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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit CardStarwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American ExpressStarwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Credit Card from American Express, IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

The TPG Awards ceremony earlier this week was the culmination of months of planning, flights reviews and — of course — voting by you, the readers of The Points Guy. Only a few categories were decided upon by TPG staff. There were two rounds of voting by readers to narrow down nominees and then choose the winners for most categories.

I agree with the reader choices in most categories, but my favorite cobranded hotel credit card wasn’t even a finalist in the Best Hotel Cobranded Credit Card category. For this category, the finalists included:

So, today I’m going to try to convince you why the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card deserves a place in every traveler’s wallet.

Annual Free Night Certificate

Like the IHG Premier Card, all of the finalists for best cobranded hotel credit card offer an annual free night certificate. But some of these cards, like the Hilton Honors Aspire Card (See Rates & Fees) and the Starwood Preferred Guest Luxury Card (See Rates & Fees), have $450 annual fees.

The other finalists, as well as the IHG Premier Card, offer free night certificates that should easily justify the card’s annual fee as long as you’re able to use the free night:

Although many IHG properties cost more than 40,000 points per night, you should easily be able to get more than $89 of value from your free night. So, I don’t worry about the annual fee on this card since I know I’ll get more than $89 of value from my free night each year. Plus, there are a few other benefits on the IHG Premier Card that provide substantial benefit.

IHG Platinum Elite Status

The IHG Premier Card offers its card holders Platinum Elite status, which is IHG’s mid-tier status. TPG values IHG Platinum Elite status at $1,085, but this valuation assumes you’re staying enough nights each year to obtain the status via nights. I’ve consistently received upgrades at IHG properties where there are upgraded rooms with Platinum Elite status, especially when traveling outside the US. Upgrades are the main benefit, but late checkout (when available, but it’s rarely not available) and 50% bonus earnings on paid stays are also useful.

Granted, each of the TPG Awards finalists also offers elite status. But, as you’ll see below, only the cards with high annual fees offer status that TPG values at more than $180 per year — and that’s assuming you’re staying enough to earn that status via stays. Here’s the status provided by each of the finalists:

So, the IHG Premier Card offers more valuable status than four of the five finalist cards — three of which only offer low-tier status with a comparable annual fee. But there’s another reason why the card is extremely valuable to me…

A 4th Night Free on Awards

The IHG Premier Card offers a relatively rare benefit, especially for a $89 annual fee credit card, that’s not offered by any of the finalists: a fourth night free on award stays. And even better, this fourth night free is available multiple times on longer award stays. So, you’ll get two free nights on an eight-night award stay, three free nights on a 12-night award stay and so on. Plus, the fourth night free on awards also works at PointBreaks properties. You won’t get much value out of this benefit if you don’t usually stay at IHG hotels for four nights or longer, but I personally have gotten excellent value from this benefit since I’m on the road full-time.

Other Considerations

If I haven’t sold you on the value of the IHG Premier Card yet, here’s a few other highlights of the card:

Bottom Line

If you’re loyal to one or more hotel brands, the most valuable hotel cobranded credit cards for you will likely be ones associated with these brands. But, many travelers are free agents who will take advantage of promotions and the elite status, welcome bonus, benefits and free night certificates provided by hotel cobranded credit cards.

Sure, IHG doesn’t have the most prestigious portfolio, but the mid-tier elite status, annual free night certificate and fourth night free on awards benefit provided by the IHG Premier Card are excellent benefits for a $89 annual fee card.

Featured photo of InterContinental Hotels Presidente Cancun Resort courtesy of IHG.

For rates and fees of the SPG Luxury Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the SPG Amex Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire Card, please click here.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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