Why I Recommend the IHG Credit Card

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One of the reasons we are able to travel long-term and on a budget is utilizing travel credit cards, loyalty programs, and camping in our minivan. Recently, we stayed at the Holiday Inn and Suites in Clearwater Beach for only $20 a night.  And that’s only because we had to pay for parking. If we didn’t have a car, it would have been free because of our IHG credit card. 

In addition, we were upgraded to a 2-bed suite with a Gulf view and had an early check-in at noon. Plus, we received points back in our account after our stay which is another benefit of the credit card we use.

Here’s how you can do it too!

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Suite at Holiday Inn and Suites in Clearwater Beach. We stayed for only $20 a night because of our IHG credit card.
2 Bed Suite at Holiday Inn & Suites Clearwater Beach
 

Travel hacking can be complicated and difficult to follow so we stick with the straightforward programs. The IHG Rewards Club is one we like because it includes reasonably priced hotels to begin with and is easy to navigate and track our points. 

There are two IHG credit cards we each use: the IHG Premier Rewards Club Credit Card and the IHG Rewards Club Travel Credit Card.

IHG is the InterContinental Hotels Group and includes budget-friendly hotels such as Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, InterContinental, Staybridge Suites, and Candlewood Suites and luxury hotels like Hotel Indigo.

My husband and I each have both IHG credit cards, here’s why.

  • Sign-Up Bonus Points 
  • Free Anniversary Nights
  • Fourth Night Free on Reward Night Redemptions
  • No Annual Fee the First Year
  • Automatic IHG Rewards Club Platinum Status
  • Complimentary Room Upgrades
  • Extended Check-Outs

IHG® Premier Rewards Card – Annual Fee

SIGN UP HERE FOR 125,000 BONUS POINTS

The Premier card is the “higher-end” card that IHG offers. The annual fee is $89, but as I said above, it is waived the first year and comes with a free anniversary night up to 40,000 points which covers many hotels. 

The IHG credit card bonus offer changes throughout the year, but right now it’s 125,000 points which is a great offer.

Disclaimer: Some of the links included in this post are affiliate and/or referral links and will provide me with points or a commission at no additional cost to you.

125k Sign-Up Bonus Points

As long as you spend $3,000 on the card in the first month, you’ll earn the 125k bonus points. 

TIP: We usually open new credit cards when we have a big purchase coming up in the future whether it be Christmas gifts, property taxes, or a new appliance. 

IHG properties range from 10,000 to 70,000 points so the 125,000 points can give you 2- 12 free nights based on where you stay. The Clearwater Holiday Inn & Suites we just stayed at is 20,000 points per night so it would get you 7 free nights (with the 4th night free – explained below) right out the gate regarding bonus points only.

You’ll also earn points on the $3,000 spend which can add up to a lot of additional points depending on where you make your purchases. If you book at any IHG properties using your new credit card, you will earn 25 additional points per dollar. But only 2x for purchases at gas stations, groceries, stores, or restaurants. 

READ NEXT: BEST HOTEL LOYALTY PROGRAMS FOR FAMILIES

Gulf view from the Holiday Inn and Suites in Clearwater Beach. We stayed for only $20 a night because of our IHG credit card.
Holiday Inn & Suites in Clearwater Beach, Florida.

Annual Anniversary Reward Night

Every year you keep the Premier Rewards Card, you get a free reward night available on your card’s anniversary. The award certificate is good for one hotel night up to 40,000 points and can be used at any location. 

Since we both have this credit card, we stack our nights together each year so we can stay two nights in a row for free. 

4th Night Free

This is a fairly new perk of the IHG credit cards that we are super excited about. If you book 4 consecutive nights with points, you’ll get the 4th night free.

We just recently used this one in Lido Key, Florida where we booked 16 nights and received the 4th, 8th, 12th, and 16th nights free. 

Automatic Platinum Elite Status

IHG Platinum Elite status provides the possibility of

  • Free Room Upgrades when Available
  • Extended Check-Out
  • Priority Check In
  • Guaranteed Room Availability
  • Bonus Earnings on IHG Stays
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Welcome Amenity Points
  • Custom Stay Preference

Other Perks

There are other perks to this card, such as no foreign transaction fees and 25 additional IHG points per dollar when using the card to stay at IHG properties.

Because we are budget travelers, we really enjoy the IHG properties and the value the IHG credit card gives us. We have accumulated points over the years, and continue to use them frequently while we travel. 

LEARN HOW TO REDUCE HOTEL EXPENSES HERE

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card – No Annual Fee

SIGN UP HERE FOR 80,000 BONUS POINTS

If you don’t like the idea of paying an annual fee, there’s the Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card currently offering 80,000 sign-up bonus points.

Or do what we did and open both to get the bonus points. To qualify for the points on this card, you need to spend $2,000 in the first 3 months.

80k Sign-Up Bonus Points

As long as you spend $2,000 in the first month, you’ll earn 80k bonus points. 

IHG properties range from 10,000 to 70,000 points so the 80,000 points can give you 1 – 7 free nights (or 8 if you are utilizing the 4th-night free benefit)  based on where you stay.

Annual Anniversary Reward Night

Unfortunately, the IHG Rewards Club Traveler card no longer offers a free anniversary night. 

4th Night Free

But it does have the 4th-night free benefit and works the same as above. 

Automatic Gold Status

IHG Gold status provides the possibility of

  • Extended Checkout
  • Priority Check-in
  • Bonus Earnings on IHG Stays
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Welcome Amenity Points

NOTE: Complimentary upgrades are not offered with this card. 

Other Perks

There are other perks to this card, such as no foreign transaction fees and 15 additional IHG points per dollar when using the card to stay at IHG properties.

A Word of Caution Concerning Credit Cards

We only recommend opening credit cards as a travel hack if you are in good financial standing and plan to pay off the credit cards monthly.

Please keep in mind that you have to rack up a large balance to get the points required for the free hotel stays. These are expenses that we would have had whether we paid by cash or credit card, which is why we consider these perks to be free.

We do not change our spending habits to meet the qualifying spend on points of any kind. We also pay our credit card balance in full each month, as the cost of interest would negate any benefit the points provide. Please keep this in mind when considering whether any of these credit card strategies could be a good fit for you.

Which loyalty programs or hotel credit cards do you use? Would you recommend the IHG Credit Card? Share with us below. 

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