There are lots of rewards credit cards out there and lots of blogs on the best ones for travel. Most travel rewards credit cards come with an annual fee and have a plethora of travel rewards to go with the card to make your travel more easy, but oftentimes, unless you travel a ton it just doesn’t make much sense to apply for those credit cards because the annual fee doesn’t justify your use of the benefits.
That being said, there is one credit card out there that I think is a no brainer that everyone should get: Chase’s IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card. The card comes with a bonus of 60,000 points redeemable at IHG hotels (Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, Candlewood, Staybridge, Hualuxe, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Even Hotels) after you spend just $1,000 in 3 months, no foreign transaction fees, and automatic Platinum Status at IHG hotels. You also earn 5 points per dollar spent at the hotels, 2 points for dollar spent at grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations, and 1 point per dollar everywhere else. So far, this sounds like any other credit card offer, right?
I’m going to be honest here. 60,000 points gets you a few hotel nights at a lower-end property (although IHG sometimes offers “points break” offers where you can redeem for free nights for just 5,000 points) or maybe 1-2 nights at the Intercontinental or Crowne Plaza. I couldn’t care less for the 5 points per dollar spent at the hotel or any other points I’d earn from spending on this card because I’m only interested in the high end hotels and I’d need to rack up 30,000 points just for a free night at one of those – if I had to put $30,000 worth of spend on a credit card, I’d rather do it on my other credit cards. Automatic Platinum status is nice although it’s only honored if you’re paying for the room and not when you’re staying with points. That said, if you are paying for the room, Platinum status basically gets you: free internet, priority check in, and complimentary room upgrades. There are better platinum status amenities with other hotel chains so I don’t place a huge value on IHG’s Platinum status. The card does come, however, with no foreign transaction fees, which is awesome if you’re going abroad and don’t have any other card that provides this benefit yet!
Now, despite all that, I still recommend this card. Why? Because every year, you get 1 free night on your card anniversary which you can redeem at any of their properties – EVEN at the Intercontinental in Moorea and Bora Bora where rooms easily go for hundreds a night. That simple benefit is totally worth the $49 annual fee – it is a no brainer! As long as you stay at a hotel that is priced for more than $49/night, you’re coming out ahead and even more so if you stay at one of their more luxe properties. Now, imagine if you and your spouse or friend got one of these cards. You’d get two free nights to redeem – every year!
So, in short, of all the travel credit cards out there, this is the only one I’ve seen so far that is worth getting for the casual traveler. You don’t even need to put any spend on it besides the first $1,000 in 3 months to get the 60,000 point points. After that, tuck the card in your wallet and wait for the annual free night certificates and start planning your next getaway!
As a disclaimer, I don’t get anything for recommending this credit card to you. I have the card myself and think that it’s one of the only ones that makes sense for everyone to get… and decided to post this since I was recently toting the card benefits to a friend of mine who said, “Why don’t you post this kind of stuff on your blog?!” Well, now it’s posted. 🙂
Help me keep this series going! If you have any travel tips, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and your tip may end up in a future post!