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Credit Cards

All-time high bonus: Earn up to 175,000 points with IHG credit card offers

Here's how you can take advantage of the new IHG credit card welcome offers.

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Some offers mentioned below are no longer available.

IHG Hotels & Resorts has been expanding its footprint over the last few years by launching, acquiring and partnering with new hotel brands. IHG One Rewards members can now earn and redeem points at 18 different brands, ranging from budget-friendly Holiday Inn and Candlewood Suites hotels to family-friendly Iberostar resorts to luxurious Intercontinental and Regent properties.

Travelers hoping to stay at one of these properties on points are in luck because Chase just released new welcome bonuses for its personal IHG co-branded travel rewards credit cards, including a highest-ever points-earning opportunity.

Below, CNBC Select details the welcome bonuses being offered for the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card, IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card and the IHG® Rewards Premier Business Credit Card and how you can redeem IHG One Rewards points for free hotel stays and other travel experiences.

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IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card bonus

New bonus: 175,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Old bonus: 140,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

CNBC Select's take: This is the highest offer ever for the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card. With many travel rewards experts valuing IHG® points at one-half cent per point (.005) the welcome bonus is worth about $875.

Along with the welcome bonus, the card offers several valuable spending categories to help you earn even more IHG One Rewards points. It also offers a bunch of benefits for cardholders who regularly visit IHG properties, including:

  • Complimentary IHG Platinum Elite status
  • An anniversary reward night redemption to use at a property worth up to 40,000 points
  • The opportunity to redeem IHG points for three nights and get your fourth night free
  • A statement credit of up to $100 every four years to put toward Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS membership
  • Up to $50 worth of United TravelBank Cash each year once you register your card with your United MileagePlus loyalty program account
  • The chance to earn a $100 statement credit and 10,000 bonus points once you spend $20,000 in a calendar year — you'll also qualify for Diamond Elite status until the end of the following year after spending $40,000 in a calendar year
  • 20% off when you buy more IHG One Rewards points through the website
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance, as well as purchase protection through Chase
  • No foreign transaction fees for using your card abroad

The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card is considered to be the highest level of IHG's travel rewards cards and is meant for people who actively use the included Platinum Elite status benefits, such as complimentary Wi-Fi, free room upgrades (based on availability), early check-in and a free welcome amenity.

Since the card carries a modest $99 annual fee, it could be justified even for those who only stay in IHG hotels and resorts once or twice a year. The anniversary reward night alone can be easily redeemed for a stay worth over $100, and if you wanted to stay at a property that costs 50,000 points per night, you can always supplement the certificate with an additional 10,000 points.

IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card bonus

New bonus: 120,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Old bonus 80,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

CNBC Select's take: The new IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card welcome bonus is a 40,000-point boost over the previous offer making it an excellent bonus, especially for a card with no annual fee.

The card is geared more toward occasional travelers, offering the following perks:

  • Automatic IHG Silver Elite status
  • Pathway to elite status - Cardmembers can earn IHG Gold Elite status after spending $20,000 on purchases and making one additional purchase each calendar year.
  • 10,000 bonus points after spending $10,000 on purchases and making one additional purchase each calendar year.
  • World Mastercard benefits
  • Travel insurance coverage
  • DashPass membership for DoorDash orders.  Activate by March 31, 2024
  • No foreign transaction fees

IHG® Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

Current bonus: 165,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on qualifying purchases on card in the first three months from account opening.

CNBC Select's take: The IHG Rewards Premier Business Credit Card welcome offer is a solid deal for anyone that needs to separate their business or side hustle expenses from their personal ones.

The card comes with several benefits, including:

  • Cardmembers earn a reward night certificate on their account anniversary date each year.
  • Automatic IHG® Rewards Platinum Elite status, with the potential to earn Diamond Elite after spending $40,000 on qualifying purchases and making one additional purchase each calendar year.
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points and a $100 statement credit after spending $20,000 on qualifying purchases and making one additional purchase each calendar year.
  • $100 credit towards enrolling in either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Up to $50 United® TravelBank Cash each calendar year to use on United Airlines
  • World Elite Mastercard for Business benefits which include a 24/7 complimentary business assistant and access to Mastercard Priceless experiences

How to earn and maximize IHG® One Rewards points

IHG has 18 brands and over 6,000 locations around the world, including brands like Holiday Inn, Kimpton and Intercontinental. So whether you enjoy budget or luxury travel, IHG has properties that will fit your needs.

There are two main ways to earn IHG One Rewards points: stay in IHG hotels and/or spend on their co-branded credit cards. And if you really enjoy IHG properties, there's nothing restricting you from having more than one of the IHG cards to earn multiple welcome offers.

In addition, you may consider signing up for a credit card with transferable rewards to IHG like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. When you earn Chase Ultimate Rewards®, you can transfer them directly to IHG at a 1:1 ratio, plus a number of other airline and hotel partners for added flexibility. This is a great strategy to use in case your rewards balance needs a few thousand more points to lock in a reservation.

Keep in mind that the most important part of earning and redeeming IHG points is two-fold: Never spend more money than you should for the sake of earning hotel rewards points — spending $1 just to save a few cents is never an advisable idea and earning points should be done with the money you'd be using anyway — and you should spend the rewards points you've earned like cash.

IHG One Rewards points are generally valued at around one-half cent, so as you're booking your next hotel, run the numbers to make sure you're getting a good value for your redemption. Since IHG's rewards program runs on dynamic pricing, hotel award night prices can change regularly, so be sure to lock in a good price when you find one.

For example, if you're spending 30,000 points on a room, the cash price should be roughly $150. It isn't a 'requirement' per se, but you should spend your points akin to how you spend money.

Lastly, one strategy to maximize your points is to save enough points for a four-night trip. When you use your IHG points to redeem points for a consecutive four-night IHG® hotel stay, the fourth night is completely free — however, this perk is only available to IHG credit card holders. So if your room costs 30,000 points per night for four nights, your entire stay will only cost 90,000 points, instead of 120,000 points.

Bottom line

If there's an IHG hotel that you want to stay at, signing up for either the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card, IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card or the IHG® Rewards Premier Business Credit Card could be a great way to save.

Before applying, be sure that you're eligible for the bonus and can comfortably meet the minimum spending requirement for the bonus. You can only qualify for the bonuses if you currently don't have the card and have not received a new welcome bonus for the card in the past 24 months.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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