In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile At A Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about the partners we work with. Thanks for your support!
A couple of days ago I wrote about the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card, which I consider to be a “no brainer” for a vast majority of consumers. The card has just a $49 annual fee (which is waived the first year), and offers three huge perks:
- 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
- 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
That first perk is key — you’re basically paying $49 per year for an annual free night at any IHG property, which is a phenomenal deal. IHG has over 5,000 hotels around the world, and I think almost everyone can extract more than $49 of value out of a free night at one.
Here are the terms & conditions of the annual free night certificate offered by the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card, at least as far as Chase is concerned:
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.
You can find the certificate by logging into your IHG account, and then clicking on “Free Night Status.” Once there, you should see any available free nights listed, along with their expiration date. The expiration date (and issue date) should coincide with your cardmember anniversary. In my case, I have an anniversary night valid through April 7, 2017.
Per the Chase terms, your free night has to be consumed for a stay by the expiration date. However, it seems that things are interpreted differently on IHG’s end, as IHG just requires you to make a reservation by the expiration date, and not actually complete the stay by then. The catch is that you forfeit the free night if you cancel your booking after the certificate’s expiration date.
For example, even though my certificate expires in April, I’m able to make a New Years Eve booking at the InterContinental London Park Lane, which retails for 449GBP that night.
While this isn’t how I’m choosing to use my free night, I had no issues using my certificate for a stay after the expiration date.
There’s no guarantee that this will be possible forever, though up until now that’s how it works.
In theory this means you can use anniversary nights from two different years for a back-to-back booking. For example, my certificates seem to be issued on March 28, and expire on April 7 the following year. That means I could make a booking now for a stay on August 1 (for example), and then when my new night is issued on March 28, I could use that to make a booking for the night of August 2 at the same hotel, pending availability.
In practice you have nearly two years to stay using the anniversary night offered on the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card. You have to book the stay within about a year, though can stay on a subsequent date. At least that’s how it works in practice, though that could always change.
This card really is a no brainer for just about anyone, as you’re essentially paying $49 per year for a certificate valid at any IHG property. Also keep in mind that this card isn’t subjected to Chase’s 5/24 rule.