IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card review: No annual fee and up to 15 points on IHG® stays
IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card
CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons
- This is a solid choice for those loyal to the IHG® brand with up to 15 points earned on IHG® stays, plus 2 points earned per dollar spent at grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurants, and 1 point on all other purchases.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
- Enjoy cell phone insurance, up to $600 per claim and $1,000 per year if your phone is damaged or stolen, as long as you pay your monthly cell phone bill with the card.
- If you aren't a fan of IHG® hotels or are loyal to a different brand of properties, you may not find the rewards from this card to be very valuable.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Card Rewards
- IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Card Travel Benefits
- IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Card Foreign Transaction Fees
- Potential Downsides of the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Card
- How the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Card Compares to Other Cards
- Is the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Card a Good Card?
The InterContinental Hotel Group - better known as IHG® - is a popular choice for travelers of all kinds. The company's extensive portfolio includes family-friendly Holiday Inns, boutique Kimpton Hotels and Crowne Plaza properties that cater to businessmen and women.
With the no annual fee IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card it's easy to earn points that can be redeemed for Rewards Nights at these and other IHG® brand hotels. To get you started, the card offers 60,000 bonus points for spending $2,000 within three months of opening an account. With as little as 10,000 points you can redeem your first Reward Night, meaning, this bonus alone has the potential to get you several nights in your favorite hotel. Points can also be used for gift cards, airline miles, and more.
On an ongoing basis points are awarded based on the type of purchase:
- Up to 15 points per dollar spent at IHG® properties worldwide
- 2 points per dollar spent at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- 1 point per dollar for all other purchases
Plus, the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Card offers other valuable benefits. These include purchase protection that covers new purchases for 120 days against damage and theft, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account, and extended warranty protection that adds a year to U.S. manufacturer warranties of three years or less.
Notably, the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Card is one of relatively few credit cards that also offers cell phone protection. The card will pay up $600 per claim and $1,000 per year if your phone is damaged or stolen. To get this benefit, the phone must be listed on a monthly cell phone bill that you pay with your IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Card. There is also a $50 deductible for each claim and a maximum of two claims allowed in a 12-month period.
While the benefits listed above make the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card an attractive choice, it really shines when it comes to its travel benefits. Cardholders get both IHG® specific benefits and general travel perks.
First, let's take a look at the IHG® rewards offered by the card:
- Free fourth reward night: Your fourth night is free when you redeem points for a stay of four or more nights.
- Gold Elite Status: You'll earn Gold Elite Status after spending $10,000 on your card in a calendar year. Gold Elite benefits include bonus point earnings, extended checkout and complimentary internet among other perks.
- Save 20% on points purchases: If you buy points with your card, you'll save 20%.
The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Card also offers a long list of other travel benefits, including:
- Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance
- Travel accident insurance
- Travel and emergency assistance services
- Lost luggage reimbursement
- Baggage delay insurance
- Auto rental collision damage waiver
One great feature of this card is that it doesn't charge foreign transaction fees. This has the potential to save hundreds of dollars each year, particularly for frequent business travelers or jetsetting families.
Many other cards charge a 3% fee on purchases made in a foreign currency, and these fees typically aren't capped. That means charging $100 to your card overseas would result in a $3 fee, spending $1,000 would incur a $30 fee and $10,000 in foreign transactions would tack on an additional $300 in fees.
However, with the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card, you can spend in other countries without worrying about a surprise bill when you get home. Even more impressive is that the Rewards Club Traveler Card has no annual fee, something charged by many other cards offering no foreign transaction fees.
With no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees and a generous benefits package, the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card is a solid option for frequent travelers; however, if you aren't a fan of IHG® hotels or are loyal to a different brand of properties, you may not find the rewards from this card to be very valuable.
If you want more flexibility with how you use your travel rewards, you might do better with a more general travel rewards credit card, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card, compared below.
IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Card vs. IHG® Rewards Club Premier Card
If you regularly stay at IHG® hotels, you'll likely want one of these cards. Which one you choose depends on the level of benefits you want.
The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Card is an entry-level card that doesn't charge an annual fee, but you'll pay $89 a year for the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. For that fee, you'll get access to rewards that exceed what comes with the Traveler Card.
For instance, the welcome bonus for the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Card currently offers 125,000 bonus points and a reward night after spending $3,000 in the first three months of opening an account. That's substantially more than the 60,000 points offered by the Traveler Card to cardholders who spend $2,000 within three months.
Plus, the Premier Card earns up to 25 points per dollar spent at IHG® properties, compared to the up to 15 points earned by the Traveler Card. It earns the same on gas station, grocery, and restaurant purchases though – two points – and then one point on all other purchases.
Other added benefits with the Premier Card include automatic Platinum Elite Status, an anniversary night, a $100 credit every four years for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® and more.
You won't pay foreign transaction fees with either card, and their redemption options are the same. That means if you're deciding between the two cards, the main consideration will be whether you think the added benefits of the IHG® Rewards Premier Card are worth the $89 annual fee.
IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Both the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cater to travelers. However, while the Rewards Club Traveler Card offers perks specifically for IHG® properties, Chase Sapphire Preferred® provides more general travel benefits.
Chase customers receive 80,000 points when spending $4,000 within three months of opening their account. Those points are worth approximately $1,000 in travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program. Points can also be transferred to a number of airline and hotel partners, including the IHG® Rewards Club. Additionally, new cardholders can earn up to $50 in statement credit toward grocery store purchases within the first year of account opening.
Travel and dining purchases made with Chase Sapphire Preferred® earn two points per dollar spent. All other purchases earn one point per dollar. The card doesn't charge foreign transaction fees and offers a number of purchase and travel protections. However, you will pay a $95 annual fee to have the card.
Since the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Card doesn't charge an annual fee, it may be a better choice for those who stay at IHG® properties frequently. However, if you want rewards that can be used with a variety of travel providers, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a good option.
IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Card vs. Hilton Honors American Express Card
The Hilton Honors American Express Card is an entry-level co-branded card for Hilton Hotels. Like the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Card, it doesn't charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fees. It also provides complimentary Silver Status and a free fifth night when redeeming points for five nights or more.
In terms of earnings potential, the Hilton Honors American Express Card offers seven points per dollar spent directly at a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio; five points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S gas stations; and three points for all other eligible purchases. The card also offers the opportunity to earn 80,000 bonus points when $1,000 in purchases are made within three months of opening an account.
The Hilton Honors American Express doesn't have the same comprehensive travel benefits as the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Card, but it does offer a global assist hotline and car rental loss and damage insurance.
With both cards offering solid benefits and minimal fees, your choice of card depends largely on which hotel chain you prefer.
Yes, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, it's hard not to like the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card if you're loyal to the IHG® brand. While it may not offer much benefit to someone who never stays at IHG® properties, it really is a solid choice for someone who prefers IHG® stays.
See Rates and Fees for the Hilton Honors American Express Card