The IHG Rewards Club Credit Card offers one of my favorite credit card perks out there. Up until now it has offered an anniversary free night certificate valid at virtually any IHG hotel in the world. Given that the card has just a $49 annual fee (waived the first year), this was essentially a way to get a free night certificate at top IHG hotels for just $49 per year. I’ve used this perk at InterContinentals in London, Hong Kong, and Geneva.
Unfortunately it looks like this will be changing going forward. For IHG anniversary free night certificates issued on May 1, 2018, or later, you can only redeem at properties that cost up to 40,000 points per night. IHG free night awards cost anywhere from 5,000 to 70,000 points per night, so this excludes many of IHG’s top properties.
Here’s the letter that a reader received from Chase about this benefit change:
Update: We’re changing the Anniversary Free Night on your IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card
Thank you for being a Chase customer. On May 1, 2018, we’re changing the Anniversary Free Night benefit associated with your IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card.
Here’s what’s changing
Currently, we award this Anniversary Free Night each year after your anniversary date, and it is redeemable at any IHG property. Going forward, Anniversary Free Nights issued after May 1, 2018, will be redeemable at eligible IHG hotels with a redemption value up to and including 40,000 points.
All the other perks of the card remain the same. This is obviously a huge devaluation to the card. Personally I still think the card is well worth the $49 annual fee, though I’ll have to rethink how I use this certificate. Going forward I won’t be redeeming these certificates at $300+ per night InterContinental hotels, but rather at some nicer airport hotels, Kimptons, etc.
I’ve long said that this benefit was too good to be true. It was great while it lasted, and it had a good run, though I can’t say I’m surprised.
(Tip of the hat to @Moleebs)