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Updated October 14, 2015

IHG Credit Card Review: Worth $49?

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.
This article contains references to products from our partners. We receive compensation if you apply through links in our content. You help support CreditDonkey by reading our website and using our links. (read more)

If you travel, there's a good chance you've found yourself at one of IHG's 5,000 properties worldwide at some point. The IHG Rewards Club Select credit card's promise of big savings on hotel stays is tempting, but is it worth the $49 annual fee?

Overall Score

3.8

Rewards

4.0

Interest Rates

3.0

Fees

4.0

Benefits

4.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Introductory Offer
  • Annual Bonus Offer
  • Platinum Elite
  • $49 annual fee

Bottom Line

Good hotel credit card for frequent IHG travelers

What You Need to Know

How to earn rewards:

  • Spending at IHG properties will earn you 5 points per dollar.
  • Spending at grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations earns 2 points per dollar.
  • All other kinds of spending will get you 1 point per dollar.

Where you’re best off redeeming and earning points with this card: The more you spend at IHG properties, the more you earn. And the further your points will go when it comes time to redeem them. IHG properties include Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and InterContinental, among others. As is common with company-affiliated credit cards, reward accumulation is generous on spending at company-owned properties — and considerably more underwhelming on all other kinds of spending.

How to earn even more points: This card stands out for the fact that it will take 10% of the points you redeem every year (up to 100,000 points) and give them back to you. And Select cardholders in good standing are enrolled in the IHG loyalty program as Platinum Elite members.

Want Free Nights? Why This Card

© hixpaso (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

  • Introductory offer: New cardholders will earn 60,000 points if they spend $1,000 or more with the card within their first three months. Keep in mind, this offer is only valid for people who have not received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months.

  • Bonus points: And cardholders have the opportunity to earn bonus points just by redeeming their earned points: 10% of the points you redeem (up to 100,000 points each year) are credited back to your account, to be used again later. Redeeming for a 20,000-point stay at a hotel? 2,000 of those points will be given back to you.

  • Platinum Elite Status in IHG Club Program: Select cardholders are automatically granted Platinum Elite status, which provides expected perks like priority check-in.

  • Free night once a year: Cardholder status will entitle you to one free night in a standard IHG hotel room each year of card membership. This is a big deal since this card has an annual fee — depending on the hotel you choose, this perk alone could end up more than justifying that annual fee

Why You Might Look Elsewhere

  • Low rewards rate outside of hotel stays: If you’re using this card for anything other than booking IHG hotel stays, the reward rate is lacking. Spending at gas stations, restaurants, and grocery stores will earn you 2 points for each dollar you spend, while all other purchases will earn just 1 point per dollar. Since you need at least 10,000 points to start redeeming free hotel nights, that means you could end up having to spend $10,000 to earn a single free stay.

  • Annual fee: There’s a $49 annual fee attached to this card ($0 intro annual fee for the first year). This is very much toward the low end of the cost spectrum for most types of travel reward cards, but there are a number of other rewards credit cards on the market that charge no annual fee.

  • Lack of reward flexibility: The IHG portfolio of properties is impressive, giving you about 5,000 places to stay worldwide. But for those who want the flexibility of redeeming points for something other than hotel stays, or who don’t want to be locked in to one company’s network of hotel properties, know that this card doesn’t offer much in the way of flexibility.

How It Compares

IHG vs Starwood:

 

IHG Credit Card

Starwood Preferred Guest

Annual Fee$0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
 Terms Apply See Rates & Fees
Hotel DealIntroductory Bonus Hotel Rewards: Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account openingIntroductory Bonus Hotel Rewards: Earn 25,000 Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
Travel 
Airline Airline Rewards: Transfer Starpoints to more than 30 airline frequent flyer programs, mostly on a one-to-one basis.
Redeem Starpoints® for flights on more than 150 airlines with SPG flights, with no blackout dates.
Bonus Airline Rewards Bonus Airline Rewards: Get 5,000 bonus Starpoints after you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to a frequent flyer program with more than 30 airlines
Bonus Hotel RewardsBonus Hotel Rewards: Enjoy a Free Night after each account anniversary year at over 5,000 hotels worldwide 
HotelHotel Rewards: Earn 5 points per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotelHotel Rewards: Earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases spent at participating SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint for all other purchases.
Redeem Starpoints® at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts in over 100 countries, with no blackout dates.
Hotel StatusHotel Status: Platinum Elite status as long as you're a Select credit cardmemberHotel Status: Premium on-property Internet Access. Booking requirements apply.
Earn SPG Gold Status by spending $30,000 or more on your Card in a calendar year. Receive credit for 5 nights toward SPG elite status each year.
GasGas Rewards: Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations 
GroceryGrocery Rewards: Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at grocery stores 
RestaurantDining Rewards: Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at restaurants 
Airline Transfer Partners Airline Transfer Partners: Airline transfer partners include American Airlines, Delta, Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, British Airways, Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air France (Flying Blue), Emirates, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles), Virgin Atlantic, Avianca, Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, Etihad, Asiana Airlines, Air China, Alitalia, Air Berlin, Jet Airways, China Southern Airlines, Japan Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Thai Airways, Virgin Australia, Aegean Airlines, Miles and More, All Nippon Airways, China Eastern, and more.

IHG Credit Card: Pricing information including interest rates, benefits and fees was obtained on October 5, 2017 from published websites and is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Disclaimer: The information for the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Who It’s Best For

  • You want to use your everyday spending for a vacation: If you use this card diligently every time you dine, go to the gas pump and shop for groceries, you will constantly be building up a vacation fund without much mental effort. Such spending gives you 2 points per dollar. While you could earn more by using a combination of other rewards cards, some people understandably don’t want to think too much every time they need to use a credit card — they just want to save up for a trip.

  • You travel for business and want to save for a family vacation: If you use your own credit card for your business travel expenses, make the most of your work time away from home by accumulating points you can use for hotel stays during your yearly family excursion.

  • You prefer IHG properties when you travel: This card is meant for the loyal users of Holiday Inn, InterContinental, and the like. If you tend to stay at IHG properties when you travel, then you’ll want to get this card and save money for future stays.

Bottom Line

Anyone who frequents IHG hotel properties would probably find this card to be a nice addition to their wallet. In terms of total rewards, you could get a better rate for your everyday spending with another type of rewards card. But this card makes up for that with its generous point structure attached to spending at IHG properties — it won’t take much to accumulate enough points to start earning free hotel stays if you’re a regular traveler. This is especially true since you’re guaranteed one free night at an IHG hotel each account anniversary year, which in our opinion, can be worth more than the $49 annual fee.

Leah Norris is a research analyst at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Write to Leah Norris at leah@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped travelers make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Chase. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Chase.

Disclaimer: This content was first published on July 20, 2015. This content may have been updated on October 14, 2015. Information including APR, terms and benefits may vary, be out of date, or not applicable to you. Information is provided without warranty. Please check Chase website for updated information.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: The information for the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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Compare IHG Credit Card to:

Compare IHG Credit Card vs Starwood Preferred Guest
Apply for Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 25,000 Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases spent at participating SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint for all other purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
  • Redeem Starpoints® at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts in over 100 countries and for flights on more than 150 airlines with SPG flights, all with no blackout dates.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Planning a road trip? Rent your car, fill up your tank, book your hotel, and pay for it with your American Express® Card.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Introductory Bonus Hotel RewardsTravel RewardsAirline RewardsBonus Airline RewardsHotel RewardsNo Limits on RewardsCar Rental InsuranceExtended WarrantyPurchase Protection Return ProtectionTravel Accident Insurance$0 Fraud Liability
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
See Rates & FeesSee Rates & FeesSee Rates & Fees
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95

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CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy financial decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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