Is it worth getting the IHG credit card?
Now we have that out the way, here’s a guide to the benefits and annual fee. I’ll explain why it’s such a great card and the reason you should pay the annual fee year after year.
Just to clarify: we don’t have any credit card affiliate links on No Home Just Roam – here’s why. We therefore don’t gain anything from recommending it other than the satisfaction of helping you get great value out of it 🙂
IHG Rewards Club Credit Card Guide
This card has a $49 annual fee which is waived the first year. Although you may not be keen on having a credit card with an annual fee, there’s a reason to keep it which I’ll explain in a mo.
The standard signup bonus for the card is 60,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 on the card in the first three months of owning it.
Having said that – don’t sign up for the card when it has this bonus.
The reason why is because it’s almost always possible to get a better offer. They frequently have increased bonus offers for 80,000 or even 100,000 points – check out this page on Doctor of Credit to find the best current offer.
One way to get targeted for a higher signup bonus is to simply join IHG Rewards Club – you can register here. Keep an eye on your emails over the coming weeks and months and you should get a higher offer.
The IHG credit card offers bonus points for several different categories:
- 5 points per $1 spent at IHG brand hotels
- 2 points per $1 spent at:
- Grocery stores (Walmart and Target are usually excluded)
- Gas stations
- 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else
There are much better cards out there for everyday spending, so Shae and I only use this card to get 5x points when booking stays at IHG hotels.
Anniversary Free Night
This is the reason to keep this credit card. Every year after your first year, you receive a free night at any IHG hotel worldwide.
That gives the potential to get huge value out of the card. There are many IHG hotels out there – especially InterContinentals – that cost $400+ per night. You can therefore spend $49 for the annual fee and get a $400+ hotel room.
In fact, it’s even possible to get more than $2,000 of value from that free night.
IHG Rewards Club Status
The card comes with Platinum Elite status for as long as you keep it open. You’d normally have to stay 40 nights or earn 40,000 points for that status, so getting it with the card can be great value.
Cardholders receive a 10% rebate when using points for reward night stays. That means if you redeem 30,000 points, you get 3,000 back.
That makes PointBreaks especially great value, as it reduces the net cost to 4,500 points per night. (PointBreaks hotels usually cost 5,000 points, so the 10% rebate gives you 500 points back.)
To give you an example, let’s say you managed to get the 80,000 point signup bonus. You have to spend at least $1,000 to get that bonus which would give you a minimum of 1,000 extra points, so at least 81,000 points overall. That means the signup bonus gets you 18 free nights in PointBreaks hotels (81,000 / 4,500 = 18).
One thing to note though is that it comes as a rebate, rather than a discount. In this scenario, you therefore have to pay the 5,000 point per night rate, with 500 points per night being rebated at a later date. That means initially you’d only be able to book 16 nights, because 16 * 5,000 = 80,000. You’d then get 8,000 points rebated in the future (10% of 80,000) which still isn’t shabby.
You can receive up to 100,000 rebated points per calendar year, which means you get rebated when spending up to 1 million points per year. That’s the same as spending 200 nights per year in PointBreaks hotels! It’s really tempting to try doing that on our 50 state road trip.
Chase 5/24 Rule
Although the IHG Rewards Club credit card is issued by Chase, it’s not subject to their 5/24 rule. As a quick overview, that rule means you won’t get accepted for some Chase-issued cards if you’ve opened five or more credit cards in the last 24 months.
Now, you might think five new cards in two years would be excessive so the rule would hardly affect anyone. However, there are many of us who open far more cards than that every year for the signup bonuses!
No Foreign Transaction Fees
Given that IHG has more than 5,000 hotels worldwide, it’s great that you won’t be charged a foreign transaction fee when using the card for stays at their hotels overseas (or any other kind of foreign transactions).
Other Stuff To Know
- This is a Mastercard
- As with all credit cards, only get this card if you’ll pay off the entire balance every single month. Don’t get this card if you’ll be only making minimum payments each month as the interest will kill the deal.
- If you’re interested in applying for this card, go check out Doctor of Credit. They don’t have any credit card affiliate links on their site either, so they’ll always let you know about the highest possible signup bonus.