Is Intercontinental Ambassador Status Worth It?

by joeheg

Intercontinental Hotels Ambassador status can be purchased for $200, or IHG One Rewards members can use 40,000 points.

Let’s say that I was already planning on staying at a Intercontinental. What would I get for $200?

Intercontinental Ambassador members receive the following benefits when staying at an Intercontinental Hotel or Resort at a qualifying rate:

  • Elevated recognition
  • Guaranteed one category room upgrade
  • Extended 4 pm check-out
  • Restaurants & bars credit of up to USD20 for every stay (except Mainland China)
  • Complimentary mineral water
  • Complimentary highest-speed internet available

There are also additional benefits which include:

  • Complimentary weekend night at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
  • Platinum Elite status in IHG® One Rewards, and the corresponding benefits

There are some important exceptions when reading the fine print. For the room upgrades:

  • Guaranteed upgrades only apply to paid stays. Award redemptions don’t count.
  • If you are upgraded to a club-level room, it doesn’t include club access.

The complimentary weekend night certificate also has some important restrictions.

The Complimentary Weekend Night may be redeemed up until the expiry date of the Ambassador membership, or within the original expiry date of the Ambassador membership, if the membership has been extended. The Complimentary Weekend Night, cannot be extended and is redeemable once only in conjunction with a minimum two-night paid stay when booking the Ambassador Complimentary Weekend Night’ rate at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts. It is not valid to be used on any other rates

It’s a complimentary night but only when combined with a paid stay.

And finally, because this is IHG we’re talking about, the compensation for when either a room upgrade, lounge access, or extended check-out is not available.

a screenshot of a menu

Final Thought

The worth of the Intercontinental Ambassador program is based on how frequently you book a paid stay at Intercontinental hotels. It seems a bit unfair that the program, which costs $200 to join, requires a paid stay to receive benefits and for the free weekend night to be linked to a paid stay.

This program is a step up from the IHG Rewards Club loyalty system because there’s compensation if a hotel doesn’t provide the benefits promised.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


lars January 20, 2024 - 6:40 pm

Been a while since I’ve been an ihg ambassador, but these terms were largely the same and in practice the intercontinentals that I stayed at for the most part honored the benefits in award stays too. It always is a gamble, though.

World Traveler January 21, 2024 - 10:45 am

I think you are missing the primary point of the program. It’s basically like paid elite status at IC hotels. So if you stay at them twice a year or more, it’s likely worth it. I mean 4pm late checkout is great for for flights later in the day. The $20 food and beverage credit pays for an entree outside the USA. The free water is great and it’s on top of whatever free water is provided at an IC hotel for those who drink a lot of water like me. Finally, the free hotel night pays for itself. I stayed at the IC Buenos Aires and the free night saved me $240 with taxes and fees, AND I got extra water, a $20 food and beverage credit (which paid for most of one room service order), and 4pm late check out. Plus, as a Diamond (handed out to those renewing Ambassador over the last two years but not anymore) I got free breakfast and they didn’t have to but gave me lounge access. Sure, I could have Pricelined a five star hotel for less than the rate I paid by the IC, but it would not have been without any perks or the location I wanted.

In short, I think Ambassador makes zero sense for those not staying at IC hotels anyway, but for those who can stay twice a year, you will get your money back. Plus, maybe it’s because I travel primarily internationally and rarely (due to limited leave) do overnight layovers during air travel, I find I use my free nights from cobranded credit cards in conjunction with paid stays. The one exception is Marriott because you can earn free nights through promos and I stay at them for business travel to have enough points. Let me tell you the hotels that you can use free night vouchers on, are well meh or down.


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