8 Reasons To Apply For The IHG Card

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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.

Bottom line

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.

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  1. Unfortunately, I’m already carrying this card. So there’s no way to get the signup bonus again this time around. I recently passed the 1 year mark and received the $49 annual night award (free night for the annual fee)

    But I wonder is it better to hold on to the card for the discounted night each year or to dump it, wait for the eligibility period to roll around (2 years is it?) to churn another lump of points? I’ve already received some sound advice pointing towards the later. But I would be curious to know what some of the folks here think?

    I’ve no singular loyalty to IHG and carry the Hilton Amex and Chase Hyatt (though I recently ran afoul of the 5/24 trying for the Chase Marriott). Should I be churning through all of these on a regular basis?

    Thanks for any and all advice 🙂

  2. My personal opinion of course, but too bad the deal is so good, because IHG sucks. Aside from Intercontinental, what hotel of theirs would you want to stay at, in a city you’d be in?

  3. With my luck as soon as I get it, they will raise annual fee, put restrictions on the annual free night, or both.

  4. I don’t know if it’s a fluke or not, but I was considering a few nights in Amsterdam around the new years, and the brand new Kimpton showed up as being available to book with the Chase free night benefit. If this trend continues, it would certainly add an additional chain to book with.

  5. Please advise if there is an IHG card similar to this for members in Canada. A few months ago Capital One cancelled the card that they offered. I was very disappointed as I loved to use this card to build my points.

  6. @Rami, according the the terms, you’d have to wait for 2 years before you could get another bonus. If I am reading this correctly, it seems that this is two years after you have received the bonus, rather than from the time you cancel your card.

    “This product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months.”

  7. “IHG sucks” My wife and I each have this card, and for the third year in a row we will be staying at the Intercontinental Hong Kong for 2 nights at a rate of $49 a night. Very nice hotel, gracious staff, wonderful location near both the metro and the ferry. While we don’t get upgraded all the way to harbor view, we do get a room that is huge even by US standards. And a total savings of $400 over the lowest available rate. What’s not to like….?

  8. Last I knew the IHG card was not governed by the 5/24 rule. I just applied and was told my application is pending. Has the 5/24 rule been expanded to this card?

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