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How to use the IHG credit card free night awards to get top value ( Anniversary Night Award )

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IHG One Rewards Free Night

Chase currently offers 3 different IHG credit card products: The IHG Rewards Traveler ( no fee ), IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card ( $99 fee ), and the IHG® Rewards Premier Business Credit Card ( $99 ) of which the latter 2 offer free night awards every year on your cardmember anniversary. You should also note, that the now retired, Chase IHG Rewards Select also offers a free night certificate, but the redemption use is different. Let’s walk through the various ways you can use these certificates to maximum value.

I have used free night awards to stay in some incredible hotels around the world. The ability to now add points to the free night awards issued by IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card and IHG® Rewards Premier Business Credit Card yield even more options for ideal aspirational usage.

I’d love to revisit the Regent Hong Kong ( formerly the Intercontinental Hong Kong)

How do you book your IHG Rewards Free night

The easiest is on the main booking page, you’ll see the option for two different free night certificate redemptions

Let’s look at the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card free night award first

I did a search in London and here is how the results populate. Both of these hotels are fantastic and you can apply points straight to the booking and not only use up the full value of your 40k free night, but access higher end properties.

Let’s look at the IHG Rewards Select next

You’ll need to choose Select IHG Rewards Credit Card Anniversary

From there you will be given options where it works or doesn’t…which you can see are all under 40k

When do IHG Rewards credit card anniversary nights post?

Interestingly enough, I’ve found that they post before your annual fee hits on the credit card. This is probably due to when you actually applied and was approved for the card. If that happened to be in October, you may see the night post early in the month, and see you fee charged later.

How can I tell when my IHG Rewards Free Nights will expire.

Log into your IHG account and you’ll see your free nights in your main loyalty page.

Once you click on those, you’ll see the free nights that are valid and when they expire


What’s the difference between the award given to old IHG Rewards Select cardmembers and new IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card and IHG® Rewards Premier Business Credit Card cards?

If you still hold an IHG Rewards Select ( I do ) then you get 10% back on all IHG Rewards redemptions up to 100k back per year. This is the main reason I continue to hold on to the card + you get a free night on your anniversary. When IHG changed the rules on the free night award everyone was hoping that you’d be able to not only add points to free night awards issued to IHG Rewards Premier/Premier Business cardholders, but also the legacy IHG Rewards Select.

That is not the case. Only free night award nights that are issued to IHG Rewards Premier/Premier Business cardholders can add points to access higher redemption hotels.

You can see this in the terms and conditions of each free night award.

Can you add points to IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card Free night awards at any IHG property?

Yes, but for Six Senses you’ll have to call in to do it – you can read our full review here of the Six Senses Maldives

Even Mr and Mrs Smith properties can be booked at

Can you convert the free night into points?

It’s worth a try and Loyalty Lobby reported that it has happened in the past… you can call these two numbers to make the request before they expire.

  • 1-877-318-5890
  • 1-877-275-7258

What are some good uses of IHG Rewards free night awards?

Here is how I will go about using the free nights since they each have different avlue

The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card or IHG® Rewards Premier Business Credit Card Free night ideal usage

I will strategize to use this night on properties over 40k a night and add points to it. The reason I’m obsessed with points and miles is the ability to stay in aspirational properties around the world. For instance… I’ve stayed at the Intercontinental Hong Kong a few times. It will soon reopen as a Regent hotel and it looks like it will be spectacular and probably cost an arm and a leg. I’d happily add points to my free night to access this property.

Ideal 5 night stay

Ideally, my allocation of this free night certificate would be in conjunction with a 4 night stay where I’m able to get a 4th night free on award bookings. You’d then add on your free night to the front or end of the trip.

5 night stay

  1. Use Points
  2. Use Points
  3. Use Points
  4. Free Night
  5. IHG Premier Free Night certificate + points

Ideal 7 night stay

If you have IHG Ambassador status you could use the BOGO free certificate at Intercontinental properties to get something like this

  1. Sunday – Use Points
  2. Monday – Use Points
  3. Tuesday – Use Points
  4. Weds – Free
  5. Thursday – IHG Premier Free Night certificate + Points
  6. Friday – Paid night
  7. Saturday – free night

You’d need to book 3 different reservations to make this happen since they can’t all be combined, but after doing so, you’d just phone in and have the different reservations linked. Pretty awesome way to do a week somewhere and only pay cash for a single night.

The IHG Rewards Select Free night ideal usage

If you only have the IHG Rewards Select, then I’d probably try and use it at a property whose cash price is quite high compared to the 40k points. For instance, the Intercontinental Barclay will drop award rate below 40k, especially if you do it during a cardmember discount. Retail rates are over $340 but you could use use free night award since it’s pricing under 40k points.

If you have Ambassador you could employ a similar strategy as described above

IHG Ambassador Program details and benefits:

I mentioned this up above, but stacking the free night alongside Ambassador is a great way to extract more benefits. The program is absolutely stuffed with perks if you stay at Intercontinental Hotels. The program was specifically designed for Intercontinental, and in the past was extended to other properties, but for 2023 it reverted back to Intercontinental exclusively.

For stays at Intercontinental Hotels

  • Joining costs either $200 or 40k points
  • Guaranteed upgrade upon arrival
    • Usually the upgrade shows on the account prior to arrival
  • Complimentary Weekend Night – Buy One Get One
    • must be booked via their site
  • Enjoy a 4 pm guaranteed late check out
  • Choice of refreshments on arrival, in-room welcome gift, and mineral water.
  • Comped Platinum Status
  • $20 bar or restaurant credit per room per stay
  • E-Delivered Free Weekend Night
    • This is overdue and greatly appreciated.
  • Extra benefits in China
    • One Breakfast for each night you stay
    • 15% discount on bar and restaurant purchases

The $20 Food and Beverage credit could come in handy at the iconic bar at the Intercontinental Hong Kong


It’s pretty easy to see how you can extract a lot of value from these free night awards that are far in excess of the annual fee on any of the IHG Rewards credit cards that offer them. Stacking them with 4th night free benefits, and IHG Ambassador memberships is the ideal time to use them; however, anything that puts you cash ahead is a homerun in my book.

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based. 

Welcome Offer

60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months

80k offer in branch currently – I think this should be online soon

Annual Fee


Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

Super solid welcome offer.

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

  • 3x on dining
    •  including eligible delivery services for takeout
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
  • $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Primary rental car coverage is my favorite

There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 60k is a very, very good offer. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back. .

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 


  • Billy Bob February 4, 2023

    You didn’t get into what sorts of rooms you can get for the certificates when booking them. In one case, I only saw the lowest tier room, whereas recently I noted that every room in a four-star place (Mr and Mrs Smith) in Italy was available, all the way to the penthouse suite (which I booked, with the ‘select’ certificates to boot).
    Not sure if this was a one-off, but I certainly got value for that $49 certificate! I stayed three nights in that suite, with breakfast too.

  • rekha March 30, 2022

    It is really infomational blog. Thank You

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