The US credit card market is saturated with co-branded hotel credit cards. There are a mind-boggling number of cards, each with their own perks and benefits.
A few more countries have a few credit cards in the category as well. However, the range is miniscule compared to the cards offered in the USA.
Unfortunately, India has no official hotel credit cards yet. It’s a massive opportunity waiting to be grabbed, and the first mover will definitely have a big advantage.
However, it’s not that there is no way to earn hotel rewards. To fill the void, there are several cards that help you earn points with various hotel programs and get a few other benefits as well.
We have earlier written about how an Amex card works as an excellent Marriott Credit Card in India.
If you are looking to get some free nights at IHG hotels for your credit card spends, there are a few options available as well.
Earning IHG Rewards points for credit card spends in India
There are primarily 2 banks in India that offer an opportunity to earn IHG One Rewards points on credit card spends – Citibank and Axis Bank. Both have more than 1 card that lets you earn IHG Reward points. The card you can get depends on your relationship with the bank, pre-approved offers, and other eligibility criteria.
Citibank Prestige Card
You can earn 4 IHG points per Rs. 100 domestic spends and 8 for foreign currency spends with Citibank Prestige Card.
Technically, you get 1 prestige point per Rs. 100 spend and 2 points for spends in foreign currency. 1 prestige point equals to 4 IHG Rewards points, when transferred.
Tip: If you have any Citibank Credit Card with Rs. 3 lacs+ credit limit, just call the customer care, and they can directly upgrade you to Citi Prestige card.
There are a few categories for which you don’t earn reward points with Citibank Credit Cards. See this page for details.
With Citibank PremierMiles card, you can earn 4 IHG Rewards points for every Rs. 100 spent.
You can also earn 10 IHG reward points per Rs. 100 for airline transactions and on www.premiermiles.co.in, using the Citibank PremierMiles card.
Axis Reserve Credit Card
Axis Reserve is a flagship credit card by Axis bank and is fast becoming an excellent (read more rewarding) alternative to Amex Platinum in India.
The card is loaded with several benefits. One of them is the ability to transfer your Axis Edge Reward points to IHG or Marriott.
The card earns you 6 reward points for every Rs. 100 spent on domestic and 12 on foreign currency spends.
Tip: With Axis Edge Rewards, you can earn up to 10x points for buying vouchers for most shopping and other sites and apps.
Other Axis Bank Cards
IHG Elite Status
Unfortunately, no credit card in India offers IHG elite status currently.
Good news is that it’s not that difficult to get one. There are 2 ways you can easily get elite IHG status in India.
- IHG frequently offers opportunities to get elite status with IHG status match promotions. This works if you have an elite status with any other loyalty program. At times, even that is not required.
- There is another excellent option to get instant IHG Platinum elite status – IHG Ambassador Program. You get platinum elite and several other benefits for $200. It’s less than the annual fee of a card, and the benefits easily outweigh this cost.
It’s not the same as an official IHG credit card, but you can still earn IHG reward points with credit cards in India. And at a good earning rate.
There is also an advantage of such cards. These cards have partnerships with many loyalty programs. So, you don’t have to be locked into one program until you change the card.