How To Redeem IHG Card Free Night Certificate

Filed Under: Chase, Credit Cards
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The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is a great hotel credit card that offers a variety of valuable benefits. There has never been a better time to get the card either, given that it currently has its best ever welcome bonus.

The single benefit that makes this card easiest to justify is that it offers an anniversary free night certificate on your account anniversary every year, valid for a stay at a property retailing for up to 40,000 points per night. There are several hotel credit cards offering similar free night benefits, and this is a consistently underrated perk, in my opinion.

Given that the card only has an $89 annual fee, that’s like paying just $89 for a free night redeemable at nearly 5,000 IHG properties worldwide. That’s a spectacular deal.

The card offers other great benefits as well, including IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you have the card, a fourth night free on award redemptions, a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit, and more.

People have a lot of questions about how the free night certificate on the card works, so in this post I wanted to share just about everything you could possibly need to know about this certificate.

When Do You Get Your First IHG Card Anniversary Free Night?

This is an anniversary free night certificate, so you get your first free night certificate about 12 months after you’ve opened your card. That’s all the more reason to get the card as soon as possible, so that you’ll also get your first certificate as soon as possible.

How Long Is The IHG Card Anniversary Free Night Valid?

The certificate is valid for 12 months from the date of issue. You not only have to book by the expiration date, but you have to actually also stay by the expiration date. This didn’t used to be the case, but is the case nowadays.

So if you’re issued the certificate on September 1, 2019, you have to book and stay by September 1, 2020.

At What Hotels Can You Redeem The IHG Card Free Night Certificate?

The anniversary free night certificate is valid at any IHG hotel with a current points redemption level of up to 40,000 points per night. You can visit this page for a full list of hotels where you can’t redeem your free night award.

More than 4,900 of IHG’s 5,600 hotels are eligible for redemptions. Now, many of the better InterContinental hotels aren’t eligible for redemptions, though I’ve repeatedly found great uses. For example, this year I either have stayed or am staying at the InterContinentals in Beirut, Johannesburg, and Ljubljana, and they all have rates in the range of $180-350 if paying cash. All of these cost 40,000 points per night, or less.

Are There Blackout Dates For The IHG Card Anniversary Free Night Award?

The IHG Card anniversary free night certificate comes from the same inventory as points stays, so if you can redeem points for a stay, you can also redeem this certificate.

IHG Rewards Club advertises “no blackout dates,” though this is different than the “no blackout dates” policies from Hilton Honors and World of Hyatt. Let me explain:

  • With Hilton Honors and World of Hyatt you can redeem points for a stay as long as a standard room is available for sale
  • Meanwhile with IHG Rewards Club, they allocate a certain amount of inventory to points bookings, so there will be some availability every night, but not every standard room is available on points

If planning in advance this shouldn’t be an issue, with very few exceptions.

How Do You Redeem The IHG Card Free Night Certificate?

On your card’s anniversary the free night certificate will automatically be deposited into your IHG Rewards Club account.

To access it, log into your IHG Rewards Club account, and navigate to your account management page. Then on the left side you’ll see a section that reads “1 Free Night(s),” assuming you have one.

If you click on that section of your profile, you’ll be brought to a page all about your Chase Anniversary Free Night certificate, including a link to click in order to complete your booking.

You’ll then be brought to the main IHG booking page, where you’ll see the “Chase Anniversary Free Night” listed as one of the rate preferences.

Once you enter a destination you’ll see all the options for redeeming your certificate.

The final confirmation page will show the cancelation policy for the booking, which should be similar to the policy when redeeming points (you can typically cancel until a few days before arrival, but it varies by property).

Can You Earn More Than One Free Night Each Year With The IHG Card?

The card offers a maximum of one anniversary free night certificate per year, though if you have the old IHG Select Card, that card offers the same benefit. If you have both the Select and Premier Card, you could get two.

Otherwise your best bet would be to redeem points for any additional nights, or have a friend or spouse also get the IHG Card, and then redeem for back-to-back stays.

Is The IHG Card Worth Getting For The Free Night Award?

There are a lot of great perks to this card that potentially make it worthwhile, like IHG Rewards Club Platinum status, and a fourth night free on award redemptions.

However, to me the single most valuable benefit is the free night certificate. I’m not an IHG loyalist at all, but I consistently find great use for this.

Nowadays a vast majority of hotels (even inexpensive Holiday Inn Express properties) will cost you at least $89 per night including taxes and fees, so you could come out ahead with this.

For example, this year I used a certificate at the InterContinental Phoenicia Beirut, where the cash rate would have been over $300 per night, including tax.

Meanwhile soon Ford is using his certificate at the InterContinental Johannesburg, where the flexible rate (same conditions as using the certificate) is $220+ per night.

I’m not going out of my way to stay at IHG properties to use these. In both cases these are the places I wanted to stay. So even though I’m not ordinarily loyal to IHG, I’m getting a ton of value out of this benefit.

IHG Free Night Summary

There are a lot of great perks to the IHG Card, though if nothing else the card is worth picking up for the annual free night certificate, which just about anyone should get more than $89 of value out of.

If you have this card, what hotel have you redeemed your anniversary free night certificate at?

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  1. I have had no problem redeeming my free night certificate for family without me staying on two occasions by doing it over the phone. CSR simply put that family member’s name on the reservation and I was always straight forward that this night is for someone else. After booking, the family members calls the hotel to confirm that they are the ones checking in.

  2. I had a hard time redeeming a free night at a nowheresville HIX. Nights at this place were $120/night and all nights were available for a 25,000 point redemption for the rest of the schedule. However, there were zero free nights available with the award. Spent 15 minutes on the phone and they confirmed the issue and transferred me to someone who would help. I got disconnected. Got on online chat for another 15-20 minutes and they “resolved” the issue. After the chat I logged back in and it turns out they booked using 25,000 points. Grrrr. I don’t want to spend the points I wanted to use the expiring award. Got back on chat for 25 minutes and they said they would have the issue resolved by the next day and call to confirm. The next day came and went. I had given up hope. Surprisingly, I logged in after another day and they just credited back the points and deleted (not redeemed) the free night. I had asked them to do that earlier, but all’s well that ends well. Looking forward to my free night at the Ellensburg, WA HIX? I hope going forward it doesn’t take Herculean efforts to redeem the free nights since now my wife and I each have both cards’ worth of free nights.

    P.S. Used my last free night at the IC Madrid with a fantastic room upgrade that had a spacious outdoor patio bigger than the room and 2 free beers at the bar. Now THAT was a great redemption.

  3. You could buy IHG points for 0.38 cents each last month so the 30k IC Johannesburg night is at best worth $114. So you are paying the $89 annual fee up front for a certificate which covers that night. Then factor in the enormous illiquidity of the certificate vs holding cash and it would be tough to argue it even covers the $89 fee…

  4. @Rico. Sure that can help, but you will very quickly run out of IHG points (the signup bonus is really only worth 2-3 nights). Then not sure how you are accumulating more points, but there is an enormous opportunity cost of putting spending on this card.

  5. Sometimes hotels make two nights together available for awards on one reservation, you can not book one night at a time. I do not know if there is a way around it but in this case you can not use your one night certificate even if you have two of them.

  6. Do I receive a Free Reward Night on the ChaseIHG Rewards Club credit card? This card has an annual fee of $49 and 5X points on IHG hotels.

    I received one on my first anniversary, August 23rd 2018. It’s a few days past so, if I do not get the benefit every year, I’d like to cancel it before the annual fee hits on September 1st.

  7. @Lucky I was unable to use my old Chase free night from an old IHG Chase card even though there was a points award available (25,000 points, so definitely within even the *new* card’s advertised limit). Chase took no responsibility and IHG told me to go pound sand. I am closing my Chase account.

  8. Same experience as djibouti. Points award availability but refusal to issue free night, so either they don’t actually come from the same inventory or they’re not honoring them for some reason.

  9. I just redeemed mine at a 45,000 point hotel (showed up as Free Night on the ihg website and let me book), so I’m not sure the 40,000 point or less restriction is a hard rule.

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