Using IHG Visa Free Night at an Expensive InterContinental Hotel

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One of the best perks of the IHG Rewards Club Select Visa is that you receive a free night annually. This free night gets deposited to your account on your cardmembers first anniversary year and every year thereafter. The free night expires on year from when it was earned.

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 is no restriction on the hotel it can be redeemed at. I still like and appreciate the free night given from the Marriott and Hyatt card, but Marriott is capped at a category 5 and Hyatt is capped at a category 4. 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 in Ohio to a $600/night InterContinental Hotel in Bora Bora!

In theory though, you really are paying $49 for this free night – 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 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.

I made my mom get this card a little over a year ago when it was offering an 80,000 point sign up offer. At that time she was planning a trip where we thought she would stay at a Crowne Plaza hotel, but those plans changed. Now with a trip to Italy coming up, it was the perfect time to use both the 80,000 points and the annual free night. There is what looks to be a very nice InterContinental hotel in Rome that goes for about $250 USD a night in March. During the Summer months this same hotel can be as high as $375/night + taxes.

They are staying in Rome for two nights, so used the free night from the credit card one night and points for the other night (which required 50,000 points). Not a bad way to spend 2 nights in Rome – at a super nice hotel, in a great location, for FREE! And the credit card comes with instant Platinum status which gives complimentary room upgrades, if available. Since it is low season there is a good chance that they might be upgraded!

This is a card that is not talked about often, but in my opinion has huge value. Especially with the current sign up bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $1,000 within the first three months.

If you have this card, where have you used your free night?

Key Links:

  • IHG Rewards Club Select Visa: Receive 60,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first three months. Earn a free night annually starting with your first anniversary. Receive a 10% rebate on all point redemptions. No foreign transaction fees; First year annual fee waived, then $49/year. Card application link.

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  1. I’m interested in signing up for this, but are you 100% sure I would get the 80k bonus and not the 60k? How often is the 80k bonus advertised? Not sure whether to jump on it now or wait a bit.

    • @jen – While I cannot make any 100% promise, reports have shown success. Make sure to check out the FlyerTalk thread to see what others have said. At this point, things look very positive.

  2. Plus your mom will get 10% of those points back because of the credit card so the points night cost is ultimately only 45,000 points.

  3. Good points in this post! This is one of those cards where I keep hidden as well and only use it for biz if an Intercon is within close proximity to my work site. With the 5X earning on points along with the multiple stack codes available while staying at an IHG property one can really rack up the points – and fast. The free night cert is definitely a plus and while Platinum status isn’t anything to write home about it can help securing a better room with a view. Took my folks to Thailand over xmas holiday and used the free night cert at the Holiday Inn Resort Phi Phi Island. At first didn’t want to stay at a typical “western” resort but burned points as well for a week of “free” nights. Platinum status got us a beachfront bungalow which was definitely a nice upgrade.

    @Jen I’d jump on it now and follow the flyertalk thread. You never know but could call Chase after you receive your points if there is a discrepancy.

  4. Yes the Priority Card Visa card is a must to have and just stick in your dresser. The last 2 years I’ve used my free night in New York and Rome. Wife has a card too so it’s easily a weekend getaway at the very least. Priority Club is our hotel of choice due to the mass number of points we obtain and the ability to use free nights anywhere. Seems to be no shortage of Priority Club hotels in any city we travel to, and we typical don’t card about benefits, like room upgrades or free breakfasts. It’s not like we are staying in the hotel too much when we travel.

  5. Unless things have changed platinum status has nothing to do with getting an upgrade at the Intercontinental group. They have their own loyalty program called Ambassador.

  6. I’m doing exactly the same thing in April! And one more night at the Intercontinental in Madrid! Good find, and hope to hear all about it!

  7. The IHG Platinum Elite status also mentions about getting room upgrades but these are subject to availability.

    The Intercontinental Ambassador program says they are guaranteed upgrades.

  8. We also keep this card just for the free night and to earn a few points to use on PointBreak nights. We’ve used our free night at the Intercontinental Times Square the past 2 years and have received an upgrade to a better room and a bowl of fruit:)

  9. The Intercontinental Rome was fine, but the location is great! I’ve had better service at lower category hotels. In online reviews it sounds like it’s one of the lower quality Intercontinental hotels, but for a free points booking and a $49 night it worked for us.

  10. What are the chances of me being eligible for this card if I aready have four other Chase credit cards? Also, I plan to buy a car before March. Should I wait until after then to open up another credit card?

  11. We used our free stay on a weekend at the venetian in vegas which is now an IC affliate. We were upgraded to a better suite on a higher floor and were treated really well. Didnt know how it would work in vegas but it worked out great.

  12. The Strings by Intercontinental Tokyo. It was a good location, easily accessible from Haneda Airport – would go back in a heartbeat, but this year will be reserving the free night for The Intercontinental Hong Kong or the Intercontinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong.

  13. to Jen: I signed up my husband and son using this link and both got 80K.
    Used free night in Tokyo, Venetian Las Vegas. This year booked Hong Kong as free night and points (35k) per night in Bali.

  14. This is great info! Thanks! Do they have black out dates for exchanging the certificates or generally easy to redeem? If my husband and I both have the credit card, would they allow combining the reservation into 2 nights? Thx!

  15. Used the free night one time at IC Strings Tokyo (great location!) and once at the IC The Willard in Washington, DC. Loved that property. We have this year’s night reserved at the IC Rome for the night before we leave on a cruise (next month!) Plan to use next year’s in Sydney if possible.

  16. Just got the card at 60 called in & got the 80t bonus.
    Husband just got the card also & will do the same. Would like to go to Rome, does the free night expire in 1 yr or can roll over? Please advise on best month to travel to Italy when its not tourist season? Thanks

    • @Karen – The free night expires in a year, although some folks have been able to book by the 1 year expiration date for a reservation past the 1 year.

      I think April, May, October are great times for Rome. Shoulder season so still nice weather wise but not as touristy.

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