Last chance: Apply for these IHG cards before their elevated offers change
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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new card offers and information.
Last chance: Apply now for the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card for a waived annual fee in the first year.
There’s never been a better time to apply for an IHG credit card, but make sure you take advantage of these offers before they disappear. Both the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card are currently offering elevated sign-up bonuses. The IHG Premier is offering an all-time high bonus of 140,000 points (with the annual fee waived in the first year), while the IHG Traveler is offering 100,000 points — but both offers change on Jan. 13, 2021.
The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card will no longer be waiving the annual fee in the first year, and the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card will no longer offer the 100k bonus. Keep in mind that the Premier will be keeping the current 140k bonus.
IHG’s cobranded cards are worth considering whether you rarely stay at InterContinental Hotels Group (better known as just “IHG”) properties — such as Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, InterContinental and Hotel Indigo — or if you’re a frequent IHG guest. Thanks to its solid earning rates at IHG hotels and valuable perks, the cards can easily save you hundreds of dollars worth of points year after year. The cards have also proved that they could provide value during a pandemic with the addition of various limited-time perks.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the cards and their current offers.
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IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card — 140,000-point sign-up
- Sign-up bonus: Earn 140,000 IHG points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
- Annual fee: $89 (waived for the first year)
Before we dive into the perks of the IHG Premier, let’s talk about the sign-up bonus, because we’ve never seen a bonus on this card higher than it is right now. If you don’t have the card and haven’t earned a sign-up bonus on the card in the past 24 months, you can get a 140,000-point sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months after opening your new card.
Factoring in the card’s fourth-night award perk, you could get up to 18 award nights at IHG hotels with this one sign-up bonus alone! Reward nights start at just 10,000 points a night, ranging from practical options in the U.S. to options abroad in Berlin, Belgrade, Brazil and beyond. Even if you don’t go chasing the extreme deals, you should be able to secure TPG’s valuation of 0.5 cents per IHG point. That means you should be able to get $700 worth of award stays from this sign-up bonus. But it’s the perks of the card that make it worthwhile to keep.
Reasons to get the IHG Premier card beyond the bonus
Elite status: The IHG Premier Card grants cardholders IHG Rewards Platinum Elite status. TPG values this status at $880 for those who earn it through stays. Obviously, that value is going to be less for those who stay at IHG-branded hotels less frequently, but you should be able to recoup the card’s $89 annual fee from this perk if you spend more than a few nights a year at IHG properties.
Fourth award night benefit: IHG Premier cardholders automatically get a fourth consecutive night reward. This benefit’s value is going to depend on your travel style. For travelers who only spend one to three nights in a hotel, this perk isn’t useful. But for travelers who 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 with this perk.
Again, this is a benefit that can justify the $89 per year annual fee by itself. TPG values IHG points at 0.5 cents each. So one fourth-night reward stay at a 20,000-point property saves you $100 worth of IHG points.
Annual award night: On your first cardmember anniversary year — and for each one after that — you’ll earn an award 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 for new cardholders, it’s going to make it much easier to keep this card in your portfolio. Those 40,000 IHG points are worth $200 at TPG’s valuations, so you should be able to save more than the $89 annual fee by using this reward night.
Category bonuses: The IHG Premier Card earns a respectable 10x IHG points per dollar spent at IHG properties.
But it gets better than that. Since the credit card grants you Platinum Elite status, you’ll also earn a 50% bonus on IHG hotel stays. IHG Rewards members get a base earning rate of 10x points per dollar spent at most properties, so after the 50% elite bonus, you’ll earn 15x points per dollar spent directly from IHG Rewards. Add that to the 10x earning on the card, you’ll get (at least) 25x points total per dollar spent on the card on IHG hotel stays.
At TPG valuations, 10x earnings on the credit card spend is a return of 5% on your IHG hotel purchases. That’s a solid return. Even the $550 annual fee per year that you get from Chase Sapphire Reserve’s 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points for travel spending amounts to just a slightly better 6% return.
The IHG Premier Card also earns 2x at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants and 1x on everything else. As TPG only values IHG points at 0.5 cents each, that’s only a 1% return on gas, groceries and restaurants, so you’re able to get a better return with other cards for groceries and gas purchases.
20% discount on buying points: This perk was heralded in the card’s rollout, but unfortunately, it didn’t pan out as we expected. The discount can’t be combined with any other promotion — such as the 100% bonus on buying points that is often offered. 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 cardholders.
Read our full IHG Rewards Premier credit card review.
IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card — 100,000-point welcome bonus offer
- Sign-up bonus: Earn 100,000 IHG points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
- Annual fee: $0
If you don’t want to shell out $89 a year, the IHG Traveler is a solid alternative — especially since 100,000 points is a large haul for a card with no annual fee. They’re worth $500 based on TPG valuations.
The IHG Traveler earns 5x points at IHG hotels and resorts; 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants; and 1x on everything else.
Like the IHG Premier, this card offers a fourth reward night on award stays of four or more nights. It also provides a 20% bonus whenever you buy IHG points and Gold elite status after spending $10,000 on the card in a calendar year. Gold status comes with a 10% earning bonus on hotel stays (meaning you’ll earn 16x on IHG stays), late checkout, priority check-in and a small welcome amenity.
Read our full IHG Rewards Club Traveler credit card review.
Can you apply for more than one IHG card?
You are allowed to apply and earn the sign-up bonuses for both the IHG Premier and IHG Traveler cards. Additionally, you can still sign up for the cards if you have the now-discontinued IHG Select Card.
However, both the IHG Premier and IHG Traveler cards are subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule. This means if you’ve opened five or more personal credit card accounts across all banks in the last 24 months, Chase is unlikely to approve you. Given how coveted these five slots are, it’s likely not worth getting both cards.
With a bonus of 140,000 points, an award night on your anniversary, the fourth award night benefit, an opportunity to earn up to 25x total points on IHG purchases and IHG Platinum Elite status, the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card makes a solid case for itself — especially with just an $89 annual fee (that is waived for the first year with this offer).
While we don’t recommend it as your everyday spending card, it fits well in a credit card portfolio as a specialty card for the perks and the annual award night. If you prefer a card with no annual fee, you can apply for the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card instead.
Just make sure to apply before these offers change on Jan. 13, 2021!
Here’s the link to apply now for the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card with a 140,000-point bonus and first-year annual fee waived.
Featured photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy.
Additional reporting by Madison Blancaflor.
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