Chase and IHG have a co-brand card portfolio — there’s the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card (review), which is the premium co-brand card, and then there’s the more basic card, which is the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card (review).
The IHG Premier Card offers some fantastic perks that should more than justify the annual fee for frequent travelers, even if you’re not an IHG loyalist. However, there are some conditions associated with these perks, so in this post I wanted to dig a bit deeper into how they work.
IHG Premier Card Benefits
The IHG Premier Card offers some unique benefits, including:
- A welcome bonus of 150,000 IHG Rewards Club points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months; the $89 annual fee is even waived for the first year
- A free night certificate on your account anniversary every year, valid at any property that retails for up to 40,000 IHG Rewards Club points per night
- A fourth night free on award bookings; when you redeem points for a consecutive four night stay, you only have to redeem points for the cost of the first three nights
- 20% off when you purchase IHG Rewards Club points
- IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you have the card
- A TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry fee credit every four years
Those are some awesome perks, and I’ve received a lot of questions about how certain benefits on the IHG Premier Card work. In this post, I wanted to take a closer look at some of the details of these benefits.
How Does The Fourth Night Free Benefit Work?
One of the best perks of the IHG Premier Card is that it offers a fourth night free on award redemptions. There has been some confusion regarding how this benefit works, and specifically at what point the cost of the fourth night is reimbursed.
With this benefit, the cost of the fourth night is deducted at the time you make your award booking. Once you have the card and go to IHG’s website to make a booking, go through the process of making a four night award booking, and before you click “confirm,” you should see that the cost of the fourth night is deducted.
To give an example, the InterContinental London Park Lane may cost an average of around 65,000 points per night (IHG has dynamic award pricing, so the rate can vary each night).
When I go through the process of booking a four night stay, I’m only asked to pay a total of 196,000 points, as the fourth night shows as being complimentary.
If this isn’t displaying correctly for you, it’s probably because you haven’t had the card for long enough. It can take a few days for this benefit to kick in.
This is great, since it means you only need enough points for the cost of three nights to make the booking.
You can use this benefit an unlimited number of times, and can even use it for back-to-back stays (in other words, you can book eight consecutive nights at one hotel and get two nights free), or for multiple rooms at a hotel over the same nights. It’s also valid at Six Senses properties, which are slowly being integrated into the IHG Rewards Club program.
You do need to stay four consecutive nights at one hotel while redeeming points to use this, meaning you can’t stay two nights at one hotel and two nights at another hotel, and then get one of those nights free.
Furthermore, all four nights need to be booked as a single points reservation. This means you couldn’t book one night with a free night certificate and then three nights with points, and get that third night of the points reservation free.
Can You Stack The Fourth Night Free Benefit With The 10% Rebate?
The IHG Premier Card offers a fourth night free on awards, while the old IHG Select Card offers a 10% rebate when you redeem points (that benefit is capped at a total refund of 100,000 points per year). One common question has been whether these two benefits can be combined, assuming you have both cards. The answer is yes.
This is a pretty awesome opportunity to stack benefits. Let’s assume you’re staying at a hotel that costs 50,000 points per night for four nights.
A four night stay would cost you 150,000 points (with the fourth night free), and then you’d be reimbursed another 15,000 points, meaning you’re paying just 135,000 points for those four nights. That’s an average of 33,750 points per night, or a discount of 32.5%.
The terms state that the 10% rebate will post within eight weeks of a stay, though in my experience it usually posts within a few weeks.
Can You Earn Two Anniversary Night Certificates?
The way I see it, the single biggest perk of the IHG Premier Card is that it offers a free night certificate on the account anniversary every year. The IHG Select Card (no longer open to new applicants) also offers the same benefit.
Can you actually get two anniversary free night certificates every year? The answer is yes, assuming you have both cards. That’s a pretty cool perk, since it makes this useful not just for one night stays, but also for longer stays. If you and your spouse/friend each have both cards, that’s potentially four free night certificates per year.
Can The IHG 20% Discount On Points Be Stacked With A Sale?
The IHG Premier Card offers a 20% discount when you purchase points. Unfortunately, this isn’t valid when IHG is offering a discount on purchased points, which is when I would generally consider buying points.
There’s no reason to buy IHG points for 20% off when IHG otherwise sometimes offers 75-100% bonuses on purchased points.
When the discount is available, you’ll see that it’s automatically applied at the time you purchase points. This is a benefit that’s almost never worth it, in my opinion.
How Does The TSA Pre-Check/Global Entry Credit Work?
The IHG Premier Card offers a TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry fee credit once every four years. You can choose either one (in general Global Entry is a better option, since it automatically comes with TSA Pre-Check), and then the statement credit will automatically post within 24 hours of the eligible purchase appearing on your account.
Note that all that matters is that the fee is charged to your card, so if you already have a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check membership, you can use this for a friend or family member.
When Does IHG Platinum Status Post To Your Account?
Just for having the IHG Premier Card, you get Platinum status with IHG. This will post to your account automatically, and that’s determined based on having the correct IHG Rewards Club number linked to your account.
While the terms state that the status will post within six to eight weeks, in practice, it usually posts much faster than that.
The IHG Premier Card is an all-around worthwhile card. Between the Platinum status, fourth night free on awards, and an annual free night, I’d say this card is well worth getting if you’re eligible, even if you’re not otherwise an IHG loyalist. That’s especially true with the current bonus, which is excellent.
If you don’t yet have this card, I’d highly recommend applying.