My favorite benefit of the IHG Rewards Club Master Card is a free night at any Intercontinental Hotel Group property, every year you renew the card! With an annual fee of US$49, you can stay at amazing properties like the Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort, or Intercontinental hotels in expensive city destinations like New York, Paris, London, Hong Kong or Tokyo, offering you a dream stay and saving you hundreds of dollars in the process!
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IHG Rewards Club is the rewards program of the Intercontinental Hotel Group, one of the largest hotel group in the world with more than 4,700 hotels world wide, including Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and a number of other chains. You can read my review of the IHG program here.
Here is a quick summary of the IHR Rewards card:
- Sign-up bonus of 60,000 points, worth about US$420
You receive 60,000 points after spending US$1,000 in the first 90 days fromsigning up. The points from the bonus and minimum spend are enough for 6 nights at 10% of their cheapest hotels or 2 nights at 90% of their properties.
- Earn Points for Spend
You earn 5 points for every US$ spent at IHG properties, 2 points per US$ spent for groceries, restaurants or gas and 1 point everywhere else
While the earning at IHG properties is ok, the 1 point everywhere is a low earning rate. I value IHG points at 0.7ct each, so this equals an award rate of only 0.7%, less than most rewards card out there who will offer 1-2%!
- IHG Rewards Club Platinum Status
As long as you hold the Visa card, you will have Platinum Status in the IHG program, which is the highest status across all their hotels! It provides you with preferential treatment, like late check-out, free upgrades and increased point earning rates. It is the only credit card giving you the highest possible status in an affiliated program!
- 10% Rebate on Reward Redemption
With the card you will also get a 10% rebate on reward redemptions. It is posted as a credit after making the redemption, so you will need the full points to book. For example, after booking the Intercontinental Bora Bora for 50,000/night, you will get 5,000 points credited back to your account.
- $49 annual fee, no foreign exchange fee, no EMV chip
I consider the $49 annual fee a bargain, because with every renewal, you will receive a free night voucher, valid at any of over 4,800 IHG properties world wide. Considering that some properties can be more than $1,000, it’s an incredible value for stays at aspirational properties you might not be able to afford otherwise! If you and your partner both sign up, you will have 2 nights to make for a great weekend getaway. I have used my free nights for stays at Intercontinental Hong Kong and New York for great value and found the availability to be very good! There is no foreign exchange fee for purchases abroad, saving you 1-3% over cards with the fee! Unfortunately, there is no EMV chip, which is hard do understand, considering that this new Master Card version was just launched this year!
The IHG Rewards MasterCard is issued by Chase Bank and requires very good credit. Chase Bank is one of the biggest players in the rewards card space, has been very aggressive in launching cards with strong benefits over the last few years and is relatively easy to get approved for.
I’ve held the IHG Rewards Club card first as a Visa card and now as a MasterCard. I am planning to hold it as long as they offer the current benefits, mainly for the Platinum status and the free night per year. IHG Rewards Club is my go-to hotel program due to the huge number of mid-priced properties around the world and their portfolio of aspirational properties. (read more here) and having status through the card frees me from worrying about the number of nights I have to stay with them. The free night per year is excellent value and worth many times the annual fee to me. Due to the low earn rate for points, I rarely use the card other than for IHG properties.