April 27, 2018
Review: IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

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I recently wrote about the new IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card from Chase. That’s the new high-end IHG card replacing the now retired IHG Rewards Club Select. Chase also introduced a lower tier card called the IHG Rewards Club Traveler (I know, it’s getting a bit confusing). The Traveler has a lower annual fee and less lucrative perks to go along with it, but it could make sense in certain situations.


Sign-Up Bonus


The Club Traveler comes with 60,000 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 Club Traveler 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 5x IHG points per $1 spent at IHG hotels, 2x points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, and 1x point per $1 on everything else.


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


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.


Gold Status

Cardholders receive IHG Gold status as long as they spend $10,000 during the calendar year. This comes with perks like bonus points for stays, priority check-in, and late check-out (based on availability). These aren’t very compelling hotel perks to be honest, and Gold is IHG’s lowest elite status level.


Points Purchase Discount

You’ll save 20% on IHG points purchases when paying with the Club Traveler credit card.



Fees

The Club Traveler has a $29 annual fee and charges no annual fees.


Should You Get It?


The Club Traveler offers a decent 60,000 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 5x IHG points per $1 on IHG spending is not-competitive. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are far more valuable and you can earn 3x Chase points per $1 on hotels with the Chase Sapphire Reserve or 2x with the Chase Sapphire Preferred.


The best way to get long-term value out of this card is to purchase IHG points when they’re on sale, pay with your credit card to get the 20% discount, then redeem the points for four night stays in order to get one night free. That would get you enough value to justify the $29 annual fee.


I personally don’t stay at IHG hotels because they don’t have enough aspirational properties to interest me. I prefer using points for free luxury stays. That said, this card can be an effective tool for getting cheap hotel rooms.

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