IHG Rewards Premier Business card review: The annual fee is justified
IHG Rewards Premier Business Credit Card overview
The IHG Rewards Premier Business Credit Card has a lucrative sign-up bonus and offers sufficient perks that, if utilized, can easily justify the card’s annual fee of $99. However, business owners who aren’t loyal to IHG Rewards may be better off with other business card products. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐
*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
Considering that the IHG Rewards Premier Business Credit Card has an annual fee of only $99, it offers a surprising number of perks for travelers and small-business owners who frequently stay with IHG. Compared to other hotel-branded business credit cards, the IHG Premier Business card has one of the lowest annual fees and may prove attractive simply for that reason.
Benefits include automatic Platinum Elite status as long as you’re a cardholder, a unique fourth-night-free reward perk when redeeming points for hotel stays and a generous sign-up bonus.
However, there’s one key perk on the card — the anniversary free night received each year — that can easily cover the annual fee on the IHG Premier Business card.
Not every credit card is ideal for everyone, though. Let’s look at the details of the IHG Premier Business card to see if it’s right for your company.
Related: Who qualifies for a business credit card?
IHG Premier Business welcome offer
New applicants for the IHG Premier Business card can earn 165,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within three months from account opening.
Your bonus will come in the form of IHG points, which TPG values at half a cent each. Thus, this bonus is worth $825.
As the card was launched in March 2022, most people should be eligible for the welcome bonus. However, it’s worth noting that there is a warning on the application page that you are not eligible for this bonus if you’ve received a sign-up bonus on this card within the past 24 months.
This card is ideal for those who are under 5/24 with Chase. While most business credit cards will not add to your 5/24 status, you do need to be under 5/24 to apply for this card.
Related: The ultimate guide to tracking your progress toward a credit card sign-up bonus
earning points on the IHG Premier Business card
Generally speaking, you won’t get fantastic earning rates on most hotel credit cards — especially on broad categories like dining and groceries. That said, the IHG Premier Business card could be a solid option, especially at participating IHG properties.
When you use your card at IHG hotels and resorts, you’ll earn 10 points per dollar spent on your stay. This is in addition to the 10 base points that all IHG One Rewards members accrue at most participating brands. And since you have automatic Platinum Elite status with the card, that’ll give you another 60% bonus on top of the base points. When combined, that translates to a total of 26 points per dollar spent on most IHG stays — or a 13% return on spending, based on TPG’s valuations.
Beyond IHG purchases, cardholders of the IHG Premier Business will earn points at the following rates:
- 5 points per dollar spent on travel, dining and gas purchases.
- 5 points per dollar in select business categories, such as social media and search engine advertising and at office supply stores.
- 3 points per dollar spent on all other purchases.
That translates to a 2.5% return on the bonus categories based on TPG’s valuations, though it drops to 1.5% on everyday purchases — a rate of return that’s lower than many other cards.
Related: 13 ways to earn IHG Rewards points
redeeming points on the IHG Premier Business card
Like many of its competitors, IHG One Rewards doesn’t publish an award chart. Instead, it uses dynamic award pricing. The program’s website indicates that free nights start at 10,000 points, although it’s possible to find rooms priced as low as 5,000 points.
On the other end, there’s no published maximum rate, although for IHG’s core brands, the highest we’ve seen is 120,000 points per night. However, properties in partner brands like Six Senses and Mr and Mrs Smith frequently go higher than this.
Despite this award pricing model, there are still ways to maximize IHG Rewards redemptions. In fact, you may be able to redeem IHG Rewards points for significantly more value if you spend some time searching.
Related: Points of view: What credit card should you use for IHG stays?
You’re not limited to only using points for your stay. You can also book rooms using a combination of points and cash, which can offer decent value in certain circumstances.
However, it’s worth noting just how these reservations are confirmed. IHG effectively sells you the extra points (for cash) and then uses the full number of points for the stay. You usually pay 0.63 to 0.66 cents for each IHG point used to make up the difference. IHG frequently sells points at this price (or cheaper), which can be another way to top up your account.
As noted above, when you redeem points for a stay of four nights or longer, every fourth night of that stay will cost zero points. There’s no limit to how often you can use this benefit — though it only applies to full award stays, not those booked using cash and points.
Finally, it’s worth discussing IHG’s policy on blackout dates. Here’s how it’s described in the terms and conditions of the IHG Rewards:
There are no blackout dates for Reward Nights; however, room inventory is limited and subject to prior sale. In addition, Members may not be able to redeem Points for Reward Nights at InterContinental Residences, IHG Army Hotels, select Six Senses Hotels Resorts and Spas and select Mr & Mrs Smith hotels.
The first sentence notes that there there are no blackout dates, but then hotels have the ability to restrict the number of rooms available using points. As additional hotel programs move to dynamic pricing, we’ve seen this same issue with programs like Marriott Bonvoy and some World of Hyatt properties.
Related: How to redeem points with the IHG Rewards program
IHG Premier Business card benefits
The IHG Premier Business card has a modest $99 annual fee, but is it worth it? The card’s value depends on whether you’ll use its benefits frequently enough to justify that annual fee.
It’s also worth pointing out that many of these benefits overlap with the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card, which is a personal credit card. Thus, it may not be worth holding both cards, unless you’re interested in receiving two free night awards (one from each card) each year and find that the spending categories work well for you.
Anniversary free night award
Each year on your cardmember anniversary (starting at the one-year mark and continuing each year after that, for as long as you keep the account open), you’ll receive a free night award valid for a single night, worth up to 40,000 points.
Even though IHG uses dynamic award pricing, you shouldn’t have too much difficulty finding a property that prices at (or under) that amount. This can include properties like Kimpton De Witt Amsterdam and InterContinental Buenos Aires.
Related: How to use the IHG Rewards anniversary night certificate
If you’d like to redeem your free night award at a property that costs more than 40,000 points per night, you can use an unlimited number of points to top off this certificate. For example, if you find a room for 48,000 points, you can combine the free night with 8,000 points from your IHG account to confirm the reservation.
Note that the business card has one notable addition here when compared to the personal version. Cardholders can earn an additional free night award after spending $60,000 on the card during a calendar year. This option isn’t available on the IHG Premier Card.
Complimentary IHG Platinum Elite status
Cardholders enjoy IHG One Rewards Platinum Elite status automatically, as long as their account remains open. Platinum members receive 60% bonus earnings on paid stays booked directly with IHG Rewards, space-available room upgrades, a welcome amenity and a handful of other perks.
For those interested in earning top-tier Diamond Elite status, you can attain this by spending $40,000 on your card in a calendar year. The status will be valid through Dec. 31 of the following year after meeting the spending threshold.
You’ll pay zero points for every fourth night when redeeming IHG points for stays of four nights or longer. This is an automatic perk that should be reflected at the time of booking. On stays of exactly four nights, this is essentially a 25% discount, so it’s a great way to get even more value out of the card. That said, if you rarely redeem IHG points for stays of four nights or more, this perk may be of limited value.
10,000 bonus points and a $100 statement credit after spending $20,000
Available each account anniversary year, you’ll earn 10,000 bonus points and a $100 statement credit after spending $20,000 and making one additional purchase. TPG’s valuations peg these bonus points at $50, and with the statement credit, that translates to a total value of $150.
However, you may not want to go out of your way to spend $20,000 on your card in a year — especially if you have a solid everyday spending card or can earn additional sign-up bonuses from other cards with that same spending.
20% off when buying IHG points
You can save 20% on the purchase of IHG points when you pay with your card. However, this discount doesn’t stack with other discounts, such as IHG offering points at a reduced price. These points also don’t count toward elite qualification, so there’s limited value for most cardholders.
$50 United TravelBank credit
Cardholders can receive up to $50 in United TravelBank credit each calendar year after registering their cards with their United MileagePlus account.
IHG Premier Business cardholders have a handful of other perks to utilize when you swipe your card:
- Government security program application fee credit: You can be reimbursed up to $100 every four years when you charge a Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or Nexus application fee to your card.
- Auto rental collision damage waiver: When you decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card, you’ll get coverage against theft and collision. However, coverage is secondary when renting within the U.S.
- Trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance: You can be reimbursed up to $1,500 per person and up to $6,000 per trip for prepaid, nonrefundable travel expenses if your trip is canceled or cut short for a covered reason.
- Purchase protection: Your new purchases are covered for 120 days against damage or theft; there is a limit of $10,000 per claim and up to $50,000 per account.
These benefits can be nice to have when things go wrong, especially as other cards have dropped shopping and travel protections in recent years. That said, they may not be the most important thing to consider when choosing a new credit card.
Which cards compete with the IHG Premier Business card?
As the IHG Premier Business card is a hotel credit card aimed at small-business owners, it’s worth looking at how it stacks up against other hotel-branded business credit cards.
- If you’re looking for a card that comes with Hyatt status and perks: The World of Hyatt Business Credit Card offers automatic Discoverist status with World of Hyatt (the lowest tier) and a path toward higher status levels through credit card spending. It does have a higher annual fee at $199 but offers perks like up to $100 in spending credits with Hyatt each cardmember year and the ability to unlock a 10% points rebate. For more information, check out our full review of the World of Hyatt Business card.
- If you’re looking for a card that comes with Hilton status and perks: The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card has a reasonable $95 annual fee (see rates and fees) and comes with automatic mid-tier Gold status with Hilton Honors. It also includes 10 Priority Pass lounge visits per year and an opportunity to earn up to two free night certificates in a calendar year. For more information, check out our full review of the Hilton Honors Amex Biz card.
- If you’re looking for top-tier status with a low annual fee: The Wyndham Rewards Earner® Business Card from Barclays comes with automatic top-tier Wyndham Rewards Diamond status for an annual fee of only $95. This card also carries perks like 10% points discounts on award stays and 15,000 bonus points on each cardmember anniversary. For more information, see our post on which Wyndham card is right for you.
The information for the Wyndham Business card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
For additional options, check out our full list of hotel credit cards and business credit cards.
Read more: The best hotel credit cards with annual fees under $100
Is the IHG Premier Business card worth it?
In short, yes — as long as you can make the most of the card's perks. The IHG Premier Business card has an annual fee of $99 and offers an annual free night award that can easily be redeemed for more value than that. Cardholders also earn points at solid rates when making purchases in bonus categories, though the earning rate on everyday purchases isn't fantastic.
The complimentary Platinum Elite status with IHG One Rewards, travel protections, United TravelBank credit and reimbursement for government security screening programs also provide value.
Small-business owners who are loyal to IHG or even those simply looking to diversify their travel strategy can find sufficient value to justify the card’s annual fee each year. However, that requires using the perks, so make sure you can do that. Otherwise, you may struggle to justify keeping the card past the first year.
Official application link: IHG Rewards Premier Business Credit Card with a 165,000-point sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 in purchases within three months of account opening.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Business Amex, click here.
Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox and Emily Thompson.