Best IHG Credit Cards

In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile at a Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about the partners we work with. We choose our OMAAT Picks based on the combination of benefits the card provides, and the ability to earn outsized rewards. Thanks for your support!

Updated: 4 days ago

IHG owns and manages hotels across the world, ranging from boutique brands such as Kimpton, to roadside Holiday Inn Express. Wherever your travels take you, odds are good IHG has a property somewhere close-by. Their loyalty program, IHG Rewards Club, doesn’t have the bells and whistles of some other hotel programs, but still offers members a variety of perks, including some impressive IHG credit card benefits.

IHG Credit Card Offers of August 2019

IHG partners with Chase for both their co-branded credit cards. Since these cards are issued by Chase, you’ll be bound by their 5/24 rule, which may limit your eligibility.

The two IHG cards have separate benefits, welcome offers, and rewards structures, but for the majority of travelers, splurging for the “higher” IHG Premier card makes more sense, and is one of our favorite hotel credit cards for free nights. Of course, these change frequently, but OMAAT keeps this page updated as the deals and offers fluctuate. Here are the best IHG credit card offers available today:

Earn bonus points at IHG® Hotels and Resorts

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

Foreign Transaction Fee: None
Annual Fee: $29
The card details for the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card have been collected independently by OMAAT and have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
on Chase's secure site
Why we like this card

Current Offer
With the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card, you'll get 0% intro APR for 12 months†jumps to associated footnote from account opening on purchases and balance transfers.†jumps to associated footnote After that, 18.24% - 25.24% variable APR.†jumps to associated footnote Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred with a minimum of $5.†jumps to associated footnote Plus, you can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months from account opening.

Card Details
15 points total per $1 spent when you stay at any of our 5,400+ Hotels & Resorts worldwide (5x from credit card, 10x from being an IHG rewards member); 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

on Chase's secure site

How To Earn The Most IHG Points

The easiest way to earn IHG points is by actually staying at IHG hotels, though there are several shortcuts (and we’ll discuss those too)! Whether you’re staying at the InterContinental or the Holiday Inn Express, you can expect to earn 10 points per $1 spent on eligible charges at any IHG branded property (the affiliated Staybridge Suites & Candlewood Suites earn a slightly lower 5 points per $1 spent).

If you travel frequently enough to earn hotel elite status (or hold an IHG card – more on that below!), you’ll earn bonus points on top of that. Gold Elite members earn a 10% bonus, Platinum Elite earn a 50% bonus and top-tier Spire Elites earn a 100% bonus.

It’s worth mentioning that sites such as Hotels.com and Expedia may tempt you with cheaper rates than booking direct with IHG. Remember, if you book your room anywhere other than directly with IHG, you will typically forgo any points earning and elite benefits. Thankfully, most corporate travel sites are exempt from this, but you’ll always have to do the math yourself to decide if a slightly cheaper rate is worth the trade-off of no points and benefits.

Spending on your IHG credit card is another quick way to earn IHG points, thanks to the bonus categories. Depending on which card you hold, you can earn:

  • 10 points per $1 spent at IHG properties
  • 2 points per $1 spent at restaurants, gas stations and grocery stores
  • 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else.

The extra points on IHG stays can quickly add up! A Platinum elite member, staying at an IHG hotel and paying with their IHG Premier card can earn 25 points per $1 on eligible charges thanks to base earning, elite bonuses and credit card bonuses. Factoring in the comparative value of IHG points, however, the restaurants, gas stations and grocery store category isn’t as lucrative as it may seem.

Another way to earn IHG points is through their Accelerate promotions. While many of the major hotel chains offer seasonal or quarterly bonuses, IHG is in a league of their own with how promotions are customized to specific members. Each Accelerate promotion typically has multiple tiers, encouraging members to engage with IHG on many levels. In the past, this has included tasks such as staying at specific brands, spending on an IHG credit card or staying on certain days of the week. All in all, completing Accelerate promotions can typically earn you tens of thousands of bonus IHG points.

Another way to earn IHG points is through their partnership with Dining Rewards. Dining Rewards has a lot of airline partners, but if you choose to link your IHG Rewards Club account, this can be an easy way to earn up to 8 points per $1 spent at participating restaurants. Don’t forget, these are in addition to the points you’ll earn from your credit card for spending at restaurants! Dining Rewards also typically has a sign-up bonus for new members.

Ironically, one of the best ways to earn the most IHG points is not actually through using their credit cards or staying in their hotels. IHG Rewards Club is transfer partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards, and can be transferred directly at a 1:1 ratio. This makes some Ultimate Rewards cards a great way to earn more IHG points because they tend to have more rewarding bonus categories for spending than the traditional IHG cards.

Depending on which Ultimate Rewards card you choose, you could earn up to:

  • 3X Ultimate Rewards on all dining and travel
  • 3X Ultimate Rewards for selected business expenses

Lastly, if you are planning a major trip or have been eyeing that dream redemption, and find yourself a bit short, it can occasionally make sense to outright purchase IHG points. IHG does not process these purchases directly, so you won’t earn your typical bonus points for IHG and/or travel spend. be sure to use a card that is rewarding for everyday spend.

IHG Credit Card Benefits

If you’re even a semi-frequent IHG guest, being an IHG credit cardholder has perks that can go a long way towards making your travels more enjoyable and affordable. Here are some of the key IHG Credit Card benefits:

  1. Fourth Night Free — One of the best perks of the IHG Premier Card is that it offers a fourth night free on award redemptions. If you are redeeming your points for a four-night stay, IHG will only deduct three nights worth of points. Even better, there’s no limit to the number of times you can use this benefit — as long as you’re a cardholder, you can redeem points for three nights and receive a bonus fourth night!
  2. Annual Free Night Certificate — Hands-down the best benefit of the IHG Premier card is the anniversary free night certificate. These are valid for a night at properties that would otherwise cost up to 40,000 points per night. Given the annual fee, this is like paying just $89 for a free night redeemable at nearly 5,000 IHG hotels worldwide.
  3. Earn Bonus Points on IHG Purchases — All IHG co-branded cards earn bonus points for purchases made directly with IHG. This ranges from 5 points per dollar spent on the no-annual fee IHG Traveler, to 10 points per dollar spent on the IHG Premier.
  4. Ability to Earn & Redeem at High-End Properties — IHG has added an increasing number of boutique and luxury properties to its portfolio in the past few years. These include Six Senses, Regent Hotels and Kimpton, along with IHG’s premium Intercontinental Hotels.
  5. Automatic Elite Status — For as long as you hold the IHG Premier card, you’ll receive Platinum Elite status, which comes with perks such as complimentary upgrades and late check-out, subject to availability.
  6. Points Breaks — For years, IHG has offered PointsBreaks, which is one of the best promotions in the hotel industry. During PointsBreaks, IHG makes hundreds of hotels available at discounted rates of 5,000, 10,000 and 15,000 points per night. Best of all, these discounted rates can be combined with the IHG credit card fourth award night free benefit.
  7. Year-Round Award Pricing — Many loyalty programs have adopted a dynamic redemption model, with peak and non-peak time periods for more expensive redemptions. IHG properties have the same redemption rate all year, making it simple to know how many points you’ll need for any vacation.
  8. No Foreign Transaction Fees — We’d recommend other cards for international travel, but if you happen to use any IHG card overseas, you won’t pay an extra fee.
  9. Global Entry and TSA PreCheck — IHG Premier cardholders receive a credit every 4 years to be used towards Global Entry and TSA PreCheck.
  10. Ability to Transfer Points — If you can’t find any other ways to use your IHG points, you do have the option to transfer them to any of IHG’s 39 airline partners. While the redemption rates vary by airline, and there are some unique partners, the ratio is typically at a 5:1 ratio. This represents a very poor value for your IHG points, so please only consider this option as a last resort!

With only a couple options to choose from, it’s actually not that difficult to decide which IHG Credit Card is best for you. For the vast majority of travelers with even the slightest interest in IHG, we’d always recommend the IHG Premier card. With only a modest annual fee, you can very quickly get outsized benefits thanks to our two favorite perks, the annual free night certificate and the fourth night free!

As we mentioned though, the IHG co-branded cards are not actually best for earning a significant stash of IHG points (aside from welcome bonuses and direct IHG purchases). This is because of IHG Rewards Club partnership with Chase Ultimate Rewards, where you can transfer your points directly to IHG, and a dozen other partners. The excellent bonus categories on these cards make them your best option for earning the most IHG points possible through regular credit card spend.

Regarding Comments: The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *