Posted by William Charles on November 27, 2017
Hotel Booking

Published on November 27th, 2017 | by William Charles


Best Uses Of Your Chase IHG Free Night Certificate

One of the best annual credit card benefits is the free night certificate you get annually from the Chase IHG card on your card anniversary. The card only has a $49 annual fee and the free night certificate can be used at any IHG property. Your free night is valid for 12 months from the date of issue (you must book within this time period. Your stay can be after it) and covers a standard room night rate and applicable taxes. It isn’t hard to find an IHG hotel that costs more than $49 a night, making it easy to recuperate the annual fee and making this card a long term keeper for most people.

I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the best uses of this free night. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Even a ‘bad’ redemption is better than no redemption. A lot of times people hold out waiting for that absolutely perfect redemption, rather than just redeeming it for something that is good enough. As the saying goes ‘perfect is the enemy of good’.
  • Planning your trips around these certificates is a mistake. Yes, Bora Bora is amazing value for this free night certificate. That is until you start accounting for how expensive Bora Bora is to get to, how expensive meals are and the fact you only have one free night (two if you’re a couple). This hobby is all about reducing your travel costs, using this certificate for a weekend getaway to a city you’ve always wanted to go to? Great use! Using it to visit a city with a hotel that costs $500 a night that you have no interest in going to? Bad!

Best Use Based On Cash Rates

Pointimize has been nice enough to share some data with us (you can view more of their data here). For those not familiar Pointimize has a hotel award search tool that provides a lot of information (e.g prices in  Cash, Cash + Points, and award night using Points. As well as real time award availability). Below is a list of IHG properties ranked by their average cash price. The table also includes the country, city and highest cash price as well. In some cases the number of data points is small (e.g 1. You can see these properties because the average cash price and highest cash price are the same) and in other cases it’s quite large (e.g 500+). In any case this should give you some ideas on what IHG properties have the highest cash price.

InterContinental Properties

InterContinental is generally considered IHG’s most luxurious brand with prices to match. If you look at the table above you’ll notice that the majority of properties are InterContinental. IHG provides a full list of InterContinental properties here. Pointimize also provided this list:

Airport Hotels

This is a strange one, but I think one of the best uses for IHG free night certificates especially if you’re single is an airport hotel. The advantage of redeeming at an airport hotel is generally you only want to stay one night there anyway so there is no hassle of having to move properties or pay excessive amounts for additional nights.

Final Thoughts

Thanks again to Pointimize for giving us access to this data, obviously the more people that use the site the better these types of data reports will get. If readers are interested we can do something similar with other hotel brands and also look at the best point redemption based on the cash rates. If you’ve redeemed an IHG free night before, where was your favorite redemption and why? If there are other data sets you’d be interested in seeing, let us know and maybe we can get access to publishing them.

47 Responses to Best Uses Of Your Chase IHG Free Night Certificate

  1. Darv says:

    From my experience the free night needs to be reserved within one year, not the stay needs to happen within one year. I recently booked a room in Europe for July 2018 with a free night certificate that was issued in March 2017. No special request was made/granted to my knowledge. I specifically asked IHG about this in advance of the travel plans.

    This makes the IHG certificate more flexible than the other hotel brands.

    • FLL says:

      Yes you can book beyond the expiration date, just bear in mind, should your plan changed after the expiration date, you will NOT get your cert back. The condition is once it is beyond the expiration date the cert is only good for the booking you used it on, no date change, and cancellation would not give you back the cert. However a no show would get you CHARGED by the hotel at a No Show rate at the hotel’s discretion.

      So while it is flexible, it also requires close attention of the user, YOU, to make sure you dont run foul of the spec booking.

      • Darv says:

        Do you know if I can use a Hyatt cert or Marriott cert, or Hilton cert this same way? I know when I researched the Fairmont certs, those required the stay to be complete before the expiration date.

        The only way I’m canceling my reservation in Europe is an emergency and if that happens, I have bigger problems, so not worried about losing value.

    • Made this clearer in the article.

  2. Steve says:

    The other thing about trying to book Bora Bora with a cert is, well, how challenging it is to book Bora Bora with a cert. You can look through the entire calendar and find nothing for points or certs at that location.

  3. Surprised IC Barclays is not on that list.

    Used it for one night this year and got upgraded to a suite, best IHG free night we’ve ever used.
    Also used one for Key West La Concha, and booked for IC Times Square for next year.

  4. Wolf says:

    IC Estoril in Portugal was really nice and is a great value for the certificate as well.

  5. Mike L says:

    Honorable mention should be the Venetian/Palazzo in Vegas. I was able to use the certificate during CES a few years back when the rates were ~$900/nt.

    • Vic says:

      Good catch. I always forget that the certificate can be used in Vegas for those properties as well. Thanks.

    • Kimillionaire says:

      Yes! We redeemed our 2 nights at the Palazzo, and it was delightful. You have to check out the sky gardens and pools. Absolutely stunning.

    • Matt P says:

      What luck did you have redeeming them? I see points options for next year, but I couldn’t use my free nights. I called IHG and they said the hotels hadn’t released free nights yet and I should contact the hotel directly, but I hadn’t gotten around to it yet.

      • Kent C says:

        Did this for 4 years straight, stayed at the Palazzo using free night awards. Website NEVER shows availability. You have to call. Reservations can’t even handle it. They have to transfer you to IHG guest relations or they put you on hold and speak with IHG guest relations directly. Palazzo/Venetian is unique in that they are partners but not actually owned by IHG, I believe, so there are systems issues trying to book.

        Now here’s the bad news, I tried the same thing again this year and like you Matt, no availability. IHG guest relations couldn’t say if it was a “release of dates” issue or if they had sold out on their limited free night awards etc. My dates are only 1 month away and I had been calling for 4 months with the same confusion each time. Yesterday finally spoke to a Palazzo manager/specialist in Palazzo guest relations 702-414-3650, who apparently has inside knowledge/authority in regards to the IHG/Palazzo partnership. He stated the “agreement” between the two companies is under review and they are not allowing any free night bookings past 2017, points ok I guess. I asked him if the Palazzo/Venetian will not be renewing their contract with IHG and he reluctantly said that’s a possibility at this point.

  6. Mark says:

    The ANA InterContinental Tokyo was my first 5 star hotel ever and a bit of a disappointment. Nothing special about the room or service. I don’t understand why people spend so much money on hotels like that.

    The Times Square Intercontinental room was small despite our being told it was an “upgrade” and “basically a suite”, the bathroom light broke in the middle of our stay, and my card was charged. In fairness, after some nagging about these issues, they did refund some of the points.

    …Maybe I just don’t appreciate what a “5 Star Hotel” is? These places didn’t do anything for me. The Hong Kong Intercontinental looks really amazing though, I’m a big fan of big hotel pools with views (Marina Bay Sands is my favorite hotel ever).

    • Ben says:

      I just booked the Intercontinental Hong Kong for next week, and I’m really hoping I can get moved to the view of the water. Other than location, I don’t really get why people spend so much for top end hotels, but maybe I’ll find out next week! It wasn’t available to book three weeks out, so maybe it’ll help somebody to know that award availability reopened one week out.

    • Location usually plays a big part, but I’m with you I’d never spend the amount of money necessary at some of these places.

  7. Joe says:

    Curious to see how this list changes once Kimpton is added

    • Hadley V. Baxendale says:

      Excellent point!! The number of really good US redemptions will increase many fold with their inclusion, and as I recall they have just opened or are about to open a resort in Grand Cayman, I think.

    • Kimillionaire says:

      For those wondering when:

      Are Kimpton Karma Rewards and IHG® Rewards Club merging?

      Kimpton Karma Rewards will become a part of IHG® Rewards Club in early 2018 – with a single reward point system – bringing you the best of the Kimpton experience along with the rich benefits of IHG® Rewards Club.

      • Mike says:

        Interestingly I was able to book a Kimpton property on points for next summer in Europe but have not been able to do so in Nashville. I would have assumed a full roll out but perhaps it will be done in chunks.

        • Hadley V. Baxendale says:

          If that is the Kimpton Amsterdam, that is because it was a conversion from the Crowne Plaza Amsterdam where you could book with points. It converted some time in 2015 or 2016 and was the only Kimpton one could book with points — until 2018 comes around.


          • Marilyn B says:

            Used 2 (mine, husband’s) for Kimpton DeWitt Amsterdam in Sept. because could not get 2 nights at the Amstel and did not want to move.
            If you like IKEA furniture and a not very big room, then you will like the DeWitt. It was definitely not for us. Room only had a chair for the desk. Plenty of room for something else but just empty space.
            I had to ask for another chair and we got another basic hard desk type chair. Not even a little table, which I also asked for.
            Only good things were that we didn’t have to pay for the room and it was all new.

    • Will do an update when that happens 😉

  8. HoKo says:

    I like these sort of posts and data. Would def be interested to see it for Hyatt, Marriott, etc. as well

    • Thanks, HoKo! Will definitely try to get those together.

      • Hadley V. Baxendale says:

        Many/Most of these are quite subjective.

        For example, many gush about the Intercontinental London, but fail to note that the base room is what they are given at that hotel for a free night certificate without any status — or even with Platinum status (from the credit card).

        One gets a small but clean room, outfitted in dowdy decor with a marble bathroom almost as big as the small room they have received.

        Yes, the rack rate is what the hotel commands but I would not stay there with my certificate if given the choice as there are many good Crowne Plaza or Indigo properties in London where you might receive a nicer room, even if they do not sport the “Intercontinental” name.

        This holds true in Paris, as well, where the Indigo Paris is quite near the Intercontinental Paris and yet, the Indigo Paris is by far and away a better fit for someone who does not have Royal Ambassador status.

        This was the same for Rome, Italy, as well even before the Intercontinental Rome closed down. Most now quite often praise the Indigo Rome as the best IHG property in the Eternal City.

        With respect to Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott, there are Flyertalk threads devoted to good value properties where they free night certificate can be used.

  9. tc_bby says:

    Another honorable mention in this list should be the IC Los Angeles on Wilshire. Absolutely breathtaking lobby and really nice new rooms. Probably wasn’t included since it just opened a few months ago.

  10. PennState says:

    We are!!! Interesting to see State College on the list. Go PSU!

    • TimmyD says:

      Ha, this is definitely not a true average if state College is on there. It gets super expensive on football or graduation weekends, but I bet it’s cheap more than 300 days per year. Terrible use of your night unless you’re actually there for a football game

  11. somy says:

    Is there a way to use the free night of a spouse without the spouse being present?

  12. calwatch says:

    I guess there’s another player in the “optimization” space since I’ve been using Hotel Hustle for some time.

  13. stvr says:

    The IC in DTLA is missing from this list. Probably too low.

    Also, there’s no possible way the IC Wellington is high on a list like this. Consistently around 150 USD per night. Must be a computer glitch.

  14. Josr says:

    My wife snd I, are using the free night at the
    Intercontinental Sydney were the rate is presently
    $611 per night. Great view of the Harbour from
    A corner room.

  15. Jose says:

    My wife snd I, are using the free night at the
    Intercontinental Sydney were the rate is presently
    $611 per night. Great view of the Harbour from
    A corner room.

  16. Brent says:

    I’m going to guess that State College hotel is entirely due to football season and will be very cheap the rest of the year.

  17. Chris says:

    For Xmas last year, I got my brother a ‘Gift’ of Free Night at the IC Monterrey… It cost me $59, and I printed what the rate would cost on the card – an astounding $849 a night in January! We’re staying with him in San Fran, and doing a mini trip down the coast… My wife’s Free Night Cert will cover our own room.

    Parents said I ruined Xmas as there is no way anybody else could touch those #s.

  18. Jeremy says:

    So if I have two certs expiring in February, I can book something a few months out, my certs for next year will post, and I can add the other 2 nights for a 4 night stay? always use mine at IC times square and hit some shows over a weekend (very convenient for this) but this could open up other ideas…..Jamaica all inclusive or aruba come to mind…..

    • Chris says:

      I don’t think the IHG Properties include all inclusives, that’s Hyatt unless I’m mistaken (Ziva/Zilara) . The ICs tho can be stacked in 4s in 2P mode – Via the method you just described… The only ‘catch’ is you have to ‘hope’ your rooms are still available when booking the 2nd set of nights.

      • Jeremy says:

        Holiday Inn Resort, Montego Bay is an AI…just checked and it’s eligible for free night….it’s close to Ziva too, I’d likely add a few nights there and make it a week-

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