By Marcy Bialeschki


5 Min. To Read

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When shopping for a great travel credit card, different people look for various features and perks. But everyone can agree, a great travel card must offer an impressive rewards program and some travel protection. The IHG Rewards Club Premier card hits the mark on both accounts. Let's take a look and see if this card can make a splash in the very overcrowded travel card pool.

Let’s face it, if a travel card does not offer ample rewards for more travel in the future, you should keep looking. Not the case with the IHG Rewards Club Premier card. Any credit card with the word rewards in the name should have the rewards program as its main feature. The IHG Rewards card does not disappoint.

New cardmembers will receive 125,000 bonus points after spending $3000 on the card in the first three months. Plus, you can earn 10,000 more bonus points after spending a total of $20,000 on purchases and making one additional purchase each account anniversary year. Now that's a lot of bonus points!

Of course, IHG will also shell out extra points for staying at one of their hotels or resorts. So, if you book with IHG, you'll earn an additional 25x the points per dollar. Here's the breakdown:

10x the points for being an IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card member

10x the points for being an IHG Rewards Club member

5x the points for being a Platinum Elite status member

Platinum Elite Status

Platinum Elite Status is an automatic upgrade when you receive your card membership. As long as your account remains in good standing, you’ll keep this status. What can this upgrade do for you?

Save 20% on purchased points

Receive a free anniversary rewards night at any eligible IHG hotel

Earn a reward night when you redeem points for a 4+ night stay

Regular purchase power points

You don't have to use your card on travel expenses to earn points. Using your IHG Rewards card on everyday purchases is a great way to maximize your point-earning power. However, you'll find these rewards to be quite modest comparatively. Nonetheless, you'll receive 2x the points at gas stations and grocery stores and 1x the points on all other purchases.

Travel perks

No doubt about it. The IHG Rewards Club Premier card is designed for travel. Therefore, it has some pretty comprehensive travel perks and protections, starting with no foreign transaction fee, which is always a must for a great travel card. The IHG Rewards Club Premier card also pays up to $100 every four years as reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check fees. Travel protection for this card is also more than adequate. Take a look at the list of amenities below.

Travel Protection

Luggage insurance: Receive up to $3000 in coverage per person for lost, stolen, or damaged carry-on and checked luggage.

Baggage delay: If your baggage is delayed for more than six hours, you are entitled to $100 per day for toiletries and clothing for up to three days.

Trip cancellation / interruption insurance : If your trip is canceled or interrupted due to sickness, severe weather, or other unforeseen circumstances, you can be reimbursed up to $5000 for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses such as tours, airfare, and hotels.

Purchase protection: Protect your new purchases for 120 days against theft and damage up to $500 per claim, up to $50,000 per account.

Quick look

$89 annual fee

15.99% - 22.99% variable purchase APR

Requires excellent credit

No foreign transaction fee

Cash advance APR = 24.99% variable

Cash advance fee = $10 or 5% (whichever is greater)

The limitations and competition

Of course, the IHG Rewards card has some limitations. First of all, you must be a regular patron of IHG properties such as Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza. Otherwise, you cannot earn maximum rewards.

Another limitation is these rewards can expire after twelve straight months of no account activity. What’s more, you will lose your Platinum Elite Status if your account does not remain in good standing.

The competition includes the Hilton Honors American Express card which has no annual fee. People who prefer Hilton properties can enjoy comparable travel amenities and purchase APR. The rewards are not quite so impressive for travel purchases, yet they are still quite generous at 7x the points on Hilton purchases. The main difference between the two cards is the Hilton card offers much better everyday purchase rewards with 5x the points on gas, groceries, and dining, and 3x the points on all other purchases.

The competition also includes the Discover It Miles card, which has no annual fee and a lower purchase APR. The Discover It Miles card also has no blackout dates, and you can redeem miles for cash anytime. Of course, the difference between this card and the other two is it is not attached to a specific hotel chain. This fact can open options for people who do not have a hotel preference.

The main downfall with the two competition cards is they both have a lower acceptance rate, especially abroad. These are all factors to consider when choosing your perfect travel rewards card.

The rewards attached to the IHG Rewards Club Premier card are quite impressive when purchasing rooms at IHG properties. However, the everyday rewards are just so-so. True, the sign-on bonus of 125,000 points after spending $3000 in the first three months is among the best in the market. But this bonus does not come with a 0% purchase APR for an introductory period. Basically, this is a good card for people who stay at IHG properties frequently. However, people who need a more diverse travel card should check out the competition.

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