Expensive IHG Anniversary Free Night We Booked

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Last month I wrote about a Crazy Expensive IHG Anniversary Free Night We’re Not Booking.

While we had some good ideas and plans for Kim’s free night , nothing seemed to work out to make it useful for an actual trip. We couldn’t just let the free night expire so we decided to book a room in the last place we’d expect  (a place I mentioned in the post above).

We didn’t really have time to go too far, plus we wanted to feel like we were getting a good deal for the free night. This is what led us to our selection.For those of you unfamiliar with the IHG Anniversary Free Night, here is a quick refresher.

chase ihg credit cardOne of the main perks of being a cardholder of the Chase IHG credit card is getting one free night each year which is redeemable at any IHG property. All you need to do is pay the annual fee of $49 each year and a free night is credited to your account on each anniversary. (For those of you that do not have the IHG card, the sign up bonus typically ranges from 60,000-80,000 points.)

This is an incredible deal and a great way for us budget-minded travelers to stay at a nice hotel at a very low cost. The only problem this year is that Kim’s redemption wasn’t going towards actual travel.

With my birthday coming up this weekend, we figured that a solid way to use the free night, was to do something that we’ve never done before- spend a night at a hotel in New York City.

Considering we live in Brooklyn, this is totally unnecessary but since we have the night to burn, why not go for it! It will also be fun to play tourist for a day! (Well maybe…)

We’ll be staying at the Intercontinental Times Square.

Kim and I typically try to avoid Times Square at just about any cost if possible. It can be practically impossible to walk down the sidewalk due to tourists looking up at the lights. (My strategy is to walk around them and venture into the street quite often if I am in the area.)

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If I had a pick of anywhere to stay in Manhattan, Times Square would definitely not be my first or second choice. However, for this stay it totally makes sense for us. For starters, it is the most expensive IHG property in NYC (based on all of my searching) and we have reservations for a restaurant that I’ve wanted to go to for quite some time which is close by.

chase ihg credit cardIf we were paying for our free stay, the Intercontinental Times Square would cost $279 for the night plus tax. From what I recall the total came to something like $303.

Getting a $300 room for $49 sounds like a great deal to me! What do you think?

While I would’ve liked to have really maximized value by using the free night for an actual trip, I still think that this will be a lot of fun.

How do you usually use your IHG Anniversary Free Night? What are the key factors you take into account when figuring out the best way to maximize your redemption?

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8 thoughts on “Expensive IHG Anniversary Free Night We Booked

  1. I think that’s a pretty good redemption and it’s always fun to play tourist in your hometown. We did a family “staycation” a few years ago – hitting all the sites in Cincinnati / Dayton that we don’t normally bother with.

    I think what I normally look for is the price – for some reason I just really want to get a good “value” on my free night, even though that shouldn’t always be the only thing to look for.

    We both signed up for the IHG card at about the same time with the hopes of being able to use both of our free nights at the same place so we could get 2 nights instead of just 1.

    Have fun!

  2. I just booked a stay there from 12/26-12/28 for the Pinstripe Bowl using the Ambassador BOGO voucher. Being between the holidays, all the IHG rooms are around $300/nt or more. The Intercontinental was going for $550/nt, but the voucher essentially made it $275/nt, so I figured I might as well.

    The Barclay can’t be back in operation fast enough; I think it fits the Intercontinental mold better and is in a prime location. The Times Square Intercontinental doesn’t scream luxury, and like you said, the location is not ideal for anybody except the NYC-newbies. I’m sure it’s a nice hotel, but I already hold disdain for it.

  3. Also, I have used my free Chase night at the Willard in DC for the Cherry Blossom festival. Rooms then are upwards of $500. However, this year, I’ll be using it at IC Osaka during Golden Week, where the room rate shoots up to $600/nt.

  4. As a Long Islander, I’ve done this same redemption many times, and it’s the best. The room prices in the spring and fall are sometimes upwards of $500 a night, so this is a terrific perk. instead of viewing the location as a negative, turn it into a positive and see a show! Happy birthday and Happy Holidays!

  5. Yup.. I agree… Our family is staying at Hyatt House Fort Lauderdale in January before a cruise on an anniversary night from Chase Hyatt Visa. A little more AF at $75 but our room would have been $349+ tax so yeah.. it’s soooo worth it.

  6. I used my Ambassador weekend cert for a stay at the Intercontinental TS and had a fabulous room with views on 3 sides. Location was great for touring the Concorde and seeing TS. we took Acela from DC where we walked to Union Station from home on Capitol Hill, then Walk to hotel from Penn Station. BTW Acela trip was with points and BOGO thru Amtrak CCs

  7. Points With A Crew- Thanks! It is fun to do touristy things close to home at times. I totally hear you when to comes to getting value from the free night. This time around I went for the priciest room IHG had in NYC. In the past I’ve gone for a need more than price. I beleive the other times our rooms cost more in the $200s range. In 2013 we combined our stay for 2 nights in Tokyo.

    Pat- Definitely a pricey stay you booked but a relative bargain in relation to what it is going for at full price! I’m looking forward to checking out the Intercontinental and will probably write up a review! Times Square is a pain and it has got to be 10X worse being its the weekend before Christmas! 🙂

    It sounds like you’ve done very well with your anniversary redemptions!

    PSL- Thanks for the kind words! We have been debating whether or not to see a show. I think we’ll see how we feel the day of, possibly stopping by the TKTS booth. We haven’t done that in many years.

    Juno- Awesome! The Hyatt card is one of the few big ones I’ve never had. One of these days I will get it.

    Bill n DC- Sounds like you did a nice job combining your free night certs. with points to make for a fun weekend! We’re due for a DC visit, it’s been too long since we’ve visited.

  8. Bingo, we have stayed there on 3 occasions on our free night. Intercontinental Times Square has great service, great rooms and if you have a high floor, great views. Wouldn’t stay anywhere else. Enjoy!

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