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For travelers who choose IHG hotels, it pays to have one of the hotel's credit cards. You'll earn bonus points at IHG properties and receive the fourth night free when booking an award reservation.
One card has an annual fee and enhanced benefits. The other has no fee but still offers some attractive perks. Which is the best IHG credit card offer? Here’s a closer look to help you decide.
The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card vs. the IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card
Let's compare the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card and the IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card across the welcome offers, annual fees, included perks and opportunities to earn bonus points.
IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card
IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card
Earn 140,000 Bonus Points + 1 Free Night after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
IHG points earned.
Up to 26x.
Up to 17x.
Bonus points earned.
5x on gas stations, travel and restaurants; 3x everywhere else.
3x at gas stations, monthly bills and restaurants; 2x everywhere else.
Room value up to 40,000 points.
Automatic Platinum Elite status. Earn Diamond Elite status after spending $40,000 and making one additional purchase after reaching that threshold in a calendar year.
Automatic Silver Elite status. Earn Gold Elite status after spending $20,000 and making one additional purchase after reaching that threshold in a calendar year.
Global Entry or TSA Precheck.
Up to $100 once every four years.
Fourth reward night free.
Save 20% on point purchases.
No foreign transaction fees.
And now, let's go deeper.
A closer look at IHG credit card offers
Currently, the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card offers a nice welcome bonus: Earn 140,000 Bonus Points + 1 Free Night after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. You can earn an additional 10,000 bonus points and a $100 statement credit if you spend $20,000 in one calendar year and make at least one additional purchase following the $20,000 spending requirement.
The IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card has a smaller welcome bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. You can earn an additional 10,000 bonus points if you spend at $10,000 in one calendar year and make at least one additional purchase after hitting the $10,000 spending threshold.
The best IHG credit card offer for a welcome bonus is the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card since you get 20,000 more bonus points upfront, in addition to a free night each year you renew the card.
» Learn more: The best travel credit card welcome bonuses right now
The IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card is an appealing option because you receive many benefits for a $0 annual fee.
The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card charges an $99 annual fee, which can be offset just with the value of the annual free night.
Bonus points at IHG hotels
When you use an IHG-branded card to make charges at IHG hotels, you get bonus points.
Travelers using the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card earn up to 26x points per dollar spent at IHG hotels. This includes up to 10x points earned just for being an IHG member, plus an additional 10x points for using the card and up to 6x points from Platinum Elite status membership. That status level is included with the card.
The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card also earns 5x points spent at gas stations, travel and restaurants, and all other purchases earn 3x points.
IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card gets you up to 17x points: 5x from the card, 10x as an IHG member and 2x from automatic Silver elite status. This card also earns 3x points per dollar spent on monthly bills, gas stations and restaurants, and all other purchases earn 2 points per dollar.
For people who stay at IHG hotels frequently, the additional 9x points per dollar from the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card adds up over time.
The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card will give you 10,000 bonus points and a $100 statement credit if you spend $20,000 in one calendar year and make at least one additional purchase following the $20,000 spending requirement.
Similarly, the IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card will award you with 10,000 bonus points if you spend at $10,000 in one calendar year and make at least one additional purchase after hitting the $10,000 spending threshold.
Because the $100 statement credit isn't enough to justify spending $10,000 more, the IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card wins here.
The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card includes automatic Platinum Elite status, which includes benefits like space-available room upgrades, extended checkout when available and a welcome amenity. If you spend more than $40,000 on the card in a calendar year, you (as the primary cardholder) will receive top-tier Diamond status through Dec. 31 of the following calendar year.
The IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card includes automatic Silver status, but with a chance to upgrade through spending. Earn Gold Elite status after you spend $20,000 on purchases and make one additional purchase each calendar year.
Perks that are the same
Regardless of which card you choose, all cardholders have access to these identical benefits.
Credit card spend counts toward elite status. All of the purchases on your credit card count toward earning or maintaining elite status with IHG One Rewards. Between the points earned on your IHG hotel stays and the IHG credit card bonus points, the path to elite status is accelerated when you have either IHG card. The welcome bonus received with a new card application doesn't count toward elite status.
Fourth night free on award reservations. The value of IHG One Rewards points goes even further when booking reservations of four nights or more. With either IHG card, you'll receive the fourth night free when using points to book a reservation.
Save money on points purchases. If you want to buy points to top off your account or book an award reservation, you'll save 20% on points purchases when using either of the IHG credit cards.
No foreign transaction fees. Neither card charges a foreign transaction fee, which can save international travelers up to 3% on purchases outside of the U.S.
Benefits unique to the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card
If you're willing to pay the modest annual fee, you'll get access to additional benefits with the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card, like:
Anniversary free nights
The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card includes an annual free night just for renewing the card each year. The free night certificate can be redeemed at any IHG brand hotel as long as the reward night costs 40,000 points or less.
Because the number of IHG One Rewards points you need for a stay varies by demand and season, a free night certificate could get you a stay in some nice resorts during less popular times of the year.
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit
Global Entry and TSA PreCheck help speed travelers through airport checkpoints. The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card includes reimbursement of up to $100 for either membership program once every four years. This benefit isn't available with the IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card.
What hotel brands are part of IHG?
There are 16 brands under the IHG One Rewards umbrella, ranging from budget to luxury, and there are over 6,000 hotels and resorts around the world to choose from.
» Learn more: IHG One Rewards: More value for the frugal traveler
Choose the best IHG credit card offer for you
No matter which IHG credit card you choose, you'll earn IHG points on spending and enjoy extra benefits when staying at IHG hotels.
While the IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card may be appealing with its $0 annual fee, the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card is probably better for most people. It earns more points at IHG hotels, provides automatic Platinum Elite status and includes one free night stay every year that you renew the card. The larger welcome bonus and annual free night easily justify the $99 annual fee.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
IHG® One Rewards
- Cheers to new tiers: New tiers allow members to earn points faster.
- Piling on the perks: New members benefits that enhance every stay
- Milestone Rewards: Allows members to choose their rewards.
World of Hyatt
- Earn points for things you already enjoy with Hyatt
- Use your points for free nights at more than 1,100 hotels around the world
- Three elite tiers to unlock exceptional benefits - room upgrades and more.
Alaska Mileage Plan
- Join Mileage Plan and Save $25 on your next flight
- Our members earn 30% more miles on average than other airlines
- You earn based on how far you fly, not how much you spend