I will show you how to get your 1st $550 annual fee waived in my Ultimate Military Credit Cards course
The Amex Gold card is annual fee waived for military. It's even better than the Amex Platinum for everyday spending on dining and groceries.
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The Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is the best credit card for earning free night stays at all IHG hotels and resorts. Military servicemembers
You can earn 140,000 welcome bonus points after meeting the minimum spend requirement of $3000 in the first 3 months. The $89 annual fee is waived for US military servicemembers on active duty orders according to Chase's MLA policy.
- Learn how to apply for the Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier
- $89 annual fee waived for US military according to Chase MLA policy and waived for everyone for first year
- Earn 140,000 IHG points after $3000 of spend in the first 3 months of account opening
- Earn a free night each account anniversary
- Fourth night is free each time you redeem points for a 4+ night stay
- Earn 25x points per $1 spent at IHG properties
- Automatic Platinum Elite Status (2nd highest membership level)
- Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fee credit every 4 years – military members should get Global Entry, since you can get PreCheck with your DOD ID number off of your CAC
- No foreign transaction fees – essential for international travel
With the offer of 140,000 IHG points, you can easily get over $1200 of value from this card in the first year. I'm adding it to my Best Credit Card Bonuses for Military Servicemembers page.
How to Use IHG Points for Maximum Value
IHG, or Intercontinental Hotel Group, has over 5000 properties in their inventory including many of the hotels on Army posts. This allows you to earn valuable IHG points, even when you stay on base. IHG brands include:
- Hotel Indigo
- Crowne Plaza
- Candlewood Suites
- Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express
One of my all time favorite hotels is the Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt in Austin, Texas. We used to go here on weekends while we were stationed in Texas. They have a free happy hour, are dog friendly, and just steps away from the famous Rainey Street nightlife.
A Friday night stay in May 2020 at the Hotel Van Zandt would run you over $500:
Or you can book it for just 60,000 points!
That's nearly 1 penny per point, which is a pretty good redemption for hotel points. $548 / 60,000 points = .91 cents per point. That means 140,000 welcome bonus could be worth over $1200!
Automatic IHG Platinum Elite for Military
If you are a Chase IHG card holder, you automatically earn IHG Platinum Elite status while the account is open. This is IHG's second highest membership level.
Since military servicemembers pay no annual fees on this card, you can get automatic Platinum Elite status as long as you are on active duty orders.
IHG Platinum Elites earn 50% bonus points when paying for stays, complimentary room upgrades when available, and get guaranteed room availability. Check out more of the benefits from the IHG Rewards Club membership chart below:
Using IHG Points for Airport Stays
I'm not sure why, but in my travels I notice IHGs are often the closest hotel to airports. When you have a large stash of IHG points (like the tens of thousands you can earn with the Chase IHG card), you can book free reward nights at these hotels.
This makes travelling much more enjoyable when you can spend a night at the hotel before you depart or after you land, if you land very late.
For instance, my wife and I stayed 2 nights at the Holiday Inn Auckland Airport after coming in on a late night flight and again before leaving on an early morning flight to Melbourne, Australia. The accommodations were perfect for recovering from jet lag and having an easy place to Uber to the airport early in the morning.
Clean, quiet rooms and a nice bar/restaurant on the property meant a relaxing stay coming into and departing New Zealand.
Best Hotel Credit Cards for Military Servicemembers
If you travel a lot for the military, other work, or pleasure, I recommend you add the Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card to your roster of cards.
You can check out my list of the best hotel credit cards for military servicemembers, especially those that go TDY, deploy, or PCS a lot.