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The absolutely best perk of the IHG Rewards Club Select credit card is that you receive a free night annually that can be used at ANY IHG hotel. While there are other credit cards that give you a free night annually (i.e., Marriott and Hyatt), the free night earned from the IHG card is the only one where there are absolutely no restrictions on where it can be redeemed. The IHG free night night can be used at ANY InterContinental Hotels Group hotel (which includes: InterContinental Hotel, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Hotel indigo, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites). This includes anything from a $79/night Holiday Inn Express airport hotel to a $800/night InterContinental Hotel in Bora Bora! All categories are included which is AMAZING! Keep in mind though that the free nights are capacity controlled at some hotels.
In theory though, you really are paying $49 for this free night as this is the annual fee of the credit card. This is not a card I would use for every day spend, but a card I’d keep in my sock draw solely for the free night annually. As always though, it is only worth it if you will be able to utilize the free night on an annual basis. Even if you cannot use it at an expensive hotel, as long as you get $49+ value out of the free night that you would otherwise be paying for you are breaking even at the bear minimum.
The free night will hit your account on your FIRST anniversary date. So if you were to apply and get approved for the card today (March 2017), for example, the free night will be deposited to your account next March 2018. Once the free night is deposited to your account, you have an entire year to BOOK the free night reservation, but you do not actually need to stay by that expiration date. That means you actually have TWO YEARS to use the free night. The one thing to note though, is that if you cancel a free night reservation after the free night expires, you cannot redeem it for another hotel stay.
For example, if you look at this screen shot below it shows that the free night from the credit card can be booked between March 24, 2016 through April 3, 2017. That means I only have a few more weeks to redeem my free night! I can redeem it now though for a stay for another year (or as long as the hotel has their booking calendar up for). I am planning a trip to New York City in May with my daughter, so I’m going to redeem it now for a stay in a few months – past the expiration date. My only concern is that if we have to cancel I am not able to rebook and out a free night.
Since my anniversary date is approaching, that also means that a new free night will be deposited into my account within the next few days. That means I can theoretically use two free nights back to back. And since my husband also has this credit card and his anniversary date is the same as mine, we can use 4 free nights back to back! If you chose to use 4 free nights back to back (assuming you and a significant other or travel partner both have the card), you can do this every other year. This could allow for some really nice vacations!
From my experience, IHG and Chase will not extend the free nights, but if you’ve had any luck feel free to share below! Overall, this is a card that is not talked about often, but in my opinion has huge value. Feel free to share some of the hotels where you’ve used your free nights!
- IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card – Earn 60,000 points after you spend $1,000 within the first three months. Receive a free night certificate annually (starting with your second year as a card member). No annual fee the first year, then $49/year.