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A little over a week ago, Chase introduced an increased sign-up bonus on the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card. This is a card I’ve had for years, and one that almost everyone in my family has signed up for as well. This is also one of the cards that I get the most positive comments on from readers.
If you don’t yet have this card, you really should consider it. Here are eight reasons why:
An 80K point sign-up bonus
The IHG Card is presently offering a sign-up bonus of 80,000 IHG Rewards Club points after spending $1,000 within the first three months. The previous bonus on this card was 60,000 points, so that bonus is ~33% better than usual. That’s a very nice increased bonus.
An additional 5K points for adding an authorized user
On top of the 80K point sign-up bonus, you can get a further 5,000 points if you add an authorized user within three months and have them make their first purchase. Those are easy points, especially since there’s no additional fee for adding an authorized user.
A $49 annual fee, which is waived the first year
Unlike most premium hotel credit cards, this card has the first year’s annual fee waived. On top of that, the card’s annual fee after that is just $49. That compares very favorably to the annual fees on other premium hotel cards, which are higher almost across the board.
As a point of comparison, Hilton and Hyatt’s co-branded credit cards have a $75 annual fee, Marriott’s co-branded credit card has an $85 annual fee, and Starwood’s co-branded credit card has a $95 annual fee, etc.
Personally I think there’s more value to the average consumer in holding onto the IHG Card than any of the other above cards.
The most valuable credit card annual free night certificate
The IHG Card offers an annual free night certificate on your account anniversary each year. Unlike some other credit card annual free night certificates, this one has no limit as to what category of hotel or what day of the week you can redeem.
Since the card has a $49 annual fee, that’s like paying that amount for a night at just about any IHG hotel in the world each year. I’ve consistently been able to use the certificate for hotels that would cost $300+ in cash per night, and that’s without any effort. You can easily redeem for even more expensive hotels than that.
This year I redeemed my annual free night certificate at the InterContinental Hong Kong
IHG Platinum for as long as you have the card
In addition to the annual free night certificate, you also receive IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you have the card. This is IHG’s mid-tier status, which comes in handy nicely for improving your IHG stays. This often isn’t going to be as useful as similar status with other programs, though I pretty consistently get upgrades at Crowne Plazas, Holiday Inns, etc.
Here’s the full listing of Platinum benefits:
10% off award redemptions
The IHG Card also offers 10% off award redemptions, for a total refund of up to 100,000 points per year. This applies to all redemptions for free nights, so can be a great way to get even more value out of IHG Rewards Club.
PointBreaks hotels usually cost 5,000 points per night, so if you have the card you’re really only paying 4,500 points per night.
Keep in mind that IHG also often has great promotions on the purchase of points, so having the card means you can get even more value out of such promotions, since you’ll receive a 10% refund when you redeem the points that you buy.
Not subjected to the Chase 5/24 rule
There are many Chase cards that you can’t be approved for if you’ve opened more than five accounts in the past 24 months. The IHG Card isn’t subjected to that, so you can be approved for the card even if you’ve opened more than five accounts in the past 24 months. That makes this one of the easier Chase cards to be approved for.
This card will help you build your credit long term
One of the important factors that contributes to your credit score is your average age of card accounts. You want to keep that number as high as possible, and one of the best ways to do that is to find some credit cads that you find are worth holding onto long term. I don’t think there’s a card that’s a better candidate for that than the IHG Card, since it offers among the most valuable and worthwhile ongoing benefits of any card.
This is a card I’ll be keeping for as long as they keep the current perks.
The IHG Card should be a no brainer for anyone who stays in a hotel at least once a year. Right now is a great time to sign up since the card has an increased bonus. However, most importantly, the longer you wait to sign up, the longer until you get your first anniversary free night certificate. That’s the biggest value to be had with this card.