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While the planned overhaul of the IHG Rewards program was delayed a few months (and I have no idea what is in store for it, be it a minor update or something that suddenly makes the program truly relevant), today marks a couple of milestones for the IHG Rewards suite of credit cards.

For one, they have launched the new IHG Premier Business Card, which is a great option for small business owners and one I plan to get myself. I love adding business credit cards when possible, since it won’t report to my personal credit file (other than the hard inquiry) so I don’t have to worry about letting a month close with a high balance and negatively impacting my credit score.

If you are in a cash crunch, you should avoid travel rewards credit cards until you are caught up. Here are our favorite credit cards for Intro 0% APR offers and for balance transfer offers

And, of course, adding a small business credit card won’t affect my 5/24 count since I’m currently well under the 5/24 limit.

Chase and IHG also refreshed the two existing personal credit cards – the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and the no-annual fee IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card (which is suddenly one of the two best credit cards to pay a utility bill with!).

Let’s take a look at each card:

IHG Premier Business Card (New)

ihg business credit card

You’ll see this card is very similar to the personal, refreshed IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, which I’ll go over directly after. The main difference is that the business card includes a $100 every 4 years credit for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS, and includes additional bonus categories.

IHG Rewards Club Premier Business Credit Card Earn Rates

  • 10X IHG bonus points when staying at IHG properties.
  • 5X points for all travel
  • 5X points at gas stations
  • 5X points for dining / take out / delivery
  • 5X points for social media and search engine advertising
  • 3X points for all other purchases

IHG Rewards Club Premier Business Credit Card Features and Benefits

  • IHG Platinum Status
  • An annual anniversary free night (up to 40,000 points, but you can “top off” with additional points).
  • The fourth reward night free whenever you redeem for 4 or more nights.
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points and a $100 statement credit when you spend $20,000 plus one additional purchase each year.
  • Earn an additional free night (up to 40,000 points) each calendar year when you spend $60,000 plus one additional purchase.
  • Receive Diamond (top tier) elite status when you spend $40,000 plus one additional purchase in a calendar year.
  • Receive up to $50 each year in United Airlines TravelBank Cash.(Each calendar year, you, as the primary cardmember, will receive one $25 United®TravelBank cash deposit on or about January 1, and another $25 United® TravelBank cash deposit on or about July 1. You must complete a one-time registration to receive this benefit, registration is available at ihg.com/united.)
  • Get a Global Entry / TSA PreCheck / NEXUS Fee Credit (up to $100 every 4 years).
  • No foreign transaction fee.

IHG Rewards Club Premier Business Card Thoughts

I wish we knew more details about the long awaited refresh to the entire IHG Rewards program that has been rumored but I have no information on.

On the surface, if this was a transferable points card, I think it’s a really solid card. WIth IHG points worth about 0.5 cents each, you are getting a 2.5% rebate on spend on some great categories including all travel, gas, dining, and search engine / social media ads. On top of that, you get the annual free night up to 40,000 points which can be topped off to any amount you need for wherever you want to stay plus the $50 United TravelBank credits are like cash if you fly United frequently enough to easily use the $25 in credit each half of the year. That’s easily $250 in value returned for your $99 annual fee.

The included Platinum status will ensure your IHG points never expire.

I’m getting this card myself, but, again, the true end value will depend on the IHG Rewards program refresh which I’d love to see start including guaranteed upgrades, breakfast and late checkout for top tier elites.

IHG Rewards Club Premier Business Card Bonus Offer and How to Apply

Earn 140,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months . How to apply >>

 

IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card (Refresh)

ihg premier credit card

I’m going to list each earn rate and benefit, bolding each thing that is new compared to the card pre-refresh. Most earn rates except for at IHG properties has changed.

IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card Earn Rates

  • 10X IHG bonus points when staying at IHG properties.
  • 5X points for all travel
  • 5X points at gas stations
  • 5X points for dining / take out / delivery
  • 3X points for all other eligible purchases

Additional IHG Premier credit card benefits

  • IHG Platinum Status
  • An annual anniversary free night (up to 40,000 points, but you can “top up” with additional IHG Rewards points from your account for a more expensive reward)
  • The fourth reward night free whenever you redeem for 4 or more nights. (It’s the exact 4th night free, not an average, so this can be well used to your advantage).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points and a $100 statement credit when you spend $20,000 plus one additional purchase each card year.
  • Receive up to $50 in United Airlines TravelBank cash each year.

    (Each calendar year, you, as the primary cardmember, will receive one $25 United®TravelBank cash deposit on or about January 1, and another $25 United® TravelBank cash deposit on or about July 1. You must complete a one-time registration to receive this benefit, registration is available at ihg.com/united.)
  • Spend your way to Diamond Status with $40,000 in purchases plus one additional purchase in a calendar year.
  • Get up to $800 per claim in cell phone protection against covered theft or damage (see issuer site for details and deductibles).
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • 20% off purchased IHG points when you pay with this card

IHG Rewards Club Premier Thoughts

It’s not like this card suddenly became a must have, but it sure is a LOT better. Being able to top off those 40k capped award nights (with no limit) makes the certificates infinitely more useful and with IHG points worth half a cent each, all those 5X categories are worth roughly a 2.5% rebate on spend. Is it the best you can get for any of those categories? No. Is it much better than before? Yes, no doubt.

As well, the $50 TravelBank credit with United rebates half the annual fee each year if you are a frequent United flyer (if you’re not, the split of two $25 tranches each half of the year will devalue this perk quite a bit). But if you are, that means the 40,000 point annual free night (worth ~$200) is yours for the other $49 of the annual fee.

Again, this card isn’t besting the Sapphire Preferred for earning nor flexibility, but for an IHG loyalist, this card does now provide a decent set of benefits.

IHG Rewards Club Premier Bonus Offer and How to Apply

Earn 140,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. How to apply >>

 

IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card (Refresh)

ihg traveler credit card

Again, I’ll bold changes to this card from the previous version.

IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card Earn Rates

  • 5X per dollar spent at IHG properties
  • 3X points per dollar on utilities
  • 3X points per dollar on cable, Internet, and phone
  • 3X points per dollar on select streaming services
  • 3X points per dollar for dining
  • 3X points per dollar for gas stations
  • 2X points on all other eligible spend

IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card Features

  • Silver Elite status
  • The fourth reward night free whenever you redeem for 4 or more nights.
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points when you spend $10,000 in a calendar year.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 20% off purchased IHG points when you pay with this card

IHG Rewards Club Traveler Thoughts

In most cases, it makes zero sense to get the Traveler card over the Premier. I’ll bold all the changes below, but to save the $99 annual fee, you lose the annual free night (worth $200) and the $50 United TravelBank Credit plus you earn less on most categories. The one exception is that this card, for some reason, will earn you 5X on utility bills while the Premier won’t. If you spend big bucks to, for example, heat your house, this card could be a great card for you.

And while the card comes with Silver Elite status, the Premier comes with Platinum status – a major difference.

IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card Bonus Offer and How to Apply

Earn 120,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months. How to apply >>

Summary

As I’ve said a few times already, I think the success of these cards will hinge on how IHG refreshes the entire IHG Rewards program. Historically a very weak program, they are signaling in a major way that they have big improvements coming in a few months. If those improvements are substantial, these cards will also become much more desirable.

That said, I am impressed with the relaunches even with the current IHG Rewards program – especially the new IHG Premier Business Card.

I’ll be curious what you think!

Thoughts?

Let me know below in the comments, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

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You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards

New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.

I got "in the game" in 2003 and since then I've collected literally millions and millions of frequent flyer miles and hotel points. I've flown around the world in first class seats that would cost $29,000 using frequent flyer miles and a few bucks in tax. And I've stayed in some of the finest hotels - all for free! A few years ago I realized many of my friends actually thought I was paying for these!! So I started sharing my tips. It's long been a passion, but when I hosted a session on Miles and Points at this year's South by Southwest festival, my love of the game intensified and this blog was born.

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