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You know the saying: “if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”
One card that I’ve felt that way about for a while is the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card. The card has an annual fee of just $49, and that fee is waived the first year. That’s one of the lowest annual fees on any “premium” hotel credit card. While it’s not a card I put a lot of spend on, it’s one which I’ve found to be worth holding onto long term. I also think that for most people this is the best value hotel credit card, and that having this card is a no brainer.
What makes the IHG Card awesome?
There are three things that make this card especially compelling, in my opinion:
Get an annual free night at any IHG hotel
This perk is huge. Just for paying the $49 annual fee each year you get a free night certificate that you can use at any IHG property. This includes InterContinental hotels that ordinarily retail for over $500 per night. For example, earlier in the year I used this free night at the InterContinental London The O2, where the paid rate would have been almost $500 for the one night stay.
But even if you’re not going for an aspirational property, I think a vast majority of people can get more than $49 per year of value out of an annual free night.
Get a 10% refund on the points you redeem
You can receive a 10% refund when you redeem your points, for a total of up to 100,000 refunded points per year (that means it’s valid for up to a million redeemed points per year).
Keep in mind that IHG often also sells points at a very reasonable cost, which can be even more worthwhile if you’re getting a 10% refund when you redeem those points. That makes redemptions at some high end properties more worthwhile.
IHG Platinum status for as long as you have the card
You receive IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you have the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card. I’ll be the first to say that Platinum status isn’t that great, but it’ll often lead to a room upgrade, and you receive a 50% bonus on earned points.
For example, at the Crowne Plaza Doha I received an upgrade to a suite for being a Platinum member.
Signs that perks may be changing?
I have no inside knowledge here, though a friend just shared with me a survey he took regarding this card, which asked how he would feel if two benefits were changed:
- Requiring an annual spend of $5,000 in order to earn the free night certificate
- Requiring an annual spend of $20,000 to earn IHG Platinum status
Again, this was just a survey, so it’s clear they’re just testing things out at this point to see how people would respond. Personally I’d still consider it worthwhile to spend $5,000 per year on the card for a free night at any IHG property, while I wouldn’t spend $20,000 on the card per year for Platinum status, given the limited perks.
My point is that I think it’s inevitable that we’ll see the card stick around in its current form forever, as it really offers outsized value. It has a lower annual fee than most other premium hotel credit cards, while also offering an annual free night with no category or day-of-week restrictions.
The IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card really does offer outsized value. The annual free night alone more than justifies the card’s annual fee. It’s clear that they’re considering possibly tweaking the benefits of the card, which I can’t blame them for.
I absolutely think it’s worth signing up for this card under its current terms. If they do make any changes in the future, I imagine they’ll continue to honor the current perks for existing cardmembers for some amount of time, which is all the more reason to get the card sooner rather than later.
Also keep in mind that this card isn’t subjected to Chase’s “5/24 rule,” so you can generally get approved for it even if you’ve opened more than five new accounts in the past 24 months.