The trick to finding IHG 40K free nights

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The IHG Premier card and the IHG Select card (no longer available to new applicants) offer a free night certificate each year upon renewal.  IHG also often offers these free night certificates as rewards for various promotions.  These certificates are capped at 40,000 points.  This means that they can be used to book a single night at any IHG hotel that is priced at 40,000 points for the night, or less.  You cannot use a single certificate to book multiple nights that add up to 40,000 points or less (e.g. you can’t book two nights at 20K points per night each).  You also cannot use a certificate to pay for the points portion of a points + cash stay.

Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt in Austin, TX

How to Find 40K Nights

IHG dynamically prices awards at most of their hotels.  As a result, there’s no way to know if rooms are available for 40K points or less other than by searching IHG’s website for dates of interest to see how those nights price.  If your dates are flexible, it’s possible to figure out which dates are available for 40K or less with a single search.  Here’s how…

Step 1) Go to IHG.com on your desktop browser.  Do not log-in.

The reason you shouldn’t log in is that if you have an IHG credit card that offers 4th night free awards, logging in will confuse the results of your search (since every 4th night will show up as 0 points).

Step 2) Search for reward nights across a large date range

In this example, I was looking for a hotel in Traverse City, Michigan, and I entered September 1 through September 30 into the search fields:

Step 3A) View available dates (if needed)

The hotel I was really interested in, Hotel Indigo Traverse City, wasn’t available for points for all of September and so IHG showed me the cash rate instead:

At the top right of the property listing, you’ll see the words “View available dates.”  Click that to see a calendar view of available dates:

From the above calendar view, I found that the Hotel Indigo was available on points continuously from September 12th to November 6th, and so I selected that range from the calendar and pressed “continue.”

Step 3B) Select Hotel… Select Room

If your original search showed your hotel of interest available for your entire date range, then simply click “Select Hotel” and then on the next screen click “Select Room”…

Step 4) View Rate Details

You should now see a display showing the average point price of your hotel.  In my example, the average is shown to be 56,672 points per night:

The average point price doesn’t tell you whether there are any 40K, or less, nights available.  To see that info, look for the hyperlink “Rate Details” on the left side of the screen (above) and click it.  This will bring a list of date ranges and point prices, like this:

The actual list of dates was much longer than shown here, but I cut it off to try to make this post more readable

Above, I highlighted the dates that are available to book with free night certificates.  Note that in some cases multiple nights are shown together.  Above, you’ll see that the dates “Sun 19 Sep 2021 – Tue 21 Sep 2021” are available for 35K points per night.  This means that a free night certificate could be used on either Sunday or Monday night (or both if you have two certificates).

Watch the video

If you prefer to learn from video tutorials, here’s my video version of this post:

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