The Most Valuable IHG Rewards Club Premier Card Benefits

This card lets you treat yourself to an annual free night and complimentary room upgrades with elite status.
Sally FrenchJun 24, 2021

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There are dozens of reasons why the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is one of the best mid-tier hotel credit cards out there. As long as you’d otherwise stay in an IHG property just one time per year, it’s worth applying for.

Your journey together with the card will start with this welcome offer: Earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. From there, you’ll receive a free night certificate on your cardholder anniversary. And it doesn’t stop there.

Our IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card review

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is certainly useful for road warriors and business travelers who regularly stay at IHG hotels. But, even if you’re more of a casual vacationer, the low $0 intro for the first year, then $89 annual fee, coupled with tons of benefits (including a free night certificate) helps make the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card wallet-worthy.

NerdWallet’s analysis of the card’s rates, fees, rewards and other features earned it an admirable rating of 5 out of 5 stars, even despite its points being valued less than other hotel programs. We still rated it highly because its perks are head turners.

8 best benefits of the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

1. Annual free reward night

Here’s a benefit that on its own can easily justify the card’s $0 intro for the first year, then $89 annual fee: Each year after your anniversary as a cardholder, you'll receive a certificate good for a night at any eligible IHG hotel or resort. “Eligible,” in most cases, means an IHG-owned property that otherwise costs 40,000 points or less.

NerdWallet values one IHG Rewards point at 0.8 cent, meaning you’re potentially getting $320 worth of value if you book a room that otherwise costs 40,000 points.

Award stays at the InterContinental Shenzhen Dameisha Resort tend to run between 25,000 and 30,000 points, which makes this luxury waterfront resort in China eligible for using that free night certificate. Photo courtesy of IHG

2. Fourth night is free on award stays

Next up is a benefit worth potentially even more than that free anniversary night certificate: Book on points while holding this card, and your fourth night is free for any booking of four (or more) consecutive nights.

When you hold the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and you book a stay of this length with IHG Rewards points, the hotel will automatically set the cost of the fourth night to zero points.

Rooms at the InterContinental Yokohama Pier 8 in Japan can easily cost more than 50,000 points (and some rooms cost close to 100,000 points). If you’re staying four consecutive nights, you could cut your cost by a quarter if you book using points. Photo courtesy of IHG

3. Automatic elite status

Holding this card also means you automatically will hold IHG Rewards Club Platinum Elite status for as long as you remain a cardmember. This means more upgrades and more points.

Benefits of IHG Platinum Elite status include:

  • 50% bonus points on paid stays.

  • Complimentary room upgrades.

  • Extended checkout (subject to availability).

One note: Don’t apply for this card the week before your trip and expect to get Platinum Elite status. Chase warns that customers should allow up to eight weeks for the upgrade to be applied to your IHG Rewards Club account.

4. The welcome offer

Here’s the current welcome offer: Earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Considering that IHG point redemptions start at 10,000 points, you could potentially book more than a week of free hotel stays based on just those points alone.

5. No foreign transaction fees

It’s not the sexiest perk, but this one could save you a bunch of money and increase the value of the card: no foreign transaction fees.

This is how it works in many cases: When you make a charge overseas, your card network (that’s Visa, Mastercard or American Express) receives the charge in the local currency. It then converts the cost back into your home currency before passing on the cost to your bank (which in the case of the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is Chase). For some credit cards, banks will pass on that additional foreign transaction fee to the cardholder (typically 1%-3%, depending on the card).

With this card, you can avoid those fees altogether. After all, a $30 fee just for $1,000 in international spending is not the type of souvenir you want out of your vacation. Pay with this card — which doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees — and put that money toward an actually good souvenir instead.

6. Travel protections

Travel protections, like trip cancellation insurance and lost luggage reimbursement, can help you in tough situations — even if it’s in the unsexy-benefit pile too. Even so, you’ll be glad you have it when you’ve booked a vacation in the Caribbean for the same day that a hurricane rolls in and your flight can’t depart.

The slew of travel protection-related benefits available include trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance. That means if your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations (and you paid for it with this card), you can be reimbursed up to $5,000 per person and $10,000 per trip for your prepaid, nonrefundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours and hotels.

Other travel protections on the card include:

  • Travel accident insurance.

  • Travel and emergency assistance services.

  • Lost luggage reimbursement.

  • Baggage delay insurance.

  • Auto rental collision damage waiver.

7. Cell phone protections

Getting your phone lost or stolen is brutal. While your IHG card can’t help you summon a rideshare service to get you safely back home or call your loved ones for support, it can help you financially. As a cardholder, you receive cell phone protection if you pay your monthly cell phone bill with this card.

You’re entitled to up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year against covered circumstances, and you can make a maximum of two claims in a 12-month period. You’ll still be on the hook for a $50 deductible per claim and you’ll have to show some paperwork (e.g., a police report for claims involving theft). But for $800 toward a new phone, that’s a pretty sweet deal.

8. Fast IHG points accrual for future stays

And of course, the money you charge to your card accrues IHG points, which you can turn around to book free rooms.

You’ll earn 2 points for each $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants and 1 point for each $1 spent on all other purchases.

Plus, you’ll earn an incredible 25 total points per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel, broken down like this:

  • 10 points for paying with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card at most IHG hotels.

  • 10 points from your free IHG Rewards Club membership — you'll be automatically enrolled when you are approved for the card if you previously were not a member.

  • 5 points from Platinum Elite Status, an automatic benefit of card ownership.

  • 2 points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants.

  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Additionally, you’ll receive a bonus 10,000 points if you spend at least $20,000 on the card within the account anniversary year and make one more purchase at least one day after meeting the spending threshold.

The bottom line

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has one of the lowest annual fees of any hotel credit card, but it has generous benefits like a free night certificate. Unless you’re not certain you’ll stay at an IHG property this year, or you only stay at ultra-cheap IHG hotels (think, sub-$100 rooms) when you do, it’s hard to come up with a reason why you shouldn’t hold this card.

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:

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