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If you like freebies, take a look at the Holiday Inn promotion called "Next Night Free," which runs through February 28, 2003 for most properties. It allows you a second night free when you pay for one night, and you get up to a total of five nights gratis in all.

To get the freebie, you'll have to meet a couple conditions. You must make reservations in advance, using the Next Night Free code (FN) either online or via telephone, and you have to present a certificate that you can easily print out from Holiday Inn's Web site. Click here to go directly to the page for printing.

You can make your reservations online with an easy-to-use search engine; just enter the city and state, choose the date of your first night's stay and the number of days you'll be staying and make sure that "NEXT NIGHT FREE" is selected from the dropdown menu. Click the "Check Availability" button to get the list of qualifying establishments. To see the actual rate, you'll have to click the "Rates" button next to individual hotels.

Now, a more important question. Do you save money by getting the second night free? Not always, but you can, so be sure to compare the next night free rate with a property's "best available rate" option. In some cities, like Chicago for example, the second night free rate actually cost you a little more. In other instances, such as hotels in Birmingham, the free night option did provide savings; again be prepared to compare. We can lead you to a deal, but you eventually have to decide if the deal is right for your budget.

The special includes room and tax only and does not include incidentals, other charges or gratuities. The deal is good at Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Select and Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort hotels, but not at Holiday Inn Express hotels. At some locations the offer ends January 31, 2003.

U.S. residents may pay for stays at American properties with a Visa card and get a $15 Blockbuster gift card. For Canadian rooms, different awards apply, and a MasterCard is required for a free gift when using this promotion.

For more information, go online to www.sixcontinentshotel.com. You can also call 888/633-0255 to book a room.