Chase released the new Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier Card in April. The anniversary free night was one of the main letdowns on that card. This benefit is different from the old IHG card. Anniversary Free Night is valid at IHG Hotels with a current point redemption level of 40,000 points or less. What was even worse is that all anniversary free nights were capped. They said that Going forward, Anniversary Free Nights issued after May 1, 2018, will be redeemable at eligible IHG hotels with a redemption value up to and including 40,000 points. So that applied to free nights earned through the old IHG card as well.
There was some backlash and a petition was started and it seems that Chase and IHG have indeed backed down and pushed the deadline to allow everyone to get at least one free unlimited night. They answered to a rumor of a new date of 5/1/2019 with the following tweet:
IHG with Chase recently made the decision to award one more uncapped Anniversary Free Night to every IHG Rewards Club Select Cardholders. This means that their recently awarded or upcoming free night CAN be used at any IHG hotel worldwide.