IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card: Worth a look for rewards on value-priced hotel stays

Ideal for anyone who spends most of their hotel stays in IHG properties.

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Snapshot

4.8

Bankrate rating
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Bottom line

The IHG Rewards Club Select card is an ideal option for people who spend the bulk of their hotel stays in IHG properties like Holiday Inn and Staybridge Suites. You can also maximize your reward earnings by enrolling in the IHG Reward Club program and linking your IHG Rewards Club Select card. This card charges no foreign transaction fees, which is ideal for a travel card, but you’ll need an excellent credit score of at least 740 on the FICO scale for feasible approval.

Chase Image

IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card

Rewards rate

Annual fee

$0 Intro for the First Year, then $49

Intro offer

N/A

Regular APR

17.24% - 24.24% Variable

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent  (740 - 850)

Editor’s note: This offer has expired or is no longer available.

The IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card overview

The IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card is a hotel credit card that can help you quickly earn free nights and elite status for stays at over 5,000 IHG properties. Combine your card with an IHG Rewards Club membership and you’ll boost the rewards rate for using the card, earning up to 15 points per $1 spent. The card is ideal for travelers who spend most of their time at IHG property hotels, and the card is fairly affordable compared to some top-tier hotel credit cards and the best travel credit cards.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Pros

  • You’ll get a free night on your cardmember anniversary at any IHG property, though there is a 40,000 point redemption cap
  • The $49 annual fee, which is waived the first year, is fairly affordable for a hotel card, especially when paired with other card perks like the value of the free hotel stay

Cons

  • The rewards points you earn will expire if your membership account is inactive for 12 months or more
  • The barrier of entry for feasible approval with this card is high, however, having an excellent credit score is often required for most lucrative travel cards

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: Earn 5X points at participating IHG hotels and resorts, 2X points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants and 1X points on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: 60,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within three months of account opening, about $375 in value
  • Annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $49
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 17.24 percent to 24.24 percent variable

Current welcome offer

You’ll earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months with the account, which is an accessible welcome offer requirement compared to many other top travel rewards cards. When using Bankrate’s point valuations, this welcome offer is worth about $375 in value, which could cover the cost of a night at a hotel depending on the property and if there are any point redemption caps. You’ll find higher bonuses elsewhere, but the low annual fee helps make this bonus more appealing.

Rewards rate

With the IHG Rewards Club Select card, you’ll earn at a tiered rewards rate versus a flat-rate of rewards, meaning that you’ll earn higher rates in specific spending categories. Since the IHG Rewards Club Select is a hotel card, you’ll earn the highest rate of rewards on IHG hotel and resort stays.

How you earn

When using the card alone, you’ll earn 5X points on IHG hotel and resort purchases. However, if your pair your IHG Rewards Club Select credit card with an IHG Rewards program membership, you’ll earn an additional 10X points at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Hualuxe Hotels, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo and the Holiday Inn properties. This means a stay at an Indigo hotel or a Crowne Plaza hotel, for example, paid for with the card will earn you a total of 15X points.

Although this point stacking isn’t clearly spelled out on either the IHG Rewards Club page or the IHG Rewards Club Credit Card application page, it’s a huge points-earning opportunity that shouldn’t be overlooked.

A major drawback to this card is the lackluster reward earnings on everyday spending, as the rewards rate of 2X points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants and 1X points on all other purchases can easily be bested by some of our best rewards credit cards.

How to redeem

You can redeem your points or a combination of points and cash to book a rewards stay. Points can be redeemed for free nights and upgrades at more than 5,000 hotels worldwide.

How much are the rewards worth?

The value of IHG Rewards ranges depending on what type of property and where you redeem location-wise. As an example, some hotels within the portfolio, such as a Holiday Inn near an airport may only require 10,000 to 15,000 points per night for a free stay. IHG’s most luxe brand, the InterContinental, can cost a maximum of 60,000 points for a night. Bankrate values IHG One rewards points at 0.7 cents per dollar, and it’s customary for hotel reward point values to be more watered down than other rewards points.

If you’ve accumulated a stash you can’t use for whatever reason, consider transferring the points to one of IHG’s 41 airline partners, which include both domestic and international brands. This point transfer works in one direction only. You cannot transfer an airline’s rewards into your IHG account.

Keep in mind it’s not a 1:1 transfer either. For all except a handful of these airlines, the transfer rate is 10,000 IHG points to about 2,000 miles of an airline partner. So, for example, 10,000 IHG points can be transferred into 2,000 TrueBlue points with JetBlue, 2,000 Aeromexico miles or 2,000 Emirates miles. You can’t do much with 2,000 points on any of these airlines, but it could be a nice way to top off your account if you’re close to earning a free flight or if your IHG rewards are going to expire soon.

Other cardholder perks

Similar to other hotel and travel cards, the IHG Rewards Club Select card offers a few key services, perks and benefits for holding the card and most of these are geared towards making your travel experience more enjoyable and secure.

Free nights

Owning this card also scores you a free night at any IHG Rewards property on your cardmember anniversary, even at a pricey spot like the InterContinental Paris-Le Grand, which can go for up to $340 a night. If you take advantage of this perk, the value can be worth far more than the $49 annual fee, which is waived the first year. Keep in mind that this free night perk does have a 40,000 point redemption cap, meaning you cannot use more than 40,000 points toward your free night. Free nights start at 10,000 points and top out at 60,000 points.

Membership rewards tiers

Cardholders have the opportunity to earn their way up to different membership tiers within the IHG Rewards program, which in turn can result in more valuable benefits and opportunities. Cardmembers who earn enough Qualifying Points can reach Elite Platinum status, which gives 10 percent cash back on points redemptions, up to 100,000 points back each year. You also get access to an IHG Rewards Concierge and a 50 percent bonus on base points earnings and complimentary room upgrades when available.

IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks

IHG Rewards members have access to IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks, where select rooms are available for only 5,000 points a night at a maximum of two nights per hotel.

Rates and fees

The IHG Rewards Club Select card comes with a $49 annual fee that is waived the first year. After the first year, the annual fee can easily be recouped with free night awards.

There are no introductory APR offers on purchases or balance transfers, and the balance transfer fee is $5 or 5 percent of the transferred amount, whichever is greater. Keep in mind that without this break in interest, the APR is 17.24 percent to 24.24 percent (based on creditworthiness). Even the lowest end of this APR range is only slightly under the current average credit card interest rate. However, there is a small break in fees, as the IHG Rewards Club Select doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee — which is great for any travel or hotel card — and there are no penalty APRs for missing a payment, but you may see an up to $37 missed payment fee.

How the IHG Rewards Club Select credit card compares to other hotel cards

Picking the best hotel credit card will depend on what properties you spend the most time at when you travel. You may also want to evaluate aspects like point values, annual fees and ongoing APRs if you ever have to carry a balance.

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IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card

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4.8

Annual fee

$0 Intro for the First Year, then $49

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

Recommended credit

Excellent(740 - 850)
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Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

75,000 points

Rewards rate

2X–6X

Recommended credit

Excellent(740 - 850)
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The World of Hyatt Credit Card

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

Up to 60,000 Bonus Points

Rewards rate

2X–9X

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)

IHG Rewards Club Select vs. Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card

If you stay in a hotel at least a couple of nights a year and you tend to stay within the Marriott portfolio each time, the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card is probably a smarter addition to your wallet than the IHG Rewards Club Select. The rewards rate for stays within the Marriott portfolio of properties is generous and you’ll earn a free night each year of card ownership, similar to the annual card membership anniversary free night you’d get with the IHG Rewards Club Select (with a 40,000 point redemption cap).

The points for both cards have the same value according to Bankrate’s point valuation model, with each point being equivalent to the value of 0.7 cents. At this valuation, the welcome offer from the Marriott Rewards Premier card is slightly more lucrative at 75,000 bonus points, but the required spend is higher, given you’d need to spend $3,000 within the first three months of card ownership to secure the welcome offer. The required spend of $1,000 in the first three months of card ownership to secure 60,000 bonus points with the IHG Rewards Club select is significantly lower for a fairly low value difference.

While both cards also recommend having an excellent credit score (740 to 850 on the FICO scale), the two start to diverge more significantly in terms of affordability. Both cards charge an annual fee, but the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus card charges $95 to hold the card compared to the $49 charge you’d get on the IHG Rewards Club Select. Also, the IHG card waives this annual fee for the first year, making it a more appealing choice for the frugal traveler. You’d also be spending a bit more on interest if you have to carry a balance with the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus given its 18.24 percent to 25.24 percent variable APR, though the IHG Rewards Club Select’s variable APR range isn’t much lower at 17.24 percent to 24.24 percent variable.

Ultimately, your pick between these two cards will come down to which hotel property portfolio you spend most of your nights away at so you can get the most value out of your card.

IHG Rewards Club Select vs. The World of Hyatt Credit Card

If Hyatt properties are where you frequent most on your travels, the World of Hyatt Credit Card should definitely be on your radar. This card is a great example of how point value can differ significantly across hotel cards. While the IHG Rewards Club Select card has a points valuation of 0.7 cents, the World of Hyatt point valuation is a whopping 2.1 cents according to Bankrate’s calculations. This valuation difference alone adds a lot more to the World of Hyatt card, from the value of the base rewards program, the welcome offer and more. Similarly to the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus, you will have to spend more for the increased value you get with the World of Hyatt, including a $95 annual fee and the same 18.24 percent to 25.24 percent variable APR.

One key difference between the IHG Rewards Club Select and the World of Hyatt card is the barrier of entry for approval. The World of Hyatt card recommends a good to excellent credit score (670 to 850 on the FICO scale) compared to the excellent score (740 to 850 on the FICO scale) the IHG Rewards Club Select requires. This slightly lower score requirement makes the World of Hyatt card a bit more accessible, but keep in mind that you’ll still have to invest more in this card overall to benefit from the greater value.

The World of Hyatt card has a lot to offer in worthwhile value to frequenters of Hyatt hotels. However, the IHG Rewards Club Select is a more affordable alternative overall, and could be the most valuable if you spend the most time at IHG properties.

Best cards to pair with this card

The best cards to pair with a co-branded hotel card is a general, non-branded travel card or some of the best cash back credit cards that will reward you most in your highest spending categories. If you want to stick with Chase as an issuer, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® rewards you highly for travel-related purchases, and also covers popular spending categories like dining (restaurants, takeout and delivery) and even drugstore purchases.

Bankrate’s Take Is the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card worth it?

If you’re a frequent traveler who likes IHG-owned properties, you will benefit most from the rewards structure of this card. Also, if you’re looking for one of the most affordable hotel credit card options, the IHG Rewards Club Select is absolutely worthy of consideration. However, if you more often stay at properties outside of the IHG portfolio, you may be better off with a general travel card or a slightly more expensive co-branded hotel credit card with your hotel property of choice. In this way, you’ll be sure to get the most value out of choosing a card that best aligns with your spending habits.

The information about the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card, Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card, and The World of Hyatt Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions