You’ll get great rewards with the IHG® Rewards Club Select Card in exchange for your undying loyalty. Stay at one of the Intercontinental Hotel Group’s properties, which include the Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Hotel Indigo, and you’ll earn 5 points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG hotels. The sign-up bonus is a pretty good deal, too. Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months – a better offer than comparable cards that usually require $2,000-$3,000 in initial purchases to get the same number of points.
IHG® Rewards Club Select Card’s best features:
Let’s start with the basics: 5 points for every dollar spent is a standard rewards credit card offer for most hotels. Competitors like Starwood and Marriott have similar points structures. Same goes for the annual free night in one of IHG®’s hotels. These incentives are the price of admission for any hotel that wants to be competitive in the credit card market.
However, two things differentiate the IHG® Rewards Club Select Card: its rebate program and Platinum Elite Status.
IHG® gives cardholders a 10% rebate on point redemptions. Cash in 50,000 points, for example, and you’ll get 5,000 back. Cardholders can do this for up to 100,000 points in a calendar year (unlimited would be great, but IHG® can’t give away the whole farm).
The IHG® Rewards Club Select Card also gives customers Platinum Elite Status when they sign up and for as long as they remain a credit card member. Typically, you’d have to stay at qualifying hotels a minimum of 40 nights a year to get this status — which is only feasible for perpetually jetlagged business travelers. Some of the perks of platinum include extended check-out, no blackout dates on reward nights, complimentary room upgrades and guaranteed room availability. But the best perk is 50% bonus earnings on top of your base points. Combine this offer with 5 points for every dollar spent at IHG® hotels, and you can quickly accumulate nearly 2,000 points with just one $250-a-night stay at the Intercontinental.
The biggest rewards with this card come when you stay at IHG® hotels. For everything else, the rewards rate is on the low side: two points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants and one point for every $1 spent on all other purchases is comparable to other rewards cards, but at an average of .7 cents for each point, you’d do better using another rewards cards that offer at least one cent a point for everyday purchases.
The annual fee of $49 is lower than competitors, who charge upwards of $95 a year after the introductory period. With the less than one-cent per point rate, you’d need to spend at least $600 a month to offset the fee — not easy if don’t stay at IHG® hotels on a monthly basis to take advantage of the higher rewards offer.
IHG® Rewards Club Select Card vs. Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
The IHG® Rewards Club Select Card has a great signup offer through which you can earn 60,000 Bonus Points. Both cards charge $0 in foreign transaction fees and waive the annual fee for the first year. However, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express has a higher annual fee at $95. Because of its points transfer program, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express probably is the better option for serious travelers. Cardholders can redeem Starpoints® for free flights on more than 150 airlines, including Delta and other major carriers. You also get 5,000 bonus points when you transfer 20,000 points to one of nearly 30 participating frequent flyer programs.
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card vs. Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Toe-to-toe, these cards stack up pretty evenly with both offering an annual free night stay and five times points for every dollar spent within their respective brands.
The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card, though, is offering 80,000 bonus points after new cardholders spend $3,000 within the first three months of opening an account – a higer spending cap than with the IHG® Rewards Club Select Card. It also offers you 2,500 bonus points more than the IHG® Reward Club Select Credit Card when you add on an authorized user and make a purchase in the first three months (7,500 points with the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card vs. 5,000 points with the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card).
The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card does have a steep $85 annual fee as compared to the $49 annual fee (waived the first year) for the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card. You’ll want to consider which brand has earned your loyalty and make your choice, in large part, based on that.
Loyal customers of IHG® and business travelers who only stay at its hotels every time they travel should definitely consider this card. The perks that come with Platinum Elite Status, rebates, the annual free hotel night and the IHG® PointsBreak program— which lets you purchase rewards nights for only 5,000 points per night — will entice consumers who are looking for a hotel they can call a home away from home.