The IHG Rewards Club Premium Credit Card is one of our favourite hotel rewards cards. It is ideally suited to those who will spend at least £10,000 a year on their cards, because this level of spend triggers a free night voucher. As this voucher can be used at any hotel, you can enjoy a free night in a luxury hotel every year. Rewards rates on general spending around 1% are competitive; those staying at IHG properties throughout the year will earn 2% on that spend. With over 5,000 hotels in the portfolio, including the luxury InterContinental hotels, you shouldn't have trouble using your points.
Those who may not use the free night voucher each year may prefer earning over 1% on general spending with the Platinum Cashback Credit Card by American Express.
IHG Rewards Club Premium Credit Card Review
The IHG Rewards Club Premium Credit Card is a very attractive hotel rewards card, offering solid rewards rates around 1% on general spending and 2% when you book stays at IHG properties. A 20,000 point welcome bonus worth roughly £100 and a free night stay in every year you spend at least £10,000 on the card mean the IHG Rewards card can create significant short-term and long-term value, as you can see in the following chart comparing the best hotel rewards cards (IHG in orange).
The IHG free night voucher, which cardholders can earn in any year they spend at least £10,000, is arguably more valuable than the SPG free night voucher. While the SPG voucher is limited to hotels falling in categories 1 - 4, the IHG free night voucher can be redeemed at any hotel. It's only good for a standard room, but you could indulge in a free night at InterContinental Park Lane in London or InterContinental Le Grand in Paris for a quick getaway or perhaps use the voucher to pay for one night of a longer holiday, at the Moorea Resort and Spa in French Polynesia, for instance.
We only recommend applying for this card if you will use it for at least £10,000 of purchases a year. This level of spend will cover your annual fee and will trigger the free night voucher. Those who will spend less should consider a free card, like the Hilton HHonors Credit Card. While you can convert your IHG points to air miles on dozens of airlines, this is generally a poor use of points. You are likely to achieve a value of 0.2 pence per point when used for flights, much less than the 0.4 - 0.6 pence per point you can achieve when redeemed for IHG stays.
Interestingly, the card treats non-sterling spend as a bonus category, but that doesn't mean the card should be used as a travel card. While you'll earn 4 points per £1 spent abroad, all foreign transactions are subject to a standard 2.99% foreign currency conversion fee. A bit of give and take here. Given a value of 0.5 pence per IHG Rewards point, you'll earn rewards of 2% on your foreign transactions but incur a fee costing 2.99%, leaving you out of pocket by 0.99% on all non-sterling spend. You may be better off using this card abroad than using a card which doesn't pay any extra rewards on foreign spending; however if you anticipate spending a significant amount abroad you may want to consider a card that charges No Foreign Transaction Fees on your non-sterling purchases.
While you'll earn 4 points per £1 spent abroad, all foreign transactions are subject to a standard 2.99% foreign currency conversion fee. A bit of give and take here. Given a value of 0.5 pence per IHG Rewards point, you'll earn rewards of 2% on your foreign transactions but incur a fee costing 2.99%, still leaving you out of pocket by 0.99% on all non-sterling spend. For more information on spending abroad, see our article on No Foreign Transaction Fees.
Bottom Line: The IHG Rewards Club Premium Credit Card is a solid credit card for earning hotel rewards, ideal for those who will use the card for more than £10,000 of purchases a year. The free night voucher you can earn each year is particularly attractive.
IHG Rewards Club Premium Credit Card Features
The IHG Rewards Club Premium card is all about earning points that you can redeem for hotel stays or flights, retail vouchers, or car rentals. For every £1 you spend on the IHG Rewards Club card at IHG properties, you'll earn 4 points. You'll also earn 4 points per £1 spent abroad (these rewards somewhat offset the 2.99% foreign transaction fee you will pay for using your card abroad). Every £1 spent elsewhere earns you earn 2 points. Given our estimated value of an IHG point to be 0.5 pence, you could see ongoing rewards rates of 2% on IHG and foreign spend and 1% elsewhere. This, of course, depends on how you redeem your points.
|IHG Rewards Club Premium Credit Card Features|
|Automatic upgrade||to Platinum Elite status|
|Annual Bonus||Earn a free night voucher (each year you spend £10,000)|
|Welcome bonus||Earn 20,000 bonus points (spend £200 in the first 3 months)|
|Eligibility checker||To see your odds of being accepted before you apply|
|APR (variable)||19.9% on purchases|
IHG Rewards Club Points
The IHG Rewards Club Premium card is all about earning points that you can redeem for hotel stays or flights, retail vouchers, or car rentals. If you'd rather use your IHG Rewards points to fly, they can be exchanged for seats on dozens of airlines. The mileage redemption rate varies by airlines. Here is a list of some of the more popular airlines that fly out of the UK, all of which convert IHG Rewards points to miles at a rate of 10,000 points to 2,000 miles (5:1):
Popular Air Partners in the UK
- Air France
- British Airways
- South African Airways
- TAP Air Portugal
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Qantas Airlines
Hotels in the IHG Portfolio
The IHG portfolio encompasses 12 brands with over 5,000 properties in more than 100 countries, spread around the globe. Properties range from no-frills airport hotels to ultra luxury city and resort properties. Here is a list of the IHG brands:
- hotel Indigo
- Even Hotels
- Crowne Plaza
- Holiday Inn
- Holiday Inn Express
- Holiday Inn Club Vacations
- Holiday Inn Resort
- Staybridge Suites
- Candlewood Suites
IHG Rewards Club Premium Card Compared to Other Credit Cards
To better understand the value of the IHG Rewards Club Premium Credit Card you need to see it relative to other available options. We’ve compared this card to other cash back and rewards cards so you can decide which will create more value for you given your individual needs and spending habits.
IHG Rewards Club Premium vs Starwood Preferred Guest
The Starwood Preferred Guest is a contender for best hotel rewards card. Solid rewards rates around 1.4% on general spending and 2.8% on SPG and Marriott Rewards hotel bookings, plus a generous welcome bonus worth over £100 and the chance to earn a free night stay every year can create a significant amount of value. However, there are two reasons that the free night is not as attractive as it could be. First, the level of spend required in order to earn the free night is quite high at £25,000. Second, the free night voucher can only be redeemed at hotels in categories 1 through 4. You cannot redeem your voucher in the more luxury hotels in categories 5 or 6.
Quick Takeaway: With a slightly higher rewards rate on general spending and a lower annual fee, the SPG card can create more value on your spending. However, we find the free night voucher on the IHG card more attractive - it takes less spend to earn it and it can be redeemed at any category of IHG property, enabling you to get a bit more luxury in your life. Choosing between the two cards will depend on what you find more important, and your anticipated level of spend.
IHG Rewards Club Premium vs Hilton HHonors
The Hilton HHonors is a great card for those who want a free, supplemental card on which to earn some hotel rewards. There are no annual bonuses and lower rewards on your spending, so this card won't create as much value for the average UK consumer. However, those looking for a hotel rewards card that requires less commitment can still earn 1% on all of their purchases.
Quick Takeaway: The Hilton HHonors card is a great low-risk card for earning some hotel rewards. Those who will spend more than £10,000 a year are better off with the IHG card, as they'll earn a free night voucher each year in addition to earning points on their spending.
IHG Rewards Club Premium vs Platinum Cashback by American Express
The Platinum Cashback Credit Card by American Express is one of our favourite cashback rewards cards for those seeking an easy and flexible rewards program. Cardholders earn an ongoing rewards rate between 1% and 1.25% on all purchases (with a higher initial cashback rate of 5%). The £25 annual fee is relatively low and annual rewards are not capped. You must spend at least £3,000 on your card a year in order to receive any cashback. Rewards appear at statement credits once a year.
Quick Takeaway: Rewards on these cards are likely to be quite similar, averaging just over 1%. In deciding between these two cards, consider if you prefer the ease of a cashback card; or do you enjoy managing a points rewards program, with the opportunity to find great hotel deals and enjoy free hotel stays in, potentially, quite nice hotels!