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The single best perk of the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card is that it offers an annual free night certificate valid at any IHG property. The card has a $49 annual fee (which is waived the first year), so even when you remove all the other benefits from the card, I think a vast majority of people would come out way ahead on the annual fee with the free night certificate alone.
One comment I’ve gotten from some readers is “well, that’s great, but it’s only useful if you’re staying in one night increments.” Fair enough. Personally that works great for me, as I have plenty of one night stays. For others, you can of course pay for an extra night (either in cash or points), or switch hotels. But I realize that’s not for everyone.
So in this post I wanted to look at two other ways to stretch the stays you can get out of the annual free night certificate on the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card:
“Bank” your certificates and use them for a two night stay
The free night certificates issued on this card are technically only valid for one year. They’re issued on your cardmember anniversary date, and their expiration date should coincide with your cardmember anniversary date the next year. However, the great thing is that in practice you only have to book your stay by the expiration date, and not actually stay by the expiration date.
In other words, if your certificate expires March 1, 2017, you could make a one night booking for January 2018 one day before it expires. Then a day later you’ll be issued the new certificate, and can redeem it for a stay a night before or after. So that makes it quite easy to redeem this certificate for a two night stay every two years.
Get your spouse/friend to apply for the card
This is something I’m in the process of doing. Ford doesn’t have the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card, so I’ll have him apply for it, and then we have two certificates we can use each year. We could further use the above strategy to potentially book four back-to-back nights every two years.
Technically you’d be booking these on separate reservations, but you can contact the hotel and ask them to notate the reservations so that you can keep the same room for the entire stay. Also keep in mind that while you have to book the reservation in the name of the primary cardmember, you should have no trouble adding a second name to the reservation and having them check-in.
Also keep in mind that this card isn’t subjected to Chase’s 5/24 rule, so you should be able to get approved for this card even if you’ve opened more than five new accounts in the past 24 months.
Personally I find the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card annual free night certificate so useful precisely because I often have one night stays where a free hotel night would come in hand. I was in that situation recently in Hong Kong, for example. However, I realize others don’t travel quite that quickly, in which case there are methods to make it so that you can stay in increments of two or more nights.
With just a $49 annual fee and annual free night, it’s tough to go wrong.