I have written about the Chase IHG Rewards Club MasterCard a few times and how it is one of my all-time favorite hotel credit cards. For having a low annual fee of $49 it offers a ton of value and benefits---not to mention the annual free night certificate that can be used at any category IHG hotel! The card also gets you automatic Platinum Elite status as long as you have the card, which gets you free room upgrades and at times free breakfast.
One of the most valuable benefits of the card is that every year you pay the annual fee of $49 on the card, you get a free night certificate. This is a huge value for only a $49 annual fee since the free night can be used at any IHG property, which could mean a night worth up to $800 when used at hotels such as the InterContinental Bora Bora or InterContinental Koh Samui.
Not to mention, this is one of the few hotel credit cards that I will keep every year just to earn the free night. I will gladly pay the annual fee for a free night at any IHG hotel that when used strategically can easily be worth upwards $500. I recently booked a stay using my free night at the InterContinental Koh Samui in Thailand which costs $500 per night.
Other hotel brands in the IHG Rewards Club program that the free night can be used at include Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, InterContinental, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, Even and Hualuxe hotels.
How to Book Free Anniversary Night Online
You can easily book the free anniversary online through your IHG Rewards Club account. However, to use the free night certificate there has to be standard award nights available for the dates of your stay. You can quickly check award night availability by searching from the homepage using the 'Rewards Nights' for rate preference. If the nightly rate shows a points rate option you should be able to use the Chase free night.
STEP ONE. Log into your IHG Rewards Club account through the IHG homepage.
STEP TWO. Once logged in, click on 'Free Night Status' on the left side of the account page. There you can view when your free night certificate expires and also how many you have used and still have available. To use your free night click 'Book Free Night.'
STEP THREE. Search for the location and dates of your stay. The 'Rate Preference' will already be pre-selected to show 'Chase Anniversary Free Night.' Next, click 'Find A Hotel.' If you know which hotel brand you want to stay at you can also search for specific brands.
STEP FOUR. After selecting the hotel for your stay you still need to check for room type availability (the free night can only be used to book a standard award night, but there may be several bed options). The rate will show 'Free' so just click 'Check Rates' to choose the room.
STEP FIVE. Choose the room option if there is any and click 'Book This Room.' Since the free night can only be used for a standard award night, these may only include bed types.
STEP SIX. Be sure to double check the rate details as well to see if there are any special fees or service charges at the property you are staying at. Even if these show up they will be included in the free night certificate. For instance, the InterContinental shows that there is a 2.00 THB charge per room, per night and also a 10% service charge, but these are covered by the free night.
You can also view the cancellation policy to make sure you get your free night certificate back in case you need to cancel your stay.
STEP SEVEN. Next, just enter your contact and payment information, then submit the reservation. You will also be able to view and cancel your free night reservation online after it is made.
STEP EIGHT. The reservation confirmation will show the room type and rate details. Interestingly enough the reservation summary shows that there are no taxes or services charges for my stay at the InterContinental Koh Samui, even when earlier in the book process it showed otherwise (I confirmed with an IHG rep that all taxes and fees are included in the free night).
Finding Free Night Availability
You can redeem your Chase Anniversary Free Night for any night that shows award night availability. During peak seasons you may come across dates that say they are not available for point redemption or the free night. One quirk is that if you are searching for a stay longer than one night it will say that one or more nights is sold out and that you can 'View Available Dates'.
After clicking 'View Available Dates' a pop-up calendar will show available free night dates, but from my experience it was not showing ANY availability. However, don't necessarily believe what the calendar shows because you may be able to find availability by searching for specific dates. In this case it shows 'Free Night Unavailable' for August 14th, but when I searched for a stay on that date I was able to book a free night at the InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort in Thailand.
The annual free night from the Chase IHG Rewards Club MasterCard is incredibly valuable and can be used at any category IHG property. If you want to maximize the value of the certificate be sure to redeem it at an uber expensive hotel that could otherwise cost upwards of $500+ per night.
It's easy to redeem the free night online through your IHG account, and you can also cancel your reservation within the hotels policy to have the certificate instantly redeposited into your account. Either way you redeem the free night you are bound to save money and paying the $49 annual fee to earn a free night at any IHG hotel is a great value and makes keeping the card year after year.