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What’s The Best IHG Credit Card For Me?

Last updated: October 17,2022
Originally Published: October 07,2022
by Jestan Mendame

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Joining the IHG One Rewards program just can’t earn you enough points to book the awards that you really want. If you want to earn more points as fast as possible, getting an IHG credit card can help you do just that.

Using IHG cards is the fastest way to boost the amount of points you earn while also getting other perks like elite status, statement credits, and free night awards. And with IHG cards, you can earn points on non-IHG-related expenses like gas and food. You don’t have to stay at IHG hotels to earn points.

Currently, there are three Chase-IHG co-branded cards that are being offered, and each card comes with its own set of benefits tailored to certain types of travelers. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into what these cards offer and help you decide which one suits you best.


Read More: Which Hilton American Express Card Is Right For Me?


IHG offers three IHG credit cards: IHG Rewards Traveler Card, IHG Rewards Premier Card, and the IHG Rewards Premier Business Card.
IHG offers three IHG credit cards: IHG Rewards Traveler Card, IHG Rewards Premier Card, and the IHG Rewards Premier Business Card.
(Image courtesy of Canva Pro)

IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card

The  IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card is an entry-level card that’s perfect for travelers looking to earn IHG points (and redeem them for award stays) without having to pay annual fees.

Card Highlights:

New cardholders will earn a welcome bonus of 80,000 IHG points after spending $2,000 within the first 3 months of account opening. That’s about $400 worth of travel when redeemed through IHG.

More points can be earned as you spend more using your card. Here’s what you’ll earn:

  • Earn up to 17x when you stay at IHG hotels
  • Earn 3x on dining, utilities, select streaming services, and at gas stations
  • Earn 2x on all other purchases

Here are the card’s other travel benefits:

  • Fourth night free on award stays
  • Automatic IHG Silver Elite status, plus the ability to spend your way to IHG Gold Elite status
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $10,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • 20% discount on IHG point purchases
  • Trip cancellation
  • Trip interruption insurance
  • Purchase protection
  • No foreign transaction fees

Who Is The Ideal Cardholder For The IHG Rewards Traveler Card?

The IHG Traveler Card is for travelers who don’t want to stay committed to IHG at the moment. It’s for people who don’t want to pay annual fees and are just satisfied with basic perks and a chance to earn IHG points.

And since the card comes with a fourth-night free benefit, it’s perfect for travelers who go on long holidays at least once a year like (on Christmas, honeymoons, and summer breaks).

IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card

The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card is an upgrade from the Traveler card. It’s for the frequent traveler who stays at IHG hotels multiple times a year and loves a more enhanced travel experience.

Card Highlights:

The IHG Premier Card has a $99 annual fee, but you’ll get more bonuses and perks. It offers a welcome bonus of 140,000 Bonus Points + 1 Free Night after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of card membership.

When it comes to earning points, you’ll also earn a much higher rate compared:

  • Earn up to 26x points per $1 on IHG stays
  • 5x points per $1 on travel, gas stations, and dining
  • 3x points per $1 on all other purchases

The card comes with more travel benefits such as:

  • Complimentary Platinum Elite status and the ability to spend your way to Diamond Elite status
  • Free anniversary night certificate
  • Fourth-night free on award stays
  • 20% off when buying IHG Rewards points
  • Up to $50 in United Airlines TravelBank Cash each year
  • Earn a $100 statement credit and 10,000 bonus points after spending $20,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • Global EntryTSA PreCheck, or NEXUS fee application fee credit
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Purchase protection
  • No foreign transaction fees

Who Is The Ideal Cardholder For The IHG Premier Card?

Remember, the IHG Premier Card comes with Platinum benefits such as room upgrades, priority check-in, free WIFI, and more. This means that you have to be a frequent traveler who always stays at IHG hotels aka an “IHG Loyalist.”

If you’re just after the free Anniversary Night Certificate, that’s also a good reason to have this card. The free award stay is enough to cover the cost of your annual fees, so it’s like having the card for free.

IHG Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

The IHG® Rewards Premier Business Card is for business travelers who often go on business trips and frequently stay at IHG hotels.

Card Highlights:

New cardholders will earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of card membership. For the rewards, you’ll earn:

  • Up to 26x total points per $1 spent on IHG hotel stays
  • 5x points per $1 spent on travel, gas stations, select advertising, and restaurants
  • 3x points per $1 spent on all other purchases

The card also comes with solid travel perks such as:

  • Automatic IHG Platinum Elite status, plus the ability to spend your way to Diamond Elite status
  • Fourth night free on award stays
  • Free anniversary night certificate, plus the ability to earn a second free night after spending $40,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • Global EntryTSA PreCheck, or NEXUS fee application fee credit
  • Up to $50 United Airlines TravelBank Cash each year
  • Earn a $100 statement credit and 10,000 bonus points after spending $20,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Purchase protection
  • 20% discount on IHG point purchases

Who Is The Ideal Cardholder For The IHG Premier Business Card?

The IHG Premier Business Card is for business owners who want free award stays every year. It’s for people who spend most of their time going on business trips, client dinner meetings, and conferences while staying at IHG hotels.


Read More: 10 Best IHG Hotels To Use Your Free Night Certificate


You can redeem your IHG points at 17 brands in the IHG collection.
(Image courtesy of Canva Pro)

How To Redeem IHG One Rewards Points

IHG cards come with huge welcome bonuses, opening up endless possibilities for you to redeem your points. The following categories below are some examples of where you can use them.

  • Airline miles
  • Digital rewards
  • Award stays
  • Gift certificates and gift cards
  • IHG Foundation
  • Intercontinental Ambassador membership
  • Merchandise
  • Rewards Concierge
  • TSA PreCheck membership

The ones that can get you the most value are the award stays since IHG often offers discounted award stays. You can use your welcome bonus to book 3 award stays, and then you can get your fourth night for free, courtesy of your IHG card.

You can book awards at nights at IHG’s 17 brands, including Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites.

Just remember, award nights booked with points and cash do not count towards the free fourth award night.

The Verdict: Which Is The Best IHG Credit Card?

Choosing the right IHG card all depends on how you travel and how you spend money using your card. Just to give you a recap, here’s a quick comparison of the three cards mentioned.

  • IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card – Best IHG card for occasional travelers who don’t want to pay annual fees.
  • IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card – Best IHG card for travelers who want upgraded benefits and a higher elite status.
  • IHG Rewards Premier Business Credit Card – Best IHG card for business owners who travel and stay at IHG hotels.

However, it’s important to remember that IHG cards are issued by Chase, which means they will be subject to the Chase 5/24 rule. It’s an unpublished rule where Chase denies any credit card applications if you have 5 existing credit card accounts in the last two years.

IHG FAQs

How Many Cards Does IHG Offer?

Do IHG Points Expire?

IHG Points will expire if there isn’t any activity in your account within 12 months. Spending, earning, or transferring points count as an activity.

Can You Have Multiple IHG Cards?

Yes. You can have multiple IHG cards but it won’t really make sense because the benefits are very similar and it limits your point-earning power.

It’s better if you paired a Chase card like a Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred to your IHG card so you can earn points from multiple categories. You can just transfer your Chase points to IHG at a 1:1 ratio.


Read More: Is The Hotels.com Credit Card Worth It?


Bottomline

IHG cards are packed with solid perks and points bonuses but it’s very important to pick the right card that fits your travel habits and spending patterns.

If you don’t want to be loyal to IHG but occasionally stay at IHG hotels, the the IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card is for you. However, if you’ve decided that you want to your business to IHG, then the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card should be your pick.

Meanwhile, if you’re a business owner, getting the IHG Premier Business Credit Card is the best option for you. You’re already spending thousands of dollars anyway so why not earn points from those expenses, and redeem them for free stays at IHG hotels?

Whether you’re a casual traveler, holiday traveler, business traveler, or road warrior, you’ll find lots of value with the IHG Credit Card.

  • Earn 60,000 Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • $50 Annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit
  • 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3x points on dining, online grocery purchases, and select streaming services
  • 2x points on other travel purchases

 

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