|Rewards Rating:||3.8 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate:||4.0|
|Issuer Customer Experience||4.0|
In a Nutshell:
The IHG Rewards Traveler card is a decent card for IHG loyalists, but it doesn’t offer much in the way of perks.
Chase Customer Service Ratings
Other Notable Features: No foreign transaction fees, 4th night free on reward night stays of four or more nights, gold elite status every year you spend $10,000, save 20% when you purchase points with your card
While the IHG Rewards Traveler card comes with a decent rewards rate on IHG hotel stays, the card doesn’t pack in nearly as many extra benefits as the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card. Despite having a decent sign-up bonus and no annual fee, the IHG Rewards Traveler card falls far short of higher-tier IHG cards.
Sold (but reduced) sign-up bonus
The IHG Rewards Traveler card recent had its sign-up bonus reduced, and while it still offers decent value for a no-annual-fee card bonus, the change will likely make the card less appealing if you’re hoping for a big influx of points in the near future. New cardholders can earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in the first three months – a significant drop from the card’s previous offer of 120,000 bonus points with the same spending requirement.
We value IHG points at around 0.55 cents apiece, so we estimate 80,000 points are worth around $440 in IHG stays. While this falls far short of the value you’ll find on the higher-tier IHG Premier card (140,000 points and Free Night after spending $3,000 in your first three months, which we estimate is worth a total of up to $990 in IHG stays), it’s still pretty impressive given the card charges no annual fee.
Decent rewards rate on IHG hotel stays
If you frequently stay at IHG brand properties – such as Holiday Inn or Crowne Plaza – the IHG Rewards Traveler card offers a decent rewards rate on these purchases. You’ll earn up to 17 points per dollar on IHG stays – 5 points per dollar if you pay with the IHG Rewards Traveler card, plus an additional 10 points per dollar as an IHG Rewards Club Member (if you’re not already a member, you’re automatically enrolled upon approval) and an additional 2 points per dollar with Silver Elite Status. Plus, the IHG Traveler card awards users for other common purchases, offering 3 points per dollar on monthly bills, gas and dining and 2 points per dollar on all other purchases.
Unfortunately, IHG points are not worth as much as the average rewards point. When redeemed for reward nights, we value IHG points at around 0.55 cents per dollar. So while the 80,000-point sign-up bonus and up to 17-points-per-dollar total IHG stay rewards rate sound impressive, they are actually worth less than similar rewards cards.
If you redeem your points for something other than a rewards night, such as a digital download, travel purchase or merchandise, you’ll get even less out of your points.
Fast track to elite status
Unlike many hotel rewards cards, the IHG Traveler card does not automatically grant cardholders elite status with the chain. However, you only have to spend $10,000 a year to qualify for Gold Elite status. This status comes with benefits such as early check-in and a $30 spa credit.
If you opt for the pricier IHG Rewards Premier card, you’ll automatically be granted Platinum Elite status.
Large hotel network
IHG has plenty of available properties, with more than 5,600 locations. While not quite as large as networks like Hilton or Marriott, IHG still has hotels in cities around the world – ranging from midlevel hotels to luxury resorts. No matter your budget, IHG Rewards cardholders can find a property that meets their needs.
Few extra perks
The IHG Rewards Traveler card doesn’t come with many perks for travelers. The IHG Rewards Premier card, on the other hand, offers benefits such as statement credits for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck, an anniversary reward night and automatic elite status for $89 per year. Keep in mind, however, that the IHG Rewards Traveler card charges no annual fee.
You can still earn plenty of hotel rewards points at a decent rate with the IHG Rewards Traveler card, but frequent travelers who can take advantage of extra perks are better off biting the bullet and paying an annual fee for the IHG Premier card.
Why get the IHG Rewards Traveler card?
- You frequently stay at IHG brand hotels and want to earn rewards points.
- You want to earn elite status with IHG faster.
- You want a hotel rewards card with a good sign-up bonus.
- You want a hotel rewards card with no annual fee.
How to use the IHG Rewards Traveler card?
- Spend at least $2,000 in the first three months to earn the sign-up bonus.
- Redeem points for reward nights to get the most value.
- Book reward stays of four nights or longer to get the fourth night free.
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