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IHG Premier Card Review – 140K Bonus Points + Free Award Night

Last updated: August 12,2022
Originally Published: December 24,2021
by Jestan Mendame

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The Chase IHG Premier Card appeals to a lot of travelers because of its high welcome bonus and free award night. Plus, the card automatically gives cardholders elite status so they can receive more premium hotel perks when staying at IHG hotels.

Let’s find out if the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card is a good fit for you or not.

IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card

Key Points

  • Earn a welcome bonus of 140,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases within 3 months of card membership
  • Earn up to 26 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, gas stations, and restaurants
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Anniversary reward night
  • Complimentary IHG Platinum Elite status 
  • Plus, enjoy a reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 3 or more nights
  • Additional 10,000 points after spending $20,000 on your card
  • 20% discount when buying IHG points 
  • Application fee credit for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS

The IHG Premier Card annual fee is $89 and with the benefits that it comes with, it’s actually lower than most travel and hotel credit cards in the market. As for the foreign transaction fees, the card has NONE.


Read More: The IHG Rewards Premier Business Credit Card Review


IHG Premier Card Bonus Offer

The IHG Rewards Premier Card bonus offer is 140,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first three months of account opening. It’s a very solid bonus offer compared to other hotel credit cards such as the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant that only offers 75k bonus points or the World of Hyatt Card which only offers up to 60k bonus points.

On average, the bonus offer is worth around .75 cents apiece or $1050 if you redeem it towards IHG stays. However, 140,000 points can be worth more depending on the location, season, and other factors.

Transferring Points To Airlines & Other Partners

You can transfer your IHG points to partner airlines and other program partners but it might not be the best idea since the transfer ratios are lower, typically at 5:1.

For example, if you transfer 10,000 IHG points to Aeromexico Club Premier, you’d only get 2,000 Aeromexico miles in return.

Here are IHG’s other transfer partners with their respective transfer rations. Take note that you need to transfer at least 10,000 points per transaction.

  • Aeromexico Club Premier : 5:1
  • Air Canada Aeroplan – 5:1
  • Air China PhoenixMiles – 5:1
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue – 5:1
  • Air Miles – 40:1
  • Air New Zealand Airpoints – 400:1
  • Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan – 5:1
  • Alitalia MilleMiglia – 5:1
  • American Airlines AAdvantage – 5:1
  • ANA Mileage Club – 5:1
  • Asiana Club – 5:1
  • Avianca LifeMiles – 5:1
  • British Airways Executive Club – 5:1
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles – 5:1
  • China Eastern EasternMiles – 5:1
  • China Southern Sky Pearl Club – 5:1
  • Delta SkyMiles – 5:1
  • EL AL Matmid – 250:1
  • Emirates Skywards – 5:1
  • Etihad Guest – 5:1
  • Gulf Air Falconflyer – 5:1
  • Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club – 5:1
  • Iberia Plus – 5:1
  • InterMiles – 5:1
  • Japan Airlines Mileage Bank – 5:1
  • JetBlue TrueBlue – 5:1
  • Korean Air SKYPASS – 5:1
  • LATAM Pass – 5:1
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich – 5:1
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer – 5:1
  • Saudia Alfursan – 5:1
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer – 5:1
  • TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go – 5:1
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus – 5:1
  • United MileagePlus – 5:1
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club – 5:1
  • Virgin Australia Velocity – 5:1

The best scenario to transfer your IHG points to partners is if you just need a few more miles to book that award that you really want. But if you’re transferring a big chunk of IHG points, it’s better if you save those towards redemptions at IHG hotels.

Earning IHG Points

The IHG Premier Card has a simple rewards structure. You will earn 26x points per dollar on IHG stays and here’s a quick breakdown for it:

  • 10x base points at IHG hotels for using your card
  • 10x bonus points as an IHG Rewards member
  • Up to 6x bonus points as a Platinum Elite Status holder (Platinum status comes with the card)

For the other rewards categories, here’s what you will earn:

  • 5x points at gas stations
  • 5x points on travel
  • 5x points on dining
  • 3x points on all other purchases

The rewards categories focus a lot on travel expenses so make sure that you take the card with you on all of your trips whether locally or abroad.

IHG Premier Card Free Night Certificate

The IHG Premier Card has a free night certificate that is given to cardholders during their card anniversary with each anniversary night capped at 40,000 points (valued at $300).

Many IHG luxury properties can be had from around 40,000 points per night, including some Intercontinental properties.
Image courtesy of Envato Elements.com

While there are many nice hotels priced at 40,000 points per night, this benefit is not as appealing as it was because the card didn’t have a price cap before. This is why existing IHG Premier cardholders, who were able to use the older version of the card, are not so happy with the changes.

However, the IHG Premier card free night is still valuable as it can cover the cost of your annual fee when redeemed correctly. We highly recommend you check out these 10 best IHG hotels where you can get great value for your free night certificate.

Complimentary Platinum Status

Since IHG revamped and renamed its loyalty program to IHG One Rewards, points and miles enthusiasts have nothing but praises for it, so members should be excited that they’re getting complimentary status with the Premier card.

The Premier card grants cardholders instant Platinum status as long as their card is active. IHG One has 5 status tiers and Platinum status is the 4th highest tier in the program.

Having Platinum status will give you access to premium IHG perks such as:

  • Exclusive rates (Member Rate)
  • Dedicated customer service
  • No blackout dates
  • Reward nights counting towards elite status
  • Free WIFI
  • Extended check-out
  • Non-expiring points
  • Priority check-in
  • Welcome Amenity / Raid the Bar at Kimpton hotels / Wellness Platter at Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas
  • Bonus earnings on top of base points
  • Elite rollover nights
  • Complimentary room upgrades
  • Guaranteed room availability

Get Your Fourth Award Night For Free

If you redeem your points for award stays of 3 or more nights, you’ll get a FREE reward night. Take note that every three nights you book will get you a free night. For example, if you book an award stay at an eligible IHG hotel for eight nights, you will be paying zero points for your fourth and eighth nights.

10K Bonus Points

You can get 10,000 additional IHG points if you are able to spend $20,000 within a calendar year using your card. This is enough to book at least one award night at IHG hotels that cost 10,000 points or less.

20% Off When Buying IHG Points

Before we go into the details of this perk, the whole concept of a rewards program is that you earn rewards (usually in the form of points or cashback) when you spend using your credit card.

This means that buying points just to book award stays isn’t the best redemption strategy. However, there are instances where it might be worth it buying points:

  • There are discounts or promotions offered by IHG
  • You only need a few more points to book an award stay that you’ve been planning for months

Other than these two reasons, it’s not recommended to purchase hotel or airline points. You can check out our short course about credit card points and miles if you want to learn more advanced redemption techniques and strategies.

Application fee credit for Global Entry & TSA PreCheck

You’ll get up to $100 of statement credit every four years for a Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS membership. These programs allow travelers to cruise through long lines and crowded security checks at the airport.


Read More: The Complete Guide To The IHG Staybridge Suites Extended Stay Brand


More Options For Earning IHG Points

There’s another way of earning IHG points and that is through transfer partners. This time, you’re not transferring IHG points to other loyalty programs but you’re transferring points into the IHG Rewards program.

For example, you can transfer points at a 1:1 ratio from cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points such as:

You can actually pair your IHG Premier card with any of these cards, preferably the Chase Freedom Unlimited. Since the Freedom Unlimited card has zero annual fees and earns 1.5x on all expenses, you get to maximize your points earned on the IHG Premier card’s non-category spending.

If you do get both of the Premier and Freedom cards, make sure that you haven’t applied for three more cards within the past 24 months or you’ll be violating Chase 5/24 rule.

Who Is The IHG Premier Card For?

Travelers who can stay at IHG hotels frequently aka “IHG loyalists” are the ones who can greatly benefit from this card. You can take advantage of IHG’s Platinum benefits which include room upgrades, priority check-in, free WIFI, and more.

Or if you’re just after the Free Night Award, that’s also a good reason to sign up for this card. The free night certificate can compensate for the annual fees so, in a sense, it’s like having the card for free.

IHG Premier VS IHG Traveler Card

The IHG Premier Card is often compared to the IHG Traveler Card because they offer similar benefits. However, there are a few differences that you should take note of.

IHG Premier Card IHG Traveler Card
Annual Fee $89 $0
Welcome Bonus 140,000 points 80,000 points
Points Earning At IHG Hotels 26 points per $1 17 points per $1
Complimentary Status Platinum Status Gold Status
Global Entry + TSA PreCheck Credit Yes None
Free Anniversary Night Yes None

If you’re a casual traveler who seldom stays at IHG hotels and just wants to earn IHG points, then the IHG Travelers Club Credit Card would be the better option for you. It has zero annual fees but you still get Gold status and 80,000 bonus points!

But if you love staying at IHG hotels, better get the Premier card to earn points faster as well as take advantage of the free anniversary night certificate. Alternatively, you can also opt for the IHG Rewards Premier Business card if your expenses also include advertising services.

IHG Premier Card (Pros & Cons)

Pros

  • Anniversary night
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Fourth night free when booking four award nights or more

Cons

  • Points don’t have a 1:1 redemption with partner airline
  • The Chase 5/24 rule applies to this card

Read More: The Complete Guide To The IHG Candlewood Suites Extended Stay Brand


Bottomline

One of the main selling points of the IHG Rewards Premier Card is the annual free night award and complimentary Platinum status. If you can make use of these two perks, then then this card is for you.

If not, you can just get the IHG Traveler card or even Marriot Bonvoy cards. These cards also offer free night awards at Marriot hotels.

  • 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

 

Learn More

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