How To Unlock Aspirational Properties With IHG Free Night Plus Points Bookings

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IHG free night plus points

IHG Free Night Plus Points

IHG recently made an excellent improvement to the anniversary free night offered by the IHG Rewards Premier Card. Rather than capping the free night at 40,000 points, which has been the case since launch (and also the case for the old $49 IHG card for a while), you can now use the IHG free night plus points to book any hotel that costs more than 40,000 points.

This essentially makes your certificate worth 40,000 points, increasing the value. Well, as long as you now always book places that cost over 40,000 points. I see it as letting you get the full value out of your free night.

As someone who has been aced out of potential free night redemptions by just a few thousand points at a particular property, I’m hopeful to find a great use for my IHG Premier Card anniversary free night. Even better, IHG has made it super easy to book your IHG free night plus points.

Booking Using a Premier Certificate Plus Points

To book using your IHG free night plus points, log into your account at ihg.com and navigate to the account page. You’ll see a small link with your available free nights.

Note that the ability to book the IHG free night plus points only applies to IHG Premier Card. There are two distinct types of free nights in my account, as I have both the $89 and $49 card. Note that only the IHG Premier free night says “flex” on it.

IHG Free Night Plus Points

Clicking “Book Free Night” will take you back to the search page. You’ll clearly see that you’re using your IHG Rewards Premier Card Annual Flex Night. Select a destination and dates (must be a one-night stay) and you’re off and running.

The search results aren’t as organized as I’d like them to be, but that’s okay. I had to scroll past properties that were completely free (i.e. required fewer than 40,000 points), then past a bunch of properties that either weren’t available or had cash-only rates and no award nights. Then I was presented what I was looking for.

IHG Free Night Plus Points

I’m impressed how seamless IHG made this. You can clearly see the number of additional points that are required. Select the hotel and click through to complete the booking process.

IHG free night plus points certificate booking

Adding Points To Certificate Booking: Final Thoughts

I am quite happy with this change from IHG. This essentially converts the certificate to 40,000 points that you can use during your anniversary year. I’ve often struggled to use the free nights, opting for airport hotels over half the time. It ticks the box of necessity and saves money. But it has been ages since I’ve booked an aspirational property with IHG. This’ll likely change that.

Ian Snyder
After igniting his passion for award travel while planning his honeymoon, Ian now enjoys using points and miles to see the world with his wife and three internationally adopted kiddos. He loves dissecting loyalty programs to find maximum value. His goal is to demonstrate that extraordinary travel is possible for the ordinary family.

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7 COMMENTS

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Does this only apply to an Anniversary night reward? I hold an IHG Rewards Select card ($49/night) and recently applied/received the Premier card with a bonus offer free night after meeting the $3k/3months requirement. The Free Night bonus appears in my account as a “New Credit Card Free night” as an IHG Select member and not as a Premier Member! I cannot use the “free night” to book a 42,000 point property using additional points! Am I missing something on the credit card offer?

    • It will only work for the free night that comes from the Premier card. Even if you hold both the Select card ($49) free night is not upgradable.

      • The free night was from the Premier card and appears to be capped at 40 000 points for a booking. Just like the select anniversary free night is capped at 40,000. Guess I will call and see if the free new Premier card award can be used by adding 2,000 points at the hotel I’m interested in using the certificate.

    • Well, I’ll admin my search wasn’t set in line with my heart. For the example, I was going for something where options are just a few points over the 40,000 level.

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