Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The IHG credit cards are back – and with a sign-up bonus (Part 2)

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

This is the 2nd part of my analysis of the two new IHG Rewards Club credit cards.  Part 1, focussing on the free card, can be found here.

The paid-for version – IHG Rewards Club Premium Mastercard

IHG Rewards Club credit card premium

The headline features of this card are:

£99 annual fee

20,000 IHG Rewards Club points for joining and spending £200 in the first three months – these are worth about £80 of free hotel rooms or transferable to 4,000 Avios points or other airline miles

Platinum status in IHG Rewards Club for as long as you hold the card.  This is no longer the top level following the launch of the Spire tier.  However, if you do a few Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza or Indigo stays then it is worth having.  It is occasionally enough for a Club room upgrade at a Crowne Plaza.

2 IHG Rewards Club point per £1 spent.  I value IHG points at 0.4p so this is a 0.8% return.

4 IHG Rewards Club points per £1 when you pay at IHG hotels.  This would be roughly a 1.6% return which is very good.

4 IHG Rewards Club points per £1 when you use the card abroad.  As the card has a 2.99% FX fee you would be better off using a card without FX fees instead.  I only value the points at 1.6%.  The only reason to use the card abroad would be to work towards your free night voucher or earn additional IHG status points.

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.

Representative APR is 41.5% variable including the £99 fee, based on a £1200 credit limit

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.  A heavy spender could get Spire Elite status simply by putting £37,500 of spending through this card.

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 20,000 bonus Rewards points from your IHG Rewards Club account.”  As you do NOT get a pro-rata fee refund for cancelling, this is unlikely to be an issue for anyone.

I have one minor concern.  The rules state, re the free night:

“On the anniversary of your account opening, so long as your account remains active, you will earn one free night voucher to redeem at any IHG property, provided you make annual Purchases totalling a minimum of £10,000.”

The free night has always turned up within a few weeks of passing the £10,000 target.  One interpretation of this line is that you don’t get the voucher now until the end of your card year – although I am more inclined to think that someone at Creation’s law firm failed their English GCSE.

What do I think?

If you are ONLY looking to exploit the sign-up bonus then this is not the card for you.  You would be mad to pay £99 for a sign-up bonus worth £80 at best, especially as the points do not count towards status.  You should focus on the free card where the smaller 10,000 point sign-up bonus is worth £40.

For long term spending, however, this is a very good card.   I have had the Barclaycard version of this card for a couple of years and I put a lot of money through it, including tax payments.

Imagine spending £10,000 on the card in a year.  You would get:

20,000 IHG Rewards Club points, worth £80 or so, assuming all spend is in the UK and not at IHG hotels

Those points count towards status, which could be important if you are pushing for Spire Elite

Your free night voucher, worth say £250 if used at an expensive InterContinental

You are getting £330 of benefits for an annual fee of £99.  That is a gain of £231 or 2.31% of a £10,000 spend, which is excellent.

You also need to add in whatever value you ascribe to Platinum status in IHG Rewards Club.

I have just renewed my Spire Elite status for 2017 and it was almost entirely down to spending on this credit card.  Reaching Spire Elite via 75,000 status points triggers a bonus of 25,000 IHG Rewards Club points.  You could argue that this is an additional bonus for anyone who spends £37,500 on the card.

If you are looking for a new Visa or Mastercard and you have the ability to put £10,000 of spending through the card to trigger the free night, I would recommend it.

I would NOT necessarily recommend it if you will not spend £10,000 to earn the free night.  For low spenders, the higher earnings rate does not justify the £99 fee compared to the free IHG Rewards Club Mastercard.  The only exception is if you stay enough at IHG hotels to benefit from Platinum status but you don’t stay enough to actually earn it from your stays.

You can apply for the IHG Rewards Club Premium Mastercard here.

There is NO refer-a-friend deal available for these cards so you might as well apply directly via the links above.


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

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our June 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.

Amex American Express Business Gold card

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

Comments (98)

  • Andrew says:

    I have skimmed the posts, so apologies if the answer is there.

    How quickly is your IHG account updated to Platinum?

    I was approved three days ago, and received an email to state it was approved and told I was platinum. However this is not showing online. I called the bank and they said should be ‘instant’ and provided no other guidance on what to do.

    • Neil says:

      Andrew, my status changed this morning having been approved on Monday.

      • Scottnothing says:

        Received an approval text last night and my status updated this morning. Impressed!

  • Paul says:

    Anyone managed to get both versions of the creation cards? Unsure whether they would let you have both.

  • Roger says:

    Just thinking … The £99 card with platinum and a free night may be a better deal than the Intercontinental Ambassador 2nd IC weekend night free and platinum. Not too many ICs to be seen in my travels these days. Obviously, YMMV.

    • Rob says:

      I’ve just booked a card free night directly after my AMB 2-4-1 nights!

  • Nathan says:

    Apparently Creation have deemed me ineligible to apply for their product. Oh well, there is as they say ‘a first time for everything’ I suppose.

  • AndyS says:

    Does anyone know how long between statement generation and payment required? I need to time my application so that the bill will be due after payday! Assuming statement generated a month after acceptance

  • Brian says:

    Hi do you think the 20k sign up bonus may be a temporary or permanent feature?

    I want to apply but was hoping to leave doing so until about October.

    Thanks

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.