Ever since IHG's Into the Nights promotion was launched, we have been wondering what they meant by 'Free Nights'. IHG did not post any terms & conditions for the whole promotion – only for each challenge. Very unusual for a promotion with so many questions.
As a reminder, the promotion will give a specific set of challenges for each IHG account. Strangely enough, the more seasoned a member you are (and the more stays you have with IHG) the harder it will get to earn points and free nights. Brand new accounts (or with minimal stay history) report the lowest amount of nights required.
Gary posted quickly afterwards that the nights earned would behave like the Free Nights you earn from the Chase IHG Rewards Club credit card. These nights can be used in ANY IHG branded hotel as long as there is availability on points for your dates.
I have tried to get more information from IHG, but haven't yet gotten a final answer. However, John @ LoyaltyLobby has been looking into the issue further.
Here's what will be posted as Terms and Conditions soon:
Free Nights earned are applicable only to the room nights and privileges specifically provided by this Promotion and supporting Offers, at IHG's discretion, and are not comparable with IHG® Rewards Club Reward Night (redeemed by points) or any other room nights. Free Nights earned from Stays, as defined in the Into the Nights terms, completed during Registration must be redeemed by 31 December 2015. Free Nights earned must be claimed by 31 January 2015 or members will automatically be awarded applicable points.
As he points out, the reward nights earned during the promotion will come from a specifically restricted pool of award nights. Most likely this will include less nights at the TOP InterContinental hotels within the IHG brand.
So once members claim their free nights in the coming weeks (which they may be able to do at the moment as they just need two Saturday night stays) this award inventory will be quickly booked solid for the better hotels.
So, in deciding if you should take part in the promotion, ask yourself if the points themselves are worth it for you. You will always be able to use the points. IHG offers points at a rate of $35 for 5,000 points. So if your challenges earn you 50,000 points, you should spend less than $300 that you would not spend anyways.