Complete Guide to Booking Hotel Credit Card Free Nights

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Complete Guide to Booking Hotel Credit Card Free Nights

Million Mile SecretsComplete Guide to Booking Hotel Credit Card Free NightsMillion Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

If free hotel stays are a big part of your miles & points strategy (like they are to most of us!), there are plenty of co-branded hotel credit cards that will help you meet your goals.

Lots of hotel credit cards even come with a free night, either on each cardmember anniversary, or after you meet a spending requirement on the card each year.  This is an amazing benefit that inspires me to keep these cards in my wallet for the long term.  Because the free night can be worth much more than the annual fee!

But redeeming the free night certificates is a little different than using points to book a hotel room.

Complete Guide To Booking Hotel Credit Card Free Nights
The InterContinental Paris – Le Grand Normally Costs ~$400 per Night. But You Can Stay for Free With a Recurring Benefit of the Chase IHG Card!

I’ll remind you which cards come with a free anniversary night, and show you how to use them to book a room!

Hotel Cards With Free Annual Nights

Link:   Hotel Cards With the Most Valuable Free Nights on Your Card Anniversary

It’s often worth it to pay the annual fee on hotel cards and keep them open.  Because some of them come with a free night, which can be worth hundreds of dollars each year.  This can easily offset the annual fee!

For example, one card I continue to renew each year is the Chase IHG card.  Because the free night deposits into your account automatically every cardmember anniversary, and can be used at any IHG hotel, even their most luxurious resorts.  This perk is definitely worth more than the $49 annual fee.

With the cards below, you’ll earn a free night on your account anniversary (and each anniversary thereafter):

Hotel Credit Card Free Night Details
Chase IHGCard Image Not Available
Free night at any IHG hotel
every card anniversary
Chase Hyatt Credit CardFree night at any Category 1 to 4 Hyatt hotel
every card anniversary
Chase Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit CardFree night at any Category 1 to 5 Marriott hotel
every card anniversary
Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit CardCard Image Not Available
Free night at any Category 1 to 5 Marriott hotel
every card anniversary
Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American ExpressCard Image Not Available
Earn 1 weekend night at any Hilton hotel (excluding these hotels) after every cardmember anniversary. And another weekend night when you spend $60,000 on purchases on your card in a calendar year. Terms Apply.

Other cards require you to meet a spending requirement to earn a free night.

Hotel Credit Card Free Night Details
The Hilton Honors American Express Business CardThe Hilton Honors American Express Business CardEarn 1 weekend night at any Hilton hotel (excluding these hotels) after spending $15,000 in a calendar year. And another weekend night when you spend an additional $45,000 within the same calendar year. Terms Apply.
Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American ExpressHilton Honors Ascend Card from American ExpressEarn a weekend night at any Hilton hotel (excluding these hotels) after spending $15,000 in a calendar year. Terms Apply.
Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® CardCard Image Not AvailableFree night when you charge $10,000 on your card each year (plus 40,000 Club Carlson points every anniversary)
Club Carlson℠ Rewards Visa® CardCard Image Not AvailableFree night when you charge $10,000 on your card each year

Once you get the free night, whether it’s automatic or earned, it will post to your loyalty account.  I’ll show you how to use them!

Chase Marriott Card

Link:   Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Link:   Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

Link:   Chase Marriott Review

Step 1.   Search for Category 1 Through 5 Hotels

You can NOT redeem your Chase Marriott anniversary night at every Marriott hotel in the world.  You can only use them for Category 1 through 5 hotels.  When you want to use your free night certificate, I suggest you start by narrowing your search to hotels that qualify.

Click this link and filter out all but Category 1 through 5 hotels.

Complete Guide To Booking Hotel Credit Card Free Nights
Only Search for Hotels You Can Actually Use Your Free Night With!

Step 2.   Click “Use Points”

Your anniversary certificate is an award stay, so click “Use Points” before you search for your hotel.

Complete Guide To Booking Hotel Credit Card Free Nights
Click “Use Points”

Step 3.   Begin Your Hotel Reservation

On the payment page, you’ll see how many points you owe.  If you don’t have enough points, you have the option to buy the rest of the points.  And if you have a free night certificate, you’ll see it as one of the options at checkout!

Complete Guide To Booking Hotel Credit Card Free Nights
If You Have a Free Night Certificate, It Will Show Up on the Payment Page

Check out my top picks for where to use your free Chase Marriott hotel night in:

Chase Hyatt Card

Link:   The Hyatt Credit Card

Link:   Chase Hyatt Review

Step 1.   Navigate to Your Account

Go to the Hyatt website and click “My Account” from the drop down menu at the top right of the screen.

Complete Guide To Booking Hotel Credit Card Free Nights
Click “My Account”

Step 2.   Click “My Awards”

Near the bottom of the page, you’ll see 3 tabs.  Click “My Awards” to see your free nights.  And click “Explore Hotels” to be taken to the Hyatt search page.

Complete Guide To Booking Hotel Credit Card Free Nights
You’ll Find Your Annual Free Night Under the “My Awards” Tab in Your Account

Step 3.   Find Your Hotel

Similar to the Chase Marriott card, you can NOT use your Chase Hyatt anniversary nights at just any Hyatt hotel.  They are only valid for Category 1 through 4 hotels.  You can quickly see which hotels you can use your free night certificate with when you search by category.

Complete Guide To Booking Hotel Credit Card Free Nights
Eliminate All Ineligible Hotels From Your Search by Selecting Only Category 1 Through 4 Hotels

Step 4.   Book Your Hotel as You Normally Would

Find the hotel you want to use your certificate with.  Make sure the “Show World of Hyatt Points & Awards” box at the top left of the search results is checked.  Hyatt treats these free nights as award nights.

Complete Guide To Booking Hotel Credit Card Free Nights
The Room Rate Should Say “Free Night”

At the payment page, your room total should say “Free Night“.

Complete Guide To Booking Hotel Credit Card Free Nights
Check-Out Like You Normally Would

Chase IHG Card

Link:   Chase IHG

Link:   Chase IHG Review

Step 1.   Navigate to Your Account Page

Sign-in to your IHG account, and go to your account page.  To the left, you’ll see a link that says “1 Free Night(s)“.  Click it!

Complete Guide To Booking Hotel Credit Card Free Nights
You’ll Find Your Free Night on the Left of Your Account Page

Step 2.  Click “Book Free Night”

You’ll now see the details of your anniversary certificate.  Click “Book Free Night“.

Complete Guide To Booking Hotel Credit Card Free Nights
You’ll See How Many Free Nights Are Available to You, as Well as the Dates Your Free Nights Are Valid

Step 3.   Select the “Chase Anniversary Free Night” Rate Preference

You will now be redirected to the IHG reservations page.  You can search for a hotel just like you normally would, but you’ll see that you have an anniversary free night already selected in the “Rate Preference” drop down menu.

Complete Guide To Booking Hotel Credit Card Free Nights
The “Chase Anniversary Free Night” Rate Will Automatically Be Checked for Your Search

Step 4.   Find Your Hotel

Enter the city you want to stay, and look for a hotel.  The rates to the right of the page should say “Free” because you’re using your anniversary night.

Complete Guide To Booking Hotel Credit Card Free Nights
The Hotel Rate Should Say FREE

Step 5.   Click Through to Reserve Your Free Night

Select your hotel, and book as you normally would.  The estimated total should say FREE!

Complete Guide To Booking Hotel Credit Card Free Nights
You Can Use Your FREE Anniversary Night ANY IHG Hotel

Check out my top picks for where to use your free Chase IHG hotel night in:

AMEX Hilton Cards

Link:   Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express

Link:  The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Link:   Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express

Link:   AMEX Hilton Card Reviews

When you receive an anniversary weekend night from an AMEX Hilton card, Hilton will send you an email with a code.

To redeem the anniversary night, you’ll need to call 800-446-6677, and give them the code you were sent.  So have all your details ready to recite over the phone!

Remember to check this list to make sure your desired hotel qualifies for a weekend night certificate.  Nearly all Hilton hotels are eligible for this free night certificate, though there are exceptions, like Hilton Grand Vacations, and some all-inclusive resorts.

Club Carlson Card

Link:   Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card

Link:   Club Carlson℠ Rewards Visa® Card

Link:   Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Review

Step 1.  Go to Your Account Page

Sign-into your Club Carlson account, and go to your account page.

Complete Guide To Booking Hotel Credit Card Free Nights
Go to Your Account Summary

Step 2.   Copy Your E-Certificate Code

On your account page, you’ll see a section that says “My E-Certs” near the bottom.  If you have available free night certificates, you’ll see a code for your free night.  Copy the code.

Complete Guide To Booking Hotel Credit Card Free Nights
Copy the Free Night Certificate Code

Step 3.   Search for Your Hotel

Find the hotel you want, and proceed to the payment page.  Under the total cost, you’ll see a link that says “I Have an E-Cert“.

Complete Guide To Booking Hotel Credit Card Free Nights
Find the Hotel You Want and Proceed to Book Your Stay

Step 4.  Paste Your Free Night Certificate Code

Click “I Have an E-Cert“, and a box will appear for you to enter your free night code.  If you didn’t copy your code, you can click “Find My E-Certs” to see the certificates available in your account.

Complete Guide To Booking Hotel Credit Card Free Nights
Paste Your Free Night Certificate Into the Box

Bottom Line

It often makes sense to keep these hotel credit cards open because the free nights you can accrue can easily offset the annual fee.

You’ll get a free night each card anniversary with the:

And you can earn a free night after meeting spending requirements with:

This benefit can be worth hundreds of dollars, depending on where you stay.  And redeeming the nights is easy!

What’s the best value you’ve gotten from using a credit card anniversary free night?

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The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases in the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card: 12X at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio, 6X on Select Business & Travel Purchases, 3X Everywhere Else. Terms & Limitations Apply.
  • Enjoy complimentary Gold status with your Hilton Honors Business Card.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn another Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend an additional $45,000 in purchases on your Card in the same calendar year.
  • Relax with 10 free airport lounge visits each year once enrolled in complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership, which offers access to over 1,000 lounges in over 120 countries.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Daraius, my best value from the free anniversary night was at the Intercontinental Hotel in San Juan. The hotel was wonderful and right on the beach. The going rate was 350+ and higher in March several years ago. I also stayed at the Ritz Carlton in San Juan on a free night but it was for not canceling the card. There going rate was 550+. The first hotel was to add extra day in San Juan after cruise. The second hotel was to stay day before leaving on a cruise. The free hotel night from credit cards can also fill a gap if air prices are high or awards unavailable on the day you want. I should know. Can you guess where I learned this? Thank you!