No annual fee: A review of the IHG Rewards Club Credit Card
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The IHG Rewards programme has some very respectable hotels at great prices that form part of the IHG family, including Crowne Plaza, Indigo and InterContinental.
The loyalty programme has two cobranded credit cards for U.K. residents, the first of which being the IHG Rewards Club Credit Card.
Who is this card for?
If you are a regular traveller looking for good-value properties without some of the bells and whistles of luxury brands, 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 points-earning Mastercard, this card could be for you.
This card could also be especially valuable for those who have an American Express card but realise 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 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 aren’t the most valuable loyalty points. Based on TPG U.K.‘s current points valuations the sign-up bonus is only worth around £40. But remember, there’s no annual fee, so you’re still coming out well in front.
Representative example: 18.9% variable APR with a purchase interest rate of 18.9% per annum with an assumed credit limit of £1,200.
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; and
- 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 British Airways Avios, for example.
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.
- 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.
Which cards compete with this card?
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 Points per £1 spent, Virgin Points are significantly more valuable than IHG points.
If you’re keen on a hotel cobranded credit card, consider the Marriott Bonvoy Credit Card from American Express. It does have an annual fee but has a much higher welcome bonus, perks like elite status and more aspirational properties to redeem your points for.
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.
Given there’s no annual fee on this card and Gold elite status in the IHG Rewards programme, it could be worth holding and keeping this card each year just for that benefit.
Featured photo by John Gribben / The Points Guy.
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