It has been a while since I’ve redeemed an IHG credit card free night certificate, though I just got a great value redeeming several of these, and wanted to share the details of that.
Basics of the IHG free night certificate
The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card (review) is a great hotel credit card that offers a variety of valuable benefits. One of the card’s primary perks is an anniversary free night certificate valid at a property costing up to 40,000 points per night. To me this more than covers the card’s $99 annual fee on an ongoing basis, not factoring in the other perks, like IHG Platinum status, a fourth night free on award redemptions, and more.
When I write about the IHG Premier Card, readers are often skeptical about the value of the free night certificate:
- Many of us aren’t IHG Rewards loyalists, given the program’s generally weak elite recognition, so how valuable is it to have free night certificates with the brand?
- IHG Rewards introduced dynamic award pricing recently, which has been a mixed bag when it comes to redemption values
- IHG Rewards has capacity controls on award rooms, so you don’t get last room availability for standard rooms
As I’ve often explained when writing about the card, I’ve consistently received amazing value with these certificates, without going out of my way to actually stay at an IHG property.
For example, I last redeemed an IHG free night certificate at the InterContinental Johannesburg Airport, where the paid rate would have been over $300 per night. I wasn’t seeking out an IHG property, but the hotel is the most convenient airport hotel there, and that’s exactly what I needed.
I had three IHG free night certificates in my account until this week, but just managed to redeem these all in a pretty lucrative way, so I wanted to share the details of that.
Using IHG free night awards at a Kimpton
I need to be in Miami for a few nights next month. I’m not looking to go to Miami Beach, and for that matter I’m not looking for some amazing hotel, as I’ll mainly be working and attending some commitments.
Earlier this week I started looking at hotel options, and as I usually do, I started by looking at Hyatt, Marriott, and Hilton options (roughly in that order). Most decent hotels seemed to be charging $250+ per night, though nothing really stood out to me as being particularly exciting, in terms of quality or value.
Then I remembered I had several IHG free night certificates that were going to expire soon enough, so I looked at redemption options with those. To my surprise, the Kimpton EPIC Miami was bookable for 38,000 IHG Rewards points per night, when paid rates would have been $270+ per night.
Since a stay cost under 40,000 points per night, it meant I could redeem free night certificates for my stay.
If you ask me, this is a pretty fantastic redemption:
- By paying a card’s $99 annual fee, I got a free night at a hotel charging almost 2.5x as much.
- The Kimpton EPIC Miami is an especially good option since I’ll be traveling with Winston, and Kimptons are dog friendly and don’t charge a fee for pets
- Dynamic award pricing worked in my favor this time, because back when IHG had more consistent award pricing, this hotel cost over 40,000 points per night
With this redemption, my streak of consistently getting great value out of these certificates without going out of my way to stay at an IHG property continues.
Understandably there’s a lot of skepticism surrounding credit card free night certificates that have redemption caps. After all, in many cases you’re paying an annual fee (cash out of your pocket) for the possibility of getting outsized value.
I have a lot of hotel credit cards, and across the board I continue to get amazing value when redeeming these free night certificates. That’s easy enough to do with Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott, given my general travel patterns and brand preferences, though I’m happy I also managed to redeem my IHG certificates in a pretty lucrative way. The IHG Premier Card continues to be a keeper for me.
Anyone else get good value with an IHG free night award?