Will You Lose Free Nights If You Cancel a Hotel Card?

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Million Mile Secrets reader, Carberrie, commented:

I have the Citi Hilton Reserve card, which comes with an annual free weekend night at certain Hilton hotels after spending $10,000 in a membership year.  I met the spending requirement and have 1 year to use the free night.  If I cancel the card to avoid paying the annual fee, will I lose my free night?

The good news is after you earn the free night, you will NOT lose it.  Even if you cancel the card.

This policy is similar for other hotel credit cards that come with a free annual night, including some that don’t have a spending requirement, like the Chase IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card.

Hotel Cards With Free Annual Nights
Emily and I Used a Free Night From the Citi Hilton Reserve Card to Stay at the Hilton Molino Stucky in Venice, Where Rooms Can Cost $500+ per Night During Peak Months

I’ll remind you which cards come with a free hotel night each year.  And why it might be worth it to pay the annual fees to keep these cards open!

Hotel Cards With Free Annual Nights

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

Several hotel credit cards offer a terrific ongoing perk of a free hotel night on your card anniversary.

Depending on the card, you’ll typically get the free night after your account has been open for a year.  Other cards require you to meet a spending requirement to earn a free night.

Here are hotel cards that offer a free night.

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Once you get the free night, whether it’s automatic or earned, it will post to your loyalty account.  So even if you cancel the card, you won’t lose the free night.

For example, the free night from the Chase IHG card shows up after you’ve had the card open for 1 year.  Then, you’ll have 1 year to use the free night.

Hotel Cards With Free Annual Nights

Team member Harlan earned a free night with the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa.  Even after downgrading the card, he still kept the free night.

Should You Keep These Hotel Cards Open?

It’s often worth it to pay the annual fee on hotel cards and keep them open.  Because the value of the free night can be worth hundreds of dollars, which more than offsets the annual fee.

For example, one card I always keep in my wallet is the Chase IHG card.  Because the free night hits your account automatically every card anniversary and can be used at any IHG hotel.  This perk can easily more than offset the card’s $49 annual fee.

Hotel Cards With Free Annual Nights
Use the Chase IHG Free Night to Stay at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa

Similarly, the free night is automatic with the Chase Hyatt and Chase Marriott cards.  So it makes sense to keep these cards open.  Because the value of the free night is worth much more than the annual fee expense.

Some Free Nights Are Not Automatic

I understand why Carberrie is considering canceling the Citi Hilton Reserve card.  Because to earn the free weekend night, you need to spend $10,000 in a cardmember year.

Even if Carberrie plans to spend $10,000 per year, the spending could go on a card with flexible rewards.  For example, $10,000 in spending can get you 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points with the Chase Freedom Unlimited.  These points can transfer to terrific partners like Hyatt or Marriott when you combine the points with other cards.  And the card has no annual fee!

There might be other reasons for Carberrie to keep the card open.  For example, if the card is cancelled, Carberrie will have to wait 24 months to be eligible for the sign-up bonus on the card because of Citi’s restrictive sign-up bonus rules.

Or if Carberrie is pausing credit card applications to apply for a mortgage or fall below the Chase “5/24” limit.  In either case, using the hotel card for everyday spending might still make sense!

Bottom Line

Once a free night from a hotel credit card posts to your loyalty account, you will NOT lose it if you cancel the card.

But often times it makes sense to keep these hotel credit cards open because the free anniversary nights are automatic and more than offset the annual fee.

For example, you get a free night each card anniversary with the Chase IHGChase Hyatt and Chase Marriott cards, which can be worth hundreds of dollars.

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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