December 2, 2022

I spent just $400 on my honeymoon thanks to the Chase IHG credit card

This article is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. It has not…

I spent just 0 on my honeymoon thanks to the Chase IHG credit card

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  • When my husband and I were planning our wedding, each of us opened the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and earned the welcome bonus by using it to pay for wedding expenses.
  • We used our IHG points to book an all-inclusive IHG resort in Jamaica for our honeymoon, along with points from Southwest credit cards for our flights.
  • In total, we spent less than $400 out-of-pocket for a week-long stay that included food, drinks, and on-site activities.
  • I keep the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card because it saves me money with perks like an anniversary reward night each year and the fourth reward night free on stays of four or more nights.
  • Read Business Insider’s guide to the best rewards credit cards.

I love traveling with my family but this often means I’m more inclined to want to arrange nicer accommodations. Back when I was in college, it was perfectly fine for me to stay in a cheap hostel with a few other friendly strangers, but not anymore. 

Hotel stays are one of the most common hidden expenses when booking travel, but I often use the points I earn from the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card to keep lodging costs low.

You can use IHG points for stays at brands like InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo, Kimpton Hotels, and more. You can also redeem your points for shopping and gift cards to retailers and restaurants, but I find the most value in lowering the costs of hotel and resort stays when I travel.

We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

Regular APR

15.99{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5} – 22.99{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5} Variable

Credit Score

Good to Excellent

Featured Reward

140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening

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  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
    • Enjoy a Reward Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide. Plus, enjoy a reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights
    • Earn up to 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
    • Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member
    • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
    • IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®
    Pros
    • Anniversary reward night can be worth more than the annual fee
    Cons
    • Could offer better rewards on non-IHG purchases

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    How I used IHG points to book my honeymoon for under $400

    The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card currently offers a generous sign-up bonus of 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. That’s enough to book 14 award nights at the lowest-priced IHG hotels, or for a shorter stay at more luxurious resorts.

    When my husband and I were planning our wedding, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card had a big sign-up bonus, so we both applied for it and got approved. As a result, we doubled our bonus points by using our cards to pay for wedding expenses to meet the minimum spending requirement.

    In addition, we each signed up for a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card and easily earned the welcome bonus. Between these cards, we were able to use points to book a week-long honeymoon at the all-inclusive Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay in Jamaica for less than $400 (flights included). 

    When you redeem IHG points for a stay, you won’t pay anything for the room, but resort fees and taxes (if there are any) are your responsibility. Or, you can use a combination of cash and points to lower your overall costs and stretch your point balance.

    The benefits of the Chase IHG card justify the annual fee

    The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has an $89 annual fee, but it’s well worth it in my opinion. Along with the welcome bonus, you’ll earn:

    The fact that you get a reward night at any IHG hotel that costs 40,000 points or less each year is a good way to justify the annual fee. I also use the fourth reward night free benefit, so I usually get at least two free nights each year if I earn and redeem points. 

    Saving on hotels and resorts when we travel

    I’ve grown accustomed to using IHG hotels and resorts when we travel because it’s easy to maximize my savings. On one end, I save when booking a stay if I use points. 

    Right now, I have over 260,000 IHG Rewards Club points and can book a stay at the same resort in Jamaica that we honeymooned at for 50,000 points per night (remember, the fourth night is free when you have the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and book with your points). IHG also allows you to use a combination of points and cash so there are several different options to help you save. 

    Either way, the prices aren’t bad for an all-inclusive resort that covers your stay, on-site activities, and all food and drink including alcoholic beverages. A week-long stay at a resort like this would easily cost $1,400 or more if you paid cash.

    If I’m traveling with my family, we usually opt to book a Holiday Inn resort because many of them allow kids to stay and eat for free. When we traveled to Orlando for a Disney World vacation, we stayed in a Holiday Inn Resort and my son got to eat for free at the on-site full-service restaurant. This kept us from eating and overspending at the park.

    Automatic IHG Platinum elite status benefits

    I love titles like “Platinum elite” because they sound so fancy and exclusive. IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card members automatically receive IHG Platinum status, and aside from the prestigious name, I think it’s worth it due to all the added benefits you get.

    As an IHG Platinum elite, you earn 50{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5} more points per dollar at IHG properties, which means even if you spend cash and points to book a stay, you’ll also be earning more points for future stays. You can also enjoy late checkout, priority check-in, room upgrades when available, and a welcome amenity (determined by the hotel or resort).

    One of the biggest benefits is that when you have IHG elite status, your points don’t expire — so this is a huge relief for people who don’t want to be pressured to book a stay before their points disappear. 

    Is the IHG Premier Rewards credit card worth it?

    The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card may not be the most premium credit card available, but it’s a strong contender and certainly a card that’s worth keeping around. The sign-up bonuses is excellent and you can use your points toward stays, gift cards, or even convert them to airline miles. 

    The only potential downsides I can see are if you don’t like IHG hotel brands or award prices when you book a stay. But, there are tons of domestic and interational options to accommodate your travel needs — IHG has over 5,900 hotels and resorts worldwide to choose from.

    Plus, the anniversary reward night and fourth reward night free benefit exceeds the value of the annual fee since most hotel and resort stays are much higher than $89 per night.

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    Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

    Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

    Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they’re subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.