Comparing The New IHG & Marriott Credit Cards

Update: This offer for the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has expired. Learn more about the current offers here.


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. Thanks for your support!

In the past couple of months we’ve seen Chase introduce two new co-branded hotel credit cards. Specifically, I’m talking about the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card. Given that these cards are both new, I figured it would be interesting to do a side-by-side comparison of the two cards, for someone who might be trying to decide between them.

So, let’s compare the two cards across a few different factors:

Welcome bonus

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is offering a welcome bonus of 80,000 IHG Rewards Club points after spending $2,000 within the first three months, plus a further 5,000 points after adding an authorized user and having them make a purchase within that same timeframe. I value IHG Rewards Club points at ~0.5 cents each, so to me those points are worth ~$425.

Meanwhile the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card is offering a welcome bonus of 100,000 Marriott Rewards points after spending $5,000 within the first three months. I value Marriott Rewards points at ~0.8 cents each, so to me those points are worth ~$800.

Winner: Marriott Card, by a lot

Odds of approval

While it’s clear the Marriott Card has a bigger welcome bonus, you also have to consider the ease with which you can be approved for the cards.

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card isn’t available to those who currently have the card, or those who have received a new cardmember bonus on the card within the past 24 months. However, if you had the old version of the IHG Card (which has since been discontinued) you are still eligible for this card. Furthermore, the card isn’t subjected to the 5/24 rule, meaning you can be approved even if you’ve opened five or more new card accounts in the past 24 months.

Meanwhile the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card isn’t available to those who currently have this card or the Marriott Premier Card, or those who have received a new cardmember bonus on either card in the past 24 months. So if you have the old version of the Marriott Card then you aren’t eligible for this one. Furthermore, the card is subjected to the 5/24 rule, meaning you can’t be approved even if you’ve opened five or more new card accounts in the past 24 months.

Winner: IHG Card, by a lot

Annual fee

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has an $89 annual fee.

The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card has a $95 annual fee.

Winner: IHG Card, by a little

Return on spend

I value IHG Rewards Club points at 0.5 cents each and Marriott Rewards points at 0.8 cents each, so based on that will value the return on spend below.

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers:

  • 10x points per dollar spent at IHG hotels (5% return)
  • 2x points per dollar spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants (1% return)
  • 1x point per dollar spent on everything else (0.5% return)

Meanwhile the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card offers:

  • 6x points for spend at participating Marriott and SPG hotels (4.8%)
  • 2x points on all other purchases (1.6% return)

I would note that personally I wouldn’t be using either of these cards for everyday spend, so I’m not sure how important of a factor this really is. Both cards have no foreign transaction fees.

Winner: Marriott Card, by a little

Anniversary free night certificate

One of the best perks of both of these cards is that they offer an anniversary free night certificate that you receive on your account anniversary every year.

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers an anniversary free night certificate valid at a hotel retailing for up to 40,000 points per night.

The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card offers an anniversary free night certificate valid at a hotel retailing for up to 35,000 points per night.

I’d also note that with Marriott you receive full elite benefit on award stays, which could potentially add a significant amount of value to your stay. In general I think Marriott has more good hotels you’d want to stay at for under 35,000 points than IHG has hotels you’d want to stay at for under 40,000 points. However, both free night certificates more than justify the annual fees, in my opinion.

Winner: Marriott Card, by a little


Redeem your Marriott anniversary free night certificate at the JW Marriott Mexico City

Other perks

Then both cards come with some other perks that are worth considering.

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers:

  • A fourth night free on award stays (make a four night consecutive award reservation and you just have to pay for three nights)
  • IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you have the card
  • A Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit every four years

The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card offers:

  • Marriott Silver status for as long as you have the card
  • Marriott Gold status when you spend $35,000 on purchases on the card in an account year
  • Starting in 2019, 15 elite night credits towards status every calendar year

Obviously which benefits are better is going to depend on what you’re going for, but generally I think the IHG Card has richer perks, given that it offers Platinum status for as long as you have the card, and given the fourth night free on award redemptions, which is exclusive to cardmembers.

With the Marriott Card the 15 elite nights towards status can be valuable, though you can earn those 15 nights from at most one credit card per year, and since several other credit cards offer the same, it’s not as exceptional of a benefit.

Winner: IHG Card, by a little


Get a fourth night free on award redemptions at the InterContinental Danang

Bottom line

There’s a lot of merit to both the new IHG and Marriott co-branded cards. In many ways these cards are structured in similar ways, though they have different strong points:

  • The Marriott Card generally has a better bonus, while getting approved for the IHG Card will be easier
  • Both cards offer an anniversary free night certificate, which in my opinion more than justifies the annual fee
  • Both cards offer additional perks that may be worthwhile depending on your situation
  • I wouldn’t generally recommend using either of these cards for non-bonused spend

Potentially you can be approved for both of these cards. For those who only want to pick up one or the other, hopefully the above is a good rundown of the differences between the cards.

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.

Comments

  1. I think you should have added another category – “opportunity cost”. I think the IHG card has the edge there with a lower minimum spend required plus the added points for the authorized user. I always use the concept of “opportunity cost” as something of a “tie-breaker” in cases like this – along with which chain would I likely use the most (IHG over Marriott for me – but that is a personal preference).

  2. hello. does anyone know if the rewards club traveler credit card (the lower tier IHG card that is $29 annually) is affected by 5/24? i am stuck at 5/24 until september and was considering applying for the rewards club traveler credit card now and the premier club travel credit card close to my anniversary date of the ihg rewards club select credit card (the old card).

  3. Hi,
    I currently have the $49/year IHG credit card. Would I be able to apply for the new card with the $89/year fee and earn the 80,000 bonus?

    Thank you,
    Kae

  4. You mention that neither the Marriott nor the IHG cards are ones you’d recommend for non bonus spend. At some point could repeat what cards are attractive toc you for non bonus spend. Thanks – keep up the good work!

  5. What’s the deal with transferring points? Does Marriott not transfer to SPG which can be transferred to airlines ? Seems like something that should be included if so.

  6. Lucky,

    Can you please do a write up on how to convert Marriott points to SPG points to airline miles?

    Would be much appreciated.

    Best

Leave a Reply

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