Reminder: select your rewards for last quarter's IHG Rewards Club promotion
Before I get to the subject of today's post, let me gently remind any readers who reached one or both of their "Into the Nights" thresholds to log into the promotion's site and select either points or free nights as your rewards (after thinking about how you'll actually redeem them). If you don't make a selection by January 31, you'll be award points, rather than the potentially more valuable free nights.
Using free nights is easy and fun
This may be old hat to readers who have an IHG Rewards Club credit card, which gives a free night on each account anniversary, but I had no idea what a free night was or how to use it. It turned out to be easier than I could have imagined.
Once you've selected one or both free nights on the promotion's website, you can immediately navigate to your account page and find "Free Night Status" in the left-hand navigation bar:
Clicking "BOOK FREE NIGHT" will take you to a standard IHG hotel search tool with "Into The Night Free Night" selected as your rate preference:
Search any city and date and you'll see if there's free night availability. In my casual searching I found free room availability everywhere I looked. Here's Prague in June:
Here's Paris in July:
So it appears to me that IHG is not throttling availability above and beyond their usual limitations on award availability: if a room is available on points, it seems to be available using Into the Nights free nights.
There was some initial confusion over just how flexible these promotional free nights would be. As far as I can tell, IHG Rewards Club is allowing them to be used for any standard room that's available with points, so if that's been stopping you from selecting free nights over points, go ahead and make your selection, being sure to do so before January 31, 2015, when you'll be automatically granted the points award, instead.