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By: Caroline Lupini
The Chase IHG Reward Club Credit Card (no longer available for new sign-ups) used to be one of the best kept (not so) secrets in the points and miles world. It had a $49 annual fee but came with an annual free night certificate (issued on your cardmember anniversary) that was good at any hotel in the world.
Yes, even the $1,000+ per night InterContinental Bora Bora Thalasso Resort. Of course, that only got you one night there, but what an incredible free night nonetheless!
InterContinental Bora Bora, image courtesy of ihg.com
Sadly, a new restriction has been put in place for old cardholders as well as for people who apply for the new IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit card ($89 annual fee). The annual free night certificate will now be capped for use at hotels that cost 40,000 points per night or less.
Gone are the days of the InterContinental Bora Bora.
Even so, keeping the old version of the card or getting the new IHG Premier Card could still be a good call for those who have already hit 5/24—if you haven’t, make sure you read up on the Chase 5/24 rule—as there are a number of great IHG hotels that cost 40,000 points per night or less.
Here are some of my favorite ways to use the IHG free-night certificated under the new rules:
1. InterContinental Mauritius Resort Balaclava Fort (30,000 IHG points per night)
If you are looking to spend your free night somewhere luxurious and tropical, head to the Indian Ocean to enjoy the InterContinental Mauritius. Nestled on the shores of Balaclava Bay, this resort is perfect for travelers who are looking for anything from a relaxing morning on a sunny beach to an exciting diving expedition to an afternoon of golf.
Treat yourself with a trip to the spa or a delicious Mauritian meal at the on-site restaurant Segala.
InterContinental Mauritius, image courtesy of ihg.com
Rates generally start around $220 per night, so you’re still getting some extra value after accounting for the annual fee.
2. InterContinental Prague (40,000 IHG points per night)
For a luxurious night in one of Europe’s most beautiful capitals, book your free night at the InterContinental Prague. Located on the shores of the Vltava River, this property places visitors just moments away from the storied Old Town Square and famous Charles Bridge.
You’ll enjoy close proximity to the beautiful Prague Astronomical Clock and Parizska Street, which offers lovely boutique shops and upscale design. Take in a stunning panoramic view of the Prague skyline while enjoying Czech favorites from the famed rooftop restaurant Zlatá Praha.
Rates typically start around $250 per night.
3. InterContinental Athens (35,000 points per night)
For a modern twist on an ancient city, book your stay with InterContinental Athens. Located in the heart of Athens, this contemporary property boasts a stunning view of the Acropolis just outside the window. Hosted by the city that once cemented the foundations of philosophy and thought, this property holds true to its roots with a clear commitment to comfort and attention to detail.
Enjoy a minimalistic but attentive spa treatment or treat your taste buds to a classy meal at the celebrated Première restaurant.
Rates start around $210 per night.
4. Crowne Plaza London – Kings Cross (35,000 points per night)
For a convenient, comfortable, contemporary stay in the heart of London, check out the Crowne Plaza London – Kings Cross. Just a few blocks from King’s Cross St. Pancras Station, this property is a perfect home base for your London holiday.
Crowne Plaza London, image courtesy of ihg.com
If you are planning to pack your days full of adventure and don’t have much time for a long breakfast, pop by Bloom Kitchen and Bar for your ‘grab-and-go’ continental breakfast. Alternatively, you can spend a relaxing evening enjoying delectable Belgian food at Belgo.
Whatever your desire, this property is a perfect location for your next trip to London.
Rates start around $220 per night.
5. Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong (30,000 points per night)
For a unique boutique hotel experience in buzzing Singapore, book your stay at the Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong. This site is hosted by the former Joo Chiat Police Station Building and has been revamped, redesigned, and renewed with new art and pops of color throughout.
Hotel Indigo Singapore, image courtesy of ihg.com
This property features a luxurious rooftop infinity pool from which visitors can enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the city below. Whether you are in town for business or leisure, this property boasts close proximity to the business district as well as beautiful stretches of beach, perfect for your free night redemption.
Possibly not quite as good of a deal with low rates around $130 per night, but this hotel can be quite a bit more expensive during peak times.
6. Hotel Indigo Chicago Downtown Gold Coast (35,000 points per night)
If you are planning a trip to the heart of the Midwest, redeem your free night at Hotel Indigo Chicago. This chic property features eye-catching color schemes, beautiful designs, and a permanent collection of art by neo-impressionist Bill Olendorf.
Guests enjoy access to miles of hiking and jogging trails down by Oak Street Beach, and close proximity to the Magnificent Mile and Old Town.
Rates start around $160 per night.
7. Hotel Indigo St. Petersburg – Tschaikovskogo (30,000 points per night)
Next time you to visit St. Petersburg, plan to stay in the former neighborhood of the famous Tchaikovsky at the Hotel Indigo St. Petersburg. Just outside, visitors enjoy direct access to Peter the Great’s Summer Garden, complete with lovely statues and rare flowers. Additionally, the property lies just steps away from the Foundry Yard (Liteiny Dvor) which represents the city’s old industrial enterprises.
On site, guests can take advantage of standard amenities including the fitness center as well as a variety of dining options.
Another great option for your free night certificate, because rates can easily run over $350 per night!
8. Holiday Inn Vancouver Centre – Broadway (40,000 points per night)
Celebrated for exquisite comfort and pleasant visitor experience, Holiday Inn Vancouver Centre is the perfect place to bring your family, or just yourself. Located just a few blocks away from some of Vancouver’s many green spaces and with access to the English Bay, this property is a perfect place to enjoy the sites in Vancouver.
Holiday Inn Vancouver Center, image courtesy of ihg.com
Previous guests of this hotel have mentioned an appreciation for the staff and their commitment to customer satisfaction, so expect to have every need anticipated and met during your free night at Holiday Inn Vancouver Centre.
Rates start around $200 per night.
9. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Hollywood Walk of Fame (40,000 points per night)
Spirit away on a Californian adventure and redeem your free night at Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Hollywood Walk of Fame. Located within close proximity to Hollywood Hills, the Hollywood Bowl, and the famous Griffith Park, this property is ideal for visiting the various attractions in Hollywood.
As an Express property, this hotel offers all of the on-the-go amenities that are important for your full schedule. With complimentary breakfast, WiFi and plenty of outlets, you can be sure of being fully charged when you leave the hotel after you redeem your free night.
Rates start around $200 per night.
10. Hotel Indigo Shanghai on the Bund (40,000 points per night)
If you are headed to Shanghai, Hotel Indigo Shanghai comes very highly recommended. Located on the south end of the Huangpu River, this property is prime for travelers who enjoy sophisticated and eccentric ambience. With a commitment to up-cycled materials and meticulously sourced decor, this chic property reflects the character of the surrounding areas.
Hotel Indigo Shangai, image courtesy of ihg.com
Enjoy exploring the nearby Yu Garden or stay on site to relax in the indoor pool, taking in the stunning river views. Try some xiao long bao dumplings at the neighborhood cafe Quay for a taste of the region, and enjoy your free night at Hotel Indigo Shanghai.
Rates start at about $200 per night.
While the days of redeeming your IHG credit card anniversary free-night certificates at the most aspirational IHG properties are over, there are still great uses of the certificate that can easily make paying your $49 annual fee or getting the new IHG Premier Card ($89 annual fee) worth it.
Before you decide to use your certificate, just check what rates are for the day you are looking to stay. As long as you are getting more than $49/$89 out of your stay, it’s a pretty good use.
As you’ve seen above, there are still plenty of hotels that you can use your certificate at and save hundreds. Hopefully, you can find a fun use of your free-night certificate on your next adventure!