In this post, I wanted to take a look at the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card, and explain why there’s a better option than applying for this card.
IHG Traveler Card Details For January 2021
For those looking for a no annual fee hotel rewards card, the IHG Traveler Card is one of the better ones out there. The card has an excellent bonus and perks, but I do think there’s a better approach to take than applying outright for this card. First, let’s cover some of the basic details of the IHG Traveler Card.
No Annual Fee & No Foreign Transaction Fees
Nobody likes paying fees, so one huge positive of the IHG Traveler Card is that it has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. While there’s an increasing number of no annual fee cards with no foreign transaction fees, it’s still relatively rare.
Sign-Up Bonus Of 60,000 Points
The IHG Traveler Card is offering a sign-up bonus of 60,000 IHG Rewards Club points after spending $2,000 within three months:
- I value IHG points at 0.5 cents each, so to me the bonus is worth $300, which isn’t bad for a no annual fee card
- You aren’t eligible for the IHG Traveler Card if you currently have this exact card, or have received a new cardmember bonus on the card in the past 24 months
- However, you are eligible for the card, including the bonus, if you have the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
- The IHG Traveler Card is issued by Chase, so standard credit card application rules apply, including the Chase 5/24 rule
Redeem IHG points at the Kimpton Vividora Barcelona Hotel
Earn Up To 5x Points Per Dollar Spent
Personally, I don’t find spending money on the IHG Traveler Card to be especially worthwhile. As mentioned above, I value IHG points at 0.5 cents each. The card earns:
- 5x IHG points for spending at IHG hotels, which I value at a 2.5% return; there are better cards for hotel spending
- 2x IHG points for spending at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, which I value at a 1% return; there are better cards for spending at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants
- 1x IHG points for spending in all other categories, which I value at a 0.5% return; there are better cards for everyday spending
If you’re looking to maximize rewards, I’d have a hard time justifying actually spending money on this card.
Fourth Night Free On Award Redemptions
One of the most valuable benefits of the IHG Traveler Card is that you get a fourth night free on award redemptions. There’s no limit to how often you can use this benefit, so this is essentially a way to save up to 25% on points redemptions, assuming you stay in increments of four nights. This is also a benefit offered on the more expensive IHG Premier Card.
Get a fourth night free at the InterContinental Chongqing Raffles
Earn IHG Gold Status With Spending
While the IHG Traveler Card doesn’t offer any status just for having a card, it does offer IHG Rewards Club Gold status when you spend $10,000 on the card in a calendar year.
Since there are better cards for everyday spending, and since IHG Rewards Club Gold status isn’t that valuable, personally that’s not a spending threshold I would put much effort into. IHG Gold status comes with very basic benefits, like bonus points, preferred rooms, and more.
Why You Shouldn’t Apply For The IHG Traveler Card
For a no annual fee card, the IHG Traveler Card is quite solid — it has an excellent bonus, no foreign transaction fees, and even has useful perks, like a fourth night free on award redemptions.
- The card has an $89 annual fee (well worth it)
- The card has a 140,000 point bonus, rather than a 60,000 point bonus
- The card offers incremental perks in the long run that make it worthwhile, including:
- IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you have the card, with no spending requirement
- A free night certificate on your account anniversary every year valid at a property costing up to 40,000 points, which personally in and of itself more than justifies the annual fee for me
I think many will find that they get more value with this card than the IHG Traveler Card, but if you don’t, there’s good news:
- After a year you could downgrade the IHG Premier Card to the IHG Traveler Card, so you could still get the no annual fee card long term
- However, I think many will find the IHG Premier Card worthwhile after getting it, and may not want to downgrade
I love the IHG Premier Card’s anniversary free night certificate benefit
The IHG Traveler Card has no annual fee and 60,000 bonus points as a sign-up bonus, plus valuable perks like a fourth night free. This isn’t a card I would put much spending on, though, as there are more rewarding cards for everyday spending.
Personally, I think the better play is to apply for the IHG Premier Card for the better bonus and far superior perks. If you like the card you can keep it for years, while if you don’t you can always downgrade it to the IHG Traveler Card.