IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card review

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Snapshot

2.7

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See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply

IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card

Rewards rate

3X–17X

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

80,000 points

Regular APR

16.74% - 23.74% Variable

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card Overview

The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card offers great travel points-earning potential by letting cardholders earn twice when they stay at IHG properties—once for being an IHG Rewards Club Member and again for being an IHG cardholder. Combined with a solid welcome bonus offer and hundreds of properties worldwide to choose from, the IHG Rewards Club Traveler card is a great choice to help you maximize your travel points and spend less on your next IHG stay.

What are the pros and cons?

Pros

  • Maximize earned points with strong IHG-brand rewards rates, plus boosted rewards for everyday expenses
  • Fourth-night reward when redeeming IHG points (after paying with points for the first three nights)
  • Over 6,000 destinations to choose from when booking your stay

Cons

  • No intro purchase or balance transfer APR
  • Points value is very low unless you’re redeeming for IHG stays

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: 17X points on IHG hotel stays, 3X points on monthly utilities, gas station purchases, streaming service purchases and restaurant purchases; 2X points on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: Earn 80,000 bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first three months after account opening
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 16.74 percent to 23.74 percent (variable)

Current welcome offer

New cardholders can earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first three months. While this is a solid bonus when compared to other hotel loyalty cards (assuming you stay frequently at IHG hotels), it’s a big drop from the card’s previous bonus of 120,000 points with the same spending requirement. Of course, if you don’t stay regularly at nor prefer IHG locations, then this bonus is comparatively lackluster considering a IHG property reward stay may range from 10,000 to 100,000 points.

Hilton, for instance, offers 80,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of card membership with the Hilton Honors American Express Card.

Rewards rate

Here’s a look at all-things rewards when it comes to the IHG Rewards Club Traveler card:

How you earn

The IHG Rewards Club Traveler Card gives you three ways to earn IHG points:

  • 5X points for each dollar spent at IHG hotels and resorts (or up to 15X points with IHG Rewards Club Membership, adding up to 17X total points with the card’s complimentary Silver Elite status)
  • 3X points on monthly utility bills, gas station purchases, streaming services and restaurant purchases
  • 2X points on all other purchases

Although IHG locations may not be as immediately recognizable under the brand’s umbrella, your card is eligible for rewards at the following branded properties:

  • Atwell Suites
  • Avid
  • Candlewood Suites
  • Crowne Plaza
  • Even Hotels
  • Holiday Inn
  • Holiday Inn Express
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations
  • Hotel Indigo
  • Hualuxe
  • InterContinental Hotels and Resorts
  • Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants
  • Regent
  • Six Senses
  • Staybridge Suites
  • Vignette Collection
  • Voco

How to redeem

When it comes to redeeming your IHG points, you have a few options.

First, you can convert your current points balance into a free night’s stay at participating IHG properties. While some hotels come in at 10,000 per night, most require substantially more points (even up to 100,000). According to IHG’s list of its top five reward night destinations, the Holiday Inn Resort Aruba-Beach Resort and Casino comes in at 58,000 points per night, while a stay at the InterContinental New York Times Square is 60,000 points per night, on average. Additionally, cardholders can pay using a combination of points and cash, giving them the flexibility to use as few or as many points as they’d like then making up the difference with cash.

Cardholders can also redeem IHG points for purchases such as jewelry, electronics, household items and more from the IHG rewards catalog. Redemptions in the catalog start at 1,000 points for magazine subscriptions and go up from there through a range of categories and spending thresholds. Plus, cardholders can redeem for gift cards or use points to offset the costs of flights, car rentals and more. It’s also possible to transfer or gift your points to other cardholders as well as donate to charities.

Other cardholder perks

The IHG Rewards Club Traveler card offers multiple benefits, some of which you might find on other travel cards like a complimentary fourth reward night or elite status with a certain spending requirement. Plus, earning bonus points with IHG membership is a great way to ensure you’re netting the maximum number of points available to you on every purchase you make.

More points-earning with IHG Rewards Club Membership

If you’re not already an IHG Rewards Club member, you should be—membership gives you 10X points on each dollar spent at eligible IHG properties. Combined with the 5X points per dollar offered by your Traveler’s card, this gets you at least 17X the points for every IHG stay (counting your Silver Elite status).

While inflated points models like this aren’t new to the hotel card landscape, they’re certainly a requirement on cards that hope to compete with brands like Hilton and Marriott—both of which offer high rewards points to members and cardholders. Unfortunately, points in these programs typically carry a low value and may vary in value based on the location, season and other factors.

Fourth reward night

If you redeem points for a stay of three nights or more at an IHG property, you’ll get a complimentary fourth reward night to add to your visit. This is especially useful for higher-end properties that have significant per-night points values and can help extend your vacation without breaking the bank.

10,000 bonus points each calendar year

By spending $10,000 within one calendar year, plus an extra purchase at least a day after you’ve reached that threshold, you can earn another 10,000 points. According to the 0.5-cent IHG point value below, this can potentially amount to a low-tier IHG property stay or up to $50 of value for big spenders.

Gold Elite status with $20,000 in purchases each year

If you make $20,000 or more worth of purchases in a calendar year, you’ll automatically earn Gold Elite status with IHG. This lets you access extended check-out and priority check-in options, ensures your points never expire and gives you 10 percent bonus earnings on top of your base points. By no means should you aim to spend $20,000 just to fall into this category, but this is a wonderful promotional perk for members who already land in this spending range.

How much are the rewards worth?

If you’re booking a night’s stay at IHG properties, your points redemption value will typically hover around 0.5 cents per point, according to monthly points and miles valuations from The Points Guy. You can improve this conversion rate by taking advantage of special hotel offers or traveling in off-peak season, which reduces the overall points cost per night. However, this may not be to the interest of travelers who want the convenience of traveling when and where they want while taking advantage of high point values earned throughout the year.

Also, if you purchase items through the IHG rewards catalog, be prepared for significantly lower conversion rates. Consider a Bose speaker advertised on the IHG rewards site for just under 60,000—the same speaker retails for around $130, meaning your points are only worth about 0.22 cents each. This is a relatively low redemption value, especially when compared to some other cards, let alone the other redemption options on this card. If you’re looking to maximize your point value, stay away from merchandise redemptions like this one. On the other hand, if redeeming for gift cards, consider the price of a $100 Amazon gift card at 49,000 points. This gives your points a value of about 0.2 cents each. This is even lower than a merchandise redemption.

If you not only want to earn a high volume of points but want to make each point as valuable as you can, stick to travel purchases and redemptions like offsetting the cost of hotel stays or redeeming for free nights at select locations. The closer you get to the point’s 0.5 cent value, the better off you are.

Rates and fees

While the IHG Traveler card doesn’t offer any introductory purchase or balance transfer APR, its ongoing 16.74 percent to 23.74 percent (variable) APR hovers around the current average credit card interest rate—which isn’t the worst for a travel card. In addition, there’s no annual fee for this card and no foreign transaction fees, while late and returned payments can both cost up to $40 each.

While these aren’t exactly the best rates and fees for a no annual fee card, they aren’t high enough to be a deal-breaker for travelers, especially since frequent international IHG guests are saved from the usual 3 percent foreign transaction fee.

Bankrate expert experience

Bankrate contributor Stephanie Zito, a financial specialist on our Expert Review Board, notes the versatility of IHG’s suite of brands that the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card can reward—all with no annual fee to justify.

IHG offers many hotel options for both the domestic and international traveler across all price points. From the Holiday Inn to a boutique Kimpton property, all the way to a luxury Intercontinental location, the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Card helps you take advantage of both earning and redeeming rewards from the full IHG hotel portfolio without adding the expense of another annual credit card fee.

— Stephanie ZitoBankrate Financial Expert Review Board member

How the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card compares to other travel rewards cards

Shopping for your next travel card can be overwhelming because of the variety available to cardholders when it comes to rewards, redemption options and making some major decisions regarding brand loyalty. If you don’t consider yourself loyal to one specific airline or hotel, it’s not always an obvious choice. IHG, on one hand, gives customers some choice over their hotel choice and offers an adequate rewards program.

However, you might be looking for a travel rewards card that comes with a few extra perks or variety in its rewards structure. In that case, there are other options available to you.

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IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card

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2.7
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

80,000 points

Rewards rate

3X–17X

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)
Chase Image

IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card

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)

IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card vs. IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is another travel card offered by IHG and is a step up in rewards rate, welcome bonus and annual fee for IHG Rewards card holders. You’ll pay a $99 annual fee for this option, but if you’re an IHG member, you’ll earn up 26X points on IHG hotel stays (compared to up to 17X with the IHG Rewards Traveler card). This elevated rewards rate positions you to earn more for each dollar you spend, but you’ll need to make up that annual fee to justify the card over the one you can hold for free.

Additionally, the 140,000-point welcome bonus and Free Night reward (after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months) for the IHG Premier card is much higher and the card also rewards cardholders with a free night worth up to 40,000 points each account anniversary. The free night alone might well be worth the annual fee on the card, and is the biggest differentiator between the two sibling cards value-wise. On top of the welcome offer and annual reward night, loyal IHG guests can continue to earn more rewards value with every dollar spent throughout the year—as opposed to semi-frequent IHG guests that may struggle to offset the premium card’s annual fee.

IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card vs. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

If you aren’t sold on a hotel card but still want a travel card to reward you well for all the money you spend on flights, hotels and restaurants, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is an excellent choice. The card earns 5X points on travel purchases made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal, 3X points on dining (plus selecting streaming services and online grocery purchases that exclude Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs) and 2X points on all other travel. Additionally, when redeemed through the Ultimate Rewards portal, points receive a 25 percent boost in value, making them worth 1.25 cents each.

While you might look at the rewards rate on the Sapphire Preferred and notice it’s markedly lower than the earning rate on the IHG card’s, you should also recognize the fact that Chase points are incredibly more valuable than IHG points. In fact, 25 IHG points are worth roughly 12 cents when redeemed for stays at IHG locations. Comparatively, 10 Chase Rewards points are worth just as much when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

While you may earn more points with an IHG card at IHG locations, points through Chase will get you much further. On top of that, you’ll have more redemption flexibility with Chase because you won’t have to worry about sharp dips in value for redemptions outside of hotel stays. You can redeem for flights and hotels at the fixed rate of 1 cent per point, plus the additional 25 percent increase if you use the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Best cards to pair with the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Card

If you’re looking for another card to pair with your IHG Traveler card, consider a cash back credit card for everyday spending. While the Traveler card gets you 1X points per dollar for day-to-day spending, you’ll be better served solely using this card for spending at IHG properties, gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants. Then, try using a flat-rate cash back card to earn 1.5 percent to 2 percent back on all other spending.

Otherwise, a flat-rate travel card for purchases outside your IHG card’s bonus categories may be helpful.

Bankrate’s Take: Is the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Card worth it?

When it comes to hotel credit cards, IHG’s offerings stand out for their ability to maximize point-earning by combining card and rewards club bonuses. With no introductory purchase or balance transfer APR combined with lower-than-average points redemption value if you’re converting points to reward catalog purchases, however, the utility of this card depends on your current spending habits.

If you’re a frequent guest of IHG properties and combine the Traveler card with another cash-back option, it offers solid benefits to help reduce the cost of travel. If IHG options aren’t your preferred properties, meanwhile, consider another travel or cash back card.

*The information about the IHG® Rewards Club 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.

Frequently Asked Questions