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The best perk of the excellent IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card is that it offers an anniversary free night certificate that’s valid at virtually any IHG property in the world. Given that the card only has a $49 annual fee (which is waived the first year), that’s like paying just $49 for a free night annually at any IHG property. That’s a spectacular deal.
The card offers other great benefits as well, including IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you have the card, plus a 10% refund on redeemed points, for a total refund of up to 100,000 points each year.
People have a lot of questions about how the free night certificate on the card works. I’ve written guides about how to redeem it in the past, though IHG has recently redesigned their website and the certificate is no longer in the same area of your profile. Furthermore, a few aspects of the redemption opportunities have changed. Therefore I wanted to write an updated post about how to redeem the certificate.
When do you get your first IHG Card anniversary free night certificate?
This is an anniversary free night certificate, so you get your first free night certificate about 12 months after you’ve opened your card. That’s all the more reason to get the card as soon as possible, so that you’ll also get your first certificate as soon as possible.
How long is the IHG Card anniversary free night certificate valid?
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.
The terms state that the stay has to be booked and completed within a year of when the certificate is issued. However, in practice (and this could change at any time), the way that IHG enforces this is that you need to book the stay by the expiration date, and it’s okay if the stay is after the expiration date.
For example, my free night certificate expires on April 6, 2018.
However, I have no problem booking a stay for this June in New York, after the certificate expires.
If you want to make any changes you’ll have to do so before the expiration date, or else you’ll forfeit the certificate. You can’t reuse the certificate after its expiration date.
Are there blackout dates for the IHG Card anniversary free night certificate?
The IHG Card anniversary free night certificate comes from the same inventory as points stays, so if you can redeem points for a stay, you can also redeem this certificate.
IHG Rewards Club advertises “no blackout dates,” though this is different than the “no blackout dates” policies from Hyatt and Starwood. Let me explain:
- With Hyatt and Starwood you can redeem points for a stay as long as a standard room is available for sale
- Meanwhile with IHG Rewards Club, they allocate a certain amount of inventory to points bookings, so there will be some availability every night, but not every standard room is available on points
If planning in advance this shouldn’t be an issue, with very few exceptions.
How do I redeem my IHG Card anniversary free night certificate?
On your card’s anniversary the free night certificate will automatically be deposited into your IHG Rewards Club account.
To access it, 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.
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.
You’ll then be brought to the main IHG booking page, where you’ll see the “Chase Anniversary Free Night” listed as one of the options.
Once you enter a destination you’ll see all the options for redeeming your certificate.
The final confirmation page will show the cancelation policy for the booking, which should be similar to the policy when redeeming points (you can typically cancel until a few days before arrival, but it varies by property).
Can I get more than one free night each year with the IHG Card?
Each cardmember can get at most one anniversary free night certificate. If you want to stay longer, you can pay:
- Redeem points for a second stay
- Have a friend or spouse also get the IHG Card, and then redeem for back to back stays
Can you redeem your IHG Card free night certificate for Kimpton hotels?
As of this year the Kimpton Karma Rewards program has been folded into the IHG Rewards Club program. While this wasn’t possible in the past, it’s now possible to redeem your free night certificate at Kimpton hotels, which is a fantastic development.
Is the IHG Card really worth getting for the annual free night certificate?
When you take everything else out of the equation, this boils down to paying $49 per year for an annual free night certificate. Even without much effort, I feel like just about everyone should be able to get outsized value out of that.
For example, a couple of years ago I redeemed my certificate at the InterContinental London The O2 for an Adele concert, when paid rates would have been $400+ per night.
Then last year I redeemed my certificate for the InterContinental Hong Kong, where rates would have been $300+.
In a few weeks I’ll be redeeming my next certificate at the InterContinental Geneva, where rates are $400+.
All of these redemptions took virtually no effort, and were cases where staying at an IHG property was the most convenient option. I could have easily redeemed at properties where the paid rate would have been more.
There are a lot of great perks to the IHG Card, though if nothing else the card is worth picking up for the annual free night certificate, which just about anyone should get more than $49 of value out of.