IHG Rewards card

10 Reasons You Should Have an IHG Rewards Cards

Editorial Disclosure – The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you’ve already opened a flexible rewards travel card, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Capital One Venture, and are looking to open a co-branded card, the IHG Rewards cards can be a great place to start. 

Even if you aren’t loyal to the IHG (Intercontinental Hotel Group) brand, you’re likely to be able to find a great way to use your welcome bonus at one of their 17 hotel brands. IHG hotels include the family friendly Holiday Inns, the boutique Kimpton and Indigo brands, and the luxury InterContinental Hotels. 

IHG Hotels and Resorts brands
Table of Contents

    IHG Rewards Card Options

    There are currently three IHG Rewards cards available: the IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card, the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card, and the IHG Rewards Premier Business Credit Card. 

    IHG® One Rewards Premier Credit Card – 140,000 points
    • $99 annual fee
    • Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
    • Reward Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide (worth 40,000 points)
    • 4th night free when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights
    • 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 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
    • Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member
    • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
    • $50 in United TravelBank cash each calendar year
    IHG® One Rewards Premier Business Credit Card – 140,000 points
    • $99 annual fee
    • Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
    • Reward Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide (worth 40,000 points)
    • 4th night free when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights
    • Earn 10 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
    • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, hotels (non-IHG), gas stations, dining, social media and search engine advertising, and office supply stores.
    • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
    • Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member
    • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
    IHG® Rewards Traveler Card – 80,000 points
    • No Annual Fee
    • Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
    • 4th night free when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights
    • Earn up to 17 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
    • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on purchases on monthly bills, gas stations, restaurants. Earn 2 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

    The IHG Rewards Premier card was the first hotel card I opened, and one we plan to keep. With a free anniversary night and fourth night free on award bookings, the IHG Rewards Premier card continues to pay for itself after the first year. 

    All the IHG cards, even the no-fee Traveler card, include lost and delayed baggage and trip cancellation/interruption coverage. After a weather related flight cancellation a couple years ago that left us on our own for a hotel, we always make sure to use a card with some travel insurance when we book flights. 

    If you’re looking to build point balances without adding cards to your 5/24 count, the IHG Rewards Premier Business card is a good choice. If you’re not familiar with why business cards are an important part of a travel card strategy, check out our article on Chase and the 5/24 rule

    IHG Rewards TravelerIHG Rewards PremierIHG Rewards Premier Business
    Annual Fee$0$99$99
    Automatic StatusSilver ElitePlatinum ElitePlatinum Elite
    4th Night FreeXXX
    Anniversary Free NightN/AXX
    Trusted Traveler Program CreditN/AXX
    United Airlines TravelBank CashN/AXX
    Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty ProtectionXXX
    Trip Cancellation/Interruption InsuranceXXX
    Lost Luggage Reimbursement and Baggage Delay InsuranceXXN/A
    Auto Rental Collision Damage WaiverXXX

    Top Benefits of IHG Rewards Cards

    For all the inclusions and exclusions on these coverages, you’ll need to read the Guide to Benefits that comes with your card. 

    1. Status

    Go to the IHG website to see all the benefits that come with Silver Elite and Platinum Elite status with IHG. 

    Traveler: Silver Elite

    This is the lowest elite tier of the IHG One Rewards loyalty program. If you are booking your stay with points, the main benefit is priority check in at participating hotels for elite members. You’ll also receive an additional 2 points per dollar spent at IHG properties (so you’d receive 2,000 points for $1,000 spent).

    Premier and Premier Business: Platinum Elite

    This is the second highest elite tier of the IHG One Rewards program and, unlike silver elite status, can get you some actual benefits! See all the benefits here

    • Early check in upon request, subject to availability
    • Complimentary room upgrades at participating brands, subject to availability. 
    • Welcome amenity, which you will be offered at check in. You may have a choice between extra points or a drink or snack.
    • Priority check in
    • 6 points per dollar spent at IHG properties ($1,000 spent would earn you 6,000 points)

    2. Fourth Night Free

    If you have any of the IHG Credit Cards, you are eligible for the fourth night free benefit. When you book a standard room Reward Night for 4 or more nights, every 4th night is free.

    This benefit only applies to stays booked fully with points. Note that this benefit does not average the cost per night, but applies to the 4th night. Because of this, you will get the most benefit if the 4th night is the most expensive night of your stay. 

    If your booking costs 10,000 points per night for the first 3 nights and 20,000 for the 4th night, your total will be based on the first three nights, so 30,000 points. 

    When you have the 4th night free benefit and search for a stay of 4 or more nights, the number you see will be the average of the points you will owe over your stay, accounting for your free night. For the example above, your search results would display 7,500 points per night (30,000 points/4 nights). 

    3. Anniversary Free Night

    Premier and Premier Business

    This benefit alone makes the annual fee on these cards worthwhile.

    Every year, on your “account anniversary date” (every twelve months after your account open date), you will receive an Anniversary Free Night. 

    Free nights can be used at IHG Hotels and are uploaded directly into your IHG One Rewards account when they are available. They must be used within 12 months from date of issue.

    The redemption value of the free night is up to 40,000 points. If you use your night at the full 40,000 value, you should be able to get a $200-$300 hotel room, completely offsetting the $99 annual fee on the card.

    You can only book one standard room night per card. This means that if you book a hotel room that is 20,000 points, you forgo the other 20,000 points. You cannot combine multiple nights or rooms to equal 40,000.

    If you book a hotel that costs more than 40,000 points, you can add on points from your Rewards account. So if the night you want costs 47,000 points, IHG will apply 40,000 points to your stay and you will need to have 7,000 points in your Rewards account to pay the difference. 

    When you book using your annual free night certificate, you will generally only be able to book into a standard room (just like with points) but Katie recently discovered one notable exception: Mr. and Mrs. Smith Properties. If a Mr. and Mrs. Smith property (which are boutique independent hotels) has availability to book with your Free Night Award, you can often book ANY room available. For an upcoming night in Florence, Katie booked a $1500 night suite at Villa Cora using a Free Night Award + 17,000 points.

    Room rate for the night Katie booked
    Price paid with Anniversary Night + Points

    4. Trusted Traveler Program Credit (TSA PreCheck or Global Entry)

    The IHG Rewards Premier and Premier Business cards both provide a statement credit, up to $100, for Global Entry ($100), TSA PreCheck ($85), or NEXUS ($50) applications. 

    You do not need to do anything to activate this benefit other than charge your application to the card. After you charge the application fee to your IHG card, the statement credit should be applied to your account within 24 hours. 

    You can receive this benefit once every four years. Note that an authorized user or the primary cardholder can use this benefit, but not both. It also doesn’t matter who the application is for, as long as it’s charged to the appropriate card. So you can pay for an application fee for a friend or family member and you will still get the credit.

    5. United Airlines TravelBank Cash

    Premier and Premier Business

    The IHG Rewards Premier and Premier Business cards both include $50 in United Airlines TravelBank Cash per year. You must register for the benefit here

    After you enroll in this program, $25 will be deposited into your United MileagePlus account twice per year, on or around January 1 and on or around July 1. The Cash is use it or lose it and expires on July 15 (for Cash deposited between January 1 and June 30) and January 15 (for Cash deposited between July 1 and December 31). 

    United TravelBank Cash can only be used for air travel purchases on United. It can be combined with cash but cannot be combined with flight credits or travel certificates. 

    This is a good benefit that will add to the value of this card if you regularly fly United Airlines. If you don’t regularly use United, you might find the most useful time to book is between January 1-15 or July 1-15 when the entire $50 is accessible. 

    6. Purchase Protection

    Traveler and Premier

    Coverage against damages and theft on new purchases for 120 days. Allows up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.

    Premier Business

    Coverage against damages and theft on new purchases for 120 days. Allows up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.

    Coverage against damages and theft on new purchases for 120 days. Allows up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.

    7. Extended Warranty Protection

    Extends U.S. manufacturer’s warranties by an additional year, on warranties of three years or less. 

    8. Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance

    Traveler and Premier

    Reimburses up to $5,000 per person and 10,000 per trip. 

    Premier Business

    Reimburses up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip. 

    9. Lost Luggage Reimbursement and Delayed Baggage

    Traveler and Premier

    Reimburses up to $3,000 per passenger for checked or carry-on luggage that is damaged or lost by the carrier. Reimburses you for essentials, up to $100 a day for three days, for baggage delays over six hours. 

    10. Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

    Traveler and Premier

    Secondary coverage for theft and collision damage for most rental cars in the U.S. and abroad. 

    Premier Business

    Provides primary coverage for business-related car rentals. 

    Earning Rates

    Points earned per dollar spent on purchases. 

    TravelerPremier Premier Business
    IHG Hotels & ResortsUp to 17XUp to 26XUp to 26X
    Travel2X5X5X
    Gas Stations3X5X5X
    Dining3X5X5X
    Select Business2X3X5X
    Monthly Bills3X3X3X
    All Other Purchases2X3X3X

    Where to use your IHG One Rewards Points

    Here are some other articles with inspiration of how to use your IHG One Rewards points for family stays.

    Best family hotels in Europe
    IHG has a large footprint in Europe and lots of places where families can stay on points!
    Holiday Inn vacation club villas
    These vacation villas have multiple bedrooms and kitchens

    Advertiser Disclosure – Katie’s Travel Tricks is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

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