IHG Card by Chase Review – Is it the Best Hotel Card on the Market?

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Chase IHG Credit Card Review

Chase IHG Credit Card Review

The IHG Credit Card offered by Chase earns points for one of the largest hotel groups in the world.  The InterContinental Hotel Group offers access to over 5,100 hotels and 766,000 rooms.  They have 10 different brands in their group including Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Candlewood Suites, InterContinental, and Kimpton Hotels and Resorts.

That is an impressive portfolio of hotels you would have access to, with this card, but is it one you should keep and use long term?

Current Sign Up Bonus Vs The Historical High

The current sign up offer is for 60,000 points after $1000 in spend, within the first 3 months.  There have been 100,000 point offers in the past, mostly targeted, and the offer hovers around 80,000 a lot of the time.  It is best to hold off until you can get at least an 80,000 point offer.

Chase also occasionally offers a $50 statement credit for signing up.  You can usually find this offer by making a dummy booking.

For more info on this card click here!

Bonus Restrictions

The IHG card by Chase does NOT fall under the dreaded 5/24 rule.  So you can get  approved no matter how many recent applications you have had.

It does have the standard 24 month bonus restriction language though:

“This product is available to you if you do not have this card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months.”

Chase IHG Credit Card Review

Earning Structure

The IHG credit card offers the following earning rates:

  • 5 points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG hotels.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Carmember Perks

The card comes with the following perks:

  • Anniversary Free Night – no restrictions!
  • 10% back in points on award redemptions up to 100,000 per year
  • As long as you are a cardmember you get Platinum Elite IHG status
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Bonus point/spending offers on your Accelerate promos

Fees

The $49 annual fee is waived the first year.

Sign Up Bonus Value – $360/$480/$600

The dollar volumes listed above are for a 60k/80k/100k sign up bonus.  The value of IHG points averages about $0.006 a piece. Since the annual fee is waived the first year you get to keep the entire value of the sign up bonus.

You can also get an extra 5,000 points by adding an authorized user and having them make one purchase.

Click Here to get more details and learn how to apply for this card and other hotel rewards credit cards!

Summary

The IHG credit card from Chase is a middle of the road type of card.  The earning rates make it almost worthless to use inside or outside of the hotels.  At 5 points per dollar (3% return) for paid stays you would get a better value using a Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred to pay for your room. Both would get you a better return than 3%.

The sign up bonus is not all that interesting at it’s current 60,000 point level.  At 80,000 points it is a decent value. If you are able to snag a 100,000 point sign up bonus that is the time to jump on the offer.  A $600 return for a sign up bonus is pretty solid.

The way the card makes its way into most people’s wallet is the annual free night certificate.  You receive one each year, that is good for 12 months, after paying the $49 annual fee.  This isn’t category locked, like the Hyatt and Marriott annual free night.  It isn’t weekend locked, like the Hilton annual free night.  And it isn’t United States locked, like the Club Carlson annual free night. It is hands down the best annual free night offered, and it comes with the lowest annual fee to boot.

Chase IHG Credit Card Review
The view from my room at the Intercontinental Hong Kong.

Long Term Keep or Cancel?

This card is rated as a long term keeper solely because of the value you can get out of the annual free night.  To be able to stay at any IHG hotel in the world for a night for only $49  is about as good as it gets for a credit card perk.

Make sure you match up your cardmember anniversary with your spouse’s, a friend, or family member’s IHG card so you can use two free nights back to back on one trip.  A weekend anywhere in the world for under $100 is hard to beat!

It is pretty much a sock drawer card for spend though.  The only question is should you close it after 24 months to get the sign up bonus again.  You would forfeit the free night for a year but you would save $49 for that year and you would get the sign up bonus again.  Overall you would come out slightly ahead since the most expensive hotel in the program costs 60,000 points. A sign up bonus would at least get you one night in any hotel, potentially more, and you would save on the annual fee.  If you could get a 100,000 sign up bonus you would have 40,000 points to spare too.

Click Here to get more details and learn how to apply for this card and other hotel rewards credit cards!

Conclusion

Although the IHG credit card from Chase isn’t a very rewarding everyday spender it is a card everyone should have in their arsenal.  It is a card you can keep long term and get immense value from it year after year.

Since the yearly cost is heavily outweighed by the value you get in return this card can help improve your average age of accounts and increase your credit score.

You could also churn this card every two years for the sign up bonus.  It would bring you a slightly better return versus just getting the annual free night every year. It would negatively affect your average age of accounts and add another hard pull to your report.  Something you would want to consider when making your decision at the 24 month mark.

Do you agree with our review?  Do you currently hold the card?  Let us know in the comments!


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13 COMMENTS

    • Pretty much anywhere that has rooms with two beds. Totally depends on where you want to go/what you like to do. What kind of trip would you be interested in? The beach, Paris, London etc?

  1. I am an Intercontinental Spire Ambassador. Here is what I have been receiving this year:
    1. 20x points for every dollar at an IC.
    I paid $427.50 for a stay at an IC and I received 8,550 points = 20 points/$1!!!

    2. Points redemption discount: 2 x 10% = 20% discount when I redeem points for hotel stays.
    So a 60K redemption = 48K cost, a 50K redemption costs 40K. This is a significant discount.

  2. My favorite card, hands down. Points are so easy to earn and I love spending them on the 5,000-points-a-night Points Break specials. I am having a total knee replacement in the US in April (I live in Asia) and I have enought points to stay in a lovely Holiday Inn suite for one month after I get out of the hospital. I am so glad I got this one and kept it.

  3. Theoretically you could hit your second anniversary, pay the $49, use your free night, then cancel the card and sign up again. That way you don’t miss out on an annual free night.

  4. WARNING!!! DO NOT APPLY FOR THIS CARD!! THEY DO NOT HONOR THE AGREEMENT. If you are like me you will find out after your credit has been pulled, and after you have met (you think) the spending requirement that there are many broad categories of purchases that are included toward meeting the spending requirement. In my experience the Chase customer service team was very rude and dismissive.

    • I have never had a problem with one Chase sign up in the past. What did they say was the issue why you didn’t meet the minimum spend?

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