One of the lesser-known features of IHG Rewards is its “fourth night free” benefit when redeeming points. This feature isn’t well-known because it isn’t open to all members worldwide…
Who Qualifies for the Fourth Night Free Benefit?
This benefit comes with co-branded credit cards offered by Chase in the United States. Your options are:
Even though InsideFlyer doesn’t focus on credit cards, it makes complete sense to us to apply for the Traveler Card, even if you simply leave the plastic card in a sock drawer and never use it for day-to-day spend. You receive the fourth night free benefit regardless of whether you use the credit card or not…
Perhaps it is worth emphasizing this point again. You don’t need to use the credit card anywhere. Once you are an approved cardholder, the benefit will be loaded to your IHG Rewards account a few days later. This discount will automatically be applied with no effort required on your part…
How Does IHG Calculate the “Fourth Night Free” Benefit?
IHG offers a true fourth night free benefit. With dynamic award pricing, this can be quite beneficial as each award night is priced individually. Moreover, this price might change depending on the number of consecutive award nights you are booking.
IHG does not calculate an average points cost, nor does it make the cheapest night free. Instead, the actual fourth night isn’t charged.
So, if the fourth night of your stay is the most expensive, you are in luck… as it will still be free.
Do I Get the Fourth Night Free Benefit When Paying Cash (or Points & Cash)?
Short answer = NO. This benefit only applies to award stays using ONLY points.
If you don’t have enough points to pay for the three paid nights – using ONLY points – you will be unable to enjoy this benefit.
Of course, a long-standing IHG trick is to book a stay using Points & Cash at a hotel you aren’t actually planning to stay at. Cancel the reservation a few days later and your refund will come in the form of points. (leave a comment below if you are unaware of this trick and would like further explanation) With a larger points balance, you can then book a points-only award stay to which the fourth night free benefit will apply.
The Bottom Line
IHG offers the most lucrative (and travel hackable) “free award night” benefit, but it is only open to certain credit card holders. Since many people with a week’s holiday are looking to stay 8 nights (Arrive Saturday, depart Sunday of the following week), this benefit can be quite useful and lucrative.
Since you can get a card with no annual fee, there’s no real excuse for IHG Rewards members not to have one hidden away somewhere. (unless you’ve gotten yourself into a bit of a 5/24 mess with Chase)