The IHG credit cards are back – and with a sign-up bonus (Part 2)
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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
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? – May 2023 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:
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard is doubled to a crazy 50,000 Avios! Apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the free Barclaycard Avios Mastercard is doubled to 10,000 Avios. Apply here.
Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard
CRAZY 50,000 Avios for signing up (to 30th May) and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review
Barclaycard Avios Mastercard
10,000 Avios for signing up (only to 30th May) and an upgrade voucher at £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.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ card is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points. Apply here.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the famous annual 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 & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
30,000 points bonus (to 13th June) 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 bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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.