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I do my best to give general advice on credit cards while still noting that different cards work best for different people. For example, while I have the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ and think it’s a phenomenal card, it’s not the ideal card if you don’t spend a lot on credit cards, and in particular if you don’t spend a lot on dining and travel.
Similarly, the single credit card that gets me the most value every year is the Citi Prestige® Card, thanks to the fourth night free benefit that it offers. However, I know others who get zero value out of that benefit, either because they rarely stay in a single hotel for four nights, or because they typically redeem points for hotel stays.
So while my advice is typically that a certain card makes sense under certain circumstances, there’s one card which I think makes sense for almost everyone. I know long time readers probably already have this card, but I’m always surprised by how many people don’t, which is why I keep writing about it.
Specifically, I’m talking about the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card. The card has just a $49 annual fee, which is waived the first year, and offers several benefits that make it worth holding onto long term, including IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you have the card, as well as a 10% discount on redeemed points, for a total of up to 100,000 refunded points per year.
However, there’s one perk that makes this card most worthwhile — specifically, the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card offers an annual free night certificate on your account anniversary every year. So if you want to simplify the math further, you’re paying just $49 per year for a free night that’s valid at virtually all of IHG’s roughly 5,000 hotels around the world. These are hotels that retail for up to 70,000 points per night if you were to redeem points, so spending just $49 on an annual fee to get a free night annually is an insane deal.
A vast majority of properties retail for over $49 per night, and in the US you’d be hard pressed to find an IHG hotel that’s anywhere close to that amount. So you’d come out way ahead redeeming this certificate at a roadside Holiday Inn, and that doesn’t even account for the excellent InterContinental hotels you can redeem these at.
The past three years I’ve used my certificates for stays at InterContinental hotels in London, Hong Kong, and Geneva, and in each of those cases a night would have cost $300+ if paying cash, but I stayed for the equivalent of a $49 annual fee.
InterContinental Hong Kong, where I redeemed my certificate last year
In terms of applying for this card, the card isn’t subjected to the 5/24 rule, meaning you can get approved even if you’ve opened five or more new card accounts in the past 24 months. You also want to open this card as soon as possible, because the longer you wait, the longer until you get your first anniversary night certificate.
InterContinental Geneva, where I redeemed my certificate this year
When I give advice about which credit cards to get, there are almost always some people who say that a certain card wasn’t a good fit for them, which is fair enough. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard from a reader who wasn’t happy with the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card. With the number of people who read this site, that says a lot. Instead just about the only thing I hear about this card is that it’s “too good to be true”
So I’d actually love to pose this question to you guys — has anyone gotten the IHG Card and not found it to be worthwhile, and ended up canceling?