The InterContinental Ambassador program is a paid membership program specific to InterContinental Hotels. The program provides members with a number of benefits, and all it requires is that you pay to join the program.
While it does cost USD200 to join, it is a program that can quite easily pay for itself. This is true even if you only stay a small number of nights in Intercontinental Hotels each year.
The main feature that makes the program pay for itself is a free weekend night certificate. This is a pay for one night, get a second night free offer – that at InterContinental Hotels could easily be worth the 200 US Dollar joining fee.
There is a second level – Royal Ambassador – that provides additional perks. This is an invitation only level, and generally requires that you have significant annual spend in InterContinental Hotels.
In 2019, IHG Rewards have made some changes to the program, and this article has been updated to reflect the changes.
First and foremost, the program works hand in hand with the IHG Rewards program. To be a member of the InterContinental Ambassador program, you have to be a member of IHG Rewards. However, while IHG Rewards cuts across all the IHG brands, the Ambassador program is specific to the InterContinental Hotels brand.
While the Ambassador program does not apply to other brands, you do get a bump in status to the Platinum level in IHG Rewards. This does offer some benefits in brands such as Crowne Plaza or Holiday Inn.
One of the big advantages of paying for the benefits is that they are instantly available. None of this messing around working your way up through status tiers. Having said that, if Royal Ambassador is in your sights, then you will need some serious spend at Intercontinental Hotels.
As mentioned, the big highlight of the offer is the stay one night, get the second free weekend booking. For this, you just have to book the ‘Ambassador Weekend Rate’ on a stay of at least two nights – with at least two of those nights being over Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
Typically, the rate is the Best Flexible, which is one of the higher rates – but it does mean that you have a flexible booking. When booking, you will be shown the full price for two nights, but the hotel will remove the second night charge on check-in.
In addition to the perk, your room comes with
- An upgrades to the next category room from the room you booked. This applies only to paid rates – hotels do not have to provide an upgrade on award nights, although the often do in practice.
- Premium Internet access, in hotels that have this for purchase
- Complimentary mineral water daily,
- A late checkout of 4 p.m. on your day of departure,
- Double Occupancy at a Single Rate
- Waived Amenity or Destination fees
- A restaurants and bars credit of up to USD20, per stay. This offer is valid in hotel restaurants, bars and minibar , but excludes in-room dining. There is some variation depending on the country you are staying in. For example, in Australia it is currently set at AUD25.
- Greater China:Welcome fruit platter
- Mainland China: One complimentary breakfast per day
A step up from Ambassador is the Royal Ambassador level. This is, technically, an invitation only level. Having said that, invitations appear to be sent to those that achieve a certain spend over a calendar year.
Once you’ve reached Intercontinental Royal Ambassador status, you’ll will get extra perks over the stock standard Ambassador member.
New for 2019, Royal Ambassadors can take advantage of an additional Award night. This can be any available Award night, up to a value of 70,000 IHG Rewards Points.
When staying in an Intercontinental, you will be offered access to the Club Intercontinental lounge, or breakfast where the hotel does not have a lounge. On top of that, you can have early check-in from 10a.m. when you arrive, and a late checkout of 4p.m. on the day you leave.
The much loved mini-bar benefit has been modified. You are now offered a mini-bar credit of USD50 per day, up to USD200 per stay. This is a change from the current policy where it could be largely a free for all.
Hotels have a defined compensation policy if they fail to provide a defined benefit. In the past, hotels seem to have dealt with this on a case by case basis – and there were variations between hotels.
For example, in the past I have received 10,000 points for not receiving an upgrade. At another hotel, they simply charged me the room rate of a lower ranked room.
The following shows the compensation that is payable should a benefit not be available
|Guaranteed Benefit||Compensation if Guaranteed Benefit not available|
|Room upgrade||Either a Restaurant & Bar or Spa credit of USD50, or 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points (provided only once per stay).|
|4 p.m. late check-out||Either a Restaurant & Bar or Spa credit of USD50, or 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points (provided only once per stay).|
|Club InterContinental lounge access or alternate Club experience (Royal Ambassador only)||A Restaurant & Bar or Spa credit of up to USD100 per night, not to exceed the Club InterContinental upgrade supplement value.|
Is it Worth it?
Given the cost of 200 US Dollars, naturally there is a question of whether it is worth it. For me, the free weekend night certificate covers the cost of the membership. The rest is extra sugar, and all in all I find it a good deal.
Further information on the program can be found on the special minisite IHG have setup.