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TPG reader Blake sent me this question:
“Is the annual free night benefit from the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card valid for any category property?”
A big trend these days with credit cards is to offer anniversary bonuses. Usually these bonuses kick in after you have to start paying the annual fee, and are an easy way for card issuers to keep you invested in the product. For many co-branded hotel cards, these bonuses come in the form of a free night stay, but some of them have stipulations; for example, the free night you get with Hyatt Credit Card is only good for Category 1-4 properties.
The great thing about the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card is that the annual free night is valid anytime of the week at any Category property. That means you can use it at any of the 4,900 IHG hotels worldwide, even at the InterContinental Bora Bora.
This card is an absolute no-brainer, because the $49 annual fee is waived for the first year. The sign-up bonus is 70,000 points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first three months. The card is well worth keeping after the first year; considering that you’re basically paying $49 for a free night at any property, you’re definitely coming out on top.
I actually don’t have this card yet, but I plan to apply for it during my next round of applications.
Other hotel cards that offer free nights as an anniversary bonus benefit include
- The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card, which gives you an annual free night at any Category 1-5 property ($85 annual fee).
- The Hyatt Credit Card, which gives you an annual free night at any Category 1-4 property just for having the card.
- The Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature card comes with an annual bonus of 40,000 points to go with its $75 annual fee. While this isn’t quite the same as the free nights above, 40,000 points is enough for at least one night at a Category 1-4 property.