Changes coming to Intercontinental Ambassador program in 2019

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The Intercontinental Ambassador program is an interesting little program valid only at Intercontinental hotels. Unlike other programs where you stay to earn benefits, you can simply buy the basic membership. You can work your way up to Royal Ambassador, and this does require you to send some significant spend through the hotels.

When you purchase the membership, it gets ‘attached’ to your IHG Rewards account. And while they do that, the program has little relevance in brands other the Intercontinental.

Changes in 2019

IHG have made an announcement that there will be changes made to the program in “early 2019”. At this point, they have not provided an exact date, although there is talk about changes being made in February.

Stays the same

Intercontinental have said some things will more or less be the same:

  • Guaranteed one category room upgrade
  • Extended 4pm check-out
  • Complimentary weekend night*
  • Dedicated check-in area
  • Welcome fruit platter for every stay (Greater China)
  • Complimentary mineral water
  • Complimentary Internet

Although it’s not quite the same. The complimentary in-room movie seems to have gone.

Changes

The new benefits that have been announced are:

  • Platinum Elite status in IHG® Rewards Club
  • Up to USD20 (AUD25) restaurants & bars credit for every stay***
  • Ambassador Benefits Guarantee to ensure you make the most out of every stay
  • E-delivery of complimentary weekend night certificate

ADDITIONAL BENEFITS FOR STAYS IN GREATER CHINA ONLY:

  • One complimentary breakfast every night you stay
  • 15% discount on restaurants and bars

Let’s look first at the across the board changes. Unfortunately, we don’t yet have the full details and and any restrictions

Platinum is a boost up from the current Gold level. Not that there is much in it – and Spire is the top level.

The USD 20 (or in Australia, it will be AUD25) looks to be replacing the current welcome drink. Probably a good overall change, giving you more options at the bar. Hopefully, the hotels will be able to administer this properly.

The Ambassador Benefits Guarantee looks promising – but without any detail yet, it is hard to know.

The E-delivery of the weekend night certificate looks like a positive change. The paper certificates could be a bit cumbersome to remember and carry around.

The second set of changes affects stays in Greater China only (at least at this stage). They include a complimentary breakfast and a 15% discount on restaurants and bars.

Thoughts

It is interesting that Intercontinental have announced some changes without the full details. Further, there is no definite date for when these changes come into play.

The published update does not tackle the Royal Ambassador benefits. So, we may have to wait until the new year to understand what, if any changes, are planned there.

I am a member of the Ambassador program, and it really is the complimentary weekend night certificate that makes it worthwhile for me. As long as this stays, it will still hold value as a program to me.

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About Author

Mark is the founder of FlyStayPoints, and caught the travel bug early in life. He discovered the benefits of travel loyalty programs in 2001, and is always learning how they can make travel better. While work takes him between Perth and Melbourne, he is always plotting his next adventure.