Best Hotels For Redeeming IHG Free Night Certificate

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The IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card is presently offering a sign-up bonus where you can earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. The card’s annual fee is a low $49, and is waived the first year. You can also earn 5 points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG hotels.

The card has three benefits which make it especially compelling, in my opinion:

  • 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

With that in mind, a few days ago I wrote a post about how to redeem your IHG anniversary free night certificate, which is issued upon your account anniversary every year with the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card. Reader Lantean asked if I could write a post about the best properties at which you can redeem this free night certificate.

With that in mind, I figured I’d share the general approach I take towards this free night certificate.

Don’t let the free night certificate change your travel plans

Understandably, we have a tendency to want to maximize this hobby. “How do I get the most value out of _____?”

So when you get a free night certificate valid anywhere, it’s only natural to look at the most aspirational properties you can redeem it at.

So should you redeem your annual free night certificate at an InterContinental in Bora Bora?

IHG-Bora-Bora

I’ll take the (perhaps unpopular) stance that I don’t think you should change your travel patterns due to a free night certificate. While you might be drawn to a destination thanks to being able to redeem a free night certificate there, keep in mind that if it’s remote it probably doesn’t make sense to spend just one night there.

And I don’t think it’s sound logic to pick a week-long travel destination around somewhere you can justify “maximizing” your annual free night certificate.

Cities are the best place to redeem the free night certificate

With the above in mind, I’d argue that the best and most practical place to redeem your IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card free night certificate is at an easily accessible property in a city.

Given that the card’s annual fee is just $49, it really is tough to go wrong with how you redeem it. That being said, I’d probably try to redeem it at an InterContinental property in a city, as much as possible.

There are over 180 InterContinental hotels around the world, so it’s not too tough to find a property where you’ll get great value out of the certificate.

IHG-Locations

As a general rule of thumb, here are some of my favorite properties for redeeming the free night certificate (these are also some of the most iconic InterContinental properties):

InterContinental Amsterdam Amstel

This property has an incredible location one of Amsterdam’s canals, and is one of the most iconic properties in Amsterdam.

IHG-Free-Night-1

InterContinental Paris Le Grand

This is one of the first InterContinental properties I’ve ever stayed at, and remains one of my favorites.

IHG-Free-Night-2

InterContinental London Park Lane

London is one of the most expensive cities in the world for hotels, so staying at one of InterContinental’s flagship properties on a free night certificate is a value that’s tough to beat.

IHG-Free-Night-3

InterContinental Hong Kong

Hong Kong is my favorite city in the world, and the InterContinental arguably has the best view of the entire city. This is the best hotel from which to view Hong Kong’s nightly Symphony of Lights.

IHG-Free-Night-4

InterContinental Washington DC The Willard

This is the most iconic InterContinental property in the US, and given paid rates, is an incredible value using an annual free night certificate.

IHG-Free-Night-5

Bottom line

While the anniversary free night certificates offered by other cards can be tougher to maximize (the cards often have higher annual fees and the free night certificates are capped at certain categories), the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card free night certificate is one you really can’t go wrong with.

Virtually any stay at an IHG property would cost you more than $49 per night. And I think the best option is to approach this rationally, and use the free night certificate at an InterContinental in a major city where you’d stay anyway. It’s tough to beat using this certificate for an overnight in a city like London, Paris, or Amsterdam, where even lower quality hotels are quite expensive.

Where do you plan on redeeming your IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card free night certificate?

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Comments

  1. Been to Amstel and Park Lane and totally agree. I would also add IC Sydney, views are breathless. Need to return and try out PH Sydney to compare.

  2. Last year, we redeemed at IC Thallassos. Remember a couple will likely have two free nights. Got the third night on points/cash (by buying at 0.7 pts). Agree that even three nights isn’t enough to go there for, but it was a great addition to the week in Moorea (booked pre devaluation at Hilton 18 months in advance).

    This year, will use two at the Amstel.

    Next year, likely Hong Kong. The only one that might be a one night stay.

  3. Just returned from London and used two anniversary nights at Intercontinental. Then two free nights at Hilton, virtually next door, so really easy transition. Both very nice. (Also, did four nights at Club Carlson Mayfair). Really easy to combine these three hotels for a great week in London when doing with a significant other who also has the certificates.

  4. We booked the IC Amstel Amsterdam (DH and I both have accounts) for two nights last year after joining the rewards program. Fantastic hotel. We’re currently booked on an anniversary reward for two nights at Hotel Indigo in Barcelona, while it’s not as opulent as the Amstel, the hotel should be very convenient and comfortable; the rate for our stay would have been Euro 300/night. IHG rewards are the best!

  5. Worth remembering that it’s any room you can get a second night free in and they will do an upsell in some. We just finished a 3 night stay at Park Lane in a 1 bedroom suite using this and points. Upgraded from an exec room and paid for an upsell from junior suite on a plat ambassador upgrade. Phenomenal value.

  6. @ Ben — Paris for sure…RAs get full benefits and the Club serves champagne ALL DAY! Needless to say, I don’t get much done while in Paris, except eating and drinking of course!

  7. Would be appreciative of an explanation regarding “the any room you can get a second night free in.”

  8. The question is, when is IHG going to eliminate this benefit?

    To answer jason’s question: go to the ihg rewards site and search for rooms, specifying that you’re using points. The rates for at least one of the expensive hotels Lucky listed is a very reasonable 40,000/night. Cheaper hotels (Holiday Inns, etc) are even less (20-30k).

  9. WOW! What a deal! For the IHG Plat card here we have to pay £99 annual fee (no waiver for first year) and spend £10k per year to get the free night certificate!!

  10. I’m using mine in NYC next weekend for the 2nd year in a row. It works out well for us because a one night stay from Philly is a weekend trip; go up Sat morning, home Sun night. Sure, I don’t love Times Square, but the hotel itself is far enough removed you can avoid it entirely, but it’s close if you’re going to the theater. Hotel is lovely. Terrible restaurant though.

  11. Thanks for the list. On a less than 12 hour connection in HKG, would you suggest the IC, or something else?

  12. We’ve used our at the IC Willard Washington, DC twice. Fantastic value and a beautiful hotel. Location is excellent. We stay with our two young girls and they are always very impressed by how fancy the hotel is. This year we’re going to try out Times Square instead. Just did DC again on pointsbreak, so need something different!

  13. @ Christia — I’d probably stay at the Regal Airport Hotel, which is connected to the terminal. It’s worth it for the convenience, in my opinion.

  14. @ snic — Hah, that’s an interesting question. The card does have a lower annual fee than the equivalent Marriott and Hyatt cards, and also doesn’t have a cap on which category property you can redeem at. At the very least I’m surprised this card doesn’t have a ~$95 annual fee.

  15. @ Jason — Free nights range from 5,000 to 50,000 points per night, it all depends on the property. 70,000 points can potentially get you quite a few free nights.

  16. Hi Lucky (or anyone else), do you know if we can book 2015’s free night for 2016? Thanks in advance!

  17. Had no idea you cant use free Chase night at Alliance Resorts. You can use points, so that really makes no sense.

  18. Ah! I signed uo and did not know the free night only comes into play after your first year. =( This should e highlighted above!

  19. Agreed, I’d gladly pay a $95 fee on this card. Chase/IHG are you listening, please never eliminate this benefit, if anything just increase the fee. I’d reckon most awards are redeemed at properties that have some availability left meaning it’s not costing them significant lost revenue and in fact may increase revenue because a family with one card may take a three night stay at a hotel because they have one free night.

  20. “Can u use the annual free night at the Venitian or Palazzo in Las Vegas?”

    YES! I have used my free night certificate at the Palazzo in Las Vegas.

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