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IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card Review: 80,000 Bonus Points for New Cardholders in December

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The IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card comes packed with benefits and offers a bonus of 80,000 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 hotel credit card with no annual fee.

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $0
Bonus: 80,000 Points
APR: Variable APR
Rewards Rate: 1X-17X Points
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $0

APR: Variable APR depending on credit worthiness.

Rewards Rate: This hotel credit card awards up to 17X points per dollar at IHG Hotels, 3X points at monthly bills, gas stations, and restaurants, and 2X points on all other purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: New cardholders earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? People who want to dip their toes in hotel rewards without committing to a card with an annual fee.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card

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 Traveler Credit Card — which has no annual fee, by the way — offers you a chance to earn some decent rewards.

Aside from its generous sign-up bonus, the IHG Rewards Traveler card offers tons of value, including redeeming points for all IHG properties including InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Kimpton, EVEN Hotels, Indigo Hotels and Holiday Inn.

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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 monthly bills, gas stations, 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 IHG Rewards Traveler Card to see whether you can maximize its benefits.

IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card Bonus

Right now, new cardholders can earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening.

The IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card spending requirement is pretty low compared to other types of co-branded hotel cards and even general rewards cards.

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.

Rewards Rate

The IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card comes with excellent earning potential, especially for a no-fee credit card. Like its premium companion card, the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card, this card earns points two ways on stays at IHG resorts.

When combining this card with the IHG Rewards’ base points earnings (and why not?) you’re earning a staggering 17x points per dollar on hotel stays. Not too bad for a card you don’t have to pay an annual fee for.

Here’s how this combination breaks down:

  • 5X points per dollar spent at IHG Hotels & Resorts using your IHG Rewards Traveler card.
  • Up to 10X points for being an IHG Rewards member
  • Up to 2X points for being an IHG Silver Elite member—a perk of the card

Additionally, IHG Rewards Traveler cardholders earn points on several other spending categories. You can earn:

  • 3x points per dollar spent on monthly bills, gas stations, and restaurants
  • 2x points per dollar spent on all other purchases

Benefits

Here’s a quick look at some of the best benefits you get with your IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card. See below for a comparison between the IHG Rewards 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 IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card, but you do get some, like the ability to maximize the points you use.

Cardmembers also have access to occasionally exclusive dining, sports and entertainment events and experiences.

APR and Fees

As mentioned earlier, IHG Rewards 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.

Annual feeNo
Balance transfer feeYes
Foreign transaction feesNo
Cash advance feesYes
Late payment feesYes
Returned payment feesYes

You can avoid costly interest charges by paying off your IHG Traveler Card balance in full each month by the due date.

Annual Fee

There is no annual fee attached to the IHG Rewards 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.

APR

There is no introductory 0% APR offer for purchases or balance transfers with the IHG Rewards 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 Traveler Credit Card comes with variable APR based on creditworthiness.

Credit Score

It’s rare to find a credit card issuer that lists credit score requirements to qualify for a credit card. Regardless, the IHG Rewards 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.

Redeeming IHG Rewards Points

There’s a world of redemption options available through IHG Rewards, 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 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
  • Voco

With properties around the globe, IHG Rewards Traveler cardholders can use their IHG Rewards points to stay almost anywhere in the world.

IHG Rewards Points Expiration

Unfortunately, IHG Rewards 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.

Silver Elite Status

You automatically qualify for IHG Rewards Silver Elite status as long as you’re an IHG Rewards Traveler cardmember and your IHG Rewards membership account remains in good standing. While this isn’t the most valuable membership status you can earn as an IHG cardmember (the IHG Rewards Premier card offers Platinum Elite status) it still gets you access to several helpful perks uncommon to cards with no annual fee.

Some of the features that come with Silver Elite status include complimentary internet, late checkout, 20% earning bonus on top of base points and, perhaps most valuable of all, your points won’t expire so long as you retain Silver Elite status or higher.

Compare IHG Credit Cards

The IHG Rewards Traveler Card is not the only co-branded IHG card available from Chase. There is also the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card.

The main difference between these cards is that the Traveler Card has no annual fee. Also, the sign-up bonus is smaller.

The Traveler Credit Card is also missing other valuable perks featured with the Rewards Premier Credit Card, including:

  • Free anniversary night
  • Elevated Platinum Elite status for hotel stays (more valuable than Silver Elite status)
  • Global Entry, NEXUS or TSA Pre✓ credit

With the Traveler Card, you’ll earn less for IHG stays too, maxing out at 17X per dollar spent on resort stays.

The Traveler Card and the Premier Card have different rewards rates too. However, both offer elevated rewards for spending categories like IHG hotel stays, gas and restaurant purchases.

Premier Card Versus Traveler Card

There are many similarities between the IHG Rewards Premier Card and the IHG Rewards 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.

 Traveler CardPremier Card
Annual Fee$0$99
IHG Hotels Rewards17X per dollar26X per dollar
Gas Stations and Restaurants3X per dollar5X per dollar
Monthly Bills3X per dollar
Travel5X per dollar
Other Spending2X per dollar3X per dollar
Platinum Elite StatusYes
Silver Elite StatusYes
Anniversary NightYes††
Global Entry/NEXUS/TSA Pre✓Yes*
Foreign Transaction FeesNoNo

† After meeting eligible spending requirement during the first three months of account opening.†† 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.

IHG 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 generous 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.

Is the IHG Traveler the Right Hotel Card for You?

The Rewards 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 are located, 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 monthly bills, 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 Premier Credit Card is $99, and you get 26x points per dollar on IHG hotel purchases. Plus, you get a free anniversary night and a credit for your Global Entry, NEXUS or TSA Pre✓ 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 $99 annual fee, then you’ll want to stick with the Rewards 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do the bonus points from your IHG credit card expire?

Yes, all IHG points expire after 12 months when there is no account activity, regardless of how points were earned. However, you can extend the life of your point balance by either redeeming or earning points once per year. Qualifying earn activities include staying at an IHG property, making purchases with your IHG credit card, and earning points via promotional offers. If you choose to close your IHG card, transfer your point balance to your IHG Rewards account. Otherwise, you may lose them. Read the reward program terms of agreement to see other instances where you might lose your points due to misuse.

Can you add an authorized user to an IHG credit card?

Yes, you can add authorized users and get complimentary credit cards for friends and family. Adding authorized users to your account is a common way to maximize point earning for hotel rewards stays. To add a user, simply login to your account dashboard, select the “add account” menu option, and then follow the prompts.

Do IHG credit cards have foreign transaction fees?

No. Neither of the IHG credit cards charge foreign transaction fees.

How much is 10,000 IHG points worth?

Generally, an IHG point is worth around 0.4 cents each, making 10,000 IHG points worth roughly $40. Yet redemption value varies depending on the property, season, and location. Rewards stays can begin at around 10,000 points for IHG’s budget properties — expanding the value of 10,000 points to a couple hundred dollars when redeemed.

While we work hard on our research, we do not always provide a complete listing of all available offers from credit-card companies and banks. And because offers can change, we cannot guarantee that our information will always be up to date, so we encourage you to verify all the terms and conditions of any financial product before you apply.

Sarah Li Cain
Sarah Li Cain
Sarah Li Cain is a finance and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in places like Bankrate, Business Insider, Redbook, Endless Vacation, LendingTree and Financial Planning Association. She's also the host of Beyond The Dollar, where her and her guests have deep and honest conversations on how money affects your well being. As a lifelong traveler who has lived in five countries so far, she's obsessed with finding the best deals all over the world. In her spare time she likes to garden, practice yoga and hang out with her family.

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