On Monday, April 2nd many Chase IHG Rewards Club Select credit cardholders received a letter in the mail informing them that on May 1st, 2018 the anniversary free night benefit is being changed. All free night certificates issued after May 1st, 2018 will only be valid for redemptions at IHG properties that cost up to 40,000 points per night. This is a major devaluation of an amazing benefit that the card provided and will likely make many cardholders reconsider renewing when the annual fee is due.
This announcement comes less than one month before the change is to be implemented and certainly impacts many people who have signed up for the card in the last few months and will not be eligible to redeem a free night at any IHG property.
What this means for all cardholders is that any free night certificate issued before May 1st, 2018 can be redeemed at any IGH property worldwide (even if the date of the stay is after May 1st, 2018) including many InterContinental Hotels in Europe, North America, and the coveted Bora Bora where an award night cost 70,000 points a night.
Any new certificates issued after May 1st, 2018 regardless of when the account was opened will only be allowed to redeem at properties with a point redemption amount of 40,000 points or less per night.
The Chase IHG Rewards Club Select card has a $49 annual fee and if the cardholder redeemed the free night certificate at a top tier hotel with an average room night of $300+, this card was quite valuable to hold on to. Even with the devaluation, there are still some notable opportunities including the Intercontinental Marseille and Intercontinental Madrid.
Chase has announced a new IHG Premier card with an $89 fee that will most likely carry the same free night redemption restrictions. Additionally, IHG adjusted the award rates of many properties in January of 2018 and will probably continue the trend again in 2019 further devaluing properties that the free annual night certificate can be used at.
IHG has kindly compiled a list of properties that have a redemption amount over the 40,000 points per night where the certificate can not be used.