With a great sense of timing, just a day after I spent my Sunday evening writing an article on why there are few decent Visa and Mastercard products available, IHG Rewards Club has relaunched its two cards.
The new issuer is Creation Financial Services. The name may not be familiar to you but they issue a number of co-branded and own-brand credit and store cards, including ASDA Money and Marriott. The company is owned by French bank BNP Paribas.
The obvious question from existing cardholders will be: Can I get these cards if I have the old Barclaycard ones? The official answer from IHG yesterday is ‘yes’.
IHG also told me that the Barclaycard products will continue even though they are not available to new applicants.
The Creation benefits are virtually identical to the Barclaycard cards. The only difference is that the card is now a Mastercard and not a Visa. The benefits on the free card have actually improved as you now earn double points for foreign spend. Given that we are now in the world of 0.3% interchange fees, I think we have done well here.
In terms of account servicing, note that Creation does NOT have an app where you can monitor your transactions.
There are two different versions of the card. It isn’t clear if you are allowed to have both as the benefits overlap – one gives Gold status whilst the other gives Platinum.
The free version – IHG Rewards Club Mastercard
The headline features of this card are:
No annual fee
10,000 IHG Rewards Club points for joining and spending £200 in the first three months – these are worth about £40 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 0.4p so this is a 0.4% return.
2 IHG Rewards Club points per £1 when you pay at IHG hotels. This would be roughly a 0.8% return which is good.
2 IHG Rewards Club points per £1 when you use the card abroad. This is a new benefit – only the premium card got double points abroad under Barclaycard. However, as the card has a 2.99% FX fee you would be better off using a card without FX fees instead.
Representative APR is 18.9% variable
There is a minimum income requirement of £10,000, although Creation stress that this cannot come from unemployment benefit!
It is important to note that points from day-to-day spend count towards elite status. The sign-up bonus does NOT count towards elite status.
10,000 IHG Rewards Club points, on its own, won’t get you much apart from 2,000 airline miles. A typical UK Holiday Inn in the regions would be 15,000 – 20,000 points. The best use of the points would be to book two PointBreaks nights at 5,000 points each. You can learn more about PointBreaks here.
According to the terms and conditions: “If your IHG Rewards Club Credit Card account is closed within the first 6 months of opening, IHG reserves the right to deduct the 10,000 bonus Rewards points from your IHG Rewards Club account.” As the card is free and you receive Gold status in IHG Rewards Club just for keeping it, this is unlikely to be an issue for anyone.
What do I think?
You should definitely think about getting this card, unless you would prefer the £99 Premium version. 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points are worth having, and Gold status is better than nothing. With Creation as the issuer, it is unlikely to clash with any other card you hold
I am not necessarily saying that you should use it as your main card. After all, you will get Gold status even if you keep the card in a drawer.
If you are tempted by this card, you should also consider the Hilton HHonors Visa card. My review of that card is here.
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. Of course, you can get the Hilton card just for the bonus and keep that in a drawer too!
The Hilton credit card is probably more generous (it gives 2 Hilton points per £1 which I value at 0.6p vs 0.4p for 1 IHG point). That said, this new IHG card is more generous than almost all Avios non-Amex cards so it may come down to whether you prefer Hilton or IHG points. The fact that IHG credit card points – except for the bonus – count towards status may swing it for you if you are chasing Spire or Platinum.
I spoke to IHG about the cards yesterday and I was told that there were no plans for any short-term higher bonuses and that such a bonus made no financial sense in the new 0.3% environment. If you are interested in applying you might as well do it now.
There is NO refer-a-friend deal available for these cards so you might as well apply directly via the links above.
In my 2nd article today, I look at the £99 Premium version of the IHG Rewards Club credit card. Is that a better deal?
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – September 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:
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 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 Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
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 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:
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
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
50,000 points bonus until 2nd October – 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.