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In 2018, Chase launched two new co-branded IHG cards: the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card and the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Card. This launch was bittersweet, as it also marked the retirement of the longtime favorite IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card. However, a new elevated sign-up bonus could make this card worth an extra-close look.
Previously, the IHG Premier Card was offering a sign-up bonus of 80,000 points after new card holders spent $2,000 in the first 3 months, but you now have the opportunity to earn up to 120,000 IHG points. You’ll earn 80,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months, plus another 40,000 points after spending a total of $5,000 in the first 6 months.
Annual Fee: The annual fee on the IHG Premier Card is $89. Unfortunately, this fee isn’t waived the first year. If you’re set on only signing up for credit cards with waived annual fees, here’s a list of your best options.
Elite Status: The IHG Premier Card grants card holders IHG Rewards Platinum Elite status. TPG values this status at $880 assuming you utilize its benefits. I’ve had IHG Platinum Elite status for years through the IHG Select Card, and I’d say that this perk alone is worth the IHG Premier Card’s $89 annual fee.
While the stated benefits aren’t game-changing, I’ve found the additional perks and service to be quite nice — particularly at overseas properties where having an elite member is rarer for the property. I’ve almost always received an upgraded room when one is available, like during a stay at the Hotel Indigo Austin.
Fourth Award Night Free: IHG Premier Card holders automatically get each fourth consecutive award night free. This benefit’s value is going to depend on your travel style. For travelers that only spend 1-3 nights in a hotel, this perk isn’t going to be valuable. But, for travelers that stay around long enough to utilize this perk, it can be incredibly valuable. And there’s no cap on how many points you can save.
Free Award Night: After your first card holder year — and for each card anniversary after that — you’ll earn a free night certificate good at any IHG property that charges 40,000 points or less for an award night stay. While this benefit won’t show up until a year from now, it’s going to make it much easier to keep this card in your portfolio.
Category Bonuses: Here’s one place IHG and Chase made a splash with the IHG Premier Card: You’ll earn 10x IHG points per dollar spent on IHG purchases. At TPG valuations, that’s a return of 6% on your hotel spending.
There are only a few cards that can beat that. The $450 annual fee Chase Sapphire Reserve‘s 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth marginally more (6% return) (after $300 travel credit exhausted). Also, you can get 5x Membership Rewards points using The Platinum Card® from American Express ($550 annual fee; see rates & fees) by booking through Amex Travel, but you won’t be able to get the benefits from you IHG Platinum Elite status, as you didn’t book directly through IHG.
The IHG Premier Card also earns 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants. However, since points are only worth 0.6 cents per point, you’re likely to get better than a 1.2% return with many other cards.
20% Discount on Points: This perk was heralded in the card’s rollout, but unfortunately it didn’t pan out like we expected. The discount can’t be combined with any other promotion, so while this benefit will save you a little if you need points in a pinch, it doesn’t move the value needle for most potential card holders.
Sign-Up Restrictions: The IHG Premier Card now appears to be subject to the 5/24 Rule. This an unfortunate (and recent) development, and it means if you’ve opened five or more credit card accounts across all banks in the last 24 months, Chase is unlikely to approve you for this card. On another note, current card holders of the IHG Select Card can sign up for the Premier and keep both cards. And, two cards complement each other well. For example, you’ll still get the 10% redemption rebate from the IHG Select Card while getting the fourth award night free benefit from the IHG Premier Card.
Bottom Line: With an elevated sign-up bonus of up to 120,000 points, free award night on your anniversary, fourth award night free, 10x points on IHG purchases and IHG Platinum Elite status, the IHG Premier Card makes a solid case for itself at just a $89 annual fee. While you shouldn’t use it as your everyday spend card, it fits well in a credit card portfolio as a special-use card for the perks and the annual free award night. If you’re ready to add it to your wallet, here’s the link to apply for the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card and earn up to 120,000 points.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, please click here.
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Earn up to 120,000 points, worth up to $600 with the IHG Rewards Premier Card. With this card you'll get IHG Rewards Platinum Elite status which more than negates the value of the $89 annual fee. You'll also earn 10 points per dollar at IHG hotels, 2 points per dollar on gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants and 1 point per dollar on everything else.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening plus an additional 40,000 bonus points after spending a total of $5,000 on purchases within 6 months of account opening
- Enjoy a Free Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide. Plus, enjoy a free reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights
- Earn 10 points per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member
- Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
- IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®