Full Offer Analysis of the IHG Rewards Club Credit Card. What’s It Worth?

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The Chase IHG Rewards Club Select comes with 80,000 IHG points after spending $1,000 in the first three months. That’s its highest sign up bonus ever.

The card also comes with a free night certificate every anniversary, a 10% rebate on the IHG points you redeem, and automatic Platinum Status.

What’s all that worth?

Quick Facts

  • Sign Up Bonus: 80,000 IHG points after spending $1,000 in the first three months
  • Category Bonuses: 5 points per dollar spent at IHG properties; 2 points per dollar spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants
  • Cardmember Anniversary Bonus: Free night at any IHG property
  • Elite Status: IHG Platinum status 
  • 10% rebate on IHG points you redeem each year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $49, waived the first year
  • Eligibility: Not subject to Chase 5/24 rule

Value of Points

IHG points are good for booking stays at all of the following brands:

  • InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
  • Crowne Plaza
  • Hotel Indigo
  • Holiday Inn
  • Holiday Inn Express
  • Holiday Inn Resort
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations
  • Staybridge Suites
  • Candlewood Suites
  • EVEN Hotels
  • HUALUXE Hotels & Resorts

Check out Travel is Free’s list of cheap redemptions for inspiration of where to stretch your sign up bonus. The list includes other major chains as well, so it is useful to bookmark.

Holiday Inn Porto - Gaia (Portugal)
Holiday Inn Porto – Gaia (Portugal): 10k points a night

IHG PointBreaks

Perhaps the best use of IHG points is for their rooms they put on sale for only 5,000 points a night called PointBreaks.

IHG Rewards Club normally charges 10,000 to 60,000 points for a free night depending on the property. But every few months, IHG Rewards Club releases a list of a select few hotels where you can stay for 5,000 points per night. That’s a 90%+ discount on some hotels!

The current list of PointBreaks hotels is good for stays through July 31, 2017, and a new list should be coming out in the next few weeks.

On PointBreaks, I can get over one cent of value per point, but those have such limited capacity, that I will conservatively value IHG Points at 0.6 cents each. That makes 80,000 points bonus worth $480. That’s a solid bonus, though not one of the largest.

First floor rooms at the Holiday Inn Phuket Mai Khao Beach Resort have balconies that turn into infinity pools
First floor rooms at the Holiday Inn Phuket Mai Khao Beach Resort have balconies that turn into infinity pools: 15k points a night

Category Bonuses

Every dollar you spend at an IHG hotel earns 5 IHG points. Every dollar you spend at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants earns 2 IHG points. All other purchases earn 1 point.

The category bonuses are not exciting when you value IHG points at 0.6 cents. That makes the return at IHG hotels only 3%. You can do a lot better at hotels with several cards including the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and Citi Prestige.

Unfortunately I’ll assign a value of $0 to the category bonuses.

Status

For as long as you have this card open, you’ll have IHG Platinum status. That entails everything outlined in the Platinum Elite column:

I particularly value late check out. Platinums can get late checkout until 2 PM if the hotel allows it–no guarantees. That’s kind of like the “Guaranteed Room Availability.” Hotels have to give you a room if you try to book at least 72 hours in advance, except during special events with high demand, which the hotel gets to define, effectively neutering the guarantee.

I think Platinum comes down to the 50% bonus on points earned on the hotel stay and the slightly better treatment you’ll get at the front desk when checking in (maybe a room with a better view) and asking for a late check out (probably until 2 PM.)

The value of these benefits depends on how many stays you make at IHG properties and how many are paid stays (for the 50% bonus on points earned.) I’ll peg the benefits at about $5 per award stay and assume you’ll stay five award nights in a year for a $25 value.

Rebate on Points

You’ll get 10% of the points you redeem each year refunded, up to the 100,000 points cap.

A reader pointed out that thanks to this rebate, plus a gift for being a cardholder/member and staying at IHG, you’ll pay just 4k IHG points for a PointBreaks room.

I’ll assume you’ll use all 80,000 points in the first year and have 8,000 rebated. That’s another $48 worth of points at the value of 0.6 cents per point established earlier.

Free Night Every Year

This is possibly the single most valuable benefit of the card and what makes it worth keeping year after year. Every year following your cardmember anniversary (note, not when you get the card, but there’s also no annual fee the first year), you will receive a Free Night certificate to redeem at absolutely any IHG property of your choosing. The annual fee is $49, but there are IHG hotels that cost over to $500 a night. It’s more common for them to cost $100 to $300 a night, but either way, you’re winning.

Here are some fantastic properties you may want to consider using your Free Night certificate on:

Or if you want tropical, the InterContinental Resort & Spa Moorea is a great option in Bora Bora.

Read this post from milecards.com that details how to go about redeeming the certificate.

I’ll value this certificate conservatively at $150.

Total Value

In the first year, you get the sign up bonus I value at $480, the points rebate I value at $48, and the Platinum status I value at $25. That’s $553 in value for no annual fee.

In subsequent years, you get the free night certificate I value at $150, a points rebate of presumably fewer points that I’ll value at $12, and Platinum status worth $25 for an annual fee of $49. That’s a net of $138, which–since it’s greater than zero–means you should keep the card indefinitely.

Eligibility

IHG Rewards Club Select is not subject to the Chase 5/24 rule, meaning that even if you opened five cards or more in the last 24 months, you can still get approved for this card.

Fees

The card charges no foreign transaction fees and waives the $49 annual fee the first year you hold the card.

Bottom Line

The $553 of value in the first year is good, but there are other cards that offer more. However maybe you aren’t eligible for those cards because of “Chase 5/24,” and you are for this one.

The $138 in ongoing value per year is great. Anything more than zero means you should keep the card indefinitely. This card is a keeper as long as you can use that free night certificate pretty much anywhere, and a huge win if you use it somewhere nice.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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14 COMMENTS

        • I called Chase ..NO u can’t have TWO $49 cards @ same time and I got the bonus like 3 years ago . SOoo I will get this years annual Free night then CANCEL card then wait 2 years + ??? then reapply .
          She said IHG has another card but can’t find it ..
          CHEERs

  1. At $150, you undervalue the free-night certificate. Over the years, we’ve used our certs at The Willard (value $465), InterContinental Le Grand Paris (value $523) and this year InterContinental New York (value $695). The challenge has always been to get great value out of this certificate.

    • 100K points? Yes — Sweet? Maybe not!

      The 100K points offer reads:
      “Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.”

      The orginal offer is 80K points for $1k in spending. This means you only get an additional 20K points for DOUBLE the spend. Probably not the best use of the additional $1k spend, if you have other CCs you still have minimum spends to meet. If not, then 20K points for the additional spend is like a freebee.

  2. Arent you better off cancelling the card after the first year and then getting it again 3-6 months later?
    Will you not get the sign up awards if you do that?
    Great stuff on your website. Thanks for your hard work

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