Home Hotels Is Intercontinental Ambassador Status Worth It?

Is Intercontinental Ambassador Status Worth It?

by joeheg

I received an email recently which was a new one for me. I decided to look a little closer at what was offered and if it was worth it.

I have the opportunity to purchase Intercontinental Hotels Ambassador status for $200 or 40,000 IHG points. The signup bonus is for 20,000 IHG points after staying 2 nights at an Intercontinental, Kimpton, or Regent hotel by April 30th. The bonus would cut the membership price in half (but you’d have to pay for 2 nights to get the points.)

For this example, let’s say that I was already planning on staying at a Kimpton, like the Kimpton Gray in Chicago.

What would I get for $100?

Intercontinental Ambassador members receive the following benefits:

  • Elevated recognition
  • Guaranteed room upgrades
  • Extended 4 pm check-out
  • Complimentary weekend night at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts and participating Kimpton and Regent hotels

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 to 12 months from the date on which the certificate is issued, can not 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, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and participating Regent Hotels & Resorts.

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 or extended check-out is not available.

Final Thoughts

The value of the Intercontinental Ambassador program depends on how often you book a paid stay at Intercontinental hotels. Extending the complimentary weekend night to be used at Kimpton and Regent hotels does make it easier to use but requiring it to be linked to a paid stay seems a bit cheap for a program costing $200 to join.

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.

While some will find this to be a great deal, I’m going to pass on this offer.

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9 comments

Tom January 27, 2022 - 4:18 pm

IMO It is worth if you know if you going to stay at a number of intercontinentals. Good for Asia and Europe, not so much for the US. Late checkouts and upgrade of rooms are what I’ve gotting in past, plus gift and fruit basket.

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Ghostrider5408 January 27, 2022 - 4:31 pm

In one word NO . I’ll date myself a bit the old 6 continents status was well worth it and never failed to get me a decent upgrade around the world fast forward to today I had Ambassador status but chose to drop it as my international travel changed plus my Hyatt Diamond status produced more for me. Domestically it means little to nothing, I do remember checking into the Nairobi Int. the doorman recognized my old. very old metal bag tag and took me to the head of the line!

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DaninMCI January 27, 2022 - 5:38 pm

It’s worth it if you stay at Kimpton or IC hotels often. In my experience As an Ambassador usually get club access regardless of room level but not 100% of the time. It depends on the hotel or if the lounge is even open. The main reason it’s not worth it to most IHG people is that it’s not like it’s level over Spire. It isn’t usually recognized at the local HIX much like the Spire status doesn’t mean much at IC’s. The benefits vary widely by property. I’d say the target audience is business travelers that stay in large cities with these properties on a regular basis. The free weekend night is also useless as they make you book it using that rate code and just about any rate is cheaper. So say you want to use it for a Saturday and Sunday night weekend stay. You might find that hotel at $175 a night but through the required booking channel and rate code the room is say $300 or more. So you get a free night but you paid $300 instead of $350 for the same nights so it’s not really that great.

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JohnB January 28, 2022 - 1:27 pm

You really have to use the “2 for” at very expensive Asian hotels. Japan and Hong Kong we have received value, but in the USA, definitely not.

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Billy Bob January 27, 2022 - 5:48 pm

Elevated recognition

Billy Bob: “Hi. I have a reservation for tonight under the name Billy Bob.”
Employee: “Welcome to the Intercontinental Billy Bob! Follow me please.”
Billy Bob: “Why? Where are we going?”
Employee: “Up these stairs. Your check-in desk is up on that landing.”

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Nate January 27, 2022 - 6:04 pm

I appreciate the AMB certificate because of the BOGO free night which can often be used on suites

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Miamiorbust January 27, 2022 - 10:34 pm

I’ve found the 4:00 checkout is consistently recognized which, for me, makes the program worth it even if I only make a couple weekend stays annually. For most people, it will depend on how you use the weekend certificate. The most value is captured in booking an upper tier club room, which truly is a good deal if you otherwise would choose that experience and might be prepared to pay for it. If you are generally happy with a standard room and breakfast at a local coffee shop, paying for club access on even one night is not really satisfying. Would echo prior comment. You’re not getting lowest available rate on the one paid night so it is not a true bogo. Most properties provide a F&B credit of some amount on all stays including award nights. If you’re inclined to enjoy a drink at bar anyway it is essentially found money that quickly covers membership costs. I’ve consistently found value in booking weekend trips around holidays when I wanted assurance of a nice experience at a hotel that would likely be fully booked and unlikely to provide a meaningful upgrade from a standard room.

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DFWSteve January 27, 2022 - 11:56 pm

I’ve tried to use the free weekend night in London and at a couple of other properties. It is never available when trying to book online. Perhaps if I call the property directly, but who knows. Anymore I just ignore hotel programs and book wherever is convenient, making good use of independent and boutique hotels often.

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PETERP May 10, 2022 - 5:46 am

I don’t know if this is a new development or it was always like this but IC hotels have become very stingy with both upgrades and week-end free nights for Ambassador members: recently I tried to book a room at the London Park Lane IC and it became a mess: they basically invented a room type that was not bookable just to avoid giving me an upgrade to a suite so I cancelled the booking and went to the Sheraton Grand Park Lane further down the road (wonderful Grand Park View Suite there). I also have a free week-end night voucher but have not been able to use it for nearly a year now as I always get “Rooms are not available for Ambassador Complimentary Weekend Night” whatever the month. I will not be spending another $200 to continue that “status”. They are really working hard to lose customers at IHG…

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