IHG Premier Vs Traveler: Which IHG Credit Card Is Best for Travel Deals?

After comparing the two IHG Hotel credit cards, there's clearly a winner.

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With over 5,900 properties worldwide, IHG has hotels and resorts to fit your budget no matter where your travels take you. IHG credit cards are perfect for family vacations, business travelers or luxury travel to exotic locales. But which IHG card is best?

Whether you are a frequent IHG customer or a casual traveler,  IHG credit cards offer a way to earn points to use towards free hotel accommodations. Both the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card allow individuals to earn rewards towards free IHG stays, along with a host of other benefits. Which IHG credit card is right for you? Let’s take a closer look at each card to find out.


Table of Contents

happy couple breakfast in bed
Credit: iStock.com

What’s the Difference Between the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card and the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Card?

There are many similarities between the Premier Credit Card and the Traveler Credit Card. But that doesn’t mean they are the same card. There are distinct differences that separate these IHG credit cards from each other. Here are ways that these cards differ from each other.

IHG Rewards Club Traveler Card IHG Rewards Club Premier Card
Annual Fee $0 $89
Sign-Up Bonus 75,000 Points† 125,000 Points†
Rewards Rate: IHG Hotels 15x Points per Dollar 25x Points per Dollar
Rewards Rate: Gas Stations, Grocery Stores and Restaurants 2x Points per Dollar 2x Points per Dollar
Rewards Rate: All Spending 1x Points per Dollar  1x Points per Dollar
Platinum Elite Status Yes
Gold Elite Status Spend $10,000 in a calendar year‡
Anniversary Night Yes††
Global Entry/ TSA Pre✓® Yes*

† Terms and conditions apply. ‡ See offer for details.†† Exclusions apply.* Terms apply.

Sign-Up Bonus

The IHG Rewards Club Traveler Card offers new cardholders 75,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. One night’s stay at the most expensive IHG properties in the world costs 70,000 bonus points, but most accommodations fall under that amount.

In comparison, the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card comes with a 125,000 bonus point sign-up bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

The IHG Rewards Club Premier Card is a better choice based on the sign-up bonus alone.

Points Earned for IHG Hotel Stays

Another factor to consider is how many points are earned for IHG stays. Rewards rates are the same for each card, with the exception of IHG purchases. The IHG Rewards Club Traveler Card earns 15x total points at IHG properties worldwide if you’re an IHG Rewards Club member:

  • 5x bonus points when you stay at an IHG hotel
  • 10x bonus points for being an IHG Rewards Club member

That’s impressive earning, considering the next highest rewards rate is 2x points per dollar.

Now, let’s look at the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card. It also offers a higher rewards rate for IHG stays, but at 25x bonus points instead:

  • 10x bonus points when you stay at an IHG hotel
  • 10x bonus points for being an IHG Rewards Club member
  • 5x bonus points for having Platinum Elite Status (a perk included with this card)
IHG Hotel Purchases IHG Rewards Club Member Platinum Elite Status Points Total Points for Hotel Stays
IHG Rewards Club Premier Card 10x points per dollar 10x points per dollar 5x points per dollar 25x points per dollar
IHG Rewards Club Traveler Card 5x points per dollar 10x points per dollar 15x points per dollar

It’s easy to see how your bonus points could snowball if you stay at IHG hotels regularly. Both cards provide excellent earning rates, but the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card comes with more value in this area for sure.

Platinum Elite Status

We mentioned Platinum Elite Status earlier. What does this status mean for IHG Rewards members? Perks that come from having Platinum Elite Status include:

  • Priority check-in
  • Extended check-out
  • Complimentary room upgrades
  • 50% off bonus point purchases
  • Free internet
  • Points never expire

Having Platinum Elite Status provides considerable value to travelers. Cardholders with the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card automatically receive Platinum Elite Status.

Gold Elite Status

IHG Reward Club Traveler cardholders earn Gold Elite Status after spending $10,000 on their card each year. Gold Elite Status comes with:

  • Priority check-in
  • Extended check-out
  • Custom stay preferences
  • 10% bonus earnings
  • A free Kindle eBook per quarter

While Gold Status offers good value, it requires spending $10,000 on the Traveler Card. The IHG Rewards Club Premier Card provides a way to earn hotel status automatically without spending anything.

Gold Elite Status Platinum Elite Status
Priority Check-In Yes Yes
Extended Check-Out Yes Yes
Custom Stay Preferences Yes Yes
Complimentary Room Upgrades No Yes
Discount Bonus Point Purchases No 50% off
Free Internet No Yes

Anniversary Night

Another benefit only found with the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card is a free reward night every year on your card anniversary. Anniversary nights are good for 12 months and are redeemable at IHG properties with a redemption level of 40,000 points or less.

Global Entry/TSA Pre✓® Credit

For frequent flyers, having Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® status can be extremely valuable. Individuals have to apply for this status and pay an application fee. The IHG Rewards Club Premier Card comes with a one-time statement credit for the Global Entry application fee or a statement credit for the TSA Pre✓® application fee once every four years.

Annual Fee

The one area that the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Card gets the better of the Premier Card is annual fees. The Traveler Card doesn’t have an annual fee, while the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card has an $89 annual fee. Looking at the benefits listed already, you can see that the value that comes with the Premier Card far outweighs the cost of this annual fee. If you’re not interested in paying an annual fee, though, the Traveler Card also comes with considerable value.

a dog slips beneath the covers of a hotel bed
Credit: iStock.com /Prystai

Earning Rewards With IHG Credit Cards

Beyond earning rewards for IHG stays, both cards also earn bonus points in other categories. Both the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card and the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Card have the same rewards earning structure:

  • 2x bonus points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
  • 1x bonus points for all other purchases

Most people will find that bonus points add up quickly with either IHG credit card with the inclusion of these spending categories.

Redeeming IHG Rewards Club Points

The best use of IHG Rewards Club points is for free hotel accommodations at IHG properties. That’s not the only way to use your points with IHG, though. Here are other redemptions available:

  • Points & Cash Option for Hotel Nights
  • Gift Cards
  • Airline Miles
  • Merchandise
  • Digital Rewards
  • Charitable Donations

The popular IHG PointBreaks program was a staple of IHG loyalists’ redemptions, with free nights available for purchase for as little as 5,000 bonus points. Unfortunately, this program is no longer available.

Are IHG Credit Cards Subject To The Chase 5/24 Rule?

It’s important to note that these IHG credit cards are subject to Chase’s 5/24 Rule. This unofficial but well-known rule works like this: If you’ve opened five or more new credit card accounts in the last 24 months, you’re likely to be denied for any Chase credit card. Take inventory of your current credit cards before applying for either IHG credit card.

You can learn more about Chase’s 5/24 Rule here.

Can You Have Both IHG Credit Cards?

Yes, you can have both the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card and the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Card. There’s no guarantee that you will qualify for both cards. Also, because they have the same spending categories and both offer many of the same rewards, it doesn’t make sense to have both cards unless you want to earn both sign-up bonuses.

How Many IHG Points Does It Take To Earn A Free Night?

You can book IHG rewards nights for as little as 10,000 points.

Which IHG Card Is Best?

The IHG Rewards Club Premier Card is the better credit card choice.  Whether you’re an avid traveler or only stay at IHG hotels a few times a year, it offers so much more value than the Traveler Card. The value far exceeds the $89 annual fee.

Both IHG credit cards offer ways to earn free stays at IHG properties around the world, but the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card provides too much value to pass up for the Traveler card just because of an $89 annual fee. If you’re going to get an IHG credit card, opt for the Premier Card.

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card Review

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card Review

>>NEXT: Best Travel Credit Cards: Compare Current Benefits, Rewards and Bonuses

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Kevin Payne

Kevin Payne is a personal finance, credit card, and travel writer. He is the family travel and budget expert behind FamilyMoneyAdventure.com. Kevin lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife and four kids. His work has appeared on several websites, including FinanceBuzz, Credit Karma, Millennial Money, Club Thrifty, Student Loan Planner and Slickdeals.

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