If you’re searching for a new hotel credit card in hopes that 2021 will be the year you check trips off your travel bucket list, consider applying for the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. Just hurry.
The card currently has a fantastic sign-up bonus: Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. But the limited time offer is set to end on Wednesday, Jan. 13.
That’s the most points we’ve spotted yet on this card. Up until now, the highest we’d seen was 125,000 points, offered back in October 2019.
What are 140,000 IHG points worth?
IHG hotels range from affordable and extended-stay hotels, like Candlewood Suites, Staybridge Suites or Holiday Inn Express, to international luxury resorts, including the InterContinental Hotels brand.
Based on our most recent analysis, NerdWallet values IHG points at 0.9 cent apiece. That means the points earned through the welcome bonus alone are worth more than $1,200.
Depending on where you choose to book, IHG properties start as low as 10,000 points for a free night while some of the top tier properties will range from 70,000-100,000 points per night.
So, if you want to stretch your points as far as possible, the welcome bonus alone can get you 14 nights at low-end IHG properties (or more if you combine it with their fourth night free benefit), or you can splurge for a night or two at one of their top properties.
There are likewise plenty of IHG options in the 25,000-35,000 points per night range. You can turn your welcome bonus into a nice four or five-night stay at places like the Kimpton Shorebreak Huntington Beach Resort, where you can roast s’mores over fire pits on the hotel’s open-air patio, just steps from Huntington Beach Pier.
» Learn more: IHG Rewards: More value for the frugal traveler
Why the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is especially great in 2021
Big points for spending money at IHG hotels
Use your IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and earn up to 25x points at eligible IHG properties, broken down into 10 points per $1 spent just by using your card to book your stays, plus an additional 10 points per $1 for being an IHG Rewards Club member. Then, you get another 5 points per $1 spent for holding Platinum Elite status (which you're automatically granted with card ownership).
A free night after the annual fee kicks in
You’ll have to pay an annual fee after your first year, but here’s a delightful consolation prize: an "Anniversary Free Night" each year at eligible IHG hotels. The certificate can only be used on rooms that cost 40,000 points or less per night (and must be use within 12 months of the date of issue), but considering our valuation of IHG points at 0.9 cent, that’s potentially more than $300 in value right there.
More free nights
If your 2021 vacation is longer than a quick weekend getaway (and considering you likely skipped your 2020 vacation, it should be), then here’s another way to benefit from card ownership: Your fourth night is free when you redeem points for any stay of four or more nights.
Automatic Platinum Elite status
Platinum elite status means perks like bonus points, priority check-in, late checkout, complimentary internet access, complimentary room upgrades (when available) and a dedicated customer service phone line.
Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee credit
You'll get up to $100 every four years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card.
Another, similar offer if you’re annual fee-averse: The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card
If you don’t like the idea of the annual fee kicking in after your first year, Chase offers another IHG branded credit card with a $0 annual fee: the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card.
The intro offer isn’t quite as good, but it’s still worth considering if you stay at IHG properties and don’t like annual fees: Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Still, by our estimates, that sign up bonus is worth about $900.
Plus, you’ll get many similar benefits, including bonus points on spending at IHG hotels (up to 15x total points at IHG Hotels and Resorts) and the previously mentioned fourth night free when you redeem points for any stay of four or more nights.
You’ll also earn automatic Gold elite status which is admittedly meh — but we’ll at least take a free water bottle over nothing at all.
» Learn more: Your complete guide to earning IHG Rewards points
The bottom line
If travel is in the cards for you in 2021, then the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card can be worth holding purely for its high earning rate at IHG hotels. Throw in the massive sign-up bonus, plus other perks like the ability to get your fourth night free on stays booked on points, and you’re looking at not just multiple free hotel nights, but big spending rewards on any extra nights that you end up paying for, too.
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:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card