Credit Card Review: IHG Rewards Club Credit Card UK

May 3, 2019

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IHG might not have as many aspirational luxury properties like those in the Hilton, Marriott 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 IHG Rewards Club 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, 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

As a basic card, there is no annual fee for the IHG Rewards Club Credit Card. Fortunately, there is still a sign-up bonus of 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points for meeting a low minimum spend of £200 within three months of having the card.

Now, remember that IHG Rewards Club points unfortunately aren’t the most valuable loyalty points. Based on TPG UK‘s current points valuation the sign-up bonus is only worth around £40. But remember, there’s no annual fee.

Representative example: 18.9% variable APR with a purchase interest rate of 18.9% per annum with an assumed credit limit of £1,200.

The Intercontinental Shanghai Ruijin. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy.)

Earning

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

  • 2 Rewards Club points for every £1 spent at any IHG hotels (room rates, hotel restaurants, ancillary charges, etc.).
  • 2 Rewards Club points for every £1 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.
  • 1 Rewards Club point for every £1 spent everywhere else.

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

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 Gold status just for having the card, which includes some basic benefits like 10% bonus points for hotel stays, priority check-in, extended checkout and a dedicated customer service line.
  • You can order a free supplementary card to provide to a partner or family member to help earn points faster.
(Photo courtesy of Holiday Inn Resort Aruba - Beach Resort & Casino)
Earn and redeem IHG points at the Holiday Inn Aruba. (Photo courtesy of Holiday Inn Resort Aruba – Beach Resort & Casino.)

Which Cards Compete With This Card?

If you are set on IHG Rewards Club, there is a premium Mastercard version of this card which has an annual fee but a higher sign-up bonus and earning rates. If you are a higher spender, that would 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 without an annual fee 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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