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IHG Rewards Club Premier card review: An annual free night makes this a valuable card even if you're not an IHG loyalist

Submitted by Tech Insider on June 2, 2021 - 5:31pm

 IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit CardSummary List PlacementTable of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Review: Is the IHG Rewards Club Premier the best credit card for you?

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers tremendous value for hotel stays. It doesn't take much to get your money's worth out of the card if you stay at IHG properties even a few times a year.

Aside from the generous sign-up bonus, the recurring benefits make this card a keeper. The yearly anniversary free night alone is worth the annual fee — $89, waived the first year — and the fourth night free on award stays can help your points stretch further. Having IHG Platinum Elite status is a nice bonus that can translate to valuable benefits and point earnings on paid stays.

Currently, you can earn IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. With this bonus, you can get at least two nights at a top-tier hotel, or up to 15 free nights at IHG's lower-level properties. Any good hotel credit card sign-up bonus should offer a minimum of one free night at a top-tier hotel. The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card delivers on that front and offers plenty of options for redeeming those rewards.

Read more: The best hotel credit cards in 2021

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers cardholders up to 25x points per dollar spent on eligible IHG hotel stays. You'll get 10x points by using the card on eligible purchases, another 10x points by being an IHG Rewards Club member (that's the hotel chain's loyalty program, which is free to join), and another 5x points for having Platinum Elite status (a complimentary benefit of the card). 

If you're interested in booking a stay at an IHG hotel but you don't want to tie yourself to one hotel brand, you could consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® instead. That's because these two cards earn Ultimate Rewards points that you can transfer to the IHG Rewards program to book hotel stays — and you have access to 12 other transfer partners (including Hyatt and Marriott) as well.


Comparison: IHG Rewards Club Premier card vs other Chase hotel credit cards

 

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

The World Of Hyatt Credit Card

Annual fee

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

The World Of Hyatt Credit Card

Rewards rate

10x points* on IHG purchases

2x points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants

1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases

6x bonus points* on eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels

2 points per dollar on all other eligible purchases

4x points* on Hyatt stays and experiences

2x points on dining, flights purchased directly from the airline, fitness and gym memberships, and local transit and commuting

1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases

Welcome bonus

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

The World Of Hyatt Credit Card

Card benefits

IHG Platinum Elite status

Annual free night award***

Fourth reward night free when you redeem points for a stay of four or more nights

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit

20% discount when you purchase points with your card

10,000 bonus points after you spend $20,000 on purchases and make one additional purchase each account anniversary

Car rental insurance (secondary in the US, primary otherwise)

Cell phone protection

Trip cancellation/interruption insurance

Travel accident insurance

Lost luggage reimbursement

Baggage delay insurance

Travel and emergency assistance services

Purchase protection

Extended warranty

 

Marriott Bonvoy Silver elite status

15 elite night credits each calendar year

Annual free night award****

Car rental insurance (secondary in the US, primary otherwise)

Lost luggage reimbursement

Trip delay reimbursement

Baggage delay insurance

Purchase protection

Extended warranty

Travel and emergency assistance services

Visa Signature concierge

World of Hyatt Discoverist elite status

Five elite night credits each calendar year

Two elite night credits for every $5,000 in purchases

Annual free night award***** 

An additional free night award***** after you spend $15,000 on purchases in a calendar year

Lost luggage reimbursement

Baggage delay insurance

Trip cancellation/interruption insurance

Purchase protection

Visa Signature concierge

Foreign transaction fee

No

No

No

Review

 

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card review

World of Hyatt credit card review

* Bonus points at IHG, Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt hotels are in addition to the points members would normally earn from a stay

*** The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers an annual free night award each year after your account anniversary for participating IHG properties that cost up to 40,000 points

**** The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card offers an annual free night award each year after your account anniversary for participating Marriott Bonvoy properties that cost up to 35,000 points

***** The World Of Hyatt Credit Card offers an annual free night award each year after your account anniversary for participating Category 1 to 4 World of Hyatt properties 

Comparison: IHG Rewards Club Premier card vs other hotel cards

 

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Wyndham Rewards® Earner Plus Card

Annual fee

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (See Rates) 

Wyndham Rewards® Earner Plus Card

Rewards rate

10x points* on IHG purchases

2x points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants

1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases

12x points* on eligible Hilton purchases

6x points at eligible US supermarkets, gas stations, and restaurants

3 points per dollar on all other eligible purchases

6x points* on eligible Wyndham purchases

6x points at gas stations

4x points on dining and grocery stores

1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases

Welcome bonus

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

45,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

Card benefits

IHG Platinum Elite status

Annual free night award***

Fourth reward night free when you redeem points for a stay of four or more nights

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit

20% discount when you purchase points with your card

10,000 bonus points after you spend $20,000 on purchases and make one additional purchase each account anniversary

Car rental insurance (secondary in the US, primary otherwise)

Cell phone protection

Trip cancellation/interruption insurance

Travel accident insurance

Lost luggage reimbursement

Baggage delay insurance

Travel and emergency assistance services

Purchase protection

Extended warranty

Hilton Gold elite status

Upgrade to Diamond status after you spend $40,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year

Free weekend night certificate after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year

Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership** with 10 free visits per year

Secondary car rental insurance

Baggage insurance plan

Purchase protection

Extended warranty

Global Assist Hotline

Wyndham Platinum elite status

7,500 bonus points every year on your card anniversary

Cardmember booking discount on the best available rate at Wyndham hotels

10% points discount on Go Free awards

Foreign transaction fee

No

No (See Rates)

No

Review

 

Amex Hilton Honors Surpass card review

 

* Bonus points at IHG, Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt hotels are in addition to the points members would normally earn from a stay

*** The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers an annual free night award each year after your account anniversary for participating IHG properties that cost up to 40,000 points

How to use points from the IHG Rewards Premier card

Whether it's an overwater villa in French Polynesia or a Candlewood Suites in the suburbs, there's a wide range of ways to get maximum value out of IHG points. While IHG now has variable award pricing depending on demand and season, free nights typically range from 10,000 to 70,000 points (with a few exceptions that cost up to 100,000 points per night).

Read more: How to earn, redeem, and maximize IHG Rewards Club points

The sign-up bonus from the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card could cover a short luxury hotel stay, or multiple nights at lower-level IHG properties. That doesn't even include the fourth night free benefit offered to cardholders. 

If you don't have IHG hotel stays planned in the near future, you don't have to worry about your points expiring as long as your IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is open. When you have IHG elite status (including the automatic Platinum status that comes with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card), your points won't expire — otherwise, IHG points normally expire after 12 months of account inactivity.

There are other ways to use IHG points apart from hotel award stays, but you typically won't get as much value from your points with these options:

  • Transfer IHG points to airline partners
  • Donate IHG points to charity
  • Redeem points for gift cards, digital rewards, merchandise, and magazines
  • Cash in points for exclusive events and experiences

IHG Rewards Club Premier card benefits and features

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers lots of impressive benefits — in fact, for an annual fee of IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, it's hard to beat the range and value of perks you'll receive as a cardholder.

Free anniversary night

The most compelling benefit of the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is one that can easily make up for the annual fee (and more) each year. Cardholders receive a free night each year after their card anniversary, valid for use at any IHG hotel worldwide that costs up to 40,000 points per night. It's possible to get $200 or $300 in value from this benefit if you redeem your free night at upscale, expensive properties.

IHG Platinum elite status

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card comes with automatic IHG Platinum elite status — the chain's middle elite tier. Platinum elite members receive room upgrades (where available), late checkout, complimentary internet, a welcome gift, 50% bonus points on paid bookings, free drinks in some hotels, and more.

Read more: 11 credit cards that get you hotel elite status just by having them in your wallet

Fourth reward night free on IHG points stays

Cardholders also get a fourth night free on point stays of four or more consecutive nights. That translates to a 25% savings on four-night award stays, and can help stretch your sign-up bonus from the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Cardeven further.

Application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck

Cardholders receive a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit of up to $100 every four years. This is a benefit that is usually included on cards with higher annual fees like the Platinum Card® from American Express and Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Even if you've already enrolled in one of these trusted-traveler programs, you can use your card to pay someone else's fee and get reimbursed.

20% discount when you purchase points with your card

It doesn't usually make sense to buy loyalty program points unless you need to top-off your account for an award. But if you find yourself in that situation, you'll get a 20% discount on IHG points purchases when you use your IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. Keep in mind this discount won't stack with other IHG points purchase promotions.

10,000 bonus points for meeting an anniversary spending threshold

You can earn 10,000 bonus IHG points after you spend $20,000 on purchases and make one additional purchase at least one day after you spend $20,000 each account anniversary year.

Car rental insurance

When you use your IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card to pay for your car rental and decline the rental company's collision insurance, you can be covered for damage due to theft or collision on most cars. Coverage is secondary in the US and primary otherwise, but read the terms and conditions for country and vehicle exclusions.

Read more: If you're hitting the road this summer, using a credit card with primary rental car insurance can save you time, money, and stress

Cell phone protection

This benefit could save you a ton of cash if your phone is stolen or damaged. When you use your IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card to pay your wireless bill, your phone is covered against theft or damage up to $800 per claim (with a $50 deductible), up to two claims per 12-month period, and up to $1,000 per account per year.

Read more: More credit cards than ever offer complimentary cell phone insurance — here are the best options for paying your wireless bill

Trip cancellation/interruption insurance

If you've paid for your trip with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and it's cut short or canceled for a covered reason like illness or severe weather, you can be reimbursed up to $5,000 per person and $10,000 per trip for pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses.

Travel accident insurance

When you pay for your air, bus, cruise, or train transportation with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, you're eligible for accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $500,000.

Lost luggage reimbursement

When you pay for your fare with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and the carrier damages or loses your bags, you and your immediate family members could be covered for up to $3,000 per passenger. 

Baggage delay insurance

If your bags are delayed for six hours or more, you could be reimbursed for essential purchases (like clothing and toiletries) up to $100 per day for up to five days.

Read more: 4 credit cards with the most comprehensive travel insurance — from trip cancellation to lost luggage

Purchase protection

If an eligible item you've bought with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is damaged or stolen within 120 days of purchase, you could be eligible for up to $500 in reimbursement per claim, and up to $50,000 per account.

Extended warranty

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card extends the time period of a US manufacturer's warranty on eligible items by an additional year, on warranties of three years or less when you pay with your card.

Travel and emergency assistance services

If you're traveling away from home and run into a problem, you can get help with medical and legal referrals or other emergency assistance. This service is free, but any third-party costs are the cardholder's responsibility.

Read more: 6 lesser-known credit card travel benefits that can save you thousands of dollars if things go wrong on a trip

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

IHG Rewards Club Premier card fees and costs

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has an annual fee of $89, waived the first year. There are no foreign transaction fees, so you can use the card anywhere in the world without incurring extra charges.

Like most other cards, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card charges fees for balance transfers, cash advances, and late or returned payments.

Ariana Arghandewal is a travel rewards expert and content strategist. She launched her award-winning travel blog, Pointchaser, in 2012.

Jasmin Baron is an associate editor at Personal Finance Insider, where she helps readers maximize rewards and find the best credit cards to fit their lifestyles. She has covered credit cards, points and miles, and loyalty programs for over seven years, and she's a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF).

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