Best IHG credit cards

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With more than 5,000 properties around the globe, the International Hotel Group (IHG) has a hotel or resort for everyone, no matter why or where you’re traveling.

If you’re already earning points as an IHG Rewards Club Member, the IHG Chase credit card options only sweeten the deal. Whichever option you choose, purchases at IHG hotels and resorts earn you points both from your credit card program and from your Rewards Club membership — meaning your points add up more quickly for free hotel stays.

Plus, you can earn additional points on partnered restaurants, as well as gas and grocery expenses.

Bankrate’s picks for the Best IHG Credit Cards

Choosing the best IHG credit card for you

Do you want to pay an annual fee?

Whether or not you want to pay for the card will of course come down to how you intend to use the benefits. While the Premier card’s annual fee more than pays for itself in benefits, not everyone wants the upfront cost. The Traveler card doesn’t have an annual fee, but it also has fewer perks.

Can you reasonably use all of the points you earn?

The Premier card offers a lot of opportunities to earn additional points. On top of your base points, you can earn a 125,000 point bonus for spending $3,000 in your first three months, and you’ll also earn an extra 50 percent on top of base points as a Platinum Elite member. But if you’re not traveling frequently, or don’t regularly stay with IHG brands, all those extra points may not be worthwhile.

Do you care about Elite status?

The automatic Platinum Elite status with the Premier card is a pretty sweet deal, but not if you don’t care about the benefits. If room upgrades, TSA Precheck credits and extra points don’t make a difference to you, the Traveler card may be a better fit.

IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

The IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card is a no-annual-fee card that earns points toward IHG hotel stays. As a Traveler cardholder, you’ll earn 15 points per $1 spent at IHG hotels and resorts. This breaks down as:

  • 5X points for using your IHG Premier card
  • 10X points for your IHG Rewards Club membership

Additionally, you can qualify for a 75,000-point sign-up bonus when you spend $2,000 within three months. It also gives you a leg up on reaching Rewards Club statuses by applying credit card points to your Rewards Club balance, as well as allowing for easier enrollment in the Elite Gold tier after spending $10,000 in a year (instead of a minimum points threshold).

Why it’s the best card for no annual fee travel rewards

Who doesn’t like free things? The Traveler card offers perks that stack onto your IHG Reward Club benefits at no additional cost. This makes it a great fit for anyone who travels somewhat frequently with IHG and wants a boost to their points.

Plus, if you do end up spending heavily on your card in a given year, you’ll get easier access to Gold Elite status, earning you perks like complimentary Wi-Fi, late checkout during IHG stays and no blackout dates for rewards nights.

IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

The IHG Premier card offers tons of opportunities to earn points on purchases and a slew of benefits with automatic Platinum Elite status. You’ll earn 25 points per $1 spent at IHG hotels and resorts. Here’s the breakdown of those points:

  • 10X points for using your IHG Premier card
  • 10X points for your IHG Rewards Club membership
  • 5X points for your Platinum Elite status

As a new cardholder, you can earn 125,000 points for spending $3,000 within three months. Depending on your travel preferences, all of the bonus points could cover a free multi-night stay in no time.

Why it’s the best card for travel bonuses

Even though the Premier Card comes with an $89 annual fee, the cost pays for itself almost immediately. Anyone who is a frequent IHG customer can earn back the annual fee with the anniversary reward night alone.

Plus, with the automatically awarded Platinum Elite status, you’re eligible for a credit of up to $100 every four years for the cost of Global Entry or TSA Precheck when you charge the fee to your card. Other added benefits include a dedicated customer service line just for Premier Elite members and complimentary room upgrades so you can always stay in the best available accommodations. Plus, you’ll be exempt from blackout dates.

How much are IHG points worth?

IHG points don’t have a one-to-one value in U.S. dollars. Instead, hotel stays are assigned a point value for redemption, which can depend on the time of year, geographic location or property. When you’re ready to redeem rewards nights, you’ll find the points value with each available property and room type. That being said, according to The Points Guy’s estimations, points typically average out to a value of 0.5 cents each.

Best ways to redeem IHG points

Maximize your points

Whether you have the Traveler or Premier card, it’s a good idea to book four nights in a row to make the most of the fourth-night free benefit.

Take advantage of discounts

You can combine points and cash to pay for stays, but there’s another option to pay in points. Both credit cards offer cardholders the chance to purchase additional points at a minimum 20 percent discount. Even if you have to pay cash, you can end up saving with this discount.

Alternatives for IHG travelers

Depending on your travel habits, an IHG credit card may not be the best bet for you. For example, if you find that your flights typically cost you more than your hotel stays, you may want to prioritize a credit card that offers broader travel benefits.

Flexibility in how you spend your points is a great way to make the most of your rewards credit card benefits. In fact, many general travel rewards cards can be used for any travel-related expenses, including hotels, flights and ground transportation. This means that even without an IHG specific card, you could still cover IHG stays with points.

Bottom line

Choosing the right IHG credit card can make all the difference for your future stays. Whether you just need a slight and simple boost to your points for an annual vacation or you’re a frequent IHG traveler, easier travel and enticing discounts can be within reach with an IHG Chase credit card.

Information about the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card and IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The issuer did not provide the content, nor is it responsible for its accuracy.