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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 look at the benefits of each IHG card to help you decide.
What hotel brands are part of IHG?
There are 16 brands under the IHG 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 Rewards: More value for the frugal traveler
Comparing the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card vs. the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card
Currently, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers a nice welcome bonus: Earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card has a smaller welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
The best IHG credit card offer for a welcome bonus is the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card since you get twice the bonus points and a free night with a minimum spend requirement of just $1,000 more.
The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card is an appealing option because you receive many benefits for a $0 annual fee.
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card charges an $0 intro for the first year, then $89 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 Club Premier Credit Card earn up to 25x 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 5x points from Platinum Elite status membership. That status level is included with the card.
IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card gets you up to 15x points: 5x from the card and up to 10x as an IHG member.
For people who stay at IHG hotels frequently, the additional 10x points per dollar from the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card adds up over time.
Both of these IHG credit cards earn 2x points per dollar spent at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants, and all other purchases earn 1 point per dollar. This allows you to continue to earn IHG Rewards points toward your next vacation even when you're not traveling.
Perks that are the same
Credit card spend counts toward elite status
All of the purchases on your credit card count toward earning or maintaining elite status with IHG 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 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.
Additional benefits unique to the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
If you're willing to pay the modest annual fee, you will have access to additional benefits with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.
Anniversary free nights
The IHG® Rewards Club 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 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.
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card includes automatic Platinum Elite status, which includes benefits like space-available room upgrades, extended checkout when available and a welcome amenity.
The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card doesn't include automatic elite status; instead, when you spend at least $10,000 in a year, you'll be upgraded to Gold Elite status.
Global Entry or TSA Precheck fee credit
Global Entry and TSA Precheck help speed travelers through airport checkpoints. The IHG® Rewards Club 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 Club Traveler Credit Card.
Bonus points based on spending
Big spenders are rewarded with additional points when spending on the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card: Spending at least $20,000 within your anniversary year will get you an additional 10,000 bonus points.
Side-by-side comparison of the two IHG credit cards
Here’s an at-a-glance look at the benefits of each IHG credit card:
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card
Earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
$0 intro for the first year, then $89.
IHG points earned.
Up to 25x.
Up to 15x.
Bonus points earned.
2x at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants; 1x everywhere else.
2x at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants; 1x everywhere else.
Room value up to 40,000 points.
Automatic Platinum Elite status.
Gold Elite status after spending $10,000.
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.
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 Club Traveler Credit Card may be appealing with its $0 annual fee, the IHG® Rewards Club 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 $0 intro for the first year, then $89 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 2021, 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