How To Redeem Your IHG Anniversary Free Night Certificate

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I’ve written extensively about the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card, which is one of the most all around rewarding hotel credit cards out there.

The card comes with a sign-up bonus where you can earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchase in the first 3 months of account opening, provided you haven’t received the bonus in the past 24 months. And the annual fee on the card is also a super-low $49, though it’s waived the first year. You can also earn 5 points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG hotels.

This sign-up bonus is limited time, though was recently extended through May 31, 2015.

There are three most awesome benefits that come with this card:

  • You get an anniversary free night certificate every year, which is valid at any IHG property worldwide, pending availability; given IHG’s global footprint, that should justify the card for just about anyone, given the annual fee is only $49
  • You get IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you have the card, which gets you bonus points, room upgrades, etc.
  • You get a 10% rebate on points redemptions, for up to 100,000 points back each year

So let’s talk specifically about the first benefit for a moment, as I recently reached my account anniversary date on the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card. Therefore the annual free night certificate was recently deposited into my account.

IHG-Free-Night

How does the booking process of the annual free night certificate work?

To access your IHG Rewards Club Anniversary Free Night Certificate, simply log into your IHG Rewards Club account and click on the “My Account” section.

Then on the left side you’ll see a section which reads “Free Night Status.” You’ll want to click on that.

IHG-Anniversary-Night-1

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.

Here are the terms associated with redeeming the free night certificate:

Chase Anniversary 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. Anniversary Free Night is valid for one standard room night rate and applicable taxes only. Rooms are limited, subject to prior sale and availability of allocated resources and may be unavailable during high demand periods. Anniversary Free Night may not be transferred, extended beyond the expiration date, redeemed for cash, or re-credited for points. Individual hotel’s cancellation policy applies to the use of the Anniversary Free Night. Cancellation fees apply if cancellation is made outside of the hotel’s cancellation time period. Anniversary Free Night rules and regulations are subject to change. Chase is not responsible for offer fulfillment.

Once you enter a destination you’ll see all the options for redeeming your certificate. As a reminder, you have to stay within 12 months of the date that the voucher is issued.

Availability using the free night certificate should be the same as if you’re redeeming IHG Rewards Club points. For example, I had no trouble finding availability at the InterContinental London Park Lane for a date I’ll be in London, where the rate would otherwise be 379GBP for the night.

IHG-Anniversary-Night-3

After selecting the hotel I was brought to a page where I could confirm the room, which came with a “standard” cancellation policy.

IHG-Anniversary-Night-4

If you need to cancel your stay the free night certificate goes back into your account, assuming it wouldn’t have otherwise expired.

Bottom line

The process of redeeming the free night issued with the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card is super easy, and can be done directly on ihg.com.

Given that IHG has over 4,000 properties around the world, almost everyone should get value out of this benefit, given that a stay at just about any property would cost more than $49 per night.

This benefit is only one of several reasons that I hold onto the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card, though don’t much spend at all on the card.

Where have you redeemed your IHG free night certificate?

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Comments

  1. Ben, did you ever write a post about what the best properties to redeem at are?
    thank you.

  2. Great note, Ben – would be cool if you did a post about the actual benefits of IGH Platinum status, and how that differs from the older ambassador status they used (and still do?) have.

  3. Ben,

    One thing I didn’t realize until I just received the card yesterday is supposedly the Platinum status upgrade takes 6 to 8 weeks to process on your IHG account. (or so it says in the T&C’s that came with the card).

    I’ll be staying at the IC Porto in about two weeks. Should I call Chase or IHG to get my Platinum upgrade processed right away?

    Thanks, Matt

  4. Just redeemed my free night cert a couple days ago for the Intercontinental Doha! Looks like a beautiful resort on the beach for my 20 hour layover. Stoked. Great value!

  5. I have redeemed at 4 locations over the years:

    IC – Boston
    IC – San Juan
    Hotel Indigo – San Diego
    IC – Le Grand Paris

  6. @Matt: Platinum status doesn’t really pertain to IC hotels. It only applies to non-IC hotels. If you want perks for your IC Porto stay, you’ll need to purchase Ambassador status beforehand or at the hotel.

  7. Matt, just returned from 3 nights at the IC Porto. What a wonderful property and city. Was upgraded to a 2 floor duplex, and thanked for being a Platinum member. Can’t say enough good things about the place. Mike

  8. It seems that IHG and Club Carlson have been the hottest tickets in town of late, as they should be! While travel bloggers constantly rave about how Hyatt GP and SPG are “the best programs in the business” (if you fall for that I have great beachfront property in the Sahara Desert to sell you!), the reality is that for folks who play the mile/point game on their own dime Hyatt GP and SPG are by far the least rewarding and most expensive programs, while IHG and Club Carlson offer the best overall “value”, especially in terms of Spend Per Free Night ratio — the most important metric in my book for assessing and comparing the relative “values” of loyalty programs…

  9. DCS you should really start your own blog. You have a lot of interesting opinions and I think people would listen.

    You’d have a lot of other bloggers linking to you day after day as they rebut your points.

  10. Is there any way to change the anniversary date of the certificate? I think the timing of when the certificate hits and when I’d like to book will be sub optimal going forward if I need to stay within 12 months (versus just use the certificate to book within 12 months)

  11. I’ve had the card for about 2 months. I’m guessing the Free Night Status option doesn’t show up until you’ve actually earned a free night… I would think it’d still say “0 Nights Earned” or something to that effect. Can anyone confirm? I’d like to know if I need to call IHG and ask.

  12. I was told you need to book within the 12 month period but the stay could occur after. Mine was to expire in September but the agent used it for a stay in December.

  13. @ Daniel M: I’ve heard that actually depends on the specific IC property. Some recognize and give perks for “normal” Platinum members and some only for those with Ambassador status.

    @ Mike: that is great to hear! I’m staying three nights as well.

  14. I believe you have to book the free night within the one-year period but that the stay can occur AFTER the one-year period. That’s what IHG told me last year and I was able to do it.

  15. @Adam, the free night will not show up until 1 year has passed from the time you were approved for the card. It’s an “anniversary award”. It will post in your IHG Rewards account and you will receive an email “heads-up” that your award night is coming.

  16. Does the Free Night option include Klimpton properties, now that the two brands have merged?

  17. What TomSAN says confirms what I experienced. The T&Cs seem to differ. It seems the booking window is what counts, not when the stay actually occurs.

  18. @ Heavenlyjane — Not yet since the programs haven’t yet been integrated, though hopefully at some point.

  19. @ scott — It seems like in practice the free night certificate just has to be redeemed within 12 months but can be used for a subsequent stay, so hopefully that solves your issue.

  20. @ DCS — While Club Carlson may offer among the best overall “value” in terms of free nights, they simply don’t have as many properties I’d like to stay at as Hyatt or SPG. It’s great to calculate where you can get free nights most easily, but that’s different than getting free nights at properties I *actually* want to stay at.

  21. @ Jeremy — In my experience they post when the statement closes where you complete minimum spend.

  22. @ Matt — Hmmm, wasn’t aware of that. I think in practice it should post faster, though I doubt there’s anything you can do to expedite it. It’ll likely just post when it posts.

  23. @ Lantean — Not specifically, as there are quite a few awesome properties, especially in Europe. But thanks for the idea!

  24. @Matt @Mike – We also just stayed at the IC Porto for three nights. Amazing facility on the main square of the city just around the corner from the Sao Bento train station. We were recognized as Platinum and also upgraded to a duplex suite. The concierge desk was really fabulous with great dinner recommendations and proactive help with directions, etc. I would do what you could to be recognized as Platinum as I feel there are definitely benefits associated with it.

  25. @Lucky — That is another problem with travel/loyalty bloggers; they seem to be pushing the idea that every redemption must be expensive or “aspirational” or to their liking for it to be “valuable”. Your blog, which focuses a lot on reviewing premium airplane cabins and luxury hotels as if for the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” is Exhibit A.

    The fact of the matter is that many properties where YOU, @Lucky, would “*actually* want to stay at” would quite likely not be affordable for the wide majority of those who play the mine/point game on their own dime and have a much more modest objective: how to travel/vacation in relative comfort as cheaply as possible. Therefore, the notion that IHG, with a footprint that is 8-10 times larger than Hyatt’s should be sneezed at or that Club Carlson has a problem because “they simply don’t have as many properties I’d like to stay at as Hyatt or SPG” reeks of the sort “elitism” that goes against the [un]stated goal of many blogs of helping folks fulfill their dreams. If IHG or Club Carlson were generally and overwhelmingly less desirable they would be struggling financially, wouldn’t they? That they are not means that someone does stay with them, and the fact that they are affordable should make them ideal for folks who are simply looking to take a vacation in relative comfort for as little out pocket money as possible.

    The raving about Hyatt Gold Passport which, in my book, is at best a work-in-progress, at worst a joke, has never really been about GP, the loyalty program; rather, it has always been about Hyatt, the hotel company, with the tastefully done hotels and service that is second to none. Because of the latter, I have stayed at a lot of great Hyatt properties around the world, often on revenue. However, when it comes to choosing a loyalty program for the purpose of earning points for personal travel, I long ago decided to go with HHonors, a mature and stable program that is as affordable as it is rewarding. IHG and Club Carlson loyalty programs should not be dismissed simply because they do not have “aspirational” properties. They are, in fact, the perfect “entry-level” programs for folks who play the mile/point game on their own dime.

    The bottom line is that by doing “brand advocacy blogging”, I think that what you are in fact doing is to entice people into fulfilling YOUR dream as their own instead of helping them fulfill their own 😉

  26. @DCS – Here’s the thing: Ben can advocate whatever he likes. In fact, I give him props for not being a hypocrite by suggesting Best Western while staying at Hyatts. If you want excellent analysis of value properties, see Loyalty Traveler. Rick does an amazing job.
    In the interim, why not follow the earlier advice and start your own blog? Hell, if Chris Elliot can do it, so can you. That would also have the ancillary benefit of making you look more legitimate, and less like a combative troll. Lest I be accused of being a suck up, I’ve disagreed with Ben publicly, and on multiple occasions. The difference being that I respect him as a person and a professional. Maybe, just maybe, if you were to exhibit a little respect, you might gain some as well. There’s little to lose by trying.

  27. @Christian – I do appreciate the tendency of people here who have put Ben on a pedestal to want to defend him (sometimes even against his own friends… remember Travis?!), but I am sure that Ben is perfectly capable of defending himself.

    If you have something specific to say about the substance of what I wrote, then please do so. Or, if my style of writing or my presenting opinions that challenge what you have been repeatedly told bothers you, then just skip my comments. I do not need to start my own blog and, as a full-time Ivy League university professor, I would not have the time. But I LOVE traveling so, naturally, I like commenting on travel blogs all over the web, as well as on travel-centric bulletin boards or forums, where I write blog-like pieces that I have linked to here many times. Check this one out: https://milepoint.com/forums/threads/2014-year-end-asian-escapade-or-the-anatomy-of-a-big-time-redemption.109108/

    Bottom: Get used to me or ignored me, but do not presume that you can speak for Ben. Speak for yourself but I hope it will be to address the substance of comments that you read.

    Going after commenters personally is not what this medium is about. I challenge Ben a lot but it is never personally and, importantly, I keep returning here because he has very interesting travel-related material to present, he has that unique Luckian perspective and enthusiasm about travel, as well as much else to offer. I just do not have to agree with it all and nor should you 😉

    G’day.

  28. @Christian — I have no idea what this is about. Is this your blog? I have already said everything that I care to say about this non-issue and I could not have been clearer. This ain’t your blog so please stop presuming that you can speak for Ben or tell others what they can or cannot write. The notion that I do not respect Ben is simply ludicrous and to keep telling me to go read blogs that I read and where I have even commented or to urge that I start my own blog when I have made it clear that it is not my desire to do so, is to cross boundaries that should be not crossed. No one appointed you the PC police for this blog. Ben does not write in a vacuum. He writes and explicitly invites comments. If he did not wish for people to comment or all he wanted was for people to say what he wants to hear he would have no comments section or he would require membership to read his blog or to comment.

    You wish to worship Ben? Please be my guest. Just do not expect everyone else to do the same, because I assume that’s what would constitute “respect” for you…

    I am done with you.

    Good bye.

  29. @DCS – No truer words were ever spoken than your first sentence. Thank you for the honesty.
    Goodbye.

  30. Does IHG not open up reward stays for certain properties? I just looked up the IC Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort and there isn’t a single night available on reward stay from now until the end of booking period which is 11 months out.

  31. Lucky – I logged in to my IHG account to check a future reservation I have using the Chase free night. I use my IHG page a lot and very familiar with it. Well, the link for the free night on the left side is now gone and there is no way to directly see if you have a free night or if it is used. I am able to go into my account/reservations page and view details and see that the reservation is there and the Chase free night is being used, but I can’t find any way to get to the page that shows me used/unused and expiration date on a free night cert.

    Are you able to see something different? Maybe it’s just a temporary bug/update?

  32. @ matt s — Hmmm, interesting. I’m guessing it is some sort of a temporary glitch. Very odd.

  33. I was having the same problem–free night not showing up for me or my husband and I knew we both had one. I called IHG and they were totally clueless. While on the phone with them, I found a thead on flyer talk that says to switch your country (at the top of the IHG page) to the UK. It displayed the free night and expiration details. I was still on the phone with IHG when I found this information so I told her. I also told her that someone seriously needs to fix that. I can see where folks would let nights expire if they don’t see it on their account page.

  34. If I am planning a multi-night stay at an IHG hotel and want to use my free night for one night and my points for the remaining nights, how can I book this? Would I need to speak with an agent by phone or can it be done via the website? On a previous trip when I had to shorten my hotel stay by one night, I was told that I I must cancel the first reservation in its entirety and then book a completely new reservation for the shortened stay so it seems that the online booking is not entirely convenient.

  35. can I book the anniversary night for someone else, and I won’t be present when checking in?
    My certificate is going to expire, but my brother has travel plans. I tried redeeming the certificate, however my name is hard-coded into the system, and I can’t change to his name. Is this allowed?

    Thanks.

  36. I’d like to know the answer to @Jonathan ‘s question, too! My dad has this card, but I have a one night stay in Hong Kong coming up and I’d love to use it at the IC there. Seems like the T&C’s posted above preclude transferring it to anyone else, but in practice is this enforced?

    theBOAT

  37. Maybe the answer is above and I just haven’t scanned through them enough yet, but of course with my luck, my account page doesn’t have the “Free Night Status” tab/link….? It looks exactly the same otherwise. How can I access my free night?

  38. Do you know if it’s possible to book a night with $ and then have it switched over to my annual free night? I’m trying to find a way around a lack of availability for staying at IHG in central Rome and I don’t have flexibility to switch which days my wife and I will be traveling through.

  39. Hey Lucky – have you noticed that the “free night” link on IHG.com is gone? Being someone with connections – are they changing the program? I just paid my annual fee for my Chase card and was going to see if my free night had posted to my account yet and there is no link. Nothing on “my offer” page either (they used to be tabbed together).

  40. Awesome – I didn’t even think to click on the link (I knew this was the article I needed, but didn’t re-read it in detail to see there was a link to the Free Night page). That worked!

  41. @Jonathan I too am trying to make a future reservation. I already know my destination for my Free Night… but my trip is planned about a week after my anniversary date. That will be in June. I would think I could book it with POINTS now, then cancel and book with the free certificate. How does that sound everyone? doable?

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