News update: The IHG Rewards Club Premium credit card has been taken off the market. The regular IHG Rewards Club Credit Card is still available. This card is free with no annual premium, but the rewards are lower than you could get on the Premium card. We've left our review of the Premium card up here for historical purposes.
The IHG Rewards Club Premium Credit Card is one of our favourite hotel rewards cards, but you need to spend a minimum amount of money on the card each year to make it worthwhile. Read our review to learn more.
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 estimated at 1% on general spending and 2% when you book stays at IHG properties.
There's potential to create both short-term and long-term value with this card. A 20,000 point welcome bonus valued at approximately £100 can be earned in the first year; and a free night stay can be earned in every year you spend at least £10,000 on the card.
Should I get the IHG Rewards Club Premium Card?
To make the £99 worth paying for, cardholders will need to spend at least £10,000 a year on their cards. Why? This level of spend triggers the free night voucher. This voucher can be used at over 5,000 IHG hotels so you can enjoy a free night in a luxury hotel every year by hitting this minimum spend level.
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 won't spend £10,000 a year on their cards or who won't take advantage of the free night voucher each year might be better off with the free IHG Rewards card or earning over 1% on general spending with the Platinum Cashback Credit Card by American Express.
IHG vs. SPG Free Night Vouchers
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. Why? The SPG voucher is limited to hotels falling in categories 1 - 4, while the IHG free night voucher can be redeemed at one of 5,000 IHG hotels.
The IHG voucher is 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.
Using IHG Points for Flights
While you can convert your IHG points to air miles on dozens of airlines, this is generally a poor use of points. In our research, we found that cardholders would achieve a lower value of 0.2 pence per point when booking flights, which is a lot less than the 0.4 - 0.6 pence per point you can achieve when redeeming points for IHG hotel stays.
Using the IHG card abroad
Interestingly, the IHG credit 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.
Assuming a value of 0.5 pence per IHG Rewards point, you'd earn 2% rewards 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 no-fx-fee travel-oriented credit card that charges no Foreign Transaction Fees on your non-sterling purchases.
Bottom Line: The IHG Rewards Club Premium Credit Card is a solid credit card for earning hotel rewards, particularly for consumers who will spend more than £10,000 on their card each a year—enough to trigger the free night voucher.
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 in a foreign currency overseas (however these are more than offset by 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 Rewards status|
|Annual Bonus||Earn a free Anniversary Night Voucher (each year you spend £10,000)|
|Welcome bonus||Earn 20,000 IHG Rewards Club points when you spend £200 in the first 3 months|
|Eligibility checker||To see your odds of being accepted before you apply|
|Representative APR (variable)||45.1%|
IHG Rewards Club Points
Points can be redeemed 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 general spending. However, the free night voucher on the IHG card is more attractive because it requires less spend to earn and can be redeemed at any category of IHG property
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 if you want to manage a points rewards program, with the opportunity to find great hotel deals and enjoy free hotel stays in, potentially, quite nice hotels!