Underrated Reasons Why You Need an IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Overlooked benefits like travel or cell phone protections can help you worry less about unforeseeable incidents.
Apr 13, 2022

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The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card is one of the few hotel credit cards that offer value to almost every traveler — especially if you stay (or are willing to stay) in an IHG hotel or fly with United. The card comes packed with ongoing benefits, as well as a one-time opportunity to earn a sign up bonus. Earn 140,000 Bonus Points + 1 Free Night after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

And even after the first year, great benefits are ongoing, including a free night each year and mid-tier elite status. While these perks alone are enough to justify the $99 annual fee, there’s a lot more to this card than just these three marquee benefits.

The well-known reasons

Here’s a quick look at a few of the well-known benefits of the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card:

  • Welcome bonus: Earn 140,000 Bonus Points + 1 Free Night after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • Platinum Elite status: Cardholders get Platinum Elite status, which comes with valuable benefits like complimentary room upgrades when available, early check-in and late checkout, a welcome gift, and a 60% points bonus on stays.

  • Anniversary free night: Get a free night certificate each cardmember year valid toward a hotel night costing up to 40,000 points per night.

And sure, those benefits are certainly unbelievable. We've also written tons on the most valuable benefits of theIHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card, delving in greater detail into how to maximize those perks.

But you came for the underrated reasons. Here are all the reasons we love the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card that the other travel blogs might not tell you about:

Underrated reasons

Fourth night free

By booking a rewards stay of four or more nights, the price of the fourth night is automatically set to zero points, effectively netting you a 25% discount when you book on points. That’s true whether you are redeeming points for a budget hotel or a fancy InterContinental resort.

Plus, this benefit is uncapped, so you can use it as many times as you want.

Don't underestimate just how valuable this one benefit can be, especially if you prefer to stay awhile rather than make a quick weekend getaway. This perk can change how you plan a long weekend so — rather than flying on peak travel days when flight prices are high and award availability is tough to find — you can extend your stay an extra night for free, nab that cheap midweek flight, and not feel guilty about taking a longer vacation than you might have otherwise.

IHG's fourth night free is also far more generous than competitors. For example, the Hilton Honors program offers a similar benefit for booking on points, but their's is fifth night free. Thus, you're only getting a 20% (versus 25%) discount when booking Hilton award nights, and your trip is less flexible as you'll have to stay at least five nights to take advantage of the perk. Hopefully you can take that many vacation days from work — otherwise IHG might just be a more realistic deal.

Travel protections

The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card offers an impressive suite of travel protection benefits just for charging your travel expenses to your card, making it one of the best credit cards that provide trip insurance.

If you have to cancel your trip due to illness, severe weather or some other covered reason, the card’s trip cancellation/interruption insurance will reimburse up to $5,000 per person and $10,000 per trip for nonrefundable travel expenses.

Your card comes with theft and collision damage coverage on rental cars when you pay with the card and decline the rental company’s collision insurance. Note that this coverage is secondary to your personal insurance and doesn’t cover liability.

If your bag is delayed by at least six hours, you’ll be reimbursed up to $100 a day for three days for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing. If your bag is damaged or never found, you’ll receive up to $3,000 per passenger.

If you have a problem away from home, you can get legal and medical referrals and other emergency assistance for being a cardmember. In the worst-case scenario, the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card will pay up to $500,000 in cases of accidental death or dismemberment.

Cell phone protection

The card’s protections aren’t just travel-related. The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card card covers against theft and damage to your cell phone when you pay the bill with your card. This coverage goes up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year. There’s a maximum of two claims per 12 month period and a deductible of $50 per claim.

Global Entry / TSA Precheck

Anyone considering paying the $100 Global Entry application fee could more than breakeven on the cost by signing up for this card, paying the $99 annual fee and charging the Global Entry fee to the card. Plus, you’ll get all of the card’s other benefits too.

No foreign transaction fees

Some of our favorite low and no-annual-fee credit cards don’t waive foreign transaction fees. When you use your IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card in another country you don’t have to worry about paying an additional 3% on every purchase. Whether you’re paying for a hotel or picking up the tab at a cafe, the card doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees.

The bottom line

The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card is currently offering an eye-catching welcome bonus. But the card’s benefits could make it a keeper for the long term. Cardholders will receive at least one free night a year and potentially a lot more if you maximize the fourth night free benefit.

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:

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