No Annual Fee IHG Traveler Card Review (100K Bonus)

Filed Under: Chase, Credit Cards
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5x Points
at IHG Properties
2x Points
at Restaurants
2x Points
at Gas Stations
Annual Fee: $0

There are lots of reasons it can make sense to have hotel credit cards, including the ability to earn elite status, free nights, and more. However, not all hotel credit cards are created equal.

At the moment co-branded IHG credit cards are offering limited time bonuses. 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 October 2020

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 100K Points

For a limited time, the IHG Traveler Card is offering a sign-up bonus of 100,000 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 $500, which is excellent 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:

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.

However, for just about anyone I think the better strategy is to apply for the IHG Premier Card (review):

  • While the card has an $89 annual fee, it’s waived for the first 12 months
  • The card has a 140,000 point bonus, rather than a 100,000 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

Bottom line

The IHG Traveler Card has no annual fee and for a limited time is offering 100K 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.

If you want to learn more about the IHG Traveler Card or apply, follow this link.

Apply Now

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Comments
  1. Get premier then downgrade and not get traveler bonus too? Sure you save a pull but lose out on 100,000. Am I missing something?

  2. I have the original IHG card which was discontinued for the Traveler card. I also have the IHG Premier card. Can I get the new Traveler card since it is different than the original no fee IHG card?

  3. One thought, since there is no annual fee, spending $2k to get 20,000 airline miles makes getting this card a no-brainer.

  4. Tried to downgrade ihg premier to traveler but was told there was a 29 dollar fee. Looks like you can only get ihg traveler with no annual fee if you apply directly for the card.

  5. @ beachfan — You absolutely can! Could make sense, the only consideration is that there might be other better Chase cards to consider than the Traveler Card in terms of the bonus.

  6. @ andrew — It could absolutely make sense to get both. My point is that it’s about prioritizing applications, and there are so many great Chase cards with big bonuses.

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