Following the huge changes to American Express sign-up bonus rules, many people are currently reevaluating their methods of collecting points via credit card spending. Since many bonuses now require a 24 month period without any Amex cards, plenty of people are cancelling their Amex cards in order to kickstart that 2-year window.
That means it’s more important than ever to have a good points-earning Visa or Mastercard to use (in the interim). I’ve reviewed both the HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard (here) and the HSBC Premier Credit Card (here) in recent months. Those cards earn 1 airline mile (BA, Etihad, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific miles) and 0.5 airline mile per £1 spent, respectively. I’ve also previously looked at the Virgin Atlantic Reward and Reward+ (reviewed here) cards. Today I’m looking at another strong option.
This is my review of the IHG Rewards Club Premium Credit Card.
The IHG Premium Card offers 20,000 IHG Rewards Club points when you spend £200 within the first three months of taking out the card.
Free nights at IHG hotels start at just 5,000 points per night via the excellent IHG PointBreaks deal that I’ve covered previously. At the top end, a night at Intercontinental Hong Kong, for example, requires 70,000 points.
If you need to top-up your IHG points balance, you can always convert some Virgin Atlantic miles. Unfortunately, points transferred via this method no longer count towards elite status.
Day-to-day earnings rate
The day-to-day earnings rate on the card varies:
- 2 points per £1 spent in the UK
- 4 points per £1 at IHG hotels
- 4 points per £1 on spending in a foreign currency
Points earned by spending on the IHG Premium Credit Card are considered elite qualifying points and do count towards earning IHG Spire Elite status.
Additional card benefits
There are a couple of other key benefits available with this card.
1.) IHG Rewards Club Platinum Elite status
Platinum is IHG Rewards Club’s mid-tier status and you’ll retain Platinum as long as you hold your card. On paper, this is a pretty decent benefit as Platinum status normally requires 40,000 elite qualifying points or 40 qualifying hotel nights in a calendar year.
IHG Platinum Elite benefits include:
- 50% Bonus Earnings on Top of Base Points
- Elite Rollover Nights
- Complimentary Room Upgrades – Subject to availability
- Guaranteed Room Availability – Requires 72 hours advance notice.
2.) Free night voucher
When you spend £10,000 on your card in a year (based on your account anniversary, not a calendar year) you’ll receive a free night voucher which can be used at any IHG property worldwide.
There are no special restrictions on when you can use this voucher. If there is standard room reward availability you can use your voucher.
The only downside is that the voucher isn’t issued immediately after hitting the £10,000 threshold. Instead, it’s awarded on your card anniversary date. Back when Barclaycard issued this card, the voucher was often available shortly after hitting the spending target.
I redeemed my last voucher at the Intercontinental New York Times Square at New Year. Cash rates were comfortably £500+ per night which made my £99 annual fee outlay look like incredible value.
The annual fee on this card is £99.
This is not refundable pro-rata should you cancel your card during your membership year.
Representative 41.5% APR variable and 19.9% p.a (variable) for purchases, based on an annual fee of £99 and an assumed credit limit of £1,200.
Is this the right card for me?
If you’re able to put through £10,000 of spending onto this card, you should seriously be considering the IHG Premium Credit Card.
The £99 annual fee is easily compensated for by using the free night voucher at one of many lucrative properties worldwide. Even if you aren’t able to travel far, there’s no shortage of luxury properties in the UK to redeem your voucher at including the Intercontinental London Park Lane, Kimpton Fitzroy London or the Intercontinental Dublin.
This card is an excellent non-Amex option. The free night voucher, in particular, has the potential to offer outsized value. The fact that you can earn a new free night voucher each year is something that HSBC would do well to look at with their HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard, for example. If they want more people to look at keeping the card beyond the first year, there needs to be an incentive to use it in the longer term.
There is also the benefit of 20,000 bonus IHG points in the first year, which helps to further offset the fee. If you don’t have a dedicated foreign spending card, the 4 IHG points per £1 offered by the IHG Premium Credit Card is an impressively tempting return.
Disclaimer: The information provided by Tricks of the Trade is intended solely as a helpful guide to relevant travel rewards card products and their various features and offers. You should always conduct your own research as recommendations provided within may not be suitable for your personal financial circumstances.