IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card review

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Snapshot

4.2

Bankrate rating
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Chase Image

IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card

Rewards rate

3X–26X

Annual fee

$99

Intro offer

140,000 points

Regular APR

16.74% - 23.74% Variable

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)

IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card Overview

If you’re looking for an IHG credit card and do enough traveling to justify an annual fee after the first year, the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card can be a great option. The card carries a large sign-up bonus and some valuable perks for frequent travelers looking to earn hotel rewards, including a credit for expedited security screening, automatic Platinum Elite status and more. The Premier card also offers a great mix of practical bonus categories (including at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants) to go along with the rewards you’ll earn on hotel bookings.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Pros

  • High rewards rate on IHG stays and in a number of other practical categories.
  • Large sign-up bonus and annual rewards.
  • Automatic elite status and perks.

Cons

  • Subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule.
  • $99 annual fee
  • Inflated points.
  • Only hotel stay redemptions are a good use of points.

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: Up to 25x points at IHG properties (10 points as a cardholder in addition to 15 points per dollar earned as an IHG Rewards Club member), 2x points on gas, restaurants and grocery, 1X points on other purchases
  • Welcome offer: Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Annual fee: $99
  • Purchase intro APR:  N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 16.74 percent–23.74 percent variable APR

Current sign-up bonus

As a new cardholder of the IHG Premier card, you can earn an impressive 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. The bonus could be worth over a dozen hotel stays since a number of IHG properties can be booked at 10,000 points per night.

Rewards

Earning rewards

Every purchase with your IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card earns you points toward your next hotel stay. For every $1 spent with your IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card, you can earn up to 25 points on stays at IHG properties, 2 points on restaurants, gas or groceries and 1 point on everything else.

The up to 25x rewards rate technically breaks down as 10x points for paying with your IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card, 10x points for being a member of the free IHG Rewards program, which is automatic upon card approval if you’re not already a member, and 5x points for having Platinum Elite Status, which also comes with the card.

Redeeming rewards

While redeeming points for stays at IHG hotels is by far the best use of your rewards, you have a few other (less valuable) options, including gift cards and merchandise. You can also transfer IHG points (typically at a poor rate) to a number of airline partners, including Delta and United.

Although there are no blackout dates for IHG Rewards Club members, there may be limited availability for rooms that can be booked with points. A room’s point value depends on the property and type of room, with higher-end hotels requiring more points per night than a basic room at a Holiday Inn.

The Fourth Night Reward bonus allows you to have a complimentary fourth night when you redeem your points for a consecutive three-night stay. That’s like getting a 25 percent bonus when you use your points in this way. You can enjoy this reward an unlimited number of times per year.

How much are points worth?

The IHG points value can vary due to the dynamic pricing model IHG uses to assign point value. However, based on estimates from The Points Guy, IHG points are generally worth around 0.5 to 0.7 cents each.

Benefits

Avid travelers and hotel guests will get plenty of mileage out of this card with the numerous benefits it offers. Comparing the IHG Premier to the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card the Premier offers better benefits hands down.

No foreign transaction fees

As one would expect with a travel-centric credit card, there is no foreign transaction fee on purchases made outside of the U.S.

Fourth reward night

You’re entitled to an additional night’s stay, no points needed, when you redeem points for a stay of three or more nights. Enjoy this perk as many times as you want, all year long.

Anniversary Reward

Each year, after your cardholder anniversary, you’ll receive a reward night stay in any of the eligible IHG Hotels and Resorts worldwide.

Platinum status

With the Premier card, you get IHG platinum elite status automatically. This comes with a 50-percent point bonus on stays and perks like complimentary room upgrades, late checkout, guaranteed room availability, free minibar access at Kimpton hotels and a $30 spa credit for each hotel stay.

Annual 10,000 point bonus opportunity

If you spend $20,000 on your card each year, you’ll automatically get a 10,000-point bonus on your card anniversary, as long as you make an additional purchase after the anniversary date.

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit

Pay your application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck with your card and receive up to $100 in fee reimbursement once every four years.

Rates and fees

The IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card carries a variable APR of 16.74 percent to 23.74 percent. Unfortunately, it lacks a promotional 0 percent introductory APR interest period for new purchases and balance transfers, so it’s not a great choice if you need to pay off debt or finance a large purchase. The annual fee is $99.

How the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card compares to other hotel cards

The IHG card is great for those who are loyal IHG brand enthusiasts, but if you are brand agnostic, there are plenty of other options to consider, both general travel cards and hotel cards from competing brands. Here are a couple to consider:

Chase Image

IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card

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4.2

Annual fee

$99

Intro offer

140,000 points

Rewards rate

3X–26X

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)
Chase Image

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

60,000 points

Rewards rate

2x–5x

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)
American Express Image

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

Earn 100,000 points

Rewards rate

3X–7X

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)

Best cards to pair with IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card

This card can’t be beat when it comes to paying for your stays in hotels and resorts within the IHG family, but depending on your spending habits, it may not be the best fit for your everyday expenses. Pairing it with a flat-rate or rotating bonus cash back credit card could help you enjoy the best of both worlds.

For a simple, no-frills cash back card, the Citi® Double Cash Card is hard to beat. You’ll get a flat 1 percent cash back reward on all purchases as you make them, and then another 1 percent cash back when you pay them off, for a total of up to 2 percent back, no matter where, when or what you buy. Another great option is the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. You’ll earn 5 percent cash back on all travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases and 1.5 percent back on all other purchases.

Bankrate’s Take—Is the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card worth it?

This card could be an exceptional choice for fans of IHG and frequent travelers who are willing to make IHG their go-to hotel brand. The card carries a terrific sign-up bonus, solid rewards rate and great perks, many of which, like the Anniversary Reward, can more than offset the annual fee.

The information about the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card and IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.