pays off at the fuel pump. IHG has partnered with Shell’s Fuel Rewards program to offer IHG elites a minimum of five cents per gallon off of their Shell fuel purchases:
In order to get this bonus, you first need to link your IHG account to Shell’s Fuel Rewards. After a verification period — which the terms and conditions note “should occur within 7-10 days from when your accounts are linked” — you’ll start saving at Shell gas stations when you swipe your Fuel Rewards card before you pump your gas.
And, no, you don’t have to use the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card to get this bonus. While the IHG credit card offers 2x points on gas purchases, this would only net you a 1.4% return based on TPG’s 0.7 cents per point valuation of IHG points. Instead, you can utilize credit cards that get you a much better return on your gas station spending such as the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express (3x Membership Rewards points on selected category = 5.7% return), the Citi Premier Card (3x ThankYou Points on gas = 4.5% return) or the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (3% cash back at US gas stations).
If you haven’t gotten the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card yet, you can earn 60,000 IHG points for spending $1,000 in the first three months. That’s enough points for more than 13 nights at PointBreaks hotels when accounting for the 10% rebate perk of the card.
Featured image by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
What’s your favorite perk of the IHG card?