Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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UPDATE – AUGUST 2022:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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.

  • Howard says:

    Just booked 4 nights at Intercontinental in Boston with 200,000 IHG points. I bought around 220,000 in the 100% bonus offer a few months ago. Anyone stayed at this hotel?

    Also, I have the free IHG card. Can I apply for the £99 version in addition?

    • Thunderbirds says:

      I stayed at this hotel for 4 reward nights in May this year just as the weather was picking up. As a Platinum Ambassador (not Spire at that time) I was offered a single level room upgrade and got a bay view. Hotel is popular with conventions and business people more than tourists. The hotel has a good location and you can walk to most places of interest. The staff in the Club Lounge said that it was normally busy but the week we were there it was very quite. I purchased an upgrade package from the selection on offer on the logout from the IHG site. Club Lounge access for $56 per night (plus taxes) for two people. Not bad given the spreads they put on for breakfast and afternoon tea.
      Hotel doesn’t have the glamour of say the Intercontinental Hong Kong but for a rewards booking it was good value.

      • Kipto says:

        Never knew they offered upgrade packages to the club lounge. Do they do them for four people as well ?

        • Thunderbirds says:

          The upgrade package I used was offered when I logged out of my IHG account whilst viewing this booking. Do the same and check what they are offering but be careful with the wording, access to Club Lounge doesn’t mean you get a Club Room as well. Also check whether the fees are for 1 person only, per person or per room and in the USA fees exclude taxes, not sure elsewhere. You can always ask at reception for any deals available at check-in such as special rates for breakfast.
          I’m finding that, at least for Intercontinental hotels, Spire seems to be having an effect already. Two Intercontinental bookings since becoming Spire (was already Ambassador) and two upgrades to Suites, but no access to Club Lounge.

    • Rob says:

      Yes, it is very nice, especially on harbour side. Pretty new.

  • Neil says:

    ”gold card status doesn’t count for much”

    Thats true on paper, but you may get lucky, the 2 times i checked in with gold status , i got upgraded. I suppose it depends on the hotel.

    • JQ says:

      ehh, I used to get upgraded just for being an IHG Club member, then when I was gold, I always got a better room, not necessarily the best. Similar with platinum.

  • Jason says:

    I was accepted in August for Hilton and now have both it was 6 months after I applied for IHG. Had previously been declined for IHG last year when I had Hilton card first time round

  • Dean says:

    OT – I’m planning a trip from LHR to Tokyo using my AMEX 241, and i want to return form Hong Kong to LHR using another AMEX 241 is this possible? as when i’ve been looking it says that you can’t use a voucher unless flying from the UK.

    • Kipto says:

      That’s correct. The flight has to start from London.why don’t you use the other part of your 241 to return to Lobdon from Hong Kong ?

      • Dean says:

        What do you mean?

        • Kipto says:

          You mentioned using another 241 voucher to return from Hong Kong implying you had two 241 vouchers. What are you using the return part of the 241 on your London to Tokyo trip on ?

          • Dean says:

            I’m such an idiot, i didn’t realise you could use one voucher for a return i thought it was one voucher each way. Thats even better value! i just need to call BA and book a “multi-city flight’. Thats even better news!

          • cheekychappie says:

            Kipto the King! 🙂

  • Jason says:

    To use the Hilton free weekend night voucher in October 2016, is it still best to apply for the card in March to trigger the voucher in April? Or is the 12 month validity the norm now?

    • Rob says:

      They are giving 12 months BUT the website still says 6 months so you have no recompense if they switch back …..

      • Mat says:

        I used my voucher about a month ago and for a night 10 months away and had no problems (even though it said 6 months on the voucher, I think the T&Cs say 1 year) 🙂

  • mark2 says:

    I shall be staying in a Holiday Inn in Canada for four nights next week using 100.000 points, mostly from two Visa cards (thanks Rob) so two bookings. I asked to have the same room and upgraded to an Executive room with river view at C$30 per night.
    Subsequently, IHG introduced Spire status and by dint of the 60,000 points from the card and transfer from Virgin (points from a card and from Tesco) I scraped together the required 75,000 points without setting foot in an IHG property.
    I had heard here and FT that many properties did not yet recognise Spire. I emailed the hotel appearing naïve (no effort required) and asked whether my status meant that I got a further upgrade (I don’t think there were better rooms) or whether I got the requested upgrade for free. They said that they would check and a few days later came back and said that I should only get an upgrade on arrival, but as a welcome to Spire I would get the upgrade free.
    So for the £99 fee for the card we are getting a £450 cash rate stay.
    They do advertise the wind farm on the island opposite as ‘completing the view’!
    Of course this is only one booking in one hotel.

  • Howard says:

    I have 66000 IHG points and need 100,000 for 2 nights in New York in Sept 2016.

    My wife and I both have free IHG cards. Can you have the free card and the £99 card at the same time?

    • Rob says:

      Not sure – if these new rules on Barclays cards really are being enforced then the answer is No. No harm in trying, of course.

  • Howard says:

    Thanks for reply and also yesterdays comments re IHG Boston.

    I just applied and the answer was that I would get a decision in 5 days.

    I am going to call on Monday morning to see if Its best to cancel my free card.

    I just checked and we actually have 76,000 points so I only need 24,000 points for 2 nights at IHG Times Square, New York.

    • Jason says:

      I thought the IC Times Square was a good hotel, when we stayed there last October, and had a very good meal in the restaurant.
      The service we got was fantastic! 🙂

    • Rob says:

      May easier to buy via ‘cash and points and cancel’ trick for $7 x 24.

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

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