If you frequently stay at IHG hotels like Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and InterContinental, an IHG credit card can be a great way to earn rewards and perks. IHG offers two credit cards in the UK – the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card.
In this guide, we’ll provide an in-depth review of IHG’s UK credit cards, including their benefits, point-earning potential, fees, and approval requirements. Read on to see if an IHG card deserves a spot in your wallet!
IHG Credit Card Benefits
Here are some of the main benefits offered by IHG’s UK credit cards:
- Free Night Reward Per Year
Both IHG cards give you one free night reward per year after your account anniversary. The Premier card, it’s valid at any IHG hotel worldwide. The Traveler card restricts it to properties costing 40,000 points or less. Either way, it can be a nice perk, especially for high-end stays.
- Bonus Points
You’ll earn bonus points on IHG stays with both cards. The Premier version gives you 5x points while the Traveler card earns 3x points. This allows you to rack up rewards faster.
- Elite Status
The Premier card comes with automatic Platinum Elite status, which gives perks like room upgrades, late checkout, and bonus point earning. Normally you’d have to stay 40+ nights to earn it.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
Unlike many UK credit cards, neither IHG option charges foreign transaction fees. This makes them handy for trips abroad.
- Annual Fee
The Premier card has a £99 annual fee while the Traveler version is free the first year and then £50 thereafter. The extra perks and higher earnings can offset the Premier fee if you stay at IHG often.
Earning and Redeeming Points
Here’s a look at how you can earn and use IHG points:
Ways to Earn Points
- IHG stays– 5x or 3x points per £1 spent
- Bonus categories– 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants (Premier only)
- Other purchases– 1x point per £1 (both cards)
Value of IHG Points
IHG points are typically worth around 0.5 pence each when redeemed for hotel stays. The value can be higher at top-tier properties. Points don’t expire as long as the account remains open.
You can redeem IHG points for:
- Hotel stays start at 5,000 points
- Reward night no blackout dates
- Room upgrades
- Other travel flights and car rentals
Point Expiration Policy
As long as your IHG Rewards Club account remains open, your points will never expire. This is a great feature that isn’t common among hotel rewards programs.
Credit Requirements and Approval Odds
To be approved for an IHG card, you’ll generally need:
- Good to excellent credit– Minimum scores of 700+ are ideal
- Moderate income– Expected earnings of £20,000+ per year
- Low debt-to-income ratio– Keep debts below 30% of income
Meeting these requirements gives you strong approval odds for either IHG card. Those with scores below 650 will likely need to improve their credit first.
Alternatives to Consider
Before applying, it helps to compare IHG’s cards to other options:
Pros of Other Hotel Cards
- Hilton– Free weekend night reward
- Marriott– A higher bonus for stays
- Radisson– 50,000 point signup bonus
Pros of Airline Cards
- British Airways– Companion ticket perk
- Virgin Atlantic– Extra elite status perks
- Emirates– Generous lounge access
Overall, IHG offers a solid mix of elite status, annual rewards, and earning potential on stays. Evaluate your travel patterns when choosing a card.
Tips for Getting Approved
Here are some tips to boost your approval chances for an IHG card:
- Pay bills on time to raise your credit scores
- Lower credit utilization below 30%
- Avoid new card applications in the 6 months prior
- List household rather than just personal
- Have an existing relationship with Chase Bank
Meeting the approval criteria is key, but taking these steps can further improve your odds before applying.
Is the IHG Card Worth It?
- Free anniversary night can be very valuable
- Automatic elite status with Premier version
- Strong bonus point earning on IHG stays
- No foreign transaction fees are convenient
- Other cards offer higher bonuses and better travel perks
- You need to stay at IHG frequently to maximize value
- High annual fee on Premier card
The IHG Premier card is best for frequent IHG guests who want automatic elite status and an unrestricted free night. Occasional IHG visitors can benefit from the Traveler card’s lower fee and solid earning rates.
IHG’s UK credit cards can provide nice perks and rewards if you stay at Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and other IHG properties often. The free night reward and bonus point earning help offset the annual fee, especially on the Premier version.
Just be sure to evaluate your travel habits, credit score, and ongoing IHG spending before applying. For some, a different hotel or airline card may be a better fit overall. But frequent IHG guests should find excellent ongoing value from carrying one of these cards.
IHG Credit Card FAQs
What is the IHG Premier Credit Card?
The IHG Premier Credit Card is one of IHG’s two credit cards available in the UK. It has a £99 annual fee and offers top benefits like a free anniversary night, automatic Platinum Elite status, and 5x points on IHG purchases.
What is the signup bonus for the IHG Credit card?
Currently, the IHG Premier card has a signup bonus of 80,000 points when you spend £2,000 in the first 3 months. This is worth around £400 in hotel redemptions.
Does the IHG Premier card offer airport lounge access?
No, the IHG Premier card does not offer complimentary airport lounge access. Lounge access is not one of the key benefits of this hotel credit card.
What is the minimum credit score needed for approval?
You’ll need good to excellent credit – generally a minimum score of 700+ – for the best approval odds for the IHG Premier card. Lower scores may still be approved but aren’t ideal.
What are some other top UK hotel credit cards?
Some other excellent UK hotel cards include the British Airways Premium Plus Card for frequent Avios travelers, the Hilton Honors card with a free weekend night reward, and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card with Gold Elite status.
Faizan Ahmad is a financial analyst and writer who specializes in investments, banking, and corporate finance. He has over 7 years of experience working in the finance industry in various roles.
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