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At the moment there are limited time increased sign-up bonuses on two popular hotel credit cards issued by Chase. These include the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card and IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card. I’ve received some questions from readers who want to apply for one of the two cards, but don’t know which one to apply for. So I figured I’d share my thoughts on which card has a better sign-up bonus and better perks.
Which card has a better sign-up bonus?
The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card has a sign-up bonus of 80,000 Marriott Rewards points after spending $3,000 within three months, plus an additional 7,500 bonus points when adding the first authorized user, after they make their first purchase within three months of account opening.
Personally I value Marriott Rewards points at ~0.8 cents each, meaning the 87,500 points are worth $700 to me. However, there’s an $85 annual fee (not waived the first year), so the sign-up bonus is worth $615 to me.
Meanwhile the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card offers a sign-up bonus where you can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. You also earn 5 points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG hotels.
I value IHG Rewards Club points at ~0.5 cents each, so to me those 60,000 points are worth ~$300. While the card’s annual fee is $49, it’s waived the first year.
So ultimately I think the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card has a better sign-up bonus than the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card. But that should only be one of the considerations in applying for a card.
Which card has a better annual free night benefit?
One of the things which makes both of these cards awesome is that they offer an annual free night on your account anniversary each year. This makes them cards which are worth holding onto long term, and not just for the sign-up bonus.
The IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card offers an annual free night certificate valid at any IHG hotel in the world. This is incredible, given that you can redeem the certificate for a hotel which would cost 60,000 points per night. It’s also amazing since this card has a low annual fee of just $49 per year.
For example, I just recently redeemed my free night certificate at the InterContinental The O2 London, which would have cost ~$500 for the one night stay.
The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card offers an annual free night certificate which is valid at Category 1-5 properties, which means you can’t use it at Categories 6-9 properties. This covers many mid-range properties, but excludes most of Marriott’s higher end hotels, and hotels in expensive cities. So I think it’s still well worth the $85 annual fee, but not as compelling in this regard as the IHG card.
So when it comes to annual free night certificates, the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card wins thanks to the lower annual fee and the ability to redeem at any IHG property, rather than just a certain category of property.
Other perks to consider?
There are a few other perks to consider. The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card offers 15 elite qualifying nights towards status annually, and you get a further elite qualifying night towards status for each $3,000 you spend on the card. That means you could earn Platinum status by spending $180,000 on the card (which I wouldn’t recommend doing).
Personally I wouldn’t be putting much spend on the card, so I’d look at that benefit as being mostly about the 15 elite qualifying nights per year you get just for having the card. If you’re a Marriott loyalist, or a Starwood loyalist who is a soon-to-be Marriott loyalist, this is something which is worth considering.
Meanwhile the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card offers a 10% refund on award redemptions, and they’ll refund you up to 100,000 points per year. That’s a good deal if you ever redeem IHG points. Furthermore, you get IHG Platinum status for as long as you have the card. Ultimately that doesn’t come with that many benefits, but is better than nothing.
For the average consumer, I think the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card is slightly more compelling than the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card. The Marriott card has a better sign-up bonus. However, long term the annual free night certificate valid at any property, plus the lower annual fee, makes the IHG card tough to beat.
The major exception is if you’re a Marriott (or Starwood/soon to be Marriott) loyalist, in which case the 15 elite qualifying nights towards status annually are worth factoring in.
Non-Affiliate Product Disclaimer: The information for the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card has been collected independently by One Mile At A Time. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.