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IHG Premier credit card review: Earn an annual free night, get elite status and more

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IHG Premier credit card review: Earn an annual free night, get elite status and more

Jason StaufferIHG Premier credit card review: Earn an annual free night, get elite status and moreMillion Mile Secrets Team

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If you like the convenience of staying at a Holiday Inn Express, but want to the option to stay at luxury Intercontinental hotels, then the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is the right hotel credit card for you. Right now, it comes with 80,000 IHG points after meeting the minimum spending requirements.

Apply for the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card here.

The Chase IHG Premier also has solid perks beyond the intro bonus, like the card’s fourth award night free benefit, which we’ll talk about more in a bit. Let’s review this card so you can decide if it’s the best travel credit card for your situation.

Who is the IHG Credit Card for?

There are 5,500+ IHG hotels around the world, so there’s a good chance that there is an IHG hotel where you want to travel to next. You can use your IHG points to book free nights at these brands:

So with this card, you can earn IHG points that can be used just about anywhere in the world you might be headed. But this is a Chase credit card, which means it is subject to the Chase 5/24 rule and you won’t be approved if you’ve opened 5+ credit cards from any bank in the past 24 months (excluding most business credit cards). So you’ll want to balance your choice to apply for this card with the other rewards credit cards you might be limiting yourself from opening.

Current bonus

With the Chase IHG Premier, you can earn 80,000 bonus IHG points after spending $2,000 within the first three months of account opening. The card has an $89 annual fee that isn’t waived the first year.

Benefits and perks

In addition to the sign-up bonus, the card has a solid amount of perks. For example, every year that you renew the card you’ll get a free night certificate which is valid for any IHG hotel that costs 40,000 IHG points per night or less. You’ll even get Platinum IHG status as long as you have the card and a TSA PreCheck/Global Entry fee credit, worth up to $100.

The card also has a fourth night free perk, which applies to any points stay of 4+ nights. This is a discount not a rebate, so you don’t need to have enough points to pay for the 4th night before you book.

With the card you’ll earn IHG points at the following rates:

  • 10x points at IHG hotels
  • 2x points at restaurants, gas stations and grocery stores
  • 1 point on all other purchases.

To learn more about this card, check out our guide to the IHG credit card’s benefits and perks.

How to redeem IHG points

You can book any available award night through the IHG website. IHG advertises that there are no blackout dates on award nights, but in my personal experience this isn’t always the case.

IHG has announced plans to introduce variable pricing for award nights and since then the most expensive award nights have gone up to 100,000 points per night. However, right now only a few hotels are actually charging that much. Almost all locations cost 10,000-70,000 points.

You can also stretch your points by booking Points & Cash nights. But if you want to go this route, be sure to compare the cash price of the hotel to the Points & Cash rate to make sure you’re getting a good deal for your points.

Points & Cash rates can give you flexibility in how you redeem your IHG points, but they aren’t always the best deal.

You can also use IHG points for a variety of other rewards, like gift cards, digital downloads, or you can convert them into airline miles. But the value you can get from these other options is not good compared to booking a free night.

The unofficial IHG award chart starts at 10,000 IHG points for a free night at the lowest category hotels and up to 100,000 IHG points for a top-tier property. You could use the bonus to splurge on a free night at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa, which can easily cost $1,000+ per night, or you can get multiple free nights in France at the Holiday Inn Lyon-Vaise, which can cost $100+ a night during peak season. No matter what your travel style is, you can receive great value from this bonus.

Stay at the $1,000+ a night InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa for free with the bonus from the Chase IHG Premier Card. (Photo by William Cushman/Shutterstock)

Is the annual fee worth it?

For most people, the free night certificate alone is worth the card’s annual fee. Most of these hotel stays are worth more than the $89 annual fee, making it an easy choice to keep paying the annual fee and taking all the other card benefits as the cherry on top.

Don’t let the 40,000 IHG point limit bother you, because there are plenty of great IHG hotels that are within this limit. I stayed at the InterContinental Hotel Saigon, which is a 5-star hotel in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for free with an annual free night certificate (it normally costs 40,000 IHG points per night).

Also, just for keeping this card open you will earn automatic Platinum IHG status. There is no minimum spending to achieve this perk.

Insider tips

There is an ongoing IHG promotion know as the IHG PointBreaks list. This is a list of hotels (updated quarterly) that you can book for 5,000-15,000 IHG points per night, which is a significant discount. Even though the IHG PointBreaks promotion isn’t what is used to be when all of the hotels on the list were only 5,000 IHG points per night, it is still a great way to increase the value of your IHG points.

Also, you are not eligible for this card if you currently have it or you have earned the bonus on it in the past 24 months. But if you have the old Chase IHG Rewards Club Select card (no longer open to new applicants), you can still qualify for the Chase IHG Premier card because it is considered a different product. And both card’s come with a annual free night certificate valid at hotels costing up to 40,000 points per night.

Pairing the IHG credit card with other credit cards

If you don’t want to keep all your eggs in one basket you’ll want to earn points with other hotel chains, like Hilton, Marriott or Hyatt. Here are similar card options for earning points with those hotel chains.

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card is currently offering a welcome bonus of 125,000 Hilton Honors points after you spend $2,000 within the first three months of account opening. You also receive automatic Gold Hilton status just for keeping this card open and a free weekend night award after you spend $15,000 on the card in a calendar year. That’s not bad since the Hilton Surpass only has a $95 annual fee (see rates and fees).

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card comes with 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Just like the IHG Premier, you’ll receive a free night award (at participating hotels costing 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points or less) every year after your account anniversary. You’ll also receive automatic Silver Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status and could earn Gold Elite Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year. And the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card has a similar annual fee of $95.

Finally, with the World Of Hyatt Credit Card you could earn up to 50,000 bonus Hyatt points after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements, you’ll earn:

  • 25,000 bonus Hyatt points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from opening your account
  • Another 25,000 bonus Hyatt points after you spend an additional $3,000 on purchases within the first six months from opening your account

You’ll also get a free night at a Hyatt category 1-4 hotel each year and automatic Hyatt Discoverist Status. The Hyatt credit card has an $95 annual fee.

Bottom line

The current offer for the Chase IHG Premier card is a great opportunity to stock up on IHG points. Once you’re approved for the card, you can earn 80,000 IHG points after meeting minimum spending requirements. That’s more than enough points for a free night at an expensive resort. Or you could use those points to cover your hotel stay for a week or more of vacation at the cheapest IHG hotels.

The card has an $89 annual fee, but with perks like the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement, fourth award night free benefit and the annual free night certificate, it’s worth keeping year after year.

Apply here for the Chase IHG Premier credit card.

For more travel and credit card news, deals and analysis sign-up for our newsletter here.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Surpass Card, please click here.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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In the Terms document it says “Chase cardmembers who currently have or have had a Chase credit card in any Rewards Program associated with this offer, may not be eligible for a second Chase credit card in the same Rewards Program. ” But there are people who say they received the bonus for the new Premier card while still keeping their old $49 AF card. Can you clarify?

Are you able to Stack the new IHG Rewards card benefits with holders of the old IHG Rewards card. To be specific, if I get the New IHG Rewards Card and retain my existing card will I:

1. Get two free anniversary nights paying both the $49 annual fee on my existing card and then the $89 annual fee on the new IHG card? (I realize the free anniversary night on the new IHG card applies on the first year anniversary).

2. Receive a 10% reward rebate from the old card PLUS the fourth night free with the new IHG card. To clarify:

I redeem an award stay for three nights at 30,000 points per night for a total of 90000 points. At the end of the stay I receive a 9000 point rebate. Net cost 81,000 points.

I redeem an award stay on a different occasion at the same hotel for 4 nights. Total again is 90,000 points (fourth night free). Would I also receive a 10% rebate from my old card, bringing the net cost to 81,000 points?

Thanks for your reply.

Yes, I have received all those things and I have both cards! I did four nights not long ago, 45000 points (3×15000) – and then got 4500 as a rebate, bringing the total to just 40500 for the four nights.

Just be sure to put any hotel charges (restaurant, parking, dry cleaning) on the Premier card, since it gives 10 points per dollar instead of 5. Also, even though I don’t use the old card for hotel charges, I make sure to make some sort of small transaction on it every few months so Chase doesn’t decide it’s dormant and cancel it.

There’s an unaffiliated link that additionally offers a $50 statement credit.

Can I apply from Canada? I am Canadian

Hi Jeanette!

Do you have a credit score here in the US? If you do I would venture a guess and say you have a chance. Without a credit score it would be difficult, at best, to be approved for the credit card.

Can I still keep my old Chase IHG card with the better anniversary option if I open this card? Chase has offered to upgrade my old IHG card but I do not want to lose its benefits. Thanks.

Hi Philip,

Yes, you can! Here’s one of our news articles covering this question:

https://millionmilesecrets.com/news/eligible-for-ihg-premier-bonus-with-chase-ihg-card/

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