The Chase IHG Premier Card is an underrated hotel credit card. It offers a plethora of benefits that could make stays even better. Some of these include the potential to earn multiple free nights every year, Platinum Status, and even a Global Entry / Pre-TSA credit. But these benefits are countered by an $89 annual fee (NOT waived the first year).
The IHG Premier Card is great for professionals on to go who don’t want to stay at more lavish hotels. It’s also nice for families and travelers on a budget or those who value airfare over hotel stays.
The IHG Premier Card earns 10x IHG points per dollar spent on IHG hotel purchases. It also earns 2x points per dollar on gas, groceries, and dining; as well as one point per dollar on all other purchases. This earning structure makes the Premier Card one of the best for IHG purchases. But there are better options out there for the 2x categories.
Plus, Chase and IHG are currently offering a sign-up bonus worth 140,000 IHG points. This bonus can be earned by spending $3,000 within the first three months. 140,000 points is the biggest sign-up bonus ever offered for this card. Therefore, signing up might be worth the annual fee for the bonus alone.
The easiest way to use IHG points is for free hotel nights. Points can be redeemed at the following IHG properties:
- avid Hotels
- Candlewood Suites
- Crowne Plaza
- EVEN Hotels
- Holiday Inn (including Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Holiday Inn Express, and Holiday Inn Resorts)
- Hotel Indigo
- InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
- Staybridge Suites
Points & Cash
If you want to stretch the value of your points, this is an alternative to straight hotel redemptions. Your mileage may vary here, but sometimes the cash and points combo is a better deal than only the points.
Other options for redemption include gift cards, digital downloads, or transferring to airline miles. None of these options compare favorably to the hotel redemptions or points & cash options.
The Chase IHG Premier Card has some excellent benefits that will justify the annual fee. Free nights and Platinum Status are the highlights from this mid-tier card.
You will receive one free anniversary night each year you renew your card. This free night is limited to rooms costing 40,000 points or less. Fortunately, rooms costing more than 40,000 points are at luxury hotels. This means that most rooms are eligible for using the free night.
And if you book a room for at least four nights, you get your fourth night free. The catch is that you must use points to pay. You won’t get the fourth night free benefit if you use cash or your IHG Card.
Free nights like these can help justify the annual fee, making this card a potential long-term keeper.
Platinum Elite Status & 20% Points Discount
You also can earn IHG’s second-highest status just by holding the card. Platinum Elite Status gives you a 20% discount when purchasing points with your IHG card. Platinum Status also offers complimentary room upgrades, priority check-in, and late check out.
Global Entry / Pre-TSA Credit
This benefit is normally given with more premium credit cards. But the IHG Premier is a rare mid-tier card that offers these credits. The credits give you a $100 Global Entry / $85 Pre-TSA membership fee credit. Membership to either service renews every 4 or 5 years.
I suggest going for the Global Entry membership because it includes Pre-TSA membership.
No Foreign Exchange Fees
You will save 3% on all purchases made outside the United States with the card.
Trip Cancellation / Trip Interruption Insurance
This benefit gives you up to $10,000 per trip for non-refundable expenses if you need to cancel your trip because of an unexpected event. Plane tickets, hotel rooms, and tours are included.
Trip Delay Insurance
This benefit covers you up to $500 per ticket if your plane, train, or other common carrier is delayed at least 12 hours. It also kicks in if you require an overnight stay as a result of a delay. The $500 helps cover expenses that were not reimbursed, such as meals and lodging.
Baggage Delay Insurance
This benefit gives you $100 per day up to 5 days if your luggage is lost or delayed. If your luggage is delayed for more than 6 hours, you can redeem for toiletries, clothing, and other essentials.
Cell Phone Protection
Cell Phone Protection covers cardholders for up to $600 per claim and up to $1,000 per year against theft or damage to your cell phone. It is also the newest perk added to this card.
What if the IHG Premier Card is not for you? Here are some alternatives that might suit your needs:
Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a better option for those who want to earn transferrable points. In fact, IHG is one of Chase’s transfer partners. That means this card (and the whole Chase “ecosystem”) can be a nice substitute for the IHG Card.
Chase’s mid-tier travel card earns 2x Ultimate Rewards (UR) points per dollar spent on general travel and dining purchases. It also earns one point per dollar spent on everything else. This card also has a slightly higher annual fee at $95.
Plus, Chase is offering a sign-up bonus worth 60,000 UR points for the Sapphire Preferred. It can be earned by spending $4,000 within the first three months. This is one of Chase’s better sign-up bonuses.
American Express Hilton Surpass
The Amex Hilton Honors Surpass is a great alternative for Hilton hotel lovers. It also has a $95 annual fee (NOT waived the first year) and comes with more perks than the IHG Premier.
This mid-tier card from Hilton and American Express earns 12x Hilton HH points on Hilton purchases (not including the membership or Gold Status points bonuses). It also earns 6x points on Dining, Groceries, and Gas, and 3x points on everything else. This structure makes it a better overall earning card than the IHG Premier.
The Surpass Card also offers complimentary Hilton Gold Elite Status, which is more valuable than IHG Platinum Elite Status. You will receive an 80% points bonus for Hilton purchases including room rates and gift shop purchases. Plus, you will receive free breakfast and complimentary room upgrades (up to Executive Level rooms).
IHG loyalists would love the IHG Premier Card. The potential to earn multiple free nights is unlike many other hotel cards. Platinum Elite Status will also get you room upgrades and priority check-in and checkout. These benefits alone are enough for many people to keep this card long term.
Apply Today: Chase IHG Premier Card
How can you seriously say “This means that most rooms are eligible for using the free night” with a 40k award limitation on the free night? Not sure when the last time was that you checked the IHG categories but limiting the free night to a 40k award eliminates a large chunk of the overall hotel portfolio…that is unless you want to spend your free night at a HIX in Albany.
Thanks for reading PYCR. IHG does not use categories to determine how many points are required for a free night at any given hotel. There are a lot of IHG hotel rooms that can be stayed in for 40,000 points or less.
I have pasted IHG’s 2019 reward night requirements below: