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The IHG Rewards Club credit cards are 50% back and 50% AWOL

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It is now over six months since Barclaycard pulled the two IHG Rewards Club credit cards.  It was meant to be a three month gap whilst Barclays took the administration of the cards in house.  Existing cardholders like myself received new cards, but the cards remained closed to new cardholders.

Slowly things are moving!

Via this page on the Barclaycard website, you can now apply for the IHG Rewards Club Visa again.

The headline features of this card are:

No annual fee

10,000 IHG Rewards Club points for joining – worth about £50 of free hotel room or transferable to 2,000 Avios points or other airline miles

Gold status in IHG Rewards Club for as long as you hold the card.  You won’t get much, frankly, for being Gold – usually a few hundred bonus points or a free drink.  However, if you do a few Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza or Indigo stays then it is certainly better than nothing.

1 IHG Rewards Club point per £1 spent.  I value IHG points at 0.5p so this is not a very good return.

2 IHG Rewards Club points per £1 when you pay at IHG hotels.  This would be roughly a 1% return which is acceptable.

Representative APR is 18.9% variable

My verdict?  Don’t apply now

If you are tempted to get this card, I would be tempted to wait for a couple of months.

Before the cards were suspended in the Spring, hotel receptions were promoting an improved deal with a 15,000 point sign-up bonus.  There is a chance that a link with an improved deal may become available.

Note that there is no cashback deal available on this card.  There is also no refer-a-friend deal available.

If you are tempted by this card, you should also consider the Hilton HHonors Visa cardMy review of that card is here.  Both cards are issued by Barclaycard so you are unlikely to get both at the same time.

The sign-up bonus on the Hilton card is substantially better – you get a free night (valid for 6 months, weekends only) at any Hilton family hotel.  This could be worth £250+ if used at a Conrad or Waldorf-Astoria property.

Where is the £99 Premium Visa?

Good question.  There is a 2nd version of the IHG card available.

Whilst it has a £99 fee, the benefits are pretty good:

20,000 IHG Rewards Club points for signing up

100% higher earnings rate than the free card

Double points for overseas spend

Platinum status in IHG Rewards Club – which often gets you an upgrade and/or other benefits

A free night voucher for any IHG hotel for spending £10,000.  Use it at the InterContinental Paris, London, New York etc and you could be looking at £250 of value.

There is a landing page for the card here but you cannot apply yet.

In summary, I would suggest you consider the following – if you are thinking of getting the free IHG Rewards Club, would you:

a) get a better deal with the Hilton card instead? or

b) get a better deal waiting for the £99 Premium card to become available again?

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – November 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our November 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the top current deals:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers.

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending:

Barclaycard Select Cashback Credit Card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (13)

  • YOUP says:

    There’s also the outstanding question of whether a previous card holder can reapply to get the joining bonus again. Considering the card issuer remains BarclayCard, I’m not sure it will be possible.

    Mind you, I was pleased to get a refund of my annual fee when I cancelled it during the changes. ^^

    • Rob says:

      You can definitely reapply for the Hilton card, plenty of people have done that. It just needs a decent gap, I usually say a year but that it not a fixed rule.

  • Toby Garner says:

    Hi Raffles,

    I’m on a 12 month break from the Hilton Barclaycard. I have 9 months left until I can reapply and get the free night again.

    Do you know if getting the ihg card will impact this and “reset” my 12 months?

    Thanks in advance,


    • Rob says:

      No, it won’t reset anything, although you have to hope that Barclaycard is happy for you to have two of their cards at once.

      The Hilton 12 month rule is not fixed, by the way. That is what I advise people because it seems to work but I also know people who have successfully reapplied with a smaller gap.

  • Love Flying says:

    Many thanks, I have already saved about £600 booking three Dec nights in NYC using the IHG 50% of points promo you posted about and another £60 on Intercont Park Lane in Nov using the friends and family! Was considering paying for ambassador for what I can see would be a 50/50 chance of upgrade, would the Plat elite status with the Premium card offer similar chances?
    Also any views on the chances of 30k or even 40k links for the Prem card appearing as in previous years, might be then worth using the points to buy ambassador status?

    Any advice great appreciated!

    • Rob says:

      If the hotel gives benefits on reward nights (most IC’s do even though it isn’t required) then the benefits are guaranteed, so you would get a one-level upgrade, 4pm check out, free Pay TV film, fruit and water plus the 5,000 points for signing up. The one-level upgrade will only be to a slightly larger room I think as PL has a lot of different room levels.

      Platinum usually gets you nothing at IC’s although my wife got a 2pm check-out offered to her, and a welcome gift, at Le Grand in Paris last month. That said, the card is worth getting anyway if you get 20,000 points for £99 plus the decent earnings rate.

      The 30k/40k links may well come back but it will take a few months for them to turn up I reckon. The 30k one was advertised in hotel receptions alongside the 15k on the free card.

    • Brian says:

      When I stayed at the IC Budapest, I was given an upgrade to a river view room (without asking), plus a welcome gift (Hungarian paprika and a wooden spoon!!) in the room. I’m Platinum, but not an Ambassador.

  • Michael says:

    Are there further ways to easily accumulate IHG points, apart from buying, card spent or hotel nights?

    • Rob says:

      They convert 1:1 from Virgin Atlantic (in chunk of 10,000). This theoretically allows you to convert Tesco / Amex Membership Rewards / Heathrow Rewards to Virgin Flying Club and then on to IHG. This is not great value but if you need a small number it saves you buying them.

      From Tesco, for eg, £2.50 of Tesco vouchers would be 625 Virgin so 625 IHG Rewards Club. That is 0.4p per point based on the face value of the Tesco vouchers, so if you redeemed for 0.5p per IHG point then you are effectively getting 1.25x face value of your Tesco vouchers. This is not as good as many other deals.

  • Thunderbirds says:

    On an IHG related note. How are people finding the points posting for the Into The Nights promotion. I’m finding it slow but so far it seems to be accurate with nothing missing. This is unusual for IHG…

  • Thywillbedone says:

    Will have to think carefully about getting the Premium card with only 20k bonus points (the bonus previously being 40k pts) – not sure it will be worth diverting £10k of my spend away from other cards/programmes to only get c.1.5 nights at an IC.

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