Creative Ways To Get More Than One “Free” IHG Night Per Year

Filed Under: Credit Cards, IHG Rewards
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The single best perk of the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is that it offers an annual free night certificate valid at any IHG property. The card has a $89 annual fee (which is waived the first year), so even when you remove all the other benefits from the card, I think a vast majority of people would come out way ahead on the annual fee with the free night certificate alone.

One comment I’ve gotten from some readers is “well, that’s great, but it’s only useful if you’re staying in one night increments.” Fair enough. Personally that works great for me, as I have plenty of one night stays. For others, you can of course pay for an extra night (either in cash or points), or switch hotels. But I realize that’s not for everyone.

So in this post I wanted to look at two other ways to stretch the stays you can get out of the annual free night certificate on the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card:

“Bank” your certificates and use them for a two night stay

The free night certificates issued on this card are technically only valid for one year. They’re issued on your cardmember anniversary date, and their expiration date should coincide with your cardmember anniversary date the next year. However, the great thing is that in practice you only have to book your stay by the expiration date, and not actually stay by the expiration date.

In other words, if your certificate expires March 1, 2017, you could make a one night booking for January 2018 one day before it expires. Then a day later you’ll be issued the new certificate, and can redeem it for a stay a night before or after. So that makes it quite easy to redeem this certificate for a two night stay every two years.

Get your spouse/friend to apply for the card

This is something I’m in the process of doing. Ford doesn’t have the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, so I’ll have him apply for it, and then we have two certificates we can use each year. We could further use the above strategy to potentially book four back-to-back nights every two years.

Technically you’d be booking these on separate reservations, but you can contact the hotel and ask them to notate the reservations so that you can keep the same room for the entire stay. Also keep in mind that while you have to book the reservation in the name of the primary cardmember, you should have no trouble adding a second name to the reservation and having them check-in.

Also keep in mind that this card isn’t subjected to Chase’s 5/24 rule, so you should be able to get approved for this card even if you’ve opened more than five new accounts in the past 24 months.

I used my annual free night certificates a few days ago at the InterContinental Hong Kong

Bottom line

Personally I find the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card annual free night certificate so useful precisely because I often have one night stays where a free hotel night would come in hand. I was in that situation recently in Hong Kong, for example. However, I realize others don’t travel quite that quickly, in which case there are methods to make it so that you can stay in increments of two or more nights.

With just a $89 annual fee and annual free night, it’s tough to go wrong.

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  1. This sounds like a good plan, but I read the rules (see below) and it says it has to be redeemed and stay completed with 12 months. Why do you think otherwise? Have you had it work your way before?

    Annniversary Free Night is valid at hotels in the IHG® Rewards Club Family of Brands and must be redeemed, and stay must be completed, within 12 months from date of issue.

  2. These are all valid points. I hope IHG doesn’t read this blog and tighten down on the 12 month expiration vs booking dates.
    I will warn readers though that the non-credit card IHG certificates that are sometimes given out on promotions, etc. usually do have a hard 12 month expiration.

  3. My husband recently got this card. I’m unclear to me on if the free night comes as an anniversary after having it for a year (like Hyatt, Marriott) or is available right away. This is a card that is great to have regardless. Thanks.

  4. I’ve done this and the thing you have to be careful about is making any changes.

    Hubby’s and my certificates expire in July. We booked in May for October in Madrid – first for the Intercontinental.Then we realized we’d rather be in the Hotel Indigo because it was a better location. The IHG rep told me I had to make the change before my expiration because he had to cancel the Intercontinental, then book the Indigo. If we cancelled our room at the Intercontinental after the expiration, the certificate could vanish.

  5. I’m with Matt B. —

    Anyone know about Kimpton? They’ve been teasing it for months but still nothing. They’ve got beautiful properties.

  6. It works and I’ve done it before, but from my understanding, once the certificate expires, you will not be able to modify the reservation.

  7. Love this card too – I’m hoping the popular bloggers keep it quite so this amazing ‘any hotel’ certificate doesn’t go away. I like using it (along with my wife’s) at the Intercontinental NYC – been going every other year for a long weekend at Christmas time. I’ve also used it in Vegas at the Palazzo on the expensive Saturday night stays.

  8. The “bank” option doesn’t need to be as difficult as you describe it in the post. This is my preferred way of using the certs, and there is always a 1 month or so overlap in the expiration dates for me (the new cert is issued a few weeks before the old expires). So, no need to book 1 day before expiration/second night the next day – I just wait until both are in my account and book it then.

  9. Hi, Lucky. I really enjoy your posts and I am a newbie still trying to learn a lot. I just applied and was approved for this card and would like to know how soon Platinum Elite Status would show up on my IHG Rewards account. With my application with Chase, I did provide my exsiting IHG Rewards club number but my status still shows as “Club” level. I chat with an IHG rep and she told me that I have to satisfy $1000 spending in 3 months first in order to receive the Platinum status. I thought that just having this credit card comes with Platinum status. I have an upcoming travel including IC stays and would like to have platinum status prior to my travel to receive some benefit (50% bonus earning etc). I appreciate your thoughts. 🙂

  10. I just tried to book something using my free night for the end of January (after my anniversary date) and it wouldn’t let me do it. When I moved the date up (to a date prior to my anniversary date), I could do it. So, they must have gotten wise to this maneuver. The website does state that both the booking and the stay must be within one year after your anniversary date.

  11. I have tried to book random hotels using my free anniversary night but using that option does not come up in the pull down menu.

    Only Best Available, AAA, Government, Club, Entertainment, Rewards (using my points), Seniors…etc.

    I don’t see a coupon code either on my free night certificate to enter when booking.

  12. @Lisa C: You need to open your account page. The free nights availability link will be on the left side of the page.

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