Please Note: Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card are currently unavailable through our site.
With so many co-branded hotel credit cards on the market, it can be difficult to know which loyalty program is for you. However, a quick look at the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card shows that this card is perfect for both the high-end and budget traveler.
Once you sign up and your card arrives in the mail, you’ll earn 5 points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG hotels. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores & restaurants. Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
Those points, in addition to a hefty sign-up bonus, make it easy to score free hotel stays quickly. You’ll also earn Platinum elite status just for getting the card, which could mean access to free room upgrades, special on-site events, and a slew of other unique perks. Here are some additional details to consider:
The Simple Dollar’s Key Takeaways
- Earn points quickly. Earn 5 points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG hotels. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores & restaurants. Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
- Score a huge sign-up bonus. The sign-up bonus is worth up to 6 free nights at certain IHG properties.
- Free night on account anniversary. After your first year, you’ll score a free night at any IHG property worldwide.
- No foreign transaction fees. The IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card doesn’t charge a fee when you make a purchase overseas, which makes it a great card for international travel.
Review: A Perfect Card for the Budget Traveler
IHG stands for InterContinental Hotel Group, a hotel brand that includes a diverse array of properties all over the world. The points you earn with your IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card can be used to score free nights at the following properties:
- Crowne Plaza
- Hotel Indigo
- EVEN Hotels
- Holiday Inn
- Holiday Inn Express
- Holiday Inn Resorts
- Staybridge Suites
- Candlewood Suites
As you can see, the IHG rewards program offers resorts aimed at both the upscale traveler and the busy family. It’s also important to note that you can use your IHG points for stays at all-inclusive properties. Meanwhile, the fact that kids stay and eat free at all Holiday Inn hotels and resorts means that traveling with your family just got a whole lot cheaper. And yes, kids still stay and eat free when you book your room with points.
The card also features no foreign transaction fees, a free night on your anniversary, and plenty of ways to earn and burn points. A few times each year, IHG even releases a list of “PointBreaks” properties that can be booked for 5,000 points per night! While the list includes mostly lower-tier properties, that’s still one heck of a deal.
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card: Where it Falls Flat
Although the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card is excellent if you love IHG properties, this card may not be for you if you enjoy staying at a wider range of resorts and hotels. If you want more flexibility, a general rewards card might make more sense for your travel goals.
And while it’s great that the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card lets you earn 2 points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, you could earn points that are much more valuable with a general rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. The points you earn with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are also a whole lot more versatile, which means you’ll have a lot more options when you’re ready to redeem your points.
You can use IHG points for merchandise and other perks, but you won’t get a great exchange rate if you do. That’s yet another reason this card is just so-so unless you’re an outright IHG Rewards enthusiast.
- Related: Best Travel Credit Card for 2019
Who This Card is Good For:
- Low budget travelers who love IHG properties
- People who spend a lot on dining, groceries, and gas, and want to pool points in one place
- Those who travel overseas frequently, since this card has no foreign transaction fees
Who Should Pass:
- Anyone who wants travel points that are flexible
- Big spenders who would benefit more from a top travel card
- People who love staying at different hotel chains and types of properties
How Does It Compare to Other Travel Cards?
If you’re hell-bent on getting a hotel credit card, it makes sense to compare at least one other option before you commit. To see how this card stacks up, we scrutinized its benefits compared to another popular hotel card, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.
|IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card (currently unavailable)||Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (currently unavailable)|
|Annual Fee||$0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49||$95, waived the first year|
|Free Night on Account Anniversary||Yes||No|
|Earning Points||Earn 5 points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG hotels. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores & restaurants. Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.||Earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels and 2 points on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.|
|Redeeming Points||Enjoy a Free Night after each account anniversary year at over 5,200 hotels worldwide||Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 points) at a participating hotel. Select hotels have resort fees. Terms Apply.|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||none||0%|
|1:1 Frequent Flyer Transfers||No||Yes|
As you can see, the IHG card makes it easier to earn and rack up points, in addition to offering additional perks. The $49 annual fee is also offset by the fact that you get a free night at any IHG property worldwide each year, even if that free night would normally cost $500.
The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express offers exceptional value in its redemptions, however. Since rooms start at just 2,000 points per night, the intro bonus alone is worth more than ten reward nights at a Category 1 property.
At the end of the day, both of these cards are a good option for anyone who wants free hotel stays. The best card for you depends on what type of traveler you are, and which benefits you would enjoy most. If you need help deciding between these two cards, consider reading our Starwood Preferred Guest American Express review.
Best Strategy with the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card: Pair with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
If you really want the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card but also want some flexibility, it makes sense to pair this card with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. In other words, get both.
With both cards in your wallet, you can take advantage of each card’s benefits. For starters, you’ll earn two sign-up bonuses worth a slew of free nights or any type of travel with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Second, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card lets you earn points you can transfer to the IHG Rewards program at a 1:1 ratio.
With both cards, you can have the best of both worlds. Use the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for travel to earn 2X points, and use the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card for 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants. Then, you can simply transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to your IHG account as you see fit. Whether you want to transfer all of your Ultimate Rewards points to IHG – or just top off your IHG balance as needed – having both cards means having more flexibility in how you spend your rewards.
Want Flexible Rewards Instead? Consider This Card
If you want to join the IHG Rewards Club, you don’t need the credit card. And if you only want one rewards card in your wallet, the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card should not be it. You can sign up for the program, but opt for a flexible rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card instead. With this card, you’ll earn points that transfer to IHG at a 1:1 ratio, but score additional benefits such as primary auto rental coverage, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, and more.
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can also book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal for 25% more value if you want. Or, if you’re unable to travel for any reason, you can redeem your points for cash back at a rate of one penny per point.
This type of flexibility is extremely attractive for those who never know where their travel plans will take them, which is why the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is consistently ranked as our top travel card.
With a large sign-up bonus, no foreign transaction fees, and a free annual night every year, the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card is one you’ll want to keep for years to come. If you want to see where IHG points can take you, check out the IHG website at IHG.com.
If you’re still not sold or simply want to explore other options, you can also research cards using our rewards credit card directory.
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