In this post, I wanted to take a look at the IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card, which is a no annual fee hotel credit card that offers some valuable perks. IHG’s credit card portfolio has undergone a refresh, and on top of that IHG’s loyalty program overall has seen some significant improvements. As a result, this card could be worth another look.
IHG Traveler Card Details For September 2022
For those wanting a no annual fee hotel rewards card, the IHG Traveler Card is one of the best options out there. The card has an excellent welcome 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.
Welcome Bonus Of 80,000 IHG Points
The IHG Traveler Card is offering a welcome bonus of 80,000 IHG points after spending $2,000 within three months:
- I value IHG points at 0.5 cents each, so to me the bonus is worth $400, which is excellent for a no annual fee card
- You aren’t eligible for the IHG Traveler Card if you currently have a personal IHG credit card, or have received a new cardmember bonus on a personal IHG credit card in the past 24 months; however, you are eligible if you have the IHG® Rewards Premier Business Credit Card (review)
- The IHG Traveler Card is issued by Chase, so standard credit card application rules apply, including the Chase 5/24 rule
Earn Up To 5x IHG Points Per Dollar Spent
The IHG Traveler Card has a new & improved rewards structure, with better bonus categories. The card earns the following (and again, I value IHG points at 0.5 cents each):
- 5x IHG points for spending at IHG hotels, which I value at a 2.5% return
- 3x IHG points for spending on dining, gas stations, utilities, cable, internet, phone, cell, and select streaming services
- 2x IHG points for spending in all other categories
The rewards structure of this card is much more lucrative than it used to be, especially for a no annual fee card.
Fourth Night Free On IHG 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® Rewards Premier Credit Card.
Receive IHG Silver Elite Status
The IHG Traveler Card offers Silver Elite status for as long as you’re a cardmember. This status ordinarily requires 10 elite nights in a year, and offers perks like a 20% points bonus. While this status isn’t going to be life changing, it’s better than nothing.
IHG Gold Elite status with spending
The IHG Traveler Card offers Gold Elite status when you spend $20,000 on the card in a calendar year. Gold Elite ordinarily requires 20 elite nights in a year, and offers perks like a 40% points bonus. It’s probably not worth spending that much on the card purely for that status, though, since the benefits are fairly limited.
Should You Apply For The IHG Traveler Card?
For a no annual fee card, the IHG Traveler Card is quite solid — it has an excellent welcome bonus, no foreign transaction fees, and even has useful perks, like a fourth night free on award redemptions.
- The card has a $99 annual fee, which is obviously higher than $0, but still reasonable
- The card has a welcome bonus of 140,000 IHG points + 1 free night upon completing minimum spending, so that’s significantly better
- The card offers incremental perks in the long run that make it worthwhile, including IHG Platinum status for as long as you have the card (with no spending requirement), a free night certificate on your account anniversary every year, up to $50 in United TravelBank Cash every year, and much more
I’m by no means an IHG loyalist, but this card more than pays for itself year after year, as I consistently redeem the free night certificate at properties costing $250+ per night.
I think many will find that they get more value with the IHG Premier 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, if you don’t want to pay the $99 annual fee
- However, I think many will find the IHG Premier Card worthwhile after getting it, and may not want to downgrade
The no annual fee IHG Traveler Card offers an excellent welcome bonus of 80,000 points, plus valuable perks, like a fourth night free and IHG Silver status. 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 move 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.