IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card review: No annual fee and up to 17 points on IHG® stays

A solid choice for those loyal to the IHG® brand with up to 17 points earned on IHG® stays, no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, a generous welcome bonus, and more.
By Jennifer Doss  CardRatings Editor  | Updated

IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card

IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card
Our Rating:   
Good/Excellent
on Chase's secure website

CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons

  • This is a solid choice for those loyal to the IHG® brand with up to 17 points earned on IHG® stays, plus three points earned per $1 spent on monthly bills and at gas stations and restaurants, and 2 points on all other purchases.
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
  • Redeem rewards for three nights and get your fourth night free.
  • 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.
Terms and Limitations Apply.

IHG® REWARDS TRAVELER CARD REWARDS

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 CardName 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 80,000 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 17 points per $1 spent at IHG® properties worldwide
  • 3 points per $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants as well as on monthly bills
  • 2 points per $1 for all other purchases

Plus, the IHG® Rewards 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.

IHG® REWARDS TRAVELER CARD TRAVEL BENEFITS

While the benefits listed above make the CardName 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 three or more nights.
  • Gold Elite Status: You'll earn Gold Elite Status after spending $20,000 on your card in a calendar year. Gold Elite benefits include bonus point earnings, extended checkout and complimentary internet among other perks.
  • The IHG® Rewards 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

    IHG® REWARDS TRAVELER CARD FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEES

    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 CardName, you can spend in other countries without worrying about a surprise bill when you get home. Even more impressive is that the Rewards Traveler Card has no annual fee, something charged by many other cards offering no foreign transaction fees.

    POTENTIAL DOWNSIDES OF THE IHG® REWARDS TRAVELER CARD

    With no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees and a generous benefits package, the CardName 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.

    HOW THE IHG® REWARDS TRAVELER CARD COMPARES TO OTHER CREDIT CARDS

    IHG® Rewards Traveler Card vs. IHG® Rewards Premier Card

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    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 Traveler Card is an entry-level card that doesn't charge an annual fee, but you'll pay AnnualFees a year for the CardName. 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 Premier Card currently offers 140,000 bonus points and a free night after spending $3,000 in the first three months of opening an account. That's obviously more than the 80,000 points offered by the Traveler Card to cardholders who spend $2,000 within three months.

    Plus, the Premier Card earns up to 26 points per $1 spent at IHG® properties, compared to the up to 17 points earned by the Traveler Card. It also earns 5x points on travel, gas station and restaurant purchases and three points 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, TSA PreCheck or Nexus application fees 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 AnnualFees annual fee.

    IHG® Rewards Traveler Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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    Both the IHG® Rewards Traveler Card and the CardName cater to travelers. However, while the Rewards Traveler Card offers perks specifically for IHG® properties, Chase Sapphire Preferred® provides more general travel benefits.

    Sapphire Preferred® cardholders earn 60,000 points when spending $4,000 within three months of opening their account. Those points are worth up to $750 in travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program. Points can also be transferred to a number of airline and hotel partners, including to IHG® Rewards.

    On an ongoing basis, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card offers 5X total points on all travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal; 3X points on dining, including eligible delivery services and takeout; 3X points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs); 3X points on select streaming services; 2X points on travel purchases; and 1X point on all other purchases. The card doesn't charge foreign transaction fees and offers a number of purchase and travel protections. However, you will pay a AnnualFees annual fee to have the card.

    Since the IHG® Rewards 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 Traveler Card vs. Hilton Honors American Express Card

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    The CardName is an entry-level co-branded card for Hilton Hotels. Like the IHG® Rewards 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 $1 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. New cardholders can also earn 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership.

    With both cards offering solid benefits and minimal fees, your choice of card depends largely on which hotel chain you prefer.

    IS IHG® REWARDS TRAVELER A GOOD CARD?

    Yes, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, it's hard not to like the CardName 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; terms apply for the CardName

Disclaimer: The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.

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