Whether you’re a family looking for some free hotel nights while making your annual road trip or you’re a loyal customer of the IHG hotel brand, the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card — which has no annual fee, by the way — offers you a chance to earn some decent rewards.
IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card comes packed with benefits and offers a bonus of 60,000 points for new cardholders who spend $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. That’s an incredible value, especially for a no-fee credit card.
In addition to accelerated earnings for stays at IHG hotels and resorts (as is the case with pretty much all co-branded credit cards), you can earn more points if you use it for grocery store, gas station, dining and other purchases. In other words, brand loyalists may find it’s the perfect fit for them since you can earn points through everyday purchases.
That’s not to say there aren’t better cards out there. Before signing up for a new card, let’s take a look at the Rewards Club Traveler Card to see whether you can maximize its benefits.
IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card Bonus
Right now, new cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening. The Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card spending requirement is pretty low compared to other types of co-branded and even general rewards cards.
The Rewards Club Traveler Card bonus offer can be easily worth up to $150, with hotel stays starting at 10,000 points per reward night at their lower-tiered hotels. These bonus points may help you get reward nights at IHG’s top-tiered hotels (aka the 15,000 point redemption options, some of which may include InterContinental hotels) if you book a four-night stay.
Chase gives you a chance to earn additional bonus points by referring people for an IHG credit card. Right now, you’ll earn 10,000 bonus points for each friend you refer who is approved for the card, up to 50,000 points per calendar. Referral programs are an excellent way to boost your points while sharing valuable travel rewards with your family and friends.
The IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card comes with excellent earning potential, especially for a no-fee credit card. Like its premium companion card, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, this card earns points two ways on stays at IHG resorts.
When combining this card with the IHG Rewards Club’s base points earnings (and why not?) you’re earning a staggering 15x points per dolls on hotel stays. Not too bad for a card you don’t have to pay an annual fee for.
Here’s a breakdown of what you earn with spending with your Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card:
- 5x points per dollar spent on hotel stays at IHG hotels and resorts
- 2x points per dollar spent at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- 1x points per dollar spent on all other purchases
You also earn 10x base points with hotel stays for being an IHG® Rewards Club member. That’s 15x points earned at over 5,200 IHG hotels worldwide, including Intercontinental, Kimpton and the 15 other brands that make up the IHG family of resorts. See below for a list of all IHG holdings.
Unlike IHG Rewards Club Premier, the Traveler doesn’t come with automatic status at IHG hotels. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with tons of valuable perks. Here’s a quick look at some of the best benefits you get with your Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card. See below for a comparison between the IHG Premier Card and the IHG Traveler Card.
Travel and Hotel Benefits
Keep in mind you’re not going to get a whole lot of luxury benefits with Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card, but you do get some, like the ability to maximize the points you use.
|Fourth Reward Night||When you book a rewards stay with IHG of four consecutive nights or more, the fourth reward night is free.|
|Points Discount||If you haven’t earned enough points to cover a rewards stay, you can just purchase points. Your IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card gets you 20% off IHG points purchases.|
|Gold Elite Status||Status isn’t automatic, but you can earn Gold Elite Status after spending $10,000 on purchases with your card in a calendar year. Gold Elite Status gets you extra perks like no blackout dates for rewards nights, a 10% bonus on base points earned, extended check-out, free internet and more.|
|No Foreign Transaction Fees||Pay no fees on international purchases.|
Cardmembers also have access to occasionally exclusive dining, sports and entertainment events and experiences.
The Rewards Club Traveler Card doesn’t charge an annual fee and comes with a variable APR, depending on your creditworthiness. There are multiple ways to redeem points such as using them for stays at IHG hotels, car rentals, plane tickets and more. However, you’ll most likely get the most value by redeeming points for hotel stays.
With properties in over 5,900 locations — not as much as larger hotel chains like Hilton or Marriott — there are hotels in most places you’ll want to visit. There are also ones ranging from mid-level properties to luxury resorts, like the InterContinental.
There is no annual fee attached to the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card. Not getting charged a fee to have the credit card is a nice perk and one less expense to account for each year. With other rewards credit cards, you have to balance whether the benefits are worth the fee — not with the Traveler card. The card provides tons of value, and your wallet doesn’t take an extra hit.
There is no introductory 0% APR offer for purchases or balance transfers with the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card. If you want to transfer existing credit card balances and pay off over time, some balance transfer credit cards offer 0% APR for up to 18 months.
The IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card comes with variable APR based on creditworthiness.
It’s rare to find a credit card issuer that lists credit score requirements to qualify for a credit card. Regardless, the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card is designed for people with good to excellent credit scores (670-850).
It’s good practice to know your credit score, especially if you apply for a new credit card soon. You can monitor your credit scores for free and use a free service like Experian Boost™ if you want to increase your credit score.
As mentioned earlier, IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card has no annual fee. This rewards credit card also comes with no foreign transaction fees, making it perfect for use when traveling outside of the U.S. Regardless, you may run into some other fees when using your IHG credit card.
|Balance transfer fee||Yes|
|Foreign transaction fees||No|
|Cash advance fees||Yes|
|Late payment fees||Yes|
|Returned payment fees||Yes|
You can avoid costly interest charges by paying off your IHG Traveler Card balance in full each month by the due date.
Redeeming IHG Rewards Club Points
There’s a world of redemption options available through IHG Rewards Club, but the best value is using points for stays at IHG hotels and resorts. There are over 5,200 IHG properties worldwide with rewards nights available for as little as 10,000 points. You can accelerate your rewards by booking stays using points and cash too.
You can also use your rewards points for a wide range of redemptions. Point values vary based on the redemption. Other redemption options include:
- Online shopping
- Gift cards
- Entertainment digital downloads
- Transfer to one of IHG’s partner airlines
- Access to exclusive experiences and events
- Magazine subscriptions
- Transfer to another IHG Rewards Club member
- Donate to an IHG partner charity
IHG Hotels and Resorts
The IHG brand is home to over 5,200 unique resorts worldwide. They have properties that fit most travel needs, whether you’re looking for economical accommodations for your family, a luxury retreat or long-term stays. Currently, 17 brands make up the IHG family:
- Atwell Suites
- Avid Hotels
- Candlewood Suites
- Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts
- Even Hotels
- Hauluxe Hotels & Resorts
- Holiday Inn
- Holiday Inn Club Vacations
- Holiday Inn Express
- Holiday Inn Resort
- Hotel Indigo
- Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts
- Kimpton Hotels & Resorts
- Regent Hotels & Resorts
- Six Senses Hotels, Resorts & Spas
- Staybridge Suites
With properties around the globe, IHG Rewards Club Traveler cardholders can use their IHG Rewards points to stay almost anywhere in the world.
IHG Rewards Club Points Expiration
Unfortunately, IHG Rewards Club Points can expire if you don’t use them. The good news is you can keep them from expiring by staying at an IHG® hotel or earning or redeeming points once every 12 months. If you reach Gold Elite Status or higher, your IHG points never expire.
Gold Elite Status
For those who spend $10,000 on this card, you can earn Gold Elite Status for your IHG Rewards membership. Some of the features that come with Gold Status include priority check-in, late checkout, 10% earning bonus for hotel stays (basically, 16x points per dollar on stays with IHG) and a welcome amenity.
Discounted Point Purchasing
However, you can save 20% if you buy IHG points with your IHG credit card — perhaps you need some points to be able to redeem the ones you’ve currently got. It usually doesn’t make sense to do so otherwise, but that 20% bonus is pretty nice for when you do need to top up your account to use towards a certain redemption.
As mentioned above, you get the opportunity to earn your fourth reward night for free. Basically, if you’re redeeming points for a four-night stay or more, that fourth night is discounted from your total stay. All you need to do to activate this feature is to book your stay and it’ll be automatically applied.
Compare IHG Cards
The Rewards Club Traveler Card is not the only co-branded IHG card available from Chase. There is also the Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. The main difference between these cards is that the IHG Traveler Card has no annual fee. Also, the sign-up bonus is smaller. Cardmembers only earn 60,000 bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first three months from card opening, which is still a considerable amount of points for a no-fee card.
The Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card is also missing other valuable perks featured with the Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, including a free anniversary night, elevated Platinum Elite Status for hotel stays and the Global Entry / Global Entry / TSA PreCheck credit. You’ll earn less for IHG stays too, maxing out at 15X per dollar spent on resort stays.
Both the Rewards Club Traveler Card and the Rewards Club Premier Credit Card have different rewards rates too. However, they both offer 2x IHG points per dollar spent at select grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants and 1x IHG points per dollar spent on other purchases.
Rewards Club Premier Card Versus Rewards Club Traveler Card?
There are many similarities between the Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and the Rewards Club Traveler Card. But that doesn’t mean they are the same. There are distinct differences that separate these IHG credit cards from each other. Here are ways that these cards differ from each other.
|Rewards Club Traveler Card||Rewards Club Premier Card|
|Sign-Up Bonus||60,000 Points†||125,000 Points and a Rewards Night†|
|Rewards Rate: IHG Hotels||15x Points per Dollar||25x Points per Dollar|
|Rewards Rate: Gas Stations, Grocery Stores and Restaurants||2x Points per Dollar||2x Points per Dollar|
|Rewards Rate: All Spending||1x Points per Dollar||1x Points per Dollar|
|Platinum Elite Status||—||Yes|
|Gold Elite Status||Spend $10,000 in a calendar year‡||—|
|Global Entry/ TSA Pre✓®||—||Yes*|
|Foreign Transaction Fees||No||No|
† After meeting eligible spending requirement during the first three months of account opening. ‡ See offer for details.†† Exclusions apply.* Terms apply.
If you’re a huge IHG fan, you could get both IHG cards. However, since they both earn in the same spending categories, it doesn’t make a ton of sense to go this route.
You can find a more in-depth comparison of the two IHG Rewards credit cards here.
Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
There’s no doubting the value of the IHG Traveler Card. But if you’re looking for flexible travel rewards, you may be better off with another popular Chase rewards card — the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card comes with a huge sign-up bonus offer and access to Chase Ultimate Rewards, one of the most versatile credit card rewards programs. Ultimate Rewards points provide great value, especially when used to book travel within the Ultimate Rewards portal. Redeemable points can also be transferred to a host of third-party airline and hotel travel partner programs, including IHG Rewards Club.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card also offers a complimentary 1-year DashPass from DoorDash (which is a great perk for delivery and takeout), no foreign transaction fees and 5X points per dollar spent on Lyft rideshares (through March 2021). This high-end travel rewards card offers all this value with a reasonable annual fee. Read our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to learn more.
Applying for the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card
The Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card is best for those who are already loyal to the IHG brand or are interested in earning future stays with them in the form of free reward night certificates. It’s probably best for people who intend to travel to where IHG properties reside, a minimum of multiple times per year. That way, they can maximize the amount of points cardholders can earn and unlock other benefits such as the fourth night free. Don’t forget that grocery, gas, restaurant purchases and other purchase also help you earn points.
If you don’t mind paying for an annual fee and want to unlock more luxury benefits, the Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is $89, and you get 25x points per dollar on IHG hotel purchases. Plus, you get a free anniversary night and a credit for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee. Similarly, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card provides some of the greatest value for frequent travelers.
That being said, if you want to stay at IHG properties but not frequently enough to take advantage of all the perks, including offsetting the $89 annual fee, then you’ll want to stick with the Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card.
The card can be a great choice considering it doesn’t have an annual fee. Plus, the lower minimum spending requirement at time of account opening to be eligible for the bonus (and the ability to earn points through everyday purchases) may be more approachable for those just getting started learning how to use rewards cards. Don’t forget the ability to receive a 20% discount for purchasing points if you need it to top up your account to meet a certain rewards redemption.
It’s a given that this card isn’t for everyone. But it doesn’t hurt to at least give the benefits you’ll receive a second look.