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I consider the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card to be the single most well rounded hotel credit card out there. The card has only a $49 annual fee (which is even waived the first year), and offers the following, in addition to the solid sign-up bonus:
- An anniversary free night certificate every year, which is valid at any IHG property worldwide, pending availability; given IHG’s global footprint, that should justify the card for just about anyone
- IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you have the card, which gets you bonus points, room upgrades, etc.
- A 10% rebate on points redemptions, for up to 100,000 points back each year
To me, the annual free night certificate is hugely valuable. It gets you a free night at any IHG hotel in the world, and best of all, you only have to book by the expiration date, though can stay on a subsequent date. This is the only hotel credit card that gives you a free night annually with no “caps” on the category of hotel you can redeem at.
Given IHG’s huge global footprint of hotels, I think just anyone can get outsized value from that. I recently used my annual free night certificate on the card at the InterContinental Hong Kong.
One way to really get more value out of the free night certificate is to have your significant other/friend/travel companion get the card as well. If you both get an annual free night certificate, then you can use the certificates for back-to-back stays, and I know two night stays are more useful to many than one night stays.
But there’s one simple detail of this certificate that confuses a lot of people. Reader Paul emailed to ask a question I get quite a bit about this card — do you get the IHG Card anniversary night certificate starting right away, or only after a year?
Since this is an anniversary free night certificate, you get your first certificate on your card’s first anniversary, so about 12 months after you initially open the card. Unlike many other hotel cards, this one has the first year’s annual fee waived, so you’ll get it around the same time that you pay your first annual fee on the card. That’s one of the reasons you’ll want to apply for this card as soon as you can, so you can start the clock towards when you can start taking advantage of this awesome benefit.
Keep in mind that the IHG Card isn’t subjected to Chase’s 5/24 rule, so you’re eligible for the bonus on this card even if you’ve opened more than five accounts in the past 24 months.
If you don’t yet have the IHG Card, it really is the most well rounded hotel credit card out there, in my opinion.