Reader Question: IHG Chase Free Night Certificate Nightmare?


A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us a question regarding an issue that many IHG Rewards members with Chase co-branded credit cards have – how to use the free night certificates in the time of dynamic awards?

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READ MORE: IHG Rewards Rate & Bonus Points And Miles Promotions

Here’s the message from the reader:

IHG. Chase “free” night limitations-

They have a 45,000 Pt limit – BUT. Have literally increased point requirements across the board. Where I’ve stayed for 15,000 to 25,000 are now upwards to 70,000 Pt.  ( weekday nights)

Also- point breaks ??? Ever coming back??

So essentially no free chase nights ….

No point breaks.

The anniversary free night is capped at 40,000 points that is enough for an award at a hotel that charges roughly $200 for the night.

IHG in 2020 moved to dynamic awards that roughly means that your IHG Rewards point is worth 0.5 cents towards a “free” night. There are some seasonal and regional differences with the points value. It fluctuates around .4 to 0.6 cents per point.

It will be challenging to find a hotel during the busy times that go for 40,000 points or less at most western urban destinations. However, you might find a Holiday Inn Express or old Crowne Plaza or Holiday Inn midweek that has award rooms for 40,000 points or less.

You can forget trying to redeem for a weekend stay at a desirable destination, however.

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There are pros and cons of Dynamic Awards that we recently covered. There are issues with these free night awards from credit cards and various IHG promotions capped at too low a level when award nights can go up to 100,000 points per night.

IHG has discontinued PointBreaks, the discounted awards for Mexico and the Caribbean, and remember when IHG had two types of last-minute and seasonal award discounts? All gone.

Now, IHG Rewards has essentially turned to a cashback program with their dynamic awards. Only you can decide whether having one of the affiliated credit cards makes sense or not.