Is the IHG One Rewards Premier card worth the annual fee?

Every year, it’s important to evaluate the contents of your wallet and decide which credit cards are worth keeping. This decision should typically be made before the next annual fee is due. When considering whether to keep a card, it’s crucial to assess the annual fee cost and the value you’re receiving from the card. Remember, even if a card has a lower annual fee, it doesn’t automatically mean it’s worth keeping. In this article, we will specifically evaluate the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card and determine whether it’s worth a place in your wallet.

One of the key factors to consider when evaluating a credit card is the welcome offer. New applicants for the IHG Premier card can earn 165,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on qualifying purchases within the first three months of account opening. The Points Guy (TPG) values this bonus at $825. It’s important to note that you won’t be eligible for this bonus if you currently have a personal IHG credit card or if you’ve received a welcome bonus on any IHG personal credit card in the past 24 months.

The IHG Premier card allows you to redeem your points for luxury stays at hotels like the InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort or budget-friendly properties like the Holiday Inn Agra, where you can visit the Taj Mahal. The number of points required per night varies based on the hotel. The annual fee for this card is $99.

On each account anniversary, cardholders receive a free night award worth up to 40,000 points, valid for bookings with IHG One Rewards. If you wish to redeem it for a hotel that costs more, you can also purchase additional points. This benefit alone could justify the card’s annual fee of $99, as it can be used for $200 in value without much effort.

Additionally, the IHG Premier card offers $50 in United TravelBank credits. These credits are provided in January and July, and can be used to purchase flights operated by United and United Express. While these funds can reduce your out-of-pocket costs when buying cash fares, they do have limitations. For example, they cannot be used to pay taxes and fees on award travel, and they cannot be combined with vouchers from canceled flights. In-flight purchases are also excluded from using these funds.

Another valuable perk of the IHG Premier card is complimentary Platinum Elite status with IHG One Rewards. This is the second-highest tier in the IHG loyalty program and comes with benefits such as complimentary upgrades at check-in (based on availability), guaranteed room availability, a welcome amenity of snacks or drinks, early check-in, use of a priority check-in desk, and earning 16 points per dollar on paid stays. TPG values Platinum Elite status at $1,290 per year.

Cardholders also have access to the “fourth night free” benefit when redeeming points for award stays with IHG. This means that when using points to cover a stay of four nights or more, the fourth night is free. The value of this benefit will vary depending on how often you use it and the price of the hotels where you use it.

In terms of earning points, the IHG Premier card offers 16 points per dollar on paid stays at IHG hotels (thanks to Platinum Elite status), 10 points per dollar at IHG when paying with the card, 5 points per dollar on travel, hotels, gas stations, and dining, and 3 points per dollar on other purchases. These earning rates translate to a 5%, 2.5%, and 1.5% return on spending, respectively, based on TPG’s valuations.

Other notable benefits of the IHG Premier card include reimbursement (once every four years) for your application fee to Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or Nexus, a 20% discount on points purchases, a $100 statement credit and 10,000 bonus points after spending $20,000 on purchases in a calendar year, and valuable travel and shopping protections.

In conclusion, if you can utilize the perks of the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card for average value or better, it should be easy to justify the $99 annual fee and keep the card in your wallet. However, if your IHG stays are infrequent and you don’t take advantage of the cardholder benefits that come with the IHG Premier card, then the annual fee may not be worth it for you. It’s essential to evaluate your spending habits and travel preferences before deciding whether to keep this card.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *