How We’re Using Our Chase Anniversary Free Nights This Year

Our Chase IHG cards give us a free night certificate every year.  This year we’ve each booked a Holiday Inn beach resort in back-to-back reservations.  Hopefully the kids will enjoy the in-house water park as well as the beach during our weekend getaway later this month.

Aqualand at the Holiday Inn Panama City Beach
Aqualand at the Holiday Inn Panama City Beach

Chase Anniversary Free Nights

Several years ago we each got an IHG credit card with a 80,000 point bonus.  You can get the card right now for a 60K bonus, but every now and then 80K offers are available.  Check the FlyerTalk credit card forum for current sign-up links.  Every year you keep the card, you get a certificate for a free night in any IHG property, including top-of-the-line brands like InterContinental.  If there are rooms available to book on points, then the free night certificate can be used.

chase ihg points offer

Well, It’s Not Really “Free”

The certificate is free if your credit card is active, but you must pay an annual fee of $49.  So if you hold the credit card for the yearly free night, like I do, than each “free” night costs you $49.  This is well worth it to us.  The cost of rooms in the cheapest IHG hotel we’ve stayed at were $100/night, not including taxes.  We’ve also used the cert for hotels that were in excess of $300/night.

Finding a Good IHG Hotel

In the past we’ve used the Free Night in conjunction with trips that we were taking.  This year we’re just booking the hotels for a weekend trip.  I wanted to find something nice and fun within driving distance so that we could take the kids.  My goal was to get the nicest property possible within these parameters.  Travelisfree.com has a complete list of ihg hotels on an interactive map.  You can also search by category.  I zeroed in on the map area I was interested in, and then searched for only Category 9 hotels.  When none were available, I went down to Category 8, and so on.

We were really looking for a nice resort in the mountains, but we couldn’t find availability (not surprising as we’re looking last-minute.)  We settled on a Category 6–the Holiday Inn Panama City Resort in Panama City, Florida.  This is a popular beach destination in our area, so I was surprised it was available.  It is right on the beach and has a water park that I know the kids will like.  We each booked consecutive nights with our certificates.  Had we paid cash, the price of the rooms we booked would have been $220 for Friday night, and $230 for Saturday.

How to Book the Free Night

You log into your account on ihg.com.  On the left-hand side of the page you click on the link “Free Night Status.”  Then you search for and book your hotel.  It will automatically apply the cert because you used the Free Night Status link.

How We’ve Used Our Chase Free Night Certificates

This year will be unusual in that we are making a trip just to use the certs.  In the past we have stayed at the InterContinental Rome at the top of the Spanish Steps.  We’ve also stayed at the InterContinental in Athens.  Several times we’ve just used the certs to stay in Holiday Inn Express when we just needed a place to stay during our travels.

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