IHG Reduces Value of Free Night Certificate

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Update: IHG has issued a reprieve. Certificates issued through May 1, 2019, are valid at any property!

IHG has reduced the value of its annual free night certificate earned by being an IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card cardmember. Certificates issued as of May 1, 2018, can only be redeemed at properties that have standard award nights priced at 40,000 points or less. Category 8 or higher properties will no longer be eligible for redemption with the free night certificate.

We expect that there may an update on this as there seems to be significant backlash from the community, and IHG / Chase may be back peddling or slightly modifying the policy of the certificate validity for newer cardmembers.

IHG Hotel Bedroom 50 Percent Off Promotion

Our Take

There are rumors that the IHG Rewards Card is going to be discontinued and replaced with a mass market card, and a premium card, but we don't know if this is actually the case or what will become of any new cards. Will the premium card retain the unrestricted free night certificate, or will it be capped? We should find out soon enough! One thing to note is that this restriction does not apply across the globe.

UK holders of the IHG Rewards Club Premium Credit Card can still redeem their annual certificate at any IHG property worldwide; although the card has an annual fee of $141 and to earn the certificate you need to spend $14,000 on the card per year.

Ultimately, the IHG Rewards Card retains decent value after the devaluation; a night at a 40,000 point hotel for an annual fee of $49 still represents great value for money and it still comes with a decent host of perks and benefits.

IHG Reduces Value of Free Night Certificate
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  • The “new” Free Night Cert is much more limited than it seems. Checking the list of “excluded properties” (https://www.ihg.com/content/us/en/deals/partner-offers/anniversary-free-night) on the IHG website one will note there are *numerous* properties in desirable destinations like NYC & London priced at 40k per night *and under* where the cert is not usable. So, unsurprisingly, given that it’s IHG we’re talking about, the new “benefit” is much worse than it first appears.

  • Samuel Rhoades says:

    Burned last of my IHG points…not looking back, unless another great promo shows up.

  • I got the IHG card only about half a year ago, and I feel cheated big time.
    How’s this kind of devaluation without at least one year of advance notification possible?
    Terrible terrible move by Chase.

  • It still has good value, but now it’s not an amazing deal.

  • I can’t imagine that this won’t be reversed. You’ve got to sell 5-star luxury dreams to pitch hotel chain credit cards with an annual fee. A free night at a Holiday Inn Express just won’t cut it…

  • This is a tough loss, but I still think it’s worth keeping. If nothing else, you’re on the road and need a last minute hotel room, you’re not going to find anything cheaper than $49 at a HI Express.

  • Joel Kling says:

    I cancelled the card this year but I kept it for years just paying the $49 yearly fee for staying a weekend night at the Palazzo Las Vegas during high season. I would have never payed the $350 per night fee what they usually charge.

  • Not unexpected, as devaluations of airline miles, Amtrak miles and Penfed points, a few years ago, HSBC points coming soon, ect. seem pretty common.

  • Bogus, but looks like they are gonna make it right for at least a year.

  • Well lets hope the backlash gets them to grandfather something. Otherwise I am cancelling the card

  • IHG is going down the crapper… huge devaluations

  • at least they are taking care of their new members for the first year

  • The_Bouncer says:

    Good grief – IHG is really going for the devals in a big way recently. Point breaks, massive category inflation, points & cash price changes and now card benefits. What else can they hit?

  • I have old IHG card and the reward night really made it worth holding. I do hope they grandfather the old card holders to allow uncapped award night level. It’s still worth keeping, but less so

  • Well, phooey. Can’t help but wish IHG would leave well enough alone.

  • @Craig says: “I can’t imagine that this won’t be reversed. You’ve got to sell 5-star luxury dreams to pitch hotel chain credit cards with an annual fee. A free night at a Holiday Inn Express just won’t cut it…”

    Unfortunately, this is exactly what they are testing with this move, I’m afraid; what exactly is the lowest value that still cuts it? We’ll see.

  • Mark De Roma says:

    Very bad move by Chase! I will cancel my card.

    • The change affects everyone differently — I’m keeping mine as I’ll extract far more than $49 in value from the card, but I can’t fault you — it is a significant change in value.

  • Alice Chen says:

    The problem with this is that we don’t have an alternative. If people can’t leave to go somewhere else, credit card companies will continue to devalue

  • Finally some positive news: Although find-able with a Google search, the “excluded hotels list” I mentioned, at ihg.com, was apparently not-quite-ready-for-primetime because it appears that it has gotten a re-vamp. The “excluded hotels” page *no longer* lists properties in desirable destinations (NYC, London, etc.) that are presently priced 35-40k per night. So, some value has returned to the cert, especially the $49 cert for existing cardholders.

  • This is bad news for me since I was considering getting this card and now I’ll have to see which I’m going with. I will be waiting and seeing exactly what they settle on. I’m leaning towards the second card with a higher annual fee, however, it’ll be tough with my other annual fees.

    With all the advice I get from ya’ll I’ve narrowed down to IHG hotels in SYD and therefore will stick with them because I believe they’ll still be best. I just might look at hilton too, depending on what happen with IHG and the cards.

  • Can they treat those who applied last year fairly?

  • nice hint, and really I hope they do, and I really consider it as a great value

    thanks for the tip

  • Although this is certainly a devaluation for those who only used it for the truly high-end properties, it retains value because of the low annual fee. This year, I used my free night certificate at a Kimpton and that was great. In the past, I haven’t had time to take a vacation and use it but it still was useful Saving me money on a hotel night I would’ve paid at least double the $49.

    Will the Kimpton’s still qualify under the free night certificate?

  • This is a big drop in value but still descent.

  • Unfortunate to see this, but probably bound to happen.

  • I have gotten a ton of value from this card over the years with the free night certificate. My husband and I have always used it at great hotels. We’ll see what happens next.

  • I expect that they may change the UK card as well to stop free night redemptions at top end properties, although that may make the fee difficult to justify.

  • Yikes…..hopefully Hyatt doesn’t follow suit.

  • The free night certificate does not seem to work anymore for Intercontinental hotels (At least Boston anyway). Glad I took advantage before the devaluation.

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