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The absolutely best perk of the IHG Rewards Club Select credit card is that you receive a free night EVERY SINGLE YEAR 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 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. You can learn more about credit card offers here.
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. 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 minimum.
When do you get the free night and when does it expire?
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 (July 15, 2017), for example, the free night will be deposited to your account next July 2018. Since it hits your account on a yearly basis, I always recommend couples to apply for the card at the same time so they have 2 free nights to use a year and the dates will sync up.
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. Fore example, if you have a free night award from the credit card expiring August 31, 2017, for example, you just need to book by that date. Can actually stay past that date up until the last date that the hotel is booking reservations. That means you can skip a year using your free night and use two in one year allowing you to get an extended stay! Directly from an email with an IHG representative I was told: “you can just book these nights on a further date as the expiration dates will only serve as the last day that you can book them but the actual stay can be on date that you think you will be able to attend to.”