IHG Premier Card Benefits: How They Work

IHG Premier Card Benefits: How They Work

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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). These are great products, and they’re about to get even more rewarding as of March 2022, when we see some positive changes to the cards.

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 perks & benefits

The IHG Premier Card offers some unique benefits, including:

  • A huge welcome bonus of 125,000 IHG Rewards points plus a free night certificate after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months
  • A free night certificate on your account anniversary every year, valid at any property that retails for up to 40,000 IHG Rewards points per night; as of March 2022, you’ll even be able to top off your certificate with points to book a more expensive property
  • 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 points
  • IHG Rewards 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 an award booking for four nights, you should automatically see the price adjusted. When you first see the award cost you’ll see a price with a line through it, which is the original price, and then underneath that is the discounted price factoring in the fourth night free.

To give an example, the InterContinental London Park Lane may cost an average of around 75,250 points per night (IHG has dynamic award pricing, so the rate can vary each night). Yet with a fourth night free the price is lowered to 56,000 points, with the total cost being 224,000 points.

This is great, since it means you only need enough points for the cost of three nights to make the booking. 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.

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 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.

Get a fourth night free at the InterContinental Los Angeles

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.

Save 32.5% on an award stay at the InterContinental Phu Quoc

Can you earn two anniversary free 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 or friend each have both cards, that’s potentially four free night certificates per year.

Use your anniversary free night certificate at the Crowne Plaza Changi

Can the IHG 20% points discount 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.

It’s not worth buying IHG points for 20% off

How does the TSA Pre-Check or 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.

Global Entry & TSA Pre-Check are great perks

When does IHG Platinum status post to your account?

Just for having the IHG Premier Card, you get IHG Rewards Platinum status. This will post to your account automatically, and that’s determined based on having the correct IHG Rewards 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.

Score a room upgrade with IHG Platinum status

Bottom line

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.

Conversations (4)
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  1. Tennen Gold

    @Lucky, you might want to add a note about using multiple free night certificates for a single stay. IME, it can be a huge pain, depending on the property. I have no idea if this will change as of March, but right now, you have to book free nights individually. So, a 2-night stay will require 2 separate reservations.

    Even if you contact a hotel in advance *and* tell them at check-in, they can bungle...

    @Lucky, you might want to add a note about using multiple free night certificates for a single stay. IME, it can be a huge pain, depending on the property. I have no idea if this will change as of March, but right now, you have to book free nights individually. So, a 2-night stay will require 2 separate reservations.

    Even if you contact a hotel in advance *and* tell them at check-in, they can bungle things up. One stay, they thought I was late checking out and housekeeping + management came by to kick me out. Another stay, the folio was completely messed up and I spent an hour on-site to try to fix it (and then it took multiple follow ups afterwards).

  2. Khatl Gold

    How does the 10% actually back for the Select actually work? Asking as I've not received it on my recent redemptions. Do you need to actually use it as your credit card in the booking? Or am I having an issue that I need to (gulp!) call the dreaded IHG customer service?

    1. Tennen Gold

      @Khatl, you don't need to use the Select card (or the card in your booking) for it to post. Also, was it a recent *stay* or recent *redemption*? That makes a difference, since you can redeem points for a stay months away. As Lucky posted, it takes a few weeks after your *stay* ends for the rebate to post. If it's been longer, you should contact IHG.

  3. Sel, D. Guest

    Related email just came out which states I have early access as a card member:“Enjoy a 20% discount on Reward Nights* when you book 3 or fewer consecutive Reward Nights by February 8 and stay by March 13, 2022.”

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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.

Tennen Gold

@Khatl, you don't need to use the Select card (or the card in your booking) for it to post. Also, was it a recent *stay* or recent *redemption*? That makes a difference, since you can redeem points for a stay months away. As Lucky posted, it takes a few weeks after your *stay* ends for the rebate to post. If it's been longer, you should contact IHG.

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Tennen Gold

@Lucky, you might want to add a note about using multiple free night certificates for a single stay. IME, it can be a huge pain, depending on the property. I have no idea if this will change as of March, but right now, you have to book free nights individually. So, a 2-night stay will require 2 separate reservations. Even if you contact a hotel in advance *and* tell them at check-in, they can bungle things up. One stay, they thought I was late checking out and housekeeping + management came by to kick me out. Another stay, the folio was completely messed up and I spent an hour on-site to try to fix it (and then it took multiple follow ups afterwards).

0
Khatl Gold

How does the 10% actually back for the Select actually work? Asking as I've not received it on my recent redemptions. Do you need to actually use it as your credit card in the booking? Or am I having an issue that I need to (gulp!) call the dreaded IHG customer service?

0
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