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When deciding whether to add a particular credit card to your collection of rewards earning cards, the feature given the highest priority is typically the monetary value of the signup bonus and the points the card earns. And while you won't go wrong with that approach, you may miss out on a card that adds a ton of value to your array of credit cards if you are not willing to look at smaller signup bonuses, and points that sit below a penny apiece.
We're using the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card as an example for this post as we think it’s an underrated card, and IHG offers both a wide footprint and some of the best value for budget-conscious travelers.
IHG points don't have the same value as many frequent-flyer miles or transferrable bank points, but the IHG Rewards Premier Card has some great features.
- Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
- Enjoy a Reward Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide. Plus, enjoy a reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights
- Earn up to 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
- Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member
- Global Entry or TSA Pre✔® Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
- IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®
- Earn 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
- 2X points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants
- 1X point per $1 spent on all other purchases
The earning for spending at IHG hotels breaks down as follows:
- Earn 10X points for being a IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Cardmember
- Earn 5X points from IHG® with Platinum Elite Status, a benefit of having this card
- Earn 10X points from IHG® for being an IHG® Rewards Club Member (Being a cardholder is not required to earn this bonus for participating in the IHG® loyalty program)
The card offers an anniversary night certificate, allowing you a free night at any IHG property worldwide up to 40,000 points in value. You also receive an automatic upgrade to IHG Platinum Elite status which would typically require staying 40 nights or earning 40,000 points in a calendar year. This card has a $89 annual fee (which is not waived for the first year).
To help demonstrate the value of the IHG Rewards Premier Card, we’ll run through some numbers using 100,000 points, and a few different redemption options ranging from a free luxury weekend away, to multiple free nights from maximizing the points in your account.
Redeeming IHG Rewards Points for PointBreaks Hotels
First on the list is a quarterly promotion called IHG PointBreaks. PointBreaks is always at the fore when reviewing IHG Rewards, and there’s a good reason for this. IHG Rewards Club points can be purchased as low as 0.5¢/point during regular promotions. With redemptions as low as 5,000 points per night, that equates to a cash price of just $25.
The downside to PointBreaks is the list is only refreshed four times a year, and you need to be quick to secure the best hotels as they book out fast. It can require some serious advanced planning to make the most of a new PointsBreaks list, and you will need to sift through some less than aspirational redemptions. But each list produces some fantastic deals well worth the time invested.
A free weekend away with the IHG Rewards Premier Card
We see IHG Rewards Club as one of the best rewards programs for budget-conscious travelers. Not all of the points and miles community is in a position to fill a wallet full of rewards-earning credit cards and spend $50,000 meeting minimum spending requirements.
One of the advantages of the IHG Rewards Premier Card is that it has an achievable minimum-spending requirement, and you still earn enough points with the signup bonus for a fabulous weekend (or longer) away. Below are a couple of examples.
Located just a short flight from the US, Intercontinental Costa Rica is the perfect weekend retreat to explore the cuisine and nightlife of Escazú in San Jose, Costa Rica. A real urban hideaway with multiple in-house dining options and a day spa if you don’t feel like venturing from the hotel. Intercontinental Costa Rica is a truly affordable luxury experience.
Stay at Intercontinental Costa Rica for $222.13 or 30,000 IHG Rewards points per night @ 0.74¢/point
While the Crowne Plaza Orlando-Universal doesn’t offer the best ¢/point value available, it is redemptions like these that make for perfect family experiences using points and miles. Located in the heart of Orlando, the hotel is centrally located and close to Universal Studios, Sea World, and Disney World®—making it a perfect home base for a family trip to Florida’s theme parks.
Stay at the Crowne Plaza Orlando-Universal for $160.72 or 30,000 IHG Rewards points per night @ 0.54¢/point
The IHG Rewards Premier Card is one of the most affordable rewards earning cards available to the points and miles community with better benefits than some of its premium competitors.
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