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IHG is making it a little tougher to redeem the IHG Anniversary Free Night benefit you receive each card anniversary with the IHG Select credit card. You can only redeem your free night at properties that cost 40,000 points or less. You can no longer apply for the old IHG Select, but Chase released a new IHG Premier credit card last week. 

This benefit devaluation applies to all free night certificates issued after May 1, 2018, to most new and existing IHG Select cardholders; the single exception is if you opened your IHG account between January 1 and April 5, 2018, and you are “grandfathered” into the old redemption policy for your first free night certificate you will receive in 2019.

Intercontinental San Juan
Intercontinental San Juan

No other IHG Select card benefits are being reduced or altered at this time.

More Details About the IHG Anniversary Free Night Changes

IHG Anniversary Free Night
If own the Chase IHG Select, you probably received a letter in the mail explaining the Anniversary Free Night changes.

Here’s a quick summary of changes to the IHG Anniversary Free Night effective May 1, 2018:

  • Any Anniversary Free Night issued before May 1, 2018, can still be redeemed at any IHG hotel
  • Any Anniversary Free Night issued after May 1, 2018, can only be redeemed at properties that cost up to 40,000 points
  • This change doesn’t apply to new cardholders that opened an IHG Select account between January 1, 2018, and April 5, 2018, and you can still redeem your first anniversary night under the old redemption policy.

If you applied for an IHG Select credit card in early 2018, you can still redeem your free night at any IHG property when you celebrate your first card anniversary in early 2019. When you receive your second free anniversary night in 2020, you will only be able to redeem it at a property that costs 40,000 points or less.

While you’ll still be able to redeem your free anniversary night at most IHG properties, this change diminishes the luster for travelers that use their night for high-end properties.

Is the IHG Select Still Worth the $49 Annual Fee?

Despite the benefit changes, the free anniversary night still exceeds the $49 annual fee you pay for the IHG Select.

The average nightly rate at most IHG properties is at least $100 so you’re still getting a room for “half off” if you only keep the credit card for the free night certificate.

Besides the free anniversary night, you will still continue to enjoy these everyday card benefits:

  • 5 points per $1 on all IHG purchases
  • 2 points per $1 on at grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations
  • 1 point per $1 on all remaining purchases
  • 10% back when you redeem points for free nights
  • Automatic Platinum elite status

IHG loyalists can benefit from the everyday card benefits as well as the free annual night certificate.

A Few Places to Redeem Your Free IHG Anniversary Night

Are you looking for some ideas of where you can redeem your IHG anniversary free night with the new redemption requirements?

Some of these hotels meet the 40,000 point requirement and can be an excellent getaway to redeem your free anniversary night and tack on a few additional nights in the process. It will be harder to find an eligible flagship brand like InterContinental or Kimpton to stay at.

IHG has published a list of ineligible IHG properties that require more than 40,000 points per night.

Holiday Inn Resort Aruba-Beach Resort and Casino

The Holiday Inn Resort Aruba costs 40,000 points per night for a standard room. This family-friendly resort is located in Plam Beach and some of the on-site amenities include beach access, full-service Excelsior casino, and the Etnika Spa.

Holiday Inn Express Chicago-Magnificent Mile

If you can still book your anniversary night before the new IHG changes go into effect, try to book a night at the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile (50,000 points per night) when you visit the Windy City. If your next card anniversary is after May 1, book a stay at the Holiday Inn Express Chicago-Magnificent Mile instead. You’re still in the heart of Chicago, even if you can’t stay at the brand you used too.

InterContinental Buenos Aires

If you’re looking to visit South America, the InterContinental Buenos Aires still makes the cut as a single reward night costs 35,000 points. In addition to exploring the city, you can relax at the on-site spa or dine at one of the hotel restaurants. And, you’ll get the chance to stay at one of IHG’s flagship brands.

Summary on the IHG Select Credit Card Free Anniversary Night

The IHG Select credit card is still worth the $49 annual fee, but you’re going to have to settle for a lower-priced hotel that costs 40,000 points or less. If you normally use your points for these properties, this anniversary night change won’t affect you much. However, it’s still something to keep in mind as you have to work a little harder now to redeem your free night certificate.

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