Reviews IHG Rewards Club Select card from Chase review

IHG Rewards Club Select card from Chase review

Published: May 30, 2017
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Hotel Rating:
3.6 rating
3.6 rating
3.6 / 5
Rewards Value: 3.1
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.2
Rewards Flexibility: 4.0
Hotel Options: 4.5
Features: 5.0

In a nutshell:

If the latest series of severe program devaluations has not affected your loyalty to the IHG hotels and resorts, you should consider this card for its excellent benefits and bonuses.

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Rewards Rate

  • 5:1 IHG hotel stays
  • 2:1 gas, grocery, and restaurants
  • 1:1 general

Sign-up Bonus

  • 60,000 if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months
  • 5,000 if you add an authorized user in first 3 months

Annual Bonus
One free night at any IHG property worldwide

Annual Fee
$49, $0 first year

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$469

APR
16.74-23.74% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire as long as card is active every 12 months
  • Redeem for reward nights, merchandise, gift cards, airfare, digital rewards, charity
  • Pay with points plus cash at any hotel
  • Reserve a free night with points and use free certificate later
  • Save on rewards reservations with PointBreaks and other redemption promos

Cons

  • No good uses outside of hotel redemptions
  • Generally expensive rewards chart that gets devalued every year
  • Limited rewards inventory
  • High APR

Hotel Options

  • Properties: 5,000+
  • Countries served: 100+

Other Notable Features: Automatic platinum status, 50% bonus points, complimentary room upgrades, guaranteed room availability for non-rewards rooms, late checkout, free Wi-Fi, no foreign-transaction fees, purchase protection, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, lost luggage insurance, trip delay insurance, baggage delay insurance, travel and emergency assistance

Rewards Rating:
4.2 rating
4.2 rating
4.2 / 5
Rewards Value: 4.3
Annual Percentage Rate: 1.2
Rewards Flexibility: 4.1
Features: 5.0

In a nutshell:

A good card to use for everyday purchases, the affordably priced IHG Rewards Club Select card offers double points on gas, restaurant and grocery store purchases, five points for every dollar spent on IHG hotels such as Holiday Inn or Crowne Plaza and a generous suite of benefits, including an annual free night’s stay at an IHG hotel.

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Rewards Rate

  • 5:1 IHG hotel stays
  • 2:1 gas, grocery, and restaurants
  • 1:1 general

Sign-up Bonus

  • 60,000 if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months
  • 5,000 if you add an authorized user in first 3 months

Annual Fee
$49, $0 first year

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$469

APR
16.74-23.74% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire as long as card is active every 12 months
  • Redeem for reward nights, merchandise, gift cards, airfare, digital rewards, charity
  • Pay with points plus cash at any hotel
  • Reserve a free night with points and use free certificate later
  • Save on rewards reservations with PointBreaks and other redemption promos

Cons

  • No good uses outside of hotel redemptions
  • Generally expensive rewards chart that gets devalued every year
  • Limited rewards inventory
  • High APR

Other Notable Features: Automatic platinum status, 50% bonus points, complimentary room upgrades, guaranteed room availability for non-rewards rooms, late checkout, free Wi-Fi, no foreign-transaction fees, purchase protection, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, lost luggage insurance, trip delay insurance, baggage delay insurance, travel and emergency assistance

Travel Rating:
4.1 rating
4.1 rating
4.1 / 5
Rewards Value: 4.0
Annual Percentage Rate: 1.4
Rewards Flexibility: 4.1
Features: 5.0

In a nutshell:

One of our favorite hotel cards on the market, this premier credit card caters to fans of Intercontinental hotels, such as Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, with an attractive spending bonus on everyday purchases, a large sign-up bonus and at least one free night’s hotel stay each year.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate

  • 5:1 IHG hotel stays
  • 2:1 gas, grocery, and restaurants
  • 1:1 general

Sign-up Bonus

  • 60,000 if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months
  • 5,000 if you add an authorized user in first 3 months

Annual Fee
$49, $0 first year

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$469

APR
16.74-23.74% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire as long as card is active every 12 months
  • Redeem for reward nights, merchandise, gift cards, airfare, digital rewards, charity
  • Pay with points plus cash at any hotel
  • Reserve a free night with points and use free certificate later
  • Save on rewards reservations with PointBreaks and other redemption promos

Cons

  • No good uses outside of hotel redemptions
  • Generally expensive rewards chart that gets devalued every year
  • Limited rewards inventory
  • High APR

Other Notable Features: Automatic platinum status, 50% bonus points, complimentary room upgrades, guaranteed room availability for non-rewards rooms, late checkout, free Wi-Fi, no foreign-transaction fees, purchase protection, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, lost luggage insurance, trip delay insurance, baggage delay insurance, travel and emergency assistance

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With a huge worldwide portfolio of hotels ranging from budget Holiday Inns to super-duper InterContinentals, IHG can assist in all of your travel needs, whether you roam around your state or around the planet. And while today’s IHG points do not carry the same value they used to a few years – or even a few months – ago, IHG frequently runs aggressive promotional campaigns allowing you to earn thousands of points for little effort.

On the redemption side, there are PointBreaks promos. These allow you to get a room at certain hotels all over the world for only 5,000 points.  IHG also offers 50 percent off promos, which are usually more area-specific. If you find a place to stay in either list, you can seriously stretch your points-redemption power.

The IHG Rewards Club Select credit card offers a lot of value for a small annual fee, and even that fee is waived for the first year. You get reasonable sign-up bonus and earning schemes, a fantastic annual bonus, and the elite status, which will occasionally qualify you for an upgrade and other perks. Cardholders also get a partial refund when they redeem points.

Average sign-up bonus
The IHG rewards card comes with a average sign-up bonus. You get 60,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months of account opening. This can translate into up to 13 nights at a discounted PointBreaks hotel, or one night at the highest-category hotels.

Valuable annual bonus
You get one free night every year at any of the more than 5,000 worldwide hotels in the IHG portfolio, worth up to 60,000 points. This is arguably the best annual bonus among hotel co-branded credit cards. Many other hotel cards offer annual free night certificates, but these usually come with a high spending requirement, or your stay is limited to a lower category hotel. The IHG Rewards Club Select credit card doesn’t have any strings attached and you can stay for free even at one of the priciest IHG properties in the world.

Reasonable annual fee
The IHG Rewards Club Select credit card’s annual fee is only $49, which is half the cost as some hotel co-branded credit cards. The fee is well worth it, considering the breadth and quality of the hotel portfolio, the value of the rewards and the plethora of hotel perks. Also, the fee is waived in the first year in case you want to try to the card out before committing to a yearly fee.

Decent earning scheme
While the earning scheme at IHG properties is average for a hotel credit card, there are other bonus categories that can speed up your earnings. You get five points per dollar at IHG hotels; two points per dollar at restaurants, grocery stores and gas stations; and one point per dollar on everything else.

You also get a 10 percent rebate on IHG Rewards Club point redemptions up to 100,000 points per year.

Fairly flexible rewards redemption
IHG offers pretty flexible terms for redeeming rewards, save for one major caveat: In its terms and conditions, IHG specifically mentions that the inventory of rewards rooms is limited. Many other loyalty programs guarantee rewards availability as long as a standard room is open. That said, a glance at the IHG rewards site shows that rewards rooms are available at many properties on many dates, so this restriction doesn’t seem to drastically affect the ability to book a rewards room.

Reward points do not expire for active account users, they do expire after 12 months of inactivity.

IHG is very flexible on some of its other terms. It offers an option to pay with points plus cash. That means if you do not have enough rewards points to cover a rewards night, you can cover the remainder of the cost with cash. While other hotel loyalty programs offer this option at participating properties, IHG is one of the few to offer it at any of its properties, depending on availability. Also, IHG allows you to reserve a room with rewards points and to use a free-night certificate when you check in, in case you want to put a hold on a room prior to earning your certificate.

Worldwide hotel network
The IHG hotel portfolio is one of the largest in the world. With more than 5,000 hotels in more than 100 countries, IHG gives you the option to book a rewards room practically any place you want to travel. There are also a large variety of brands in the IHG portfolio, from budget to luxury. That gives you the option to spread your points over a large number of nights or to spend them all at once for a night at a top-tier hotel.

Automatic elite status
The card automatically grants platinum elite status to cardholders. Platinum was once the highest elite status in the program, and the IHG Rewards Club Select credit card was the only hotel co-branded card that gave its members the highest elite status without any stay requirements. In 2015, however, IHG introduced an even higher level — spire elite status.

Nonetheless, platinum status still comes with a long list of valuable perks, including a 50 percent bonus on base points for each hotel stay, priority check-in and late checkout, occasional room upgrades (except at InterContinental hotels), and other small perks.

Reasons to sign up for it:

  • You’re a frequent customer of IHG properties and want to earn more points.
  • You frequently travel and stay in hotels.
  • You want a rewards card with a large sign-up bonus.
  • You’re looking for a rewards card with a low annual fee.
  • You’re looking for a hotel loyalty program with a large variety of properties around the world.

How to use it:

  • Don’t forget to spend $1,000 in the first three months and to make a purchase and add an authorized user in the first three months to earn the 60,000 and the 5,000 point bonuses.
  • Since the IHG Rewards Club Select credit card doesn’t have a foreign-transaction fee, use it for all IHG bookings anywhere in the world to maximize the earnings.
  • Consider applying together with a partner or spouse and turn your annual bonus night into a two-day outing at a high-value IHG hotel.

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