Credit Card Review: IHG Rewards Club Premium Credit Card UK

May 4, 2019

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IHG might not have as many aspirational luxury properties like those in the HiltonMarriott and Hyatt portfolios. But, there are still some respectable hotels at great prices that form part of the IHG family including Crowne Plaza, Indigo and Intercontinental.

The loyalty program has two cobranded credit cards for UK residents, the first of which being the no-fee IHG Rewards Club Credit Card. The second is the more premium IHG Rewards Club Premium Credit Card.

Who Is This Card For?

If you are a regular business traveller, you may find yourself staying at IHG properties quite a bit and may already be a member of its loyalty programme, IHG Rewards Club. If you would like to boost your balance with a basic Mastercard and don’t mind paying an annual fee, this card could be for you.

This card could also be especially valuable for those who have an American Express card but realize that Amex isn’t accepted at every retailer. Because this is a Mastercard, you’ll have an alternative in scenarios like that.

Sign-Up Bonus and Annual Fee

There is a sign-up bonus of 20,000 IHG Rewards Club points for meeting a very low minimum spend of £200 within three months of having the card. Keep in mind that Rewards Club points unfortunately aren’t the most valuable loyalty points. Based on TPG’s current points valuation the sign-up bonus is worth around £80.

As this is the premium version of the card, there is an annual fee of £99, which does somewhat outweigh the sign-up bonus. Though keep in mind that with the better earn rate than the no-fee version, you’ll be accumulating points quicker, which could help offset the remaining part of the annual fee.

Representative example: 41.5% variable APR with a purchase interest rate of 19.9% per annum with an assumed credit limit of £1,200.

You can earn and redeem IHG points at the Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi. (Photo by Crowne Plaza / IHG.)

Earning

This card is a Mastercard, which you’ll likely find is accepted at more places than American Express cards. You’ll earn:

  • 4 Rewards Club points for every £1 spent at any IHG hotels (room rates, hotel restaurants, ancillary charges, etc.).
  • 4 Rewards Club points for every £1 you spent in foreign currencies, although the value of this is negated by a 2.99% foreign transaction fee. So, don’t use this card abroad just to earn the points if you can help it.
  • 2 Rewards Club point for every £1 spent everywhere else.

This is a decent earn rate for a non-American Express card, remembering that IHG points are worth far less than, say, British Airways Avios.

You’ll also earn a free night at any one of the over 5,000 worldwide IHG properties each year when you spend £10,000 on the card which can be worth more than the cost of the annual fee.

Redeeming

You can use your Rewards Club points at IHG properties worldwide, including the spectacular Intercontinetal Bora Bora Thalasso (70,000 points per night), Crowne Plaza London – King’s Cross (40,000 points per night) or Holiday Inn Madrid – Piramides (25,000 points per night).

Note that IHG regularly discounts the price of certain hotels in the group during its ‘PointsBreaks’ promotions.

Perks

  • There’s 0% interest on balance transfers for 12 months but a 3% balance transfer fee to keep in mind.
  • You’ll receive Rewards Club Platinum status just for having the card, which includes the sought after subject to availability room upgrades, some basic benefits like 50% bonus points for hotel stays, priority check-in and extended checkout.
  • You can order a free supplementary card to provide to a partner or family member to help earn points faster.
(Photo by Brian Biros / The Points Guy)
The Intercontinental Bora Bora Thalasso. (Photo by Brian Biros / The Points Guy.)

Which Cards Compete With This Card?

If you are set on IHG Rewards Club, there is also the basic version of this card, which has no annual fee but a lower sign-up bonus and lower earning rates. If you are a lower spender and really want to avoid an annual fee, this might be a better option.

It’s important to remember that IHG points are one of the least valuable rewards currencies out there. So if you are looking for a no-annual-fee Mastercard, consider a card like the Virgin Atlantic Rewards Mastercard, which while it would appear that it has a lower earn rate of 0.75 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles per £1 spent, Flying Club miles are significantly more valuable than IHG points.

Bottom Line

IHG has plenty of good value, solid properties that may not make for ‘once in a lifetime’ travel experiences but still provide a comfortable night’s sleep for a sensible price. If you are already staying at IHG properties (perhaps because of business travel) and want to boost your Rewards Club balance with a decent earn rate and where American Express might not be accepted, you may wish to consider this card.

You can apply for this card here.

Featured photo by John Gribben / The Points Guy.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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