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Good deal on the IHG Rewards Club credit cards – sign-up bonus is DOUBLED

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UPDATE – AUGUST 2022:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.  We produce a monthly directory of the top UK travel credit card offers – please click HERE or use the ‘Credit Cards’ menu above.  Thank you.

Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus. You can apply here.

IHG Rewards Club (Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, InterContinental, Indigo etc) has not had any promotions on its credit cards since March.

A new deal has now arrived.  IHG has DOUBLED the sign-up bonus on its two Visa credit cards.

There are two different cards available, a free version and a version with a £99 annual fee.  Both of these cards are worth a look – your personal stay preferences will decide which one is best for you.

The cards are issued by Barclaycard so your ability to get the IHG cards may be impacted if you hold the Hilton Visa (also Barclaycard).  I was told this week that Barclaycard is stopping people who already have one of its cards from getting another – we need to see if this is really happening in practice.  In any event, Barclaycard will not give you a second card within six months of previously applying for one.

This offer was promoted in the IHG member email this month.  The small print states that the offer is only available to those who received it.   As this email goes out to all opted-in IHG Rewards Club members, I am pretty sure that anyone who applies via the links below will receive the higher bonus.  You should be aware, though, that there is a risk that you only receive the normal bonus.

The IHG Rewards Club Visa

The free card is the IHG Rewards Club Visa.  The standard sign-up bonus is 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points but until 31st December you will receive 20,000 points.  The bonus is triggered with your first purchase.

20,000 IHG points transfers into 4,000 Avios or other airline miles.  It would get you between 1-2 free hotel nights in a cheap part of the world or FOUR free nights if you use the points to book a hotel in the next round of PointBreaks offers where rooms are reduced to 5,000 points per night.

You will also receive Gold status in IHG Rewards Club for as long as you hold the card.  This doesn’t get you much, to be honest, so I would put very little value on it.  The 20,000 points do NOT count towards status so this is not a way of speeding up your passage to Platinum or Spire Elite status.

The earnings rate is poor at just 1 IHG Rewards Club point per £1 spent.  I value IHG points at 0.5p so that represents just 0.5% return on your spending.

My full review of the IHG credit card can be found here although it has not yet been amended to reflect this higher bonus.

This card is best for …. someone who does not intend to keep it long-term and is mainly concerned with getting some Avios or hotel nights from the sign-up bonus.

The representative APR on this card is 18.9% variable.

The link to apply is here.  This offer is ONLY available via this link.

The IHG Rewards Club Premium Visa

The second version of the card is the IHG Rewards Club Premium Visa.  This carries an annual fee of £99 which is non-refundable if you choose to cancel.

The standard sign-up bonus on the Premium card is 20,000 IHG Rewards Club points but until 31st December 2015 you will receive 40,000 points.  The bonus is triggered with your first purchase.

40,000 IHG points transfers into 8,000 Avios or other airline miles.  You will get far more value using them for hotel nights, however.  Even the best InterContinental hotels in the world only cost 50,000 points per night, so this is effectively a very cheap way to get yourself close to a night in the IC’s in Paris, London, New York, Bora Bora etc.

Used for more modest hotels such as Holiday Inn Express properties in suburban locations, you would receive between two and three free nights for 40,000 points.  If you use the points to book a hotel in the next round of PointBreaks offers where rooms are reduced to 5,000 points per night, you could book yourself an 8 night stay.

The Premium card comes with Platinum status in IHG Rewards Club for as long as you hold the card.  At Crowne Plaza hotels this can often result in an excellent upgrade and/or lounge access.  At a Holiday Inn Express there is little they can give you except a free drink.  It really does vary.  Platinum is now the middle tier status following the launch of Spire Elite status this Summer.

The 40,000 points do NOT count towards status so they are no use if you are looking to hit Spire Elite status quickly.

The earnings rate is good at 2 IHG Rewards Club point per £1 spent.  I value IHG points at 0.5p so that represents a 1% return on your spending.  This is impressive for a non-American Express card.  If you use the card abroad, you receive 4 points per £1 albeit with a 3% FX fee.

You also receive a free night voucher when you spend £10,000.  This is valid for 12 months and lets you redeem for a free night at ANY IHG property, as long as standard reward nights are showing.  This is worth £250+ if used at a key InterContinental hotel.  Both my wife and I have this card and trigger the free night voucher each year.

My full review of the IHG Premium credit card can be found here although it has not yet been updated to reflect this offer.

This card is best for …. someone who can put £10,000 through the card in order to earn the free night voucher or who is a regular guest at IHG properties and would value the Platinum status.

The representative APR is 42.2% variable including the £99 fee, assuming a £1,200 credit limit.

The link to apply is here.  This offer is ONLY available via this link.

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – August 2022 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

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 card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Amex Gold

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

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend 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:

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

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year 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

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa 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 (3% on business travel for four months) and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (86)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • James67 says:

    I can confirm I was declined Hilton card this spring, reason given was because I was holding the IHG premium card at the time. Totally daft policy as many people stay both IHG and Hilton.

    I note closing date is 31/12. The big dilemna here is to jump now or wait in anticipation of a better bonus after new year when they have traditionally run their best offers. IIRC last year it was 60k and a year or two before that it was 40k but annual fee also waived. Without an option to get spire the points now have to work to merit the fee as platinum hardly a benefit anymore. I think I will wait until January, if nothing better I’ll just apply for Hilton card and cancel July so I can reapply January 17 for IHG.

    • BD701 says:

      Wonder if this is a new policy as I’ve held both Hilton card and applied for IHG card twice with no issues.

      • James67 says:

        I held both at same time before too. I a wondering if it is better tobr holding Hilton first and then apply for IHG as they might want to get the fee. This spring I tried it other way around.

      • Rob says:


      • RIccati says:

        A lot of discussion here. I relayed my experience and the new policies that I was told are “days old” to Raffles.

        I, for one, am going to file with the Financial Ombudsman Service because the rules and policies like this — not issuing a new card if you have/previously have had ANY Barclaycard in 6 months must be communicated very clearly at the start of application.

        I have noticed that Barclaycard system initially approved the application because I was offered to create a new online banking account but then it was cancelled by management decision/manual intervention. (This explains that someone’s application came through if review is manual).

        Credit card companies have not done such things before. Most likely related to EU rules on Visa interchange fees. Essentially, Barclaycard began behaving such that they do not want customers on this rewards cards. They have contractual agreements with IHG, Hilton, etc so they can’t just stop the issuing the cards but can put any number of hurdles in application process.

        • cheekychappie says:

          Not heard of people appealing to Ombudsman before because they are declined a card or account! lol 🙂 🙂 🙂

          Good for a laugh I suppose & I guess complaining will cost them £500 or so (I heard it can be considerably less than that depending on demand etc).

          If I were declined, I think I would just get on with my life.

          • Fenny says:

            If the t&c don’t state what restrictions there on on a card, being declined just because you’ve previously held a card with the same issuer will just show as being declined a card on your credit report. I’d be a bit hacked off with it, as it’s nothing to do with my credit rating and everything to do with not telling customers what the restrictions are.

            If the card issuers state clearly up front “Customers who have previously held a Barclaycard will not be accepted” or “are not eligible for the sign up bonus”, there’s no problem. But not explaining things is misleading.

          • cheekychappie says:

            ‘Please note it’s not possible to apply for a new Barclaycard if you already have a credit card provided by us, including one of our partner cards

            This does not constitute an offer of credit and you may be declined once a full assessment of your application has been completed.’

            Did you do the pre application check?

            What was your ‘Likelihood to be accepted’?

          • Fenny says:

            I’m not the one applying, but others are saying they weren’t told, thus are miffed.

          • RIccati says:

            Exactly the point.

            There might be some note appearing on Barclaycard website now, but it was not there at the time of application.

          • RIccati says:

            As pointed out, this has nothing to do with credit scoring.

            It is a customer-wide policy that was not communicated at all (neither in a prominent place nor in notes nor in terms and conditions’ small print).

    • Rob says:

      With the new EU rules on Visa fees I cannot see them offering anything better.

      • James67 says:

        Hadn’t thought of that, I guess you are right. Also wondering if IHG maybe wanted the promo brought forward to avoid card holders benefitting from almost 24 months elite status. I will nowneed to consider whether 40k IHG poinrs or a free Hilton night are more useful to me.

        • Rob says:

          Here’s the thing. If you apply in late December, your Plat status won’t be processed until January. Does that mean you get all of 2016 and all of 2017? It is very possible.

          • James67 says:

            I was thinking about that. Application last few days of year so likely at least 2nd January before IHG hears anything. Will make a decision after I see if I still getspire via the virgin route you highlighted. If so then I will likely stick with Hilton and cancel it in July for ihg application for 2017.

          • Tariq says:

            I transferred miles from VS to IHG last week and have successfully been upgraded to Spire Elite as a result.

          • Rob says:

            Good to know that still works.

    • Guesswho2000 says:

      Interesting, as I’ve held both in the past and my other half currently does! Can’t remember the exact date, but I’ve got an email confirming the Hilton reward certificate in June, so it’d be May when we took the card out, and definitely had the IHG card first. I still had the Hilton card when I applied for IHG, and that was approved, albeit begrudgingly! I suspected that was due to high limits on other barclaycards, but I may be wrong.

  • adamcreen says:

    For the Premium Visa, the Free Night Voucher does not always arrive promptly.
    Raffles got his within a few weeks of hitting the spending target. I got mine yesterday, 4 months after spending £10,000. Calls and emails to both IHG Rewards Club and Barclaycard saw no quick resolution of this, and it’s the first time I was disappointed by IHG’s customer service.

    • Jason says:

      My voucher arrived within a few days of the statement showing £10k has been spent.
      So if I want to apply for the Hilton card I need to cancel IHG first, I thought you could sometimes get barclaycard to split your credit limit between the 2 if they declined your application?

    • thepearce says:

      Thanks. I wanted to ask someone this. I hit £10,000 a while back but no free night voucher has been received. I wondered if they waited until my year was up and was thinking about calling. I figured I might just hold off because even though I’ve hit target I don’t need to start the clock on the 12 months to spend the voucher right away.

      Also wondering if to bite or hold out (I got 60k points) in terms of my wife’s premium application.

    • Waribai says:

      I find a social media post is often a quick way to get these matters resolved!

  • Mohammed says:

    I’ve just signed up recently to this card and got my card last week. Can I somehow get this new improved bonus?

    • Rob says:

      Call and ask. Amex would generally say ok. Tell Barclays IHG emailed you, not that you saw it here.

  • AndyS says:

    I applied for the ihg card yesterday, and was turned down. I hold a standard Barclaycard and think thks is the reason why (website didnt say, just said that they would write to me with the reason for declining)

    • Waribai says:

      My wife has held both simultaneously without any problems

      • Rob says:

        So have I. But it seems, unless their actions prove different to their words, that things have changed.

        Remember these are Visa cards and so take the full hit of the new EU rules on interchange fees.

    • ScotlishZander says:

      As of the 17th September you need to cancel any existing Barclaycard that you hold and wait six months before applying for another card (regular or partner card). I learnt this on the 15th when I was asking about applying for the Hilton card and the CS agent informed me.

      • Rob says:

        I thought it was 6 months for the same card?

        • James67 says:

          Not if info I was given is correct. I was told I needed to cancel my IHG and wait 6 months before applying for Hilton. Despite this, it is clear from comments here today that others successfully applied for second cards after I had issues; seems to me it might just be the usual Barclay shambles. My dad already had 3 goodwill gestures totalling £80 to keep the ihg white card despite spending nearly nothing on it.

          • Liz says:

            I have the IHG Premium card from earlier in the year and my husband is the 2nd card holder. Can he apply for the Hilton card and I be the 2nd card holder for that? Or do they treat 2nd cardholders as existing customers?

        • ScotlishZander says:

          No they changed it to any card, cancellation required for 6 months before applying for a new card. It’s ridiculous but hey ho.

          • Funtime says:

            Just spent 30 minutes on the phone to the call centre, 14 years and £15k limit on Barclaycard Platinum. Account now closed.

            The guy tried his hardest to keep my account open but wouldn’t/couldn’t let me have an IHG card as well. Note in my diary for 22/03/2016.

          • Alan says:

            Wow that seems such a short-sighted approach from Barclaycard to limit customers in this way.

      • Fenny says:

        I cancelled my Hilton Card in July. So if they don’t let me apply for IHG for 6 months, I’ll miss one of my Accelerate targets for no reason of my own. I wonder if they will let me argue this, as Barclaycard are preventing me! I was going to apply for it anyway, so the additional bonus is handy.

        Does anyone know whether, if my Accelerate target is to apply for the basic card, I will get the credit for applying for the black card?

        • Rob says:

          Knowing IHG, not automatically – and you then end up fighting the Philippines call centre to get it adjusted …..

        • RIccati says:

          You can still raise the issue with IHG. I.e., why their rewards scheme must be affected by Hilton rewards scheme, just because they share a card provider.

          Clearly, both IHG and Hilton are at a loss of business to each other because from now on people are only able to apply one card at a time and close the account for 6 months before opening another. This looks like a bad copycat of AMEX policies that ONLY apply 6 months term to the MR bonus on charge cards — you can still have the account, Amex will not reject your application if their credit lending criteria are satisfied.

          There is no other way to affect Barclaycards. If you would have applied and things have not been properly communicated then one could complain to FOS.

      • AndyS says:

        Damn, if i’d applied a day earlier I might of got it!

        • RIccati says:

          It is hit and miss because of the manual review.

          Applied on 7th and the have already invoked this new policy that was “days old” as I was told.

  • Waribai says:

    I’m still waiting for my 2013 deal to return. 60k points sign up for the Premimum IHG and the £99 fee waived for the first year!

  • @mkcol says:

    I held the HHonors VISA & applied for the free IHG card a few months ago, was approved fine.

    They really didn’t like me closing my HHonors card (it was superfluous) and battled to keep me. I’ve now just applied for the IHG Premium VISA….and been approved! Really wasn’t expecting that.

  • Brian says:

    Gold members also get the free drink voucher. So unless you stay at Crowne Plazas and therefore potentially get lounge access as a result of Platinum status, there really is very little difference between Gold and Platinum.

    I’ve stayed at the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental in San Francisco twice, once as a Platinum, once as a Gold, and got a great upgrade to one of their view rooms on both occasions (both redemptions).

  • Sebastian says:

    I am going to wait for a better deal, with a £99 fee the Virgin Black duo looks better value, especially with the bonus points now not counting towards Spire.

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