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The annual fee is justified: IHG Rewards Premier Business card review

Oct. 31, 2022
18 min read
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IHG Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

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 who frequently stay with IHG.

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. Even better? Cardholders now have the ability to add an unlimited number of IHG points to their award nights — which can open up high-end resorts like the Six Senses Laamu in the Maldives.

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.

Who is this card for?

The IHG Premier Business card is well-suited to travelers who own or operate a small business and will be able to take full advantage of the card’s perks when traveling. These perks include complimentary Platinum Elite status, a fourth-night-free reward when you redeem points for a stay of four or more nights and an anniversary reward night each year and more.

Those loyal to the IHG One Rewards program can use the card for significant value, thanks to perks like a generous sign-up bonus, solid return on IHG spending and on-property benefits. However, even those who are occasional IHG guests can still get some solid value.

Related: Who qualifies for a business credit card?

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InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

This card also is an ideal option for small-business owners looking for a hotel credit card with a low annual fee that confers quality benefits. In comparison 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.

This card is also 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.

Sign-up bonus worth $700

New applicants for the IHG Premier Business card can earn 140,000 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 $700.

As the IHG Premier Business card launched in March of 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.

Related: The ultimate guide to tracking your progress toward a credit card sign-up bonus

Main benefits and perks

The IHG Premier Business card has a modest $99 annual fee, but is that fee worth it? The value of the card depends on whether you’ll use the card’s 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.

Here’s an overview of the card’s main IHG-related perks.

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

The Kimpton De Witt Amsterdam. ERIC ROSEN/THE POINTS GUY

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.

Fourth-night-free reward

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.

Hotel Indigo Miami Brickell IHG. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

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 IHG Premier 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.

Additional benefits

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.

Also, unfortunately, the IHG Premier Business card doesn't offer the best rate of return on most purchases — which we'll cover next.

THE POINTS GUY

How to earn points

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 swipe your IHG Premier Business 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

How to redeem points

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. In most cases, you wind up paying 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.

IHG.COM

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 many times you can use this benefit — though it only applies to full award stays, not those booked using cash and points.

IHG.COM

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

Which cards compete with the IHG Business Premier card?

As the IHG Premier Business card is a hotel credit card aimed at small-business owners, it's worth looking at how this card stacks up against other hotel-branded business credit cards.

Chase also offers the World of Hyatt Business Credit Card, which carries a $199 annual fee. New applicants can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.

The Hyatt Business card offers automatic Discoverist status with World of Hyatt (the lowest tier) and a path toward higher status levels through credit card spending. While this card doesn't offer any free night awards, it does offer perks like up to $100 in spending credits with Hyatt each cardmember year, Hyatt Leverage membership for possible discounts on hotel stays and the ability to unlock a 10% points rebate.

In terms of points earning, cardholders earn 4 points per dollar with Hyatt and Small Luxury Hotels of the World, 4 points per dollar on eligible Lindblad Expeditions, 2 points per dollar on fitness club and gym memberships and 2 points per dollar in the top three spending categories each quarter (through Dec. 31, 2023, then your top two spending categories each quarter). Cardholders earn 1 point per dollar on other purchases. You can find more details in our review of the World of Hyatt Business card.

For those looking for complimentary top-tier status and a low annual fee (just $95), consider the Wyndham Rewards Earner® Business Card from Barclays. The sign-up bonus offers up to 75,000 bonus points: Earn 65,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within 90 days of account opening and earn 10,000 additional bonus points after adding an employee card and making a purchase on that card. Cardholders receive automatic top-tier Wyndham Rewards Diamond status, plus perks like 10% points discounts on award stays and 15,000 bonus points on each cardmember anniversary.

Points are earned as follows:

  • 8 points per dollar at Wyndham properties and on gas purchases.
  • 5 points per dollar on marketing, advertising and utility purchases.
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases.

For more details, see our post on deciding 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.

Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card could be another great option — and it also carries a $95 annual fee (see rates and fees).

New applicants can earn 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership. Cardmembers receive automatic mid-tier Gold status with Hilton Honors and can spend their way to Diamond status through $40,000 of purchases on the card in a calendar year.

Other perks include 10 Priority Pass visits per year and earning free weekend night rewards via spending: one award after $15,000 in purchases during a calendar year and another award after $60,000 in purchases in a calendar year. Cardmembers earn 12 points per dollar at Hilton properties; 6 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, shipping providers, wireless phone services purchased directly from service providers, flights and car rentals; and 3 points per dollar on other purchases.

You can find more details in our review of the Hilton Business card.

American Express also offers another hotel business card: the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express®. It carries a $125 annual fee (see rates and fees) and offers automatic Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy.

The current welcome offer provides 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of card membership. Cardmembers also receive 15 elite night credits per year (which are useful for seeking higher status levels) and up to a 7% discount on room rates.

You'll earn 6 points per dollar at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy; 4 points per dollar at restaurants, U.S. gas stations, U.S. shipping purchases and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers; and 2 points per dollar on other purchases.

For more details, check out our review of the Amex Marriott Business credit card.

Holiday Inn Resort Los Cabos kids club. HOLIDAY INN HOTELS

Bottom line

The IHG Premier Business card has an annual fee of $99 and offers an annual free night award that can be redeemed for more value than that. Cardholders also earn points at quality rates when making purchases in bonus categories, yet the earning rate on everyday purchases is weak.

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 $99 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 in years two and beyond.

Official application link: IHG Rewards Premier Business Credit Card with a 140,000-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.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Business Amex, click here.

Featured image by KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees