New Bonus on IHG Premier Credit Card: Is It Worth It?

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Most rewards credit cards will occasionally offer increased sign-up bonuses to attract new cardholders. The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has taken things up a notch by introducing a higher sign-up bonus alongside increased category bonuses for the first 12 months.

So is this card worth getting with the new offer in place? That depends on several factors, including how much you’ll maximize the card’s benefits.

» Learn more: IHG hotel card review: Free nights on a silver platter

New offer details

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card sign-up bonus has been significantly increased. Earn 125,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Additionally, you will earn a combined 40x points per $1 spent at IHG hotels during the first 12 months — that’s 15 more points per dollar than previously offered. The best part? Cardholders will earn 4x points on all other purchases during the first 12 months.

Is it a good deal?

This sign-up bonus is the highest we’ve ever seen from the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, and the 40x points offer from IHG is certainly impressive. But what makes the updated offer so compelling is the new 4x points earning on all other spending during the first 12 months. Considering most credit cards pay out 1 point per $1 spent in nonbonus categories, this is generous.

To give you an idea of how lucrative this could be, let’s take a look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics Annual Expenditures Report. According to this report, the average American spends $60,815 per year. Subtracting the average of $20,001 spent on housing expenses (which can’t be charged to a credit card) leaves $40,814. Putting $40,814 on the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card would generate 163,256 points. With free nights starting at 10,000 points each, that’s worth up to 16 nights at IHG properties.

» Learn more: Baffled by points and miles? Let the 80/20 rule guide you

Depending on how much you plan to spend and how you redeem your points, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card sign-up bonus and 4x spending offer could go a long way toward covering free hotel nights for an entire vacation.

Should you get this card?

The deciding factors are:

  • Whether you have a use for IHG points.
  • Whether you’ll earn enough points through the sign-up bonus and other spending to justify the card’s $89 annual fee. This also means paying off your balance every month so you don’t incur debt from those purchases, thus negating the value of your points.

Considering that this card also comes with a free anniversary night, it’s probably worth getting if you answered positively above. The higher bonuses for the first year are just icing on the cake.

Another factor to consider is the Chase 5/24 rule. If you’ve opened five new cards in the last 24 months, you may not be approved for this card. Additionally, applying for the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card could render you ineligible for another Chase credit card if you surpass the 5/24 rule. So be sure to compare this card’s offer with other Chase cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card before hitting that apply button.

» Learn more: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® review: A first-class premium travel card

How to maximize this offer

There are several ways to maximize the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card’s latest offer:

  1. Complete the spending requirement: Meeting the spending requirement to earn the sign-up bonus is the single most important way to maximize this offer.
  2. Maximize the 4x bonus on all purchases: NerdWallet currently values IHG points at 0.6 cent each, so earning 4x points translates to a 2.4-cent return per $1 spent. That’s a pretty solid return on all non-bonus category spending. Channel as much spending toward the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card as possible, at least for your first year while the 4x bonus is valid. Afterward, you’ll continue earning 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants.
  3. Stay at IHG hotels: Between offering Platinum elite status, 40 points per $1 spent at IHG hotels and a free fourth night when booking award stays, this card is designed to attract loyalty. You can make the most of the card’s benefits by staying at IHG hotels for both paid and award stays. You’ll earn 40 points per $1 on paid stays through your first year with the card, and can earn enough points from the sign-up bonus for 12 free Category 1 nights with some points left over.
  4. Redeem points for high-value redemptions (in four-night increments): IHG free nights start at 10,000 points, so the sign-up bonus from this card could cover up to 12 free nights if you book at that level. Additionally, IHG offers rotating PointBreak hotels starting at 5,000 points per night, which is a great way to stretch those points even further. One of the best long-term benefits of this card is the free fourth night when you book a three-night award stay. With 125,000 points from the sign-up bonus, you can book up to four nights at a Category 7 hotel like the Intercontinental Madrid, for example.
  5. Redeem your Global Entry fee credit: The annual fee on the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is $89. While you do get an anniversary free night to offset that expense, another useful savings is your $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Precheck credit every four years. If you use this benefit, you’ll have an easier time speeding through the airport — and the expense is covered by your credit card.

The bottom line

This new offer from the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is great for those looking for a higher sign-up bonus and generous recurring benefits. If you plan on using points at IHG hotels and qualify for this card under the 5/24 rule, then it’s absolutely worth considering.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2019, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best travel credit card for you
Best hotel credit cards
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This article originally appeared on NerdWallet