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Which IHG credit card is best for you?

Both offer generous sign-up bonuses and rewards rates – but which is better?

Summary

Depending on how frequently you travel, either IHG credit card might make sense for you.

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To help you rack up IHG points and get to your next reward night faster, Chase offers two co-branded IHG credit cards – the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card. Whether you are looking for a less expensive card to help you earn more points or are willing to pay a bit more for extra hotel perks, there is an option for you. Plus, both cards offer generous sign-up bonuses that are enough points for a free night in a high-end IHG property.

IHG credit cards: At a glance

IHG Traveler card
IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card
IHG Rewards Club Premier card
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
Rewards rate
  • 5 points per dollar on IHG hotel stays
  • 2 points per dollar on gas station, grocery store and restaurant purchases
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
  • For the first 12 months:
    • 40 points per dollar on IHG hotel stays (25 points per dollar from the card and 15 points per dollar as an IHG Rewards Club member)
    • 4 points per dollar on other purchases

    After the first 12 months:

    • 25 points per dollar on IHG hotel stays (10 points per dollar from the card and 15 points per dollar as an IHG Rewards Club member)
    • 2 points per dollar on gas station, grocery store and restaurant purchases
    • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
Sign-up bonus60,000 points if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months
  • 125,000 points if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months
Annual fee$29$89
Estimated yearly rewards value ($15,900 spend)$221$548
Pros
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 4th night free on reward night stays of four or more nights at IHG hotels
  • Gold Elite status if you spend $10,000 in a calendar year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 4th night free on reward night stays of four or more nights at IHG hotels
  • Automatic Platinum Elite status
  • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck
  • Free night reward on your card anniversary
Cons
  • No automatic elite status
  • Limited hotel perks
  • Must earn or redeem points every 12 months to avoid points expiring
  • Pricey annual fee
  • Must earn or redeem points every 12 months to avoid points expiring
Who should get this card?
  • Occasional travelers who want to earn points toward IHG stays
  • Cardholders who want a lower annual fee
  • Frequent travelers
  • IHG loyalists who will enjoy elite status benefits

Feature comparison

The two IHG Rewards Club cards are very similar, but they have a few key differences.

  • Sign-up bonuses – For the moment, the sign-up bonus on the Club Premier card makes it the better option. You can earn 125,000 bonus points just by spending at least $3,000 in the first three months on the Premier card, worth more than $625 in hotel nights.  The bonus on the Rewards Club Travel card is less generous, though still competitive with similar rewards cards.
  • Annual fee – The biggest feature separating these two cards is the annual fee. The Premier charges $60 more per year than the Traveler, and neither card waives the fee in the first year.
  • Elite status – With the Premier card, users are granted automatic Platinum Elite status. The Traveler card, on the other hand, doesn’t come with automatic status. While you can earn Gold status by spending $10,000 on the card in a calendar year, this is a big drawback for frequent travelers.
  • Anniversary free night – Only the IHG Premier card comes with an anniversary free night award. If you can use this perk every year, it should more than make up for the larger annual fee.

Best for users who don’t want to pay a large annual fee: IHG Traveler card

If you don’t travel frequently and elite benefits like room upgrades aren’t as important to you, you might want to avoid shelling out for a more expensive card. The IHG Traveler card still comes with a good rewards rate on IHG hotel stays and can help infrequent travelers stockpile rewards to use every once in a while. You’ll earn points on gas, grocery and restaurant purchases in addition to IHG hotel stays.

Best for users hoping to rack up rewards quickly: IHG Premier card

The IHG Premier card has a much better rewards rate than the IHG Traveler card when it comes to IHG hotel stays, on top of extra benefits like an anniversary free night award and up to $100 as a statement credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck. Frequent travelers have plenty to gain from the cards additional perks, that can more than make up for a slightly higher annual fee.

IHG Premier cardholders also earn Platinum Elite status just for signing up. In addition to valuable benefits like complimentary room upgrades and two free Amazon Kindle eBooks per quarter, Platinum status members earn a 50 percent point bonus on IHG hotel stays. If racking up points is your goal, the IHG Premier card is the easiest way to get there.

Bottom line

If you frequent IHG hotels, either of these cards is a good option. If you travel occasionally and can’t justify a high annual fee for a few extra perks, stick with the IHG Traveler card. If you’d rather enjoy benefits like an anniversary free night, TSA PreCheck and automatic elite status, the IHG Premier card might be worth a slightly higher annual fee.

See related: IHG® Rewards Club guide: The best ways to earn and use IHG pointsHow much are IHG points worth?8 ways to earn IHG pointsBest ways to redeem IHG pointsThe benefits of IHG Rewards Club elite status

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