Why I’m happy to pay the annual fee on the IHG Premier

Although I rarely put any spending on the
IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
, I happily pay its $89
annual fee. For most cards, I have to consider the value
of the points I earn
from spending on the card as well as the
value of the card’s benefits. Not so with the IHG Premier.

Why? Although the
IHG Premier
has many valuable benefits, there’s one benefit
that provides enough value for me and everyone I know who has the
card: the free night you get each year after your account
anniversary. Even if you only stay in hotels a few times each year
or don’t particularly like IHG properties, this one night can
usually justify the card’s annual cost. In this guide, I’ll
describe the benefits and perks that make keeping the IHG Premier
an obvious choice.

Further reading: Sign up
now to get 80,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first
three months through the IHG Rewards Premier Card

Anniversary free night
The IHG Premier’s anniversary free night will justify the annual
fee for most cardholders. (Image by TPG staff)

Each year on your account renewal anniversary date, you’ll get
a free night. Your night must be redeemed and your stay completed
within 12 months from the date of issue. This anniversary free
night is
valid at IHG properties
with a current point redemption level
of 40,000 points or less per night.

Cardmembers with the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card, which
is no longer open for new applications, will remember when
that anniversary free night could be used at any IHG property
.
But even with the cap of 40,000 points or less per night on all
free nights issued by the IHG Premier and free nights issued by the
IHG Select after May 1, 2019, you can get a lot of value.

For example, my mother-in-law used her anniversary free night to
stay in downtown Savannah at the Holiday Inn Express
Savannah-Historic District one weekend when cash rates were topping
$300 per night. The first weekend night I searched at the property
showed $330 per night or 40,000 points, so the high cash price she
noted was not a fluke.

Perhaps my favorite IHG property yet, the
InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort
, is just 35,000
points per night and hence eligible for use of your anniversary
free night.

Looking to travel domestically? There are multiple options in
New York City bookable for 40,000 points per night or less,
including Hotel
Indigo Brooklyn
, Holiday Inn Express New York City Wall Street,
Candlewood Suites New York City Times Square, Holiday Inn NYC Lower
East Side and EVEN Hotels Brooklyn.

There are also many appealing options bookable for 40,000 points
or less in Orlando that can help you avoid resort fees. For
example, the Holiday
Inn Orlando-Disney Springs Area
and the Holiday Inn Resort
Orlando Lake Buena Vista are well located for a Disney
World trip
.

Regardless of how you use your free night, you’re likely to
get at least $89 worth of value from it. You’re not limited to
Candlewood Suites and Holiday Inn Express properties — although I
tend to like staying at these brands — as there are plenty of
Intercontinental, Hotel Indigo, Kimpton and voco
properties bookable for less than 40,000 points per night.

Further reading: Top
hotels for redeeming the IHG Premier card’s free
night

Fourth night free on awards Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy.
The InterContinental
Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort in Vietnam
was a great place to use
the IHG Premier’s fourth-night-free benefit. (Photo by Katie
Genter/The Points Guy)

The anniversary free night should provide enough value to
justify the
IHG Premier
‘s $89 annual fee for most cardholders. But, for
frequent award travelers who stay for four nights or longer per
stay, the
fourth night free
on award stays may actually provide more
value than the anniversary free night. And unlike the free night,
you can get the fourth-night-free benefit as soon as your card is
linked to your IHG account.

This benefit is the most valuable perk of the IHG Premier card
for me. In 2019, my husband JT and I
used the fourth night free benefit on 11 award stays to save
185,000 IHG points, which TPG values at
$925
.

Further reading: The
incredibly easy way to redeem IHG’s fourth-night-free
awards

Other valuable benefits (Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
The IHG Premier offers a lot of benefits for its $89 annual fee.
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

The
IHG Premier
offers other benefits that may be useful to
travelers. One of these is IHG
Platinum Elite status
for the primary cardholders. TPG
values IHG Platinum Elite status
at $880, since the main
benefits you’ll get from this mid-tier status are space available
room upgrades, bonus points on paid stays, late check-out and a
welcome amenity. The 50% point bonus on paid stays lets me earn 15
points per dollar spent on paid stays, and I’ve had fair success
asking for upgraded rooms and late check-out onsite as a Platinum
elite.

The IHG Premier earns 10 points per dollar spent at IHG hotels
and resorts, which is a return of 5% based on TPG’s
valuations
. Although I usually use the
Chase Sapphire Reserve
to pay for IHG stays, since it earns
three
Ultimate Rewards points
for an effective 6% return, a 5% return
is pretty good if you don’t have a better-earning
card
. You’ll also earn two points per dollar spent at

gas stations
, grocery
stores
 and restaurants,
and one point per dollar spent on everything else.

The
IHG Premier
also offers the following benefits:

  • Save 20% on point purchases when you purchase points with your
    card (but
    not through Points.com
    )

  • No foreign transaction fees

  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit
    of up to $100 every
    four years as reimbursement for an application fee charged to your
    card
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after you spend $20,000 on purchases
    and make one additional purchase each account anniversary year

  • Cell phone protection
    of $800 per claim and $1,000 per year for
    phones listed on your monthly cell phone bill when you pay the bill
    with your card (maximum of two claims in a 12-month period, with a
    $50 deductible per claim)
  • Shopping protections when you use your card:
    • Purchase
      protection
      that covers your new purchases for 120 days against
      damage or theft, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account
    • Extended
      warranty protection
      that extends the time period of the U.S.
      manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year, on eligible
      warranties of three years or less

  • Travel protections
    when you use your card:


    • Trip cancellation / trip interruption insurance
      that may
      reimburse you up to $5,000 per person and $10,000 per trip for your
      pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses if your trip is canceled
      or cut short by sickness, severe weather or other covered
      situations
    • Baggage
      delay insurance
      that may reimburse you up to $100 a day for
      three days for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing if
      your baggage is delayed over six hours by a passenger carrier
    • Lost luggage
      reimbursement
      that covers up to $3,000 per passenger if you or
      an immediate family member’s checked or carry-on luggage is
      damaged or lost by the carrier
    • Auto
      rental collision damage waiver
      when you decline the rental
      company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost
      to your card. Coverage is provided for theft and collision damage
      for most cars in the U.S. and abroad, but in the U.S. coverage is
      secondary to your personal insurance.

Further reading: IHG
Rewards Club Premier Card credit card review

Bottom line (Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
The IHG Premier will likely be worth its annual fee if you’ll use
the anniversary free night. (Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points
Guy)

Two benefits of the IHG Premier — the
anniversary free night
at a property costing 40,000 points per
night or less and the
fourth night free on awards benefit
— can each easily justify
the card’s $89 annual fee for me. However, even infrequent
travelers or travelers who are generally loyal to other brands
should easily be able to get more than $89 worth of value from the
IHG Premier card each year solely due to the card’s anniversary
free night. If you assume you can get more than $89 of value from a
night at an IHG property, paying the annual fee and keeping the
card for another year should be an easy choice.

Looking to maximize your IHG points? Check out the following
posts:

Apply now for the
IHG Rewards Club Premier Card.

Featured photo by The Points Guy staff.

Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News2
Why I’m happy to pay the annual fee on the IHG Premier