April 5, 2018
Review: IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

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IHG recently discontinued its Club Select credit card while hugely devaluing the card’s annual free night certificate for existing cardholders. The hotel company is now launching two new credit cards to replace the outgoing Club Select. These are the IHG Rewards Club Premier and the IHG Rewards Club Traveler. I’ll break down the Club Premier in this post and discuss the the Club Traveler card in a future post.


Sign-Up Bonus


The Club Premier comes with 80,000 bonus IHG points after spending $2,000 in the first three months of account opening. You can earn an additional 5,000 points after adding your first authorized user and making a purchase with the authorized user card in the same three months.


You can only sign up for the Premier if you don’t currently have the card and have not received a new cardmember bonus in the past 24 months.



Earning Points


Cardholders earn 10x IHG points per $1 spent on IHG hotels, 2x points per $1 spent on gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, and 1x point per $1 on everything else.


You can earn an additional 10,000 bonus points upon spending over $20,000 before your annual account anniversary.


Redeeming Points


You can redeem IHG points for free stays at over 5,200 IHG hotels around the world. Redemption prices range from 10,000-70,000 points per night depending on the hotel category. You can also redeem a combination of points and cash.



Perks


Anniversary Free Night

Cardholders receive one free night certificate each year. The certificate can be redeemed at 5,000+ IHG properties which cost up to 40,000 points per night. As a frame of reference, IHG rooms can cost between 5,000-70,000 points per night.


Fourth Reward Night Free

When you redeem points for stays of four or more consecutive nights, the fourth night is free. That’s a pretty cool perk and is effectively a 25% discount on award stays of four nights.


Platinum Status

Cardholders receive complimentary IHG Platinum status. This comes with perks like bonus points, room upgrades, late check-out, and a welcome amenity.


Points Purchase Discount

You’ll save 20% on IHG points purchases when purchasing points with the IHG Premier card.


Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check

Cardholders receive up to $100 every four years as a reimbursement for the Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check application fee.


Fees


The card has an $89 annual fee and charges no foreign transaction fees.



Should You Get It?


The Premier offers a solid 80,000 point sign-up bonus which can be redeemed for a few hundred dollars worth of free hotel rooms. The point earning structure isn’t too compelling though. Earning 10x IHG points per $1 on IHG spending is nice, but Chase Ultimate Rewards points are far more valuable and you can earn 3x Chase points per $1 on hotels with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.


The real value of the IHG Premier comes from the anniversary free night certificate, the fourth night free, and the 20% discount on purchased points. While the free night certificate is capped at mid-tier properties, you should still be able to redeem it for stays worth the $89 annual fee. The fourth night free on award stays is also great as you’re basically getting 25% off award rates.


Here’s how to get a lot of value. Purchase IHG points when they’re on sale, pay with your Premier card to get the 20% discount on purchased points, and then use those points for four night redemptions to get one night free. This can be a way to book award stays with a huge discount.


Images Courtesy of Chase

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