the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card (review) is phenomenal – worth getting for the very good welcome bonus, and worth keeping for long-term benefits. In this post, I wanted to look at eight reasons to apply for this card. In random order:
125K IHG Points with Welcome Bonus
The IHG Premier Card has a welcome bonus of 125,000 IHG Rewards points after spending $3,000 within the first three months. This is an excellent bonus, plus the card has a reasonable spending requirement that most people should be able to achieve.
I value IHG points at 0.5 cents each, so to me the 125,000 points are worth about $625.
Free night certificate with welcome bonus
The welcome bonus on the IHG Premier Card not only includes 125,000 points, but also includes a free night’s certificate valid at any accommodation costing up to 40,000 points per night. This is also earned upon completing the minimum spending requirement. Since that certificate is worth a maximum of 40,000 points, the bonus could potentially earn you up to 165,000 points in value.
Birthday Free Night Certificate
The single best benefit of the IHG Premier Card, which more than justifies the $89 annual fee, is the free anniversary certificate. This certificate can be redeemed at any IHG real estate retailer for up to 40,000 points per night, covering a vast majority of IHG properties worldwide.
While this won’t earn you a stay at one of IHG’s top InterContinental hotels, I think it’s extremely worthwhile, as the vast majority of hotels sell for over $89 a night.
For example, I’ve stayed at the InterContinental Phenicia Beirut, InterContinental Johannesburg Airport and Kimpton EPIC Miami with free night certificates, and in any case one night would have cost $250+ otherwise.
Fourth night free when redeeming awards
The other best benefit of the IHG Premier Card is that it offers a fourth night free when redeeming awards. If you stay four consecutive nights to redeem an award, you only need to redeem points for the first three nights.
This is a great perk, as it can be used an unlimited number of times (you can even use it to book multiple rooms in the same hotel, and you can even use it at Six Senses properties). If you usually redeem points for stays in four night increments, it’s like getting 25% off all your redemptions. This is a fantastic benefit.
IHG Rewards Platinum Status
Just having the IHG Premier Card earns you IHG Rewards Platinum status, which is valid for as long as you have the card. IHG Rewards Platinum status includes the following benefits:
- Room upgrades, subject to availability
- A 50% bonus on basis points
- Early check-in and late check-out, subject to availability
- A welcome amenity
Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check Credit
For some this will be valuable, and for others it will not be of much value. The IHG Premier Card offers a statement credit of up to $100 when you use your card for a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check enrollment fee, up to once every four years.
This is a nice perk that can easily give you more value than the annual fee.
Stacking benefits with IHG’s legacy credit card
Some of you may be thinking, “I have the old credit card from IHG, so the new card doesn’t seem worth it.” I agree that it may not be worth switching the product from IHG’s old credit card to the new one.
The great thing is that if you get the IHG Premier Card, you can stack some of the benefits of the two cards:
- Both cards offer a free anniversary night certificate, so you can earn two each year and use them for consecutive nights
- The old card offers a 10% refund on redeemed points (up to 100,000 points refunded per year), while the new card offers a fourth night free when redeeming rewards, and you can stack those benefits; in other words, if you stay four nights in a hotel that costs 70,000 points per night, you end up paying 210,000 points and getting 21,000 points back, for a total of 189,000 points, which is over 30% off
You are eligible for the bonus on the IHG Premier Card even if you have the old version of the IHG Card. In addition, you are also eligible for the IHG Premier Card (including the bonus) if you have the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler credit card with no annual fee (review).
Anecdotally Easy Approval
Historically, Chase has been one of the more difficult issuers to get a card approved. The IHG Premier Card has all the standard Chase approval restrictions and is subject to the 5/24 rule.
However, anecdotally, many report that the IHG Premier Card is easier to approve, and that’s also in line with my experience, as I was approved right away when I signed up (and I don’t remember the last time before that I was immediately approved for a Chase card).
It is my understanding that Chase has different approval requirements for some co-brand cards depending on the customer base the card is targeting, and it certainly seems that the IHG card is one of the easiest travel rewards cards to get approved.
Assuming you’ve otherwise struggled to get approved for Chase cards (while still under 24/5, etc), then this could be a good card to consider.
What it comes down to:
The IHG Premier Card is a handy hotel credit card that just about anyone who qualifies for it should have, even if they aren’t otherwise IHG loyalists. Personally, I would only get the free night anniversary certificate card, although there may be some valuable perks including fourth free night when redeeming prizes, IHG platinum status, etc.
Plus, the card has a fantastic welcome bonus of up to 125,000 IHG Rewards points plus a free nightly certificate upon completing the minimum spend, which is excellent. This is a full featured hotel credit card and for most travelers the benefits would more than justify the annual fee.