How I Book 3 Nights For Less Than The Price Of 2 At A Top InterContinental Property Every Year

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The recent IHG Rewards Flash Sale had me wondering, briefly, if I needed any more points in the bank for travel that I have planned…and then I remembered why I hadn’t considered any of the other IHG Rewards points sales this year despite there having been a few good offers.

Joanna and I don’t have particularly large IHG Rewards balances (mainly because our recent Accelerate promotions have been terrible) but we have enough points between us for a good-length stay at a very nice InterContinental hotel wherever in the world we wish to go…but we won’t be using points on our next IHG stay.

I have two things that make my InterContinental stays cheaper and better and anyone serious about staying at IHG’s top properties should probably have both.

The IHG Rewards Credit Card

a close-up of a credit card

Out of all the credit cards out there I can’t think of a single one that offers as much value as this one does.

The sign-up bonus right now is at 80,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months but, as great as that is, that’s not what makes this card such good value. The good value comes as a result of the following:

  • The annual fee on the card is just $49
  • Every year you pay the annual fee IHG will give you one free night to use at any IHG property in the world.

On the basis that even most Holiday Inn Express properties stuck in the middle of nowhere cost more than $49 this is a fantastic deal…..and it’s why I hold on to this card.

a building with many windowsThe InterContinental Paris Le Grand – image IHG

InterContinental Ambassador Program

I’ve written about the details of the InterContinental Ambassador program before so I’m not going to go into great detail again, but I will list a few important points.

  • The InterContinental Ambassador program is a status you buy from IHG for $200 and can renew for $150 per year.
  • You can also use points to buy Ambassador status – 32,000 for first time joiners and 24,000 for renewals
  • It offers guests a series of benefits when they stay at InterContinental properties around the world including room upgrades and late check-outs.
  • Every year that you renew Ambassador status your IHG Rewards account is credited with 5,000 points.

But there is one major benefit that can really make the difference if you’re wondering if InterContinental Ambassador status is worth it.

When you join the program (and every year you renew your membership) you get sent a certificate for a “complimentary weekend night” at any InterContinental property in the world.

InterContinental Ambassador

The night isn’t as free as it may sound as it comes with a couple of small catches:

  • The certificate is only valid for a second weekend night and the first weekend night has to be a “paid stay” (i.e. cannot be an award night)
  • For the paid night you can’t book the cheapest rate, you have to book the “best flexible rate” which is usually a bit more expensive.

Still, those aren’t enormous obstacles to overcome and, if you plan carefully, your paid night doesn’t have to cost a lot.

Combining The Two

For our next IHG stay (which will be at the InterContinental Paris Le Grand) Joanna and I will be using the free night from the IHG Rewards Credit Card and the complimentary night from my Ambassador status to pay for two of the three nights we will be staying.

This is how the math will work out:

  • Cost of the paid night – $405
  • Cost of the credit card – $49
  • Cost of Ambassador status – $150

Total cost for three nights is $604

The cheapest cash cost for the same three nights is €907.42 or $1,069

a screenshot of a credit card

That’s a very real saving of $465 which, in this case, is even better than a 3-for-2 deal.

Bottom Line

All the math above assumes that I get absolutely no benefit from the Ambassador status other than the complimentary weekend night so, if you factor in how much I value the room upgrades and the late check-outs I get on other stays during the year, there’s an argument that says my savings are even greater.

For Joanna and I the combination of the IHG Rewards card and the InterContinental Ambassador status probably gives us the most value out all the rewards/benefits we get from our hotel rewards programs….although lounge and breakfast benefits at Marriott properties comes a close second.

Because we enjoy taking 3-night breaks to various cities around the world and, because InterContinental properties are reasonably easy to find, the IHG credit card/Ambassador certificate combination is a very real money saver.


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