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For a long time, the Chase IHG Rewards Club Select Card offered one of the most valuable perks around. In exchange for a modest $49 annual fee, you received an unrestricted free night, valid at any IHG property in the world. The possibilities were endless, including overwater bungalows in Bora Bora and fancy rooms in London or Hong Kong that routinely sell for over $500 a night.

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, and the IHG select card has been replaced by the new IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. Here are a few highlights of the new Club card:

  • Earn 80,000 IHG points after spending $2,000 in three months
  • 10 points per dollar on IHG purchases
  • 2 points per dollar at gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores
  • Fourth night free on award stays
  • Automatic IHG Platinum status
  • Anniversary free night at an eligible hotel
  • $89 annual fee

Change to the Free Night Benefit

In addition to nearly doubling the annual fee, the biggest change with the new card is that the free nights can only be used at hotels that cost 40,000 points or less per night. IHG has published a list of hotels that are specifically excluded for your convenience, and it contains one more piece of bad news: While many people were excited when Kimpton Rewards was folded into IHG last year, it appears that every single Kimpton hotel costs over 40,000 points per night, meaning you can’t use the new free night certificates anywhere in that brand.

Best IHG Hotels Where You Can Still Use the Free Night Certificate

There are still a number of spectacular IHG hotels that meet the new criteria for free night certificates. In compiling this list I focused on two main factors: how luxurious and high-end the hotel is, as well as the normal cost (in both points and cash) to help determine where the best value lies.

1. InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin

The InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin has held on to its storied history as the city around it has continued to grow and modernize. Formerly the state guest house of Shanghai, the building served as a residence to Mao Zedong as well as the Communist Party headquarters during the war of liberation. The 221 rooms retain their old-world charm while offering modern luxuries like Bose surround-sound systems. Each room comes with a garden view, and guests are no more than a 20-minute walk from some of Shanghai’s best shopping and nightlife including Xintiandi and Huaihai roads.

Points per night: 35,000

Photo courtesy of the InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin.

2. InterContinental Bangkok

Bangkok takes on a distinctly different feeling depending on where in the city you choose to stay. The InterContinental, located just a few blocks from Lumphini park in the center of the commercial district, reminds you that for all its ancient temples, the “city of angels” is now a bustling metropolis. In addition to six on-site bars and restaurants, guests will enjoy easy access to every corner of the city as the hotel is also situated on two of the main metro lines. With 381 rooms and suites, this is one of the larger hotels in the city making it more likely that you’ll find award space on the dates you need.

Points per night: 40,000

Photo courtesy of the InterContinental Bangkok.

3. InterContinental Athenaeum, Athens

The InterContinental Athenaeum offers stunning views overlooking the Acropolis. The hotel’s design pays respect to its ancient Greek surroundings while still delivering modern luxury. After a long day exploring the city, shopping in the boutique galleries and street markets nearby, return to the rooftop bar for champagne cocktails and sweeping views. From the art in the lobby to the comfortable design of the 553 guest rooms, the InterContinental Athenaeum provides a pleasant stay all around.

Points per night: 35,000

Photo courtesy of the InterContinental Athens.

4. InterContinental Johannesburg Sandton Towers

The more business-oriented InterContinental Sandton Towers is connected to the Sandton Convention Center, and the staff draws on their local knowledge and experience to help you plan a memorable meeting. Their “Insider Collection” will produce tailor-made participant experiences that range from off-site team building activities to finding engaging local speakers to add to your lineup. Leisure travelers will still enjoy this hotel for the easy access to food and shopping, as well as the spacious and airy guest rooms.

Points per night: 30,000

Photo courtesy of IHG
Photo courtesy of the InterContinental Johannesburg Sandton Towers.

5. InterContinental Budapest

Guests at the InterContinental Budapest have the unique experience of enjoying 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites while staying in one of the most prized pieces of real estate in the city. From the famous Chain Bridge, to the Royal Palace and Buda Castle Hill right across the Danube River, the InterContinental is seamlessly integrated with the city. The surrounding neighborhood is full of bars and restaurants allowing you to get to know the city instead of just watching from a distance.

Points per night: 35,000

Photo courtesy of IHG
Photo courtesy of the InterContinental Budapest.

6. InterContinental Doha, Qatar

This InterContinental is located on Doha’s longest stretch of private beach, and surrounded by a surprising amount of greenery for a location in the middle of the desert. Whether you’re looking to stay in and enjoy one of the 10 bars and restaurants at the hotel or get out and explore the iconic landmarks of Doha, it’s a great pick.

Points per night: 35,000

Photo courtesy of IHG
Photo courtesy of the InterContinental Doha.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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