Chase IHG Rewards Credit Card Eligibility Explained

Chase IHG Rewards Credit Card Eligibility Explained

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The offers for the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card, IHG® Rewards Premier Business Credit Card, and IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card have expired. Learn more about the current offers here.

Chase and IHG now have three co-branded credit cards. We recently saw a refresh to the card portfolio, including the introduction of a new business credit card. On top of that, welcome bonus eligibility requirements were recently changed for these cards, to coincide with the refresh. I wanted to cover the basics of what you need to know if you’re looking to get approved for these cards.

Chase IHG Rewards credit card basics

For context, here are the annual fees and current welcome bonuses on the three IHG credit cards issued by Chase that are currently open to new applicants:

On top of that, there’s the IHG Rewards Select Credit Card, which has a $49 annual fee. This card hasn’t been open to new cardmembers for a few years now, but some people still have this card from back in the day.

Eligibility for welcome bonuses differs between the personal and business versions of the card, so I wanted to discuss that in a bit more detail. I imagine many people are probably currently interested in the IHG Rewards Premier Card, given the phenomenal new bonus.

Earn lots of IHG points with the current offers

IHG Rewards personal credit card eligibility

IHG Rewards’ personal credit cards recently adopted stricter eligibility requirements than before. You’re not eligible for the welcome bonus on the IHG Rewards Premier Card or IHG Rewards Traveler Card if:

  • You currently have any IHG Rewards personal credit card (including the Premier, Traveler, or Select)
  • You’ve received a new cardmember bonus on any IHG Rewards personal credit card in the past 24 months (business cards don’t count toward this limit)

In other words, you can only pick up either the IHG Rewards Premier Card or IHG Rewards Traveler Card, but not both. And if you have the IHG Select Card, you’re unfortunately not eligible for the bonus on either of those cards.

In the event that you’ve canceled an IHG Rewards personal card on which you got a bonus more than 24 months ago, I’d recommend waiting at least a month before applying for another IHG Rewards personal card, just to be on the safe side. That’s because it can take a while for the system to reflect you no longer being a cardmember.

IHG personal card bonuses are mutually exclusive

IHG Rewards business credit card eligibility

Eligibility for the new IHG Rewards Premier Business Card is independent of eligibility for any of the personal IHG cards. You’re not eligible for the bonus on this card if:

  • You currently have this exact card
  • You’ve received a new cardmember bonus on this exact card in the past 24 months

Since this card recently launched, this should impact very few people, and almost everyone should be eligible. Just to be crystal clear, you’re eligible for both the IHG Rewards Premier Card and IHG Rewards Premier Business Card.

IHG business card eligibility is independent of personal card eligibility

General Chase credit card application restrictions

In addition to the IHG Rewards specific restrictions, be aware of Chase’s general application restrictions:

  • Chase has the 5/24 rule, whereby you typically won’t be approved for a card if you’ve opened five or more new card accounts in the past 24 months
  • Chase doesn’t generally have a strict limit on how many total cards you can have at any given point, but rather the limiting factor is regarding the overall credit you’ll be issued
  • You can typically be approved for at most two Chase credit cards every 30 days, and I generally wouldn’t recommend applying for more than one Chase business credit card every 30 days

These are just general guidelines, though do note that there’s always some inconsistency based on what other cards you’ve applied for, your overall relationship with Chase, etc.

What credit score do you need for an IHG Rewards credit card?

There’s not a consistent rule as to what credit score you need to be approved for a Chase IHG Rewards credit card. Broadly speaking, I’d recommend having a credit score in the “good” to “excellent” category if you’re going to apply for any of these cards.

Personally, I probably wouldn’t apply if my credit score were under 700, and ideally, I’d hope to have a credit score of 740 or higher. That being said, people with scores lower than that have been approved for these cards, and conversely, people with scores higher than that have been rejected. There are lots of factors that go into approval — your income, your credit history, how much credit Chase has already extended you, etc.

Lastly, anecdotally I’ve found that IHG cards are among the easiest co-branded Chase cards to be approved for, so that’s at least good news.

Bottom line

Chase’s IHG Rewards credit cards are fantastic, especially with the recent refresh. With this, we not only saw the introduction of a new business credit card, but also saw changes to the eligibility requirements for personal cards.

The good news is that if you’re new to IHG credit cards, you can get both the IHG Rewards Premier Card and IHG Rewards Premier Business Card. This would be my strategy, since both cards have generous bonuses, worthwhile perks, and are great complements.

The most important thing to understand is that eligibility for personal cards is mutually exclusive, meaning you can’t get the bonus on an IHG Rewards personal card if you currently have any IHG Rewards personal card (including the IHG Select Card), or have received a new cardmember bonus on such a card in the past 24 months.

If you’ve applied for an IHG Rewards credit card, what was your experience with getting approved?

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  1. Kathy Guest

    Can I apply for the one with the bonus free night if I am an authorized user on my husband’s personal account? I am wondering if I can open up an account where I am the primary account holder.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Kathy -- Yep, you would still be eligible!

    2. Kathy Guest

      Great! Thank you!
      This is kind of an unrelated question, but could you recommend a credit card that is good for earning cash back or points while traveling? For example, other hotels (not necessarily IHG), entertainment, restaurants, airfare, rent-a-car etc.?

  2. Elle Guest

    I’m at 4/24 and I think I’m going to apply for the business ihg then personal. Any advice on how long to wait in between? I don’t want to miss out on the great bonus.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Elle -- Personally I'd recommend waiting 30 days between a business and personal Chase application. Some people report being successful waiting less time than that, but I think that's a "safe" time to wait.

  3. Alan Guest

    I have an IHG Select card. If I add the business card and redeem points for three nights, do I get the 4th night free and/or the 10% point redemption reduction?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Alan -- You could stack the two, and get a fourth night free and a 10% discount.

  4. Chris Guest

    Will the Select’s 10 percent award rebate benefit stack with the Business card’s 4th night free benefit?

  5. Win Whitmire Guest

    I applied for the IHG Traveler's card in April when the bonus mileage was 120,000 points for $2000 in 3 months! I made that amount is only a month. I trust that they will honor the original agreement!

  6. CJH Guest

    I have the $49 annual fee card and the $99 annual fee card. If I apply for the no annual fee card will I still receive the bonus? It has been longer than 24 months since I received any IHG bonus. From the wording of the explanation, it appear to me that I am not eligible for the bonus on the no annual fee card. Any further explanation is appreciated.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ CJH -- Unfortunately you wouldn't be eligible for the bonus. In the past you would have been eligible, but the bonus terms changed with the cards relaunching, so that's not the case anymore.

    2. CJH Guest

      Thanks for confirming what I thought per your excellent write up. I may try for the business card. Or time for player 2 mode.

  7. Lisa Guest

    In the offer details it said if you haven’t received a bonus on this card in 24 months - are you sure it’s on any card in 24 months?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Lisa -- Since the cards were relaunched, the rules have become stricter. Here's what applications for personal cards say now:
      "This product is available to you if you do not have a current IHG® Rewards Credit Card and have not received a new Cardmember bonus within the last 24 months. This does not apply to Business Card Credit Card products."

      And then the application terms & conditions say the following:
      "This product...

      @ Lisa -- Since the cards were relaunched, the rules have become stricter. Here's what applications for personal cards say now:
      "This product is available to you if you do not have a current IHG® Rewards Credit Card and have not received a new Cardmember bonus within the last 24 months. This does not apply to Business Card Credit Card products."

      And then the application terms & conditions say the following:
      "This product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of any IHG® Rewards credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of any IHG® Rewards credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months. This does not apply to cardmembers of the IHG® Rewards Premier Business credit card."

  8. Patrick K Guest

    Ben — First, thank you for this comprehensive overview of the new IHG offerings. 2 questions:

    1. I have no IHG cards to date and am well within the qualifying criteria. You mention that these cards are among the easiest co-branded Chase cards to be approved for and that your recommendation to someone like me is to apply for both the Premier Card and the Premier Business Card.

    Two questions: (1) Does that mean that,...

    Ben — First, thank you for this comprehensive overview of the new IHG offerings. 2 questions:

    1. I have no IHG cards to date and am well within the qualifying criteria. You mention that these cards are among the easiest co-branded Chase cards to be approved for and that your recommendation to someone like me is to apply for both the Premier Card and the Premier Business Card.

    Two questions: (1) Does that mean that, as a longtime cardholder of other Chase products, I may not have a hard credit pull (or only 1 if I apply for both cards)?

    2. Am I correct that only the personal card apply to my Chase 5/24 in the future?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Patrick K -- While the business card is subjected to 5/24 (meaning you need to be under the limit), indeed, it won't count as a further card toward the limit. So if you're at 4/24 before you apply for the business card, you'll also be at 4/24 after applying for the business card.

      That being said, you should still expect hard pulls for each application. Personally I'd space out the applications a bit to...

      @ Patrick K -- While the business card is subjected to 5/24 (meaning you need to be under the limit), indeed, it won't count as a further card toward the limit. So if you're at 4/24 before you apply for the business card, you'll also be at 4/24 after applying for the business card.

      That being said, you should still expect hard pulls for each application. Personally I'd space out the applications a bit to maximize approval odds, so I'd expect two hard pulls (though I wouldn't view that as being a big deal).

  9. Martin Guest

    When did the terms change? I picked up the Premier on the last day of 120k pts and FNC. (still waiting for it come in the mail). I have the Select. Am I screwed or did I pick it up just in time?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Martin -- Nope, you're good! The terms changed when the cards formally relaunched, at which point there was the new offer of 140K points.

    2. Betty Guest

      FYI - I had the select card and applied for the personal Premier card in 3/2022 when the bonus was 125K and a free night. My bonus and free night posted in June. I felt very fortunate as I was concerned I hadn't read the terms closely.

  10. GBOAC Diamond

    Ben: You finally mentioned in passing the Rewards Select card that many of us still have, and many of us are really interested in finding out what if any changes are in store for that card in spite of the fact it is no longer available to new applicants. We really appreciate it if you enlighten us.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ GBOAC -- I'm working on finding out as much as I can, though as of now it just seems to be business as usual. I don't think any of the new perks apply to the card. I'm trying to get clarity on whether the free night certificates have the added flexibility or not.

  11. Tennen Gold

    @Ben, do you think the IHG Premier is worth picking up for those who already have the Select, even without the bonus?

    It's too bad that they changed the terms. When the bonus amount increased, I was a bit bummed that I got the Premier when it was a lot lower; now, I'm relieved that I got it when I did.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Tennen -- That's tough to say. Ideally I'd probably pick up the IHG Premier Business Card, if one were eligible, to earn the bonus plus get the great perks. Otherwise I think it could be worthwhile, though the issue is always the Chase 5/24 rule, so it's a question of opportunity cost.

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Kathy Guest

Great! Thank you! This is kind of an unrelated question, but could you recommend a credit card that is good for earning cash back or points while traveling? For example, other hotels (not necessarily IHG), entertainment, restaurants, airfare, rent-a-car etc.?

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Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Kathy -- Yep, you would still be eligible!

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Kathy Guest

Can I apply for the one with the bonus free night if I am an authorized user on my husband’s personal account? I am wondering if I can open up an account where I am the primary account holder.

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