Good news: IHG confirms it will extend expiring reward night certificates

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Editor’s note: This news story will be updated as additional information is received.

As the end of 2020 approaches, my husband and I have struggled with what to do with three IHG Rewards Club reward night certificates set to expire on Dec. 31, 2020. When I wrote about four ways to use expiring IHG nights during the pandemic back in September, I had plans to use these expiring certificates before the end of the year.

These plans changed multiple times as hotels have delayed reopening and we’ve had to cancel trips. And, as daily coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, we decided we wouldn’t be traveling to use the certificates before the end of the year.

Many TPG staffers and other travelers I’ve spoken to seem to be in similar situations. Even as other hotel loyalty programs provided further extensions to reward night certificates, IHG Rewards Club remained silent.

But, an IHG spokesperson just confirmed to me that IHG is extending expiring reward night certificates.

Here’s what you need to know.

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IHG’s stance on the free nights

Earlier this year, IHG Rewards Club extended reward nights expiring between March and December 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020. But, as the Dec. 31, 2020 expiration date approaches, many IHG Rewards Club members still haven’t been able to use their reward nights. After all, we’re still in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic that led IHG to extend the certificates in the first place.

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Back on Dec. 8, 2020, an IHG spokesperson provided the following response after I reached out about the reward night certificates that expire on Dec. 31, 2020:

We’ve continually monitored the impact of the global pandemic and have responded with program changes and increased flexibility to better serve our IHG Rewards members. Earlier this year, we announced several measures to extend Anniversary Night certificates set to expire and deposited in 2020. Later this month, we will share an update with cardmembers about anniversary certificates with a 2020 expiration date.

And, today this IHG spokesperson provided the following additional statement to me:

We’ve continually monitored the impact of the global pandemic and have responded with program changes and increased flexibility to better serve our IHG Rewards members. We understand that, right now, some members may need more time to use their certificates to travel when they feel ready.

This week, we’re announcing to cardmembers that they will have until August 31, 2021 to use Anniversary Night certificates originally set to expire in 2020. Cardmembers will begin to see a new Anniversary Night certificate with a redemption period through August 31, 2021 in their accounts. These certificates will be deposited on a rolling basis, through the end of the week.

As a reminder, earlier this year we announced that all Anniversary Night certificates deposited in 2020 had an 18-month redemption period to give members more time to travel.

I still have some outstanding questions. So, I will update this post as we get additional information. But, in short, this is great news. I was already able to confirm the following though:

  • IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card certificates, as well as Select and Select Uncapped certificates, will all be treated the same way
  • New certificates will be deposited to “replace” current certificates due to backend functionality
  • The process to deposit the new certificates is ongoing but should be complete by Dec. 18, 2020

Related: Top hotels for redeeming the IHG Premier Card’s anniversary reward night

Bottom line

As with many hotel credit cards with annual reward nights, I’m generally happy to pay the annual fee on the IHG Premier due to the card’s anniversary night. But, using hotel reward night certificates during the pandemic has been challenging.

I’m thrilled that IHG Rewards Club has decided to extend the expiring reward night certificates. However, I wish IHG would have done this a few months ago to allow members to plan and avoid using their expiring certificates on sub-optimal redemptions. After all, I know several cardholders who used certificates at properties costing far less than 40,000 points per night.

Featured image of the InterContinental Phu Quoc by Katie Genter/The Points Guy.

SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.

And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free. 

These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.

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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