One of the best perks of the excellent IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card 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.
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 certificate?
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 certificate 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 May 1, 2019, you have to book and stay by May 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’m staying at the InterContinentals in Beirut, Johannesburg, and Ljubljana, and they all have rates in the range of $180-350 if paying cash.
Are there blackout dates for the IHG Card anniversary free night certificate?
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 I redeem my IHG Card anniversary 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.
Alternatively you can just follow this link and log into your account.
That will bring you to the Chase Anniversary Free Night certificate, including the 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 I get 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 really worth getting for the annual free night certificate?
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 Ford used his free night certificate for an upcoming stay at the InterContinental Phoenicia Beirut, where the cash rate would have been over $300 including tax.
Meanwhile later this year we both plan to use certificates 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.
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?