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Earn up to 125,000 bonus points with IHG Rewards credit cards

Summary

Earn enough points for your next reward night by earning the sign-up bonus for an IHG card.

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If you frequently stay at IHG brand hotels – such as Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza or Staybridge Suites – signing up for one of the IHG Rewards Club credit cards can be a great way to earn rewards points quickly.

Chase currently offers two different cards for users looking to rack up IHG points – the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card. Whether you prefer a lower annual fee or are willing to pay a bit more for extra perks, you can earn great rewards toward IHG hotel stays.

The IHG Premier card is currently offering a 125,000-point sign-up bonus for cardholders who spend $3,000 in the first three months and the IHG Traveler a 60,000-point bonus for cardholders who spend $2,000 in the first three months. While IHG points are worth less than the average rewards point, both of these bonuses are still worth enough for a free night award at IHG’s highest-tiered properties.

Plus, the IHG Premier card is currently offering an inflated rewards rate in the first year, allowing cardholders to rack up more points than ever.

Which IHG Rewards card is worth more in the first year?

In addition to a generous sign-up bonus, the IHG Premier comes with extra benefits that boost its value. For example, you get a free night at one of IHG’s eligible hotels every year on your account anniversary. You also get up to $100 as a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. While the IHG Traveler card boasts a lower annual fee, it doesn’t include these extra benefits.

Along with a generous points-based introductory offer, the IHG Premier card also offers an inflated rewards rate in the first year of card ownership. For the first 12 months, cardholders can earn 40 points per dollar on IHG hotel stays (including the points you earn as a Rewards Club member) and 4 points per dollar on all other purchases. This is an incredibly generous earning rate, making it easy to earn plenty of free nights with the hotel brand.

IHG Rewards Club Premier card
IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
IHG Rewards Club Traveler card
IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card
Rewards rateFor 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 all 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
  • 5 points per dollar on IHG hotel stays
  • 2 points per dollar on gas station, grocery story and restaurant purchases
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
Sign-up bonus125,000 points if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months60,000 points if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months
Annual fee$89$29
Estimated earnings in first year ($1,325 monthly spend) $868 $441

While it is more than we estimate the average cardholder will spend in a year, you are also eligible for a 10,000-point bonus every year you spend $20,000 on purchases (and make one additional purchase) with the IHG Premier.

Recent changes to IHG Rewards Club cards

Both of these cards launched last year, offering generous sign-up bonuses from the beginning. The IHG Premier card has offered generous limited-time bonuses twice in its history. Right now, the bonus is the highest it has ever been.

IHG Rewards Club Premier card Recent Changes

Aug 8, 2019125,000 points if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months
May 2, 201980,000 points if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months
Feb. 28, 2019
  • 80,000 points if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months
  • Additional 40,000 points if you spend $5,000 in first 6 months
Oct. 4, 2018
80,000 points if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months
Aug. 3, 2018
100,000 points if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months
Previous80,000 points if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months

Conversely, the IHG Traveler card has remained the same through most of its history. The only change to this bonus in the last year is the removal of a 5,000-point bonus for adding an authorized user.

IHG Rewards Club Traveler card Recent Changes

Current
60,000 points if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months
Previous
  • 60,000 points if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months
  • 5,000 additional points for adding an authorized user

Who is eligible for the sign-up bonus?

The IHG Rewards Club cards are offered by Chase, and therefore fall under the bank’s 5/24 rule for card applications. If you have opened five or more credit cards with any issuer in the last 24 months, you probably won’t qualify for one of these offers. The sign-up bonuses are also limited to new cardholders. Current IHG Rewards Club cardholders or users who have earned a sign-up bonus on an IHG Rewards Club card in the last 24 months are not eligible for the offer.

Both the IHG Rewards Club Premier card and Traveler card are recommended for users with good to excellent credit (above 670), so make sure you meet the requirements before you apply.

Best ways to use the IHG Rewards Club cards’ sign-up bonuses

Like with many hotel rewards programs, IHG points are inflated. Even on the most valuable redemption option, your points are only worth about 0.55 cents per point. Though you have several redemption options for your IHG points, rewards nights get the most out of your sign-up bonus.

Redemption optionPoint value (cents)Value of 60,000-point sign-up bonusValue of 125,000-point sign-up bonus
Reward nights0.55$330$687
Gift cards0.25$150$313
Merchandise/digital downloads0.25$150$313
Flights (through IHG travel portal)0.3$180$375
Non-IHG Hotels (through IHG travel portal)0.23$138$288

IHG Rewards Club cardholders also have the option to transfer to one of 39 travel partners. However, most partners have a horrible transfer rate of 5 IHG points to 1 partner point.

In a few cases, transferring points can still be valuable. Since IHG points are so inflated – and many airline miles are worth more than 1 cent per point – you might be able to stretch your points a bit further than many IHG redemption options. Rewards nights will always get you the best value, but transferring to some travel partners ekes more out of your sign-up bonus than booking travel through IHG’s portal or using points to buy merchandise.

Here is a selection of more valuable transfer options for IHG Rewards points. You can view a full list of IHG transfer partners and transfer rates on their website.

Transfer partnerTransfer rateMiles valuation (cents)Value of 60,000-point bonusValue of 125,000-point bonus
Air Canada5:11.5$180$375
Alaska Airlines5:11.61$193$403
American Airlines5:11.9$228$475
British Airways5:12.26$271$565
Delta Airlines5:11.61$193$403
JetBlue5:11.53$184$383
Singapore Airlines5:12.36$283$590
United Airlines5:11.52$182$380

Should you apply for an IHG Rewards Club card now?

The current offer on the IHG Rewards Club Premier is the highest it has ever been — allowing cardholders the opportunity to snag a huge influx of points in addition to earning more in the first year. If you can meet the spend requirements, you can get quite a few free nights from the current bonus. For the IHG Rewards Club Traveler card, the sign-up bonus has stayed pretty much the same throughout the card’s history. If you want to earn more points toward your next IHG hotel stay, now is a great time to sign up for the card.

See related: IHG Rewards Club Dining guide, Earn up to 50,000 bonus points with The World of Hyatt Credit Card

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Published: August 7, 2019

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