Chase IHG cards up their welcome bonuses—should you apply?

Today, Chase announced new welcome bonuses for its IHG One Rewards consumer credit cards. New cardholders can earn up to 165,000 bonus points, depending on which card they choose. 

Here’s what you need to know about the limited-time offers and other card features to determine whether you should apply.

New IHG One Rewards card welcome offer details

Starting today, new cardholders who apply for the Chase IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card or the Chase IHG One Rewards Traveler Credit Card can earn an elevated welcome bonus when they meet a minimum spending threshold:

For context, the cards previously offered 140,000 bonus points and 80,000 bonus points, respectively. Free nights with IHG start at 10,000 points—or 5,000 points if you book with a mix of rewards and cash—but more upscale hotels and resorts can cost up to 70,000 points per night.

Other card benefits

While a welcome offer can be a good incentive to apply for a card you’ve had your eye on, it’s crucial to consider the card’s potential long-term value to determine whether it’s the right fit for you. Here’s what else you can expect from the IHG credit cards.

IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card

  • Rewards: Earn 10 points per dollar on purchases at IHG properties, 5X points on travel, gas stations, and restaurants, and 3X points on all other purchases.
  • Anniversary night: Receive a certificate for a rewards night each year on your card anniversary. The certificate is worth up to 40,000 points, but you can also use points to redeem a night above that redemption level. 
  • Elite status: You’ll get automatic Platinum Elite status, which comes with perks like complimentary room upgrades, a welcome amenity and discounts on rewards nights. If you spend $40,000 in a calendar year, you’ll earn Diamond Elite status, the program’s highest status tier.
  • Fourth night free: If you redeem points for four or more consecutive nights, you’ll get the fourth night free. 
  • Annual bonuses: You’ll earn 10,000 bonus points each anniversary year in which you spend $20,000 on purchases. 
  • Expedited airport security screening: You’ll get an application fee credit of up to $100 every four years toward Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS. 
  • Annual fee: The card charges a $99 annual fee.

To learn more, check out our IHG One Rewards Premier Card review.

IHG One Rewards Traveler Credit Card

  • Rewards: Earn 5 points per dollar on purchases at IHG properties, 3X points on purchases on monthly bills, gas stations, and restaurants,and select streaming services, and 2X points on all other purchases.
  • Elite status: You’ll get automatic Silver Elite status, which offers bonus points on stays booked with cash and also ensures that your points don’t expire. You can get an upgrade to Gold Elite status when you spend $20,000 on the card in a calendar year. 
  • Fourth night free: If you redeem points for four or more consecutive nights, you’ll get the fourth night free.
  • Annual bonus: You’ll earn 10,000 bonus points when you spend $10,000 in a calendar year. 
  • Annual fee: The card doesn’t charge an annual fee.

To learn more, check out our IHG One Traveler review.

Should you apply for one of the IHG credit cards?

The new limited-time offers from Chase and IHG are impressive, but they aren’t much higher than the cards’ standard welcome offers. If you prefer IHG hotels when you travel, or you’re looking to get a hotel credit card with a wide range of hotels and resorts—IHG has more than 6,000 properties, ranging from budget to luxury brands, around the world—then it could make sense to apply for one of the IHG One Rewards credit cards while the welcome bonus is elevated. The fourth night free benefit alone could make the cards worth it if you have an award stay coming up. 

Of the two, the IHG Premier stands out for its balance of benefits for a reasonable annual fee. 

Consider both your spending and travel habits and evaluate each card’s benefits and annual fees to determine which one will give you the most value over time. 

That said, IHG cards only work for you if you like IHG’s 19-branded portfolio of hotels. If you prefer another hotel chain, it may make sense to apply for one of its co-branded credit cards instead. 
Also, keep in mind that hotel credit cards offer limited flexibility when it comes to redeeming your points—it generally doesn’t make sense to use your points for anything other than free hotel stays. If you want more flexibility, you may be better off with a general travel credit card or a cash-back credit card.

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