IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card Review: A New Low-cost Option?

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Updated on Friday, April 27, 2018

As widely expected, IHG unveiled in early April 2018 two new products — the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card and the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. In this review, we’ll take a look at the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card, which will be taking the place of the old IHG® Rewards Club Classic Credit Card.

The biggest change in the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card is the addition of a free anniversary night certificate each year, which was not available on the old IHG® Rewards Club Classic Credit Card.

But the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card has more than doubled the points per $1 spent on more than 5,200 IHG®-branded hotels from 2 to 5. It also doubled the points per $1 spent on at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants to 2 points per $1 spent — plus, it’s added travel and purchase benefits that the old Classic card never had. You also earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

If you stay regularly at IHG®-branded hotels and want a lower cost option to the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card should be considered. If not, you may want to shop around for cards that offer more points in the popular travel and dining categories.

We take a look at what the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card is offering and how it matches up with competitors in the same category.

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card benefits

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

The information related to IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 15 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

If you want to have an IHG®-branded credit card at a lower price point, then the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card could be a good option. The card has more robust benefits and better points per $1 spent than the old IHG® Rewards Club Classic Credit Card it replaced.

The sign-up bonus. Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. You earn 5,000 bonus points after adding your first authorized user and make your first purchase within three months from account opening.

Decent rewards rate at IHG hotels. The $0 annual fee IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card offers the following rewards rate: Earn 15 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Plus, from Aug. 1 through Sept. 30, 2020, eligible cardholders can earn 5 total points per dollar at grocery stores and gas stations on up to $1,500 per month. Note, you will receive an email notifying you if you are eligible to opt in to the limited time offer.

Also, save 20% when you buy points with the card.

Bonus bonus hotel nights. You get a fourth reward night free after redeeming points for any stay of four or more nights. Terms apply.

Travel and purchase benefits. You’ll get trip cancellation/interruption insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, along with purchase, price and extended warranty protection.

Redeeming rewards

The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card gives you access to the IHG® Rewards Club, where you can use your points to redeem room nights — costing between 10,000 and 70,000 points — at more than 5,200 IHG® hotel brands around the world. There are no blackout dates for those rooms.

You can transfer your points into miles to around 40 global airlines. You can also use your points to book flights, hotels and rental cars at any time. And combine your points with cash to redeem for reward nights.

What we like

Good bonus points. Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. That is less than the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, but still a pretty good offer. And you can earn between 1,000 and 5,000 elite qualifying bonus points for each hotel night stay under the IHG® Rewards Club Bonus Points Packages program.

Easy to redeem. The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card allows you to spend your points on hotel nights at more than 5,200+ IHG® hotel brands with no blackout dates.

Transfer points. The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card allows you to transfer your points to around 40 airline partners, a great way to boost your account. The number of points needed to transfer for miles varies, depending on the airline. You can also use your points to book travel on any airline, car rental company or virtually any hotel.

Travel and purchase benefits. The travel insurance and purchase protections, are all a welcome upgrade from the IHG® Rewards Club Classic Credit Card, which didn’t offer them.

No foreign transaction fees. The card doesn’t charge this fee when using it outside of the United States.

What we don’t like

No automatic elite status. The IHG® Rewards Club Classic Credit Card gave you automatic gold status in the Rewards Club. Now you have to spend $10,000 in a calendar year in order to get gold elite status with the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card. If you don’t have gold elite status with the new card, you’re missing out on benefits like free room upgrades when available, priority check-in and extended check-out and free Wi-Fi.

No bonus points. Because you don’t get status with this card, there’s no way for you to earn extra points when you book hotel stays, which is available for gold elite status and above.

One less perk. The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card doesn’t come with the $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck that the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers.

Check that score. You need to have excellent/good credit to apply for this card.

Card Alternatives

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card vs. IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

 

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card benefits

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card benefits

Annual Fee

$0

$89

Sign-Up Bonus

Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months from account opening.

Earn 125,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening

Cashback rate

Earn 15 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Earn 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Elite Status

Gold after spending $10,000 on your card each calendar year.

Platinum Elite

Fee vs. rewards. The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has an annual fee of $89 and you can earn 125,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card allows you to Earn 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Elite status. Unlike the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card, you get automatic platinum elite status every year you have theIHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. Platinum elite members get access to a dedicated customer assistance phone number, free room upgrades when available, priority check-in and extended checkout and free Wi-Fi.

Benefits. The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers trip cancellation/interruption insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, along with purchase, price and extended warranty protection. It also offers a $100 credit toward your Global Entry or TSA Precheck enrollment fee. Like the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card, you can transfer your points into miles at around 40 airline loyalty programs. The card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee when traveling outside the U.S.

The bottom line

The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card offers a fairly good sign-up bonus paired with a lower spending requirement to get it. While it offers 5 points per $1 spent for IHG®-branded hotel stays, the points it offers in the all-important travel and dining categories isn’t as good as competing credit cards.

The ability to transfer your IHG® Reward Club points to about 40 airline loyalty programs and also use them to book flights, hotels and rental cars anytime is a good benefit.

But not getting automatic elite status on IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card when it was offered on the card it replaced — the IHG® Rewards Club Classic Credit Card — plus having to spend $10,000 in a year to get gold status may not be popular with potential cardmembers.

In the end, this card is really best for those who stay in IHG®-branded hotels regularly on their travels. The 5 points per $1 spent on hotel stays can be leveraged into free nights, airline tickets and rental cars. But if you want more flexibility in what hotels you book or earn more points per $1 spent in the popular travel and dining categories, then one of these travel credit cards may be a better bet for you.

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