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There aren’t many things that you can point to that got better as a result of the Covid pandemic but the rules surrounding some of the benefits offered by the InterContinental Ambassador program can be counted among them. Now, because the world is almost back to how it was in 2019 (albeit, sadly, without the low interest rates!), IHG is rolling back those positive changes.
The positive moves
In mid-2020, IHG made two positive changes to the InterContinental Ambassador program and both had a key impact on one of the program’s most valuable benefits – the complimentary free weekend night.
Before Covid took down most of the world, the IC Ambassador program’s free night certificate could only be used at InterContinental properties (worldwide) and as its name gives away, on weekends.
Around the middle of July 2020, IHG decided that with most of the world unable to travel, it was safe to expand the usage of the free night certificate to its Kimpton properties and in a rare moment of generosity, it also announced that when using a free night certificate at a Kimpton, InterContinental Ambassadors could use it on any day of the week.
No more than a couple of weeks later, IHG surprised us all (for the second time in a month!) when it improved the InterContinental Ambassador benefits once again.
This time it announced that for a limited time, all Ambassador benefits (including the free weekend night certificates) could be enjoyed at its Regent Hotels & Resorts as well as at Kimpton and InterContinental properties around the world.
The statement from IHG read as follows:
InterContinental Ambassador is pleased to announce that from 30th July 2020, Ambassador will be extended to Regent Hotels & Resorts on a trial basis until 31 December 2021, excluding Greater China. The Ambassador Complimentary Weekend Night was recently extended to Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and as of 30 July 2020 will be further expanded to include Regent Hotels & Resorts valid any day, excluding Greater China. IHG® Rewards Club and InterContinental Ambassador information pages are currently being updated to reflect these changes along with member communication.
July 2020 was a good month for the InterContinental Ambassador program.
Because the pandemic and the resulting fallout lasted longer than IHG (and most people) expected, the Regent Hotels clause wasn’t withdrawn at the end of 2021 as originally planned but now that we’re approaching the end of 2022, the gloves are off and IHG is rolling back the clock on that and more.
As of 1 January 2023, InterContinental Ambassador benefits will no longer be offered at Regent Hotels & Resorts and the free weekend night certificate will no longer be useable at Kimpton properties worldwide.
If you head over to the terms and conditions of the IC Ambassador program, this is what it says about the “Complimentary Weekend Night”:
Valid at participating Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and Regent Hotels & Resorts for stays until December 31, 2022. Not applicable at Regent Hotels & Resorts within Greater China.
And this is what it says under the “Regent Hotels & Resorts” paragraph:
InterContinental Ambassador and Royal Ambassador benefits applicable at participating Regent Hotels & Resorts for stays throughout 31 December 2022.
I have no idea when this wording first appeared in the terms and conditions (it may have been there for a while) but as we’re rapidly approaching the end of the year and as IHG is currently tempting travelers to pay to join the InterContinental Ambassador program with a bonus offer (more on this in a moment), this seems like an appropriate time to remind readers that the program is about to become considerably less rewarding than it has been for the past 18 months.
If you’re considering joining the InterContinental Ambassador program or thinking of renewing your membership, keep in mind that the benefits it offers will soon only be available at InterContinental properties (again).
Current renewal & sign-up offers
Unlike most loyalty programs, the InterContinental Ambassador program is a program that you pay to join (you’ll find all the various benefits that it offers on this page) and it costs $200 or 40,000 IHG One Rewards points.
As things stand, IHG is offering new joiners and those renewing their Ambassador membership the chance to earn a bonus of 20,000 to hep offset the cost of the program.
The renewal offer
Per IHG: If a member renews their InterContinental Ambassador membership by paying 200USD, they will receive 15,000 IHG One Rewards points upon renewal. An additional 20,000 bonus points will be deposited into their account after they stay two qualifying nights, between their renewal date and January 31, 2023, at participating InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, or Regent Hotels & Resorts.
The sign-up offer
Per IHG: To participate in the “Join Ambassador, stay two nights, earn 20k bonus points” offer, an individual must first enrol in the InterContinental Ambassador programme during the period of September 2, 2022 through December 31, 2022 and then complete two qualifying nights at participating InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, or Regent Hotels & Resorts by 31 January 2023 to be awarded 20,000 IHG One Rewards bonus points.
This offer is not applicable for Royal Ambassador members and is not valid for InterContinental® Ambassador membership enrolments or renewals obtained on a complimentary basis or using the IHG Employee discount.
The full terms for both of these offers can be found in the terms and conditions of the Ambassador program (clause 45).
It was good while it lasted but from the beginning of next year, the InterContinental Ambassador program’s terms and conditions will be reverting to the terms used pre-July 2020. From 1 January 2023, the Ambassador free weekend night certificate will no longer be useable at Kimpton or Regent properties and the remaining benefits of the Ambassador program will no longer be offered at Regent Hotels and Resorts.
[HT: Head for Points]