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IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card Review

IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card Review

*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated Jan 29, 2020. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card is a solid hotel card with no annual fee that earns points you can redeem for Reward Nights and more.

We’ll highlight why the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card could be a good fit, along with its pros and cons.

If you’re willing to pay an annual fee, however, know that you might get more value from the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card or the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (which lets you transfer points to the IHG Rewards Club).

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card pros

Signup bonus. Earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Generous rewards rate on IHG hotel stays. Earn 15 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Plus, from Aug. 1 through Sept. 30, 2020, eligible cardholders can earn 5 total points per dollar at grocery stores and gas stations on up to $1,500 per month. Note, you will receive an email notifying you if you are eligible to opt in to the limited time offer.

You can redeem these for Reward Nights at more than 5,200 IHG hotels and resorts around the world. Reward Night redemptions start at 10,000 points — or you can book your hotel stay using a combination of points and cash starting at 5,000 points. And when you redeem points for a stay of four or more nights, you’ll get the fourth Reward Night free with this card.

If you want to redeem points for airline miles, you can transfer IHG points to 39 airline partners, although the transfer ratio isn’t very generous (averaging 10,000 IHG points for 2,000 miles).

You can also transfer your points to another IHG Rewards Club member. Other redemption options include merchandise, concerts and sporting events, magazine subscriptions, digital entertainment and donations to charity.

Additional IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card benefits

No foreign transaction fee. This card’s foreign transaction fee is $0, so you can use it when you travel outside the United States without worrying about paying a fee on every purchase that you make.

Save 20% if you purchase points. Purchase points with this card and you’ll get a nice discount. However, we don’t generally recommend purchasing loyalty program points because there are often more cost-efficient ways to earn them.

Earn Gold Elite status when you spend $10,000 on purchases on this card in a calendar year. The benefits of Gold Elite status include 10% bonus earnings on top of base points, priority check-in, and extended checkout where available.

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card cons

Poor points transfer rate. While you can transfer your points to a wide variety of travel partners, the average redemption rate of 10,000 points for 2,000 airline miles isn’t a great deal. If you’re looking to use your rewards for airline tickets, you’d likely be better with a card that offers a 1:1 transfer rate, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, or an airline-specific credit card.

No automatic IHG status. While you can earn Gold Elite status after spending $10,000 in purchases on this card within a calendar year, that’s a pretty hefty lift. By contrast, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers automatic Platinum Elite status (more details below).

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

For IHG loyalists, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card may be a better choice, considering its generous sign-up bonus and benefits, even though it charges an annual fee. Here’s how the two IHG cards stack up against each other:

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
Sign-up bonus Earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Earn 125,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
Rewards Earn 15 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Earn 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
IHG status Earn Gold Elite status when you spend $10,000 on purchases on this card in a calendar year. Get automatic Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a cardholder.
Travel benefits Trip cancellation / trip interruption insurance.
Travel accident insurance.
Travel and emergency assistance services.
Lost luggage reimbursement.
Baggage delay reimbursement.
Auto rental collision damage waiver.
Trip cancellation / trip interruption insurance.
Travel accident insurance.
Travel and emergency assistance services.
Lost luggage reimbursement.
Baggage delay insurance.
Auto rental collision damage waiver.
Credit of up to $100 every four years as reimbursement for the application fee for Global Entry or TSA Precheck.
Other benefits Purchase protection.
Extended warranty protection.
Cellphone protection.
Purchase protection.
Extended warranty protection.
Cellphone protection.
Annual fee $0 $89
Foreign transaction fee $0 $0

Both cards offer a fourth Reward Night free when you redeem points for a stay of four or more nights, though the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card also gives you a free night after each account anniversary year. Both cards also offer solid travel benefits — depending on how frequently you fly, you might like that the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck. Conditions may apply.

Note that the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card comes with automatic Platinum Elite status, whose benefits include 50% bonus earnings on top of base points, complimentary room upgrades and guaranteed room availability — along with the benefits that come with Gold Elite status, like priority check-in and extended checkout.

If you’re a frequent traveler but prefer more flexibility than a card tied to a specific hotel chain, you may want to consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card instead.

  • 60,000 bonus points

  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide

  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel

Highlights
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.

See additional details for Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

More Info

The annual fee is $95 and you can earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. Points can be redeemed for 25% more value when you book travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal, or you can transfer points at a 1:1 value to these partners:

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • World of Hyatt

Is the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card worth it?

If you’re looking for a generous influx of points, fast track to Platinum Elite status, and the ability to rack up more points on IHG stays, you’re probably better off with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. But if you’re looking for a card that earns points at a more modest rate, offers good benefits and charges no annual fee, you might prefer to stick with the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card.

Be aware, though, that both of these cards are issued by Chase and thus fall under the unwritten Chase 5/24 rule — this says that you won’t be approved for any Chase credit card if you’ve been approved for five or more cards from any issuer in the past 24 months.

The information related to the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card has been independently collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.


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