Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The IHG credit cards are back – and with a sign-up bonus (Part 1)

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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.

The cards

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

IHG Rewards Club credit card free

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 cardMy 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.

The application link for the free IHG Rewards Club credit card is here.

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? – August 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our August 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 other top current deals:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

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

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending 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

Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending 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 (45)

  • avidsaver says:

    Morning Rob. If you hold the Barclaycard version do you still get the 10,000 sign up bonus? As ever, many thanks for all your hard work.

  • Tracy says:

    On the subject of IHG can I confirm whether any activity will keep your points active or whether you have to actually stay. Thanks.

    • VP says:

      Any activity Tracy. My father had a few points which were about to expire to I downloaded an ebook from their rewards store for 300 points which reset the expiry by 1 year from the date of download. This also qualified for the Accelerate target of getting 1000 bonus points for using your points !!

      • Tracy says:

        Thank you very much for your help. Kind regards. Tracy

  • JamesWag says:

    I’m confused, I already have an IHG rewards card.

    • JamesWag says:

      Ah, I see, its the Barclay’s one. I didn’t realise they’d stopped offering it.

  • Gavin says:

    One reason to perhaps keep my IHG barclaycard visa is a lot of online payment systems treat it as a debit card.

  • Emily says:

    Does anyone know if we have the Barclaycard version can we now apply for the Hilton card… or do we need to wait for our year end, move to this new Creation card first? And maybe wait 6months too?

  • Louise says:

    OT, upgraded from Amex gold to Platinum and after my first statement with the platinum I notice I haven’t been charged the £450 fee as yet, has this happened to anyone else?

    • Rob says:

      Common bug, quite a few people get this.

      • Annon says:

        Do we know when one might be charged?

        • Rob says:

          Usual card anniversary date (your Gold anniversary)

          • RTS says:

            +1

          • AndyS says:

            Same here. I suspect it’s actually a feature not a bug, as you have the same account, just an upgraded card. So same annual fee date.

          • BlueHorizonUK says:

            Should the upgrade path be:

            June statment just printed – No renewal fee yet
            Gold anniversary is July 10
            Points post soon after July 10
            Upgrade to Platinum now or wait for next statement to be printed with annual fee and then upgrade and pray not charged…..lol

            So my question is really do i wait for next statement to be printed or just upgrade as soon as the 10,000 points post even if it is before the statement.

          • PointsMaker says:

            This.

          • Louise says:

            Interestingly on my husbands account, he upgraded after his anniversary points posted, and got charged the fee straightaway, but maybe they charged it as they refunded the gold fee

          • jarvester says:

            I plan to cancel before my gold anniversary, will I be charged the pro-rata fee on cancellation? Thanks

          • Genghis says:

            That’s what people have discussed. If cancelling just before: a final statement is produced after you cancel and this being on your anniversary date may well generate a fee.

    • The Urbanite says:

      I think the fee was added to the second statement after I upgraded.

  • Andrew says:

    Can you apply if you already hold the Creation provided Marriott card?

    • Rob says:

      Some people yesterday said they had multiple Creation cards

      • Chris says:

        I have the flybe creation card and have just been accepted for the IHG card.

        • RTS says:

          I had a quick look at the flybe card, it isn’t too bad actually!

          • Rob says:

            The taxes on reward flights are often higher than the cash fare for the same ticket. They even warn you about this in the T&C’s!

    • Neil says:

      I now have four Creation cards inc the IHG one approved yesterday.

  • Cate says:

    Thank you – just applied and been accepted.

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