IHG has one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with benefits like an annual free night and a great sign-up bonus. Here's why it's worth the $89 annual fee

Kimpton Seafire Grand CaymanKimpton Seafire Resort & Spa

  • The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is currently offering an elevated sign-up bonus of 125,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months.
  • Even without considering this higher-than-average welcome offer, the card is worth considering. It offers a strong selection of benefits for a reasonable $89 annual fee.
  • You get an annual free night to use at hotels that cost up to 40,000 points, complimentary Platinum IHG status, and a Global Entry application fee credit.
  • Currently, you'll also earn 25x points on IHG purchases for the first 12 months, and 4x points on all other purchases for the first 12 months.

Chase recently increased the sign-up bonus on the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, along with adding a temporary boost to the card's earning rate. While the card's benefits have always been generous, the latest improvements are pretty significant.

If you're unfamiliar with the world of hotel credit cards and wondering whether this card is worth getting, you're in the right place. Below is a breakdown of the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card's features and who will benefit the most from having this card.

Read more: The best hotel credit cards

IHG Rewards Club Premier card details

Annual fee: $89

Sign-up bonus: 125,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months

Points earning: 25x points on IHG purchases for the first 12 months (then 10x), 4x points on all other purchases for the first 12 months (then 2x at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, and 1 point per dollar on everything else)

Foreign transaction fee: None

Sign-up bonus

Currently, you can earn 125,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

With this bonus, you can earn a minimum of one free night at a top-tier hotel and upwards of 25 free nights at a PointBreaks property. Any good hotel credit card sign-up bonus should offer a minimum of one free night at a top-tier hotel. The IHG Rewards Club Premier card delivers on that front and offers plenty of options for redeeming those rewards.

Redemption ideas

Whether it's an overwater villa in French Polynesia or a Candlewood Suites in the suburbs, there's a wide range of ways to get maximum value out off IHG points. Free nights range from 10,000 to 70,000 points. IHG also releases a monthly PointBreaks list, consisting of hotels that can be booked for as few as 5,000 points per night.

The 125,000-point sign-up bonus from the IHG Rewards Club Premier card could cover one to 25 free hotel nights. That doesn't even include the fourth night free benefit offered to cardholders.

Below are some examples of some of IHG's best hotels you might want to book with your points:

Category bonuses

The category bonuses on the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card have been significantly improved with the current sign-up offer. In addition to the usual earning rate, cardholders now qualify for bonus points during the 12 months of account opening:

  • 40 points total per dollar at IHG hotels for the first 12 months - that's 25x points at IHG Hotels and Resorts for the first 12 months from account opening as an IHG Rewards Club Premier cardholder, plus 10x points from IHG for being an IHG Rewards Club member and 5x points from IHG with Platinum elite status, which is a benefit of this card. After that, earn 10x points at IHG Hotels and Resorts
  • 4 points per dollar on all other purchases for the first 12 months
  • 4 points on all other purchases for the first 12 months from account opening - after that, 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

The 4 points per dollar on all spending during the first 12 months is pretty incredible. Considering that IHG charges 10,000 to 70,000 points for a free night, that translates to $2,500 to $15,000 worth of credit card spending. Under normal circumstances, you'd have to spend $10,000 to $70,000 to earn the same rewards, assuming you're not making use of the card's bonus categories.

The 4x points on all spending is really ideal for people who want to earn more rewards on their daily spending without thinking about which credit card to utilize at different merchants.

Travel perks

In exchange for its $89 annual fee, the IHG Rewards Club Premier card offers lots of impressive benefits. For starters, cardholders receive a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit of up to $100 every four years. This is a benefit that is usually included on credit cards with annual fees that are more than $450, like the Platinum Card® from American Express and Citi Prestige.

Cardholders also get a fourth night free on point stays of four or more nights. That translates to a 25% savings on four-night award stays. This can help stretch your sign-up bonus from the IHG Rewards Club Premier card even further.

Cardholders also get automatic IHG Platinum elite status. That's the second-highest tier within the IHG Rewards Club program and normally requires completing 40 nights. IHG Platinum members are eligible for room upgrades, 50% bonus earnings on paid bookings, two free Amazon Kindle ebooks per quarter, and a $30 in-room spa and Raid the Bar credits at participating hotels.

To keep cardholders loyal, the IHG Rewards Club Premier card issues a free night each year after your card anniversary. This free night can be used at any IHG hotel worldwide that costs up to 40,000 points per night, making it a terrific value in exchange for the $89 annual fee.

Finally, you can earn 10,000 bonus points after you spend $20,000 on purchases and make one additional purchase at least one day after you spend $20,000 each account anniversary year.

Who should get this card?

Whether or not you're loyal to IHG, the IHG Rewards Club Premier card offers tremendous value. It doesn't take much to get your money's worth out of the card. Aside from the generous sign-up bonus and 4x points on all non-IHG spending during the first 12 months, the recurring benefits make this card a keeper.

The annual free night alone is worth the $89 annual fee, and the fourth night free on award stays can help your points stretch further. Having IHG Platinum status is a nice bonus that can translate to valuable benefits and point earnings on paid stays.

Click here to learn more about the IHG Rewards Club Premier card from our partner The Points Guy.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

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