Credit Card Review: IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card from Chase

Written by on May 8, 2017 in Credit Cards

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When people ask me, “What should be the first travel card I get?” the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card from Chase is one I highly recommend. Frankly, every travel enthusiast should have this card.

The annual fee is very low and offers great travel perks including such as:

  • No annual fee the first year
  • A ton of bonus points when you meet a minimum spend
  • Annual free room, starting the second year you hold the card
  • Complimentary IHG Platinum status (room upgrades, late checkout, point bonuses and much more)
  • No foreign transaction fees

IHG Hotel Properties

IHG (InterContinental Hotel Group) encompasses several hotel brands including Candlewood Suites; Crowne Plaza; Even HotelsHoliday Inn; Holiday Inn Express; Hotel Indigo; IHG Army Hotels; InterContinental and Staybridge SuitesThe Venetian and adjacent The Palazzo in Las Vegas also fall under IHG’s “Alliance Resorts” banner.

Annual Fee

There’s no annual fee the first year you hold the card.

A $49 annual fee takes effect starting year two.  As travel credit cards (that actually have worthwhile perks) go, $49 is a steal — especially because you can stay a free night at any IHG property worldwide. Read on.

Tons of Bonus Points for a Small Spend

When you meet the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card minimum spend bonus of $1000 during the first 90 days you’re approved for the card, you’ll receive 60,000 bonus points. (The point bonus varies throughout the year and can be as high as 75,000. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and we’ll alert you the next time it pops up!)

Do you put gas in your car? Pay insurance, a cell phone bill, buy groceries, or spend money on any number of every day expenses? Chances are you’ll easily find yourself 60,000 points richer.

What will 60,000 Points Get You?

How about two nights at a nice Crowne Plaza near Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando. Or four nights at a Holiday Inn down the road?

Or 12 nights (you read that right – almost two weeks free) at an IHG PointBreaks promotion property offering rooms for 5000 points a night. (Rarely are these properties located in major vacation destinations, though a gem does pop up every so often)

Or if you really want to go swanky, spend all 60k and treat yourself to a night at the InterContinental London Park Lane.

Bottom line: if you already spend $1000 over the course of 90 days, why not score yourself some free hotel nights?

A guest bedroom at IHG's Kimpton De Witt Hotel (then known as the Crowne Plaza City Centre) in Amsterdam.

We used some of our sign up bonus points to stay two nights at what was then the Crowne Plaza City Centre in Amsterdam. The hotel is now known as the Kimpton De Witt Hotel (which is still an IHG property).

A Free Room Starting the Second Year

The second year is when the annual fee kicks in — but it’s also when the fun really starts, too! For that and every additional year you hold the card you receive a free night at any InterContinental Hotel Group property in the world. Now — is the free room actually “free” if you’re paying a $49 annual fee? Well, no. But we will gladly pay $49 to stay at the $700 a night InterContinental Hong Kong. Even if you usually stay one night at hotel that costs $100 a night, you still save $51.

My wife and I used our free room to stay a night at the luxurious Strings by InterContinental Tokyo.

The lobby and atrium at The Strings by InterContinental Tokyo.

The lobby and atrium at The Strings by InterContinental Tokyo. (Click for a larger image.)

Bonus Points at Gas Stations, Grocery Stores, Restaurants, and IHG Hotels!

You earn bonus bonus for each dollar spent in select categories on The IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card.

5 points for each $1 spent at IHG hotels. Remember to charge every hotel expense (restaurant, bar, gift store purchases, etc) to your room and pay the bill with your card!

2 points for each $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants.

1 point for each $1 spent on all other purchases

Free Upgrades and Late Check-Out with Platinum Status

Each year (including the first — which, again, is free) you hold the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card, you automatically receive Platinum status in the IHG Rewards Club. (People who don’t hold the IHG credit card must stay a minimum of 40 nights to achieve Platinum status. Having the IHG credit card saves you all that time and money.)

Two of the major perks that come with Platinum status are free room upgrades and late check-out. Both are on an availability-permitting basis, though we’ve had pretty good luck.

Some of the room upgrades can be minor (from a standard room to a slightly larger one) or much bigger. The Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites St. Paul NE – Lake Elmo upgraded us to a corner suite — complete with separate living and dining rooms. What made that upgrade even, um, suite-er was the fact we paid only 5000 points a night — because the hotel was an IHG PointsBreaks property!

The conference/dining table in our suite at IHG's Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites St. Paul NE - Lake Elmo.

The conference/dining table in our suite at IHG’s Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites St. Paul NE – Lake Elmo. (Click for a larger image.)

Late check-out (or “extended check-out,” as IHG calls it) can be a god-send if you’re not leaving town until later in the day, need extra time to pack, or just want a little extra sleep.

10% Rebate

IHG credit card holders received a 10% rebate when redeeming points. For example, my three-night stay at the Holiday Inn Houston SW – Sugar Land Area initially cost 15,000 points per night for a total of 45,000 points. About three weeks later, my IHG Rewards Club account was credited 4500 points.

IHG Rewards Club 10% points rebate -- thanks to holding the IHG credit card.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

The IHG credit card waives foreign transaction fees. This is a pretty standard perk for most travel credit cards. But if you don’t have a travel credit card or you still use a debit card to pay for everything, the IHG credit card is a great option.

Final Take

If you stay at least one night a year in hotels — and chances are you do, seeing as how you’re reading a travel blog right now — the IHG credit card is a great way to save money with the annual free room. The signup bonus points will land you at least another free night or more and the Platinum status adds some nice perks.


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About the Author: Chris .


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