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

a swimming pool with palm trees and a beach in the background

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IHG One Rewards Free Night

Chase currently offers 3 different IHG credit card products: The IHG One Rewards Traveler ( no fee ), IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card ( $99 fee ), and the IHG One 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.

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IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card

4.6
4.6/5

For the $99 annual fee, the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card yields IHG One Rewards Platinum Status, a 4th night free when booking with points, an annual anniversary 40k night, and a $50 United Travel bank credit. Been in my wallet since it was released.

*Note if you have a Chase IHG One Rewards personal card or you’ve received a welcome bonus in the past 24 months you’re ineligible to add this to your wallet

Welcome Offer

140,000 IHG One Rewards after $3k within 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$99

Points Earned

IHG One Rewards

  • Enjoy an Anniversary Free Night at IHG Hotels & Resorts. Plus
    • Good on properties up to 40k per night
    • You can add points to this certificate
  • Enjoy a fourth reward night free when you redeem points for a consecutive four-night IHG® hotel stay.
  • Earn Structure
    • Up to 26 total points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG Hotels & Resorts
    • 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on
      • travel, 
      • gas stations, 
      • restaurants.
    • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Automatic Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier cardmember
  • Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS Statement Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
  • Member FDIC
  • No Foreign Transaction
  • $99 annual fee

175k after $3k spend in 3 months is the best we’ve seen.

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

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. 

4 reasons I keep this card in my wallet

  • A free anniversary award night every year you keep the card, worth up to 40k IHG One Rewards ( you can add unlimited points to this award night as well ) This easily offsets the annual fee for me.
  • 4th night free when redeeming points
  • Cardholder award night sales where you get notice to book in advance or exclusively for cardholders
  • The United credit offset roughly half the annual fee

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 One Rewards Premier Credit Card and IHG One 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)

a large glass building with a large window and a city in the background

How do you book your IHG One 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 One Rewards Premier Credit Card free night award first

a screenshot of a check out

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.

a screenshot of a website

Let’s look at the IHG One Rewards Select next

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

a screenshot of a check out

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

When do IHG One 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 One Rewards Free Nights will expire.

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

a screenshot of a web pageOnce you click on those, you’ll see the free nights that are valid and when they expire

a screenshot of a computer

 

What’s the difference between the award given to old IHG Rewards Select cardmembers and new IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card and IHG One 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 One 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

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 One Rewards free night awards?

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

The IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card or IHG One 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.

a room with a bed and chairs
Intercontinental Edinburgh

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 One 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

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IHG One Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

4.6
4.6/5

For $99 a year, this small business card yields IHG One rewards Platinum Status, a free night award certificate every year, 4th night free on award stays of 4 consecutive nights, and a $50 United Travel Bank. 

Limited Time offer!

Earn 140k Bonus Points after $4k in 3 months

Annual Fee

$99

Points Earned

IHG One Rewards

 

  • Earn 140,000 Bonus Points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Enjoy an Anniversary Free Night at IHG Hotels & Resorts
    • These are currently valid at properties 40k points and below
    • You can now add points to these nights should you want to stay at a pricier property
    • Spend $60k on the card + 1 purchase and get another anniversary night
  • 4th night free when redeeming points on a 4 consecutive night point redemption
  • 10x at IHG Hotels & Resorts worldwide ( this is on top of the bonus you get as a IHG Rewards member )
    • 5x
      • travel
      • gas stations
      • dining/restaurants
      • social media and search engine advertising
      • office supply stores
    • 3x everywhere else
  • Spend your way to Diamond with $40k in annual purchases
  • Get a 10k bonus points and $100 statement credit when you spend $20k + one additional purchase in a year
  • $50 United Travel Bank credit
  • 20% off purchased points
    • Can’t be stacked with points sales tho
  • Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® Fee or NEXUS Statement Credit –
    • The primary cardholder receives a Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS Fee Credit of up to $100 every four years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to the Card
  • Automatic Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier Business cardmember
  •  
  • No Foreign Transaction
  • $99 annual fee
  • Member FDIC

140k after $3k spend in 3 months is the best we’ve seen

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

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. 

It’s so easy to see how the annual fee is recouped. I don’t have this card quite yet, but it’s on my list to pick up in the near future.

  • A free anniversary award night every year you keep the card, worth up to 40k IHG One Rewards ( you can add unlimited points to this award night as well ) This easily offsets the annual fee for me.
  • 4th night free when redeeming points on stays of 4 consecutive nights
  • Cardholder award night sales where you get notice to book in advance or exclusively for cardholders
  • The United credit offset roughly half the annual fee

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

Overall

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.

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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 Information about this card has been collected independently by Monkey Miles. Card issuer is not responsible for the information or accuracy.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card


4.8
4.8/5
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 including Hyatt, Southwest, United, IHG, and Marriott.

Welcome Offer

Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

*you may find an elevated offer walking into a branch – see below

Annual Fee

$95

Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

  • Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
    • That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠
    • Some people have seen Chase branches offering the following:
      • 75k Ultimate Rewards After $4k spend in 3 months + 10k Ultimate Rewards after $6k in 6 months 
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Travel℠
  • 3x on dining, including eligible delivery services for takeout & dining out
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit via Chase Travel℠
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 2x on all other travel
  • 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℠ and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver ( primary ), purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 14 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in Chase Travel℠ for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver is my favorite
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024
  • $95 Annual Fee

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

Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. 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. 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is exceptional starter card and offers transferrable Ultimate Rewards, and pairs well with other Chase cards.

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.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

7 Comments

  • adel February 24, 2024

    Earn 4 free nights with the IHG One Rewards Premier credit card. Earn 80,000 bonus points with IHG One Rewards Traveler credit card. Earn 140,000 bonus points with the IHG One Rewards Premier Business credit card. I can be awarded if you apply here and are approved for the card.
    https://www.referyourchasecard.com/210J/DAJ2CFK9RJ

  • ADEL February 24, 2024

    Hey, if you’re interested to apply and a chance to get approved:

    Earn 4 free nights with the IHG One Rewards Premier credit card. Earn 80,000 bonus points with IHG One Rewards Traveler credit card. Earn 140,000 bonus points with the IHG One Rewards Premier Business credit card. I can be awarded if you apply here and are approved for the card.
    https://www.referyourchasecard.com/210J/DAJ2CFK9RJ

  • Mike S January 17, 2024

    Link to Current Chase IHG One Rewards Credit Card New Account Offers:

    https://bit.ly/Chase-IHG-Card-Refer

    There are 2 card types available in the Personal card category. Both have relatively low spending requirements — $2,000 or $3,000 in the first 3 months — to achieve the bonus. The “Traveler” version even has *NO* annual fee.

  • isa October 31, 2023

    If I close my Chase IHG card, do I still have access to the free night I have earned?

    • Miles November 1, 2023

      if it has been deposited in your account, yes, but if it hasn’t, it won’t be issued

  • 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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