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When you become a new cardholder of the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card, you’ll want to do things that will help you earn bonus miles and effectively redeem them.
Here are five smart moves to make when you sign up for this hotel rewards card.
1. Spend on the card and secure your welcome offer
As long as you're not spending beyond your means, it's almost always a good idea to charge purchases to your new card to earn the welcome offer, as this is one of the easiest way to acquire a boatload of points in one go. And you really don’t want to miss out on the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card's impressive sign-up bonus. Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Have a plan for spending that money and by what date.
Plus, you can find ways to secure extra bonus points when working toward the minimum spend requirement. For instance, the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card offers 5x points at gas stations, travel, and restaurants and 3x on all other purchases.
And dining spending can get even more rewarding, thanks to the IHG Rewards Club Dine & Earn program (be sure to link your card to that program, too). When you do, that could add up to an additional 8 points per purchase depending on your membership level.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this card is excellent for IHG spending. IHG hotel stays earn 26 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel (including points earned from the card, the hotel stay itself and the card’s automatic Platinum Elite status).
Those 26 points are broken down like this:
10 points for paying with the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card at most IHG hotels.
10 points from your free IHG One Rewards membership — you'll be automatically enrolled when you are approved for the card if you previously were not a member.
» Learn more: IHG hotel card review: Free nights on a silver platter
2. Enjoy the perks of IHG elite status
Reaching Platinum status normally requires that an IHG Rewards Club member stay 40 qualifying nights per year, but being an IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card cardholder fast-tracks you to elite perks and bonuses. You'll get automatic Platinum status for as long as you remain a cardholder. Additionally, you'll earn IHG Rewards Diamond status after spending $40,000 on purchases and making one additional purchase each calendar year with your card.
Perks of IHG elite status can include a welcome amenity, a 50% bonus earnings on top of base points earned, complimentary room upgrades when available, a $30 in-room spa credit and more.
3. Apply for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card offers up to a $100 credit every four years for cardholders who sign up for TSA Precheck or Global Entry. If you’re a frequent traveler, skipping the long waits at the airport could make your trip more enjoyable. And with this offer, you can do it for no extra cost.
4. Link your United account
The card is especially excellent for travelers who fly United, as you'll receive up to $50 in TravelBank Cash each calendar year, doled out in increments of $25 in TravelBank Cash given every January and July. TravelBank Cash can be used to book air travel on United, so you're essentially getting a $25 coupon off your next flight, assuming you paid with this card.
But be sure to link your IHG and United accounts, as you'll have to register your credit card with your United MileagePlus account to start earning TravelBank Cash to use on United or United Express flights.
And book a United flight while you're at it, as credits expire.
5. Plan how you'll use your annual free reward night
One of the best perks on this card that easily justifies its $99 annual fee is the free night certificate. 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 typically means an IHG-owned property that otherwise costs 40,000 points or less. But for properties that require more than 40,000 points, you can dip into your own IHG Rewards points balance to cover the difference.
NerdWallet values one IHG One Rewards point at 0.8 cent. At that rate, you could potential get $320 worth of value if you book a room that otherwise costs 40,000 points, making this one of the best credit cards to offer free anniversary nights.
Just plan in advance. IHG Anniversary Night certificates expire 12 months from date of issue. You don't want to remember to spend it just ahead of its expiration date, only to scramble and find out that the hotel you want is already sold out.
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