HomeHotel LoyaltyInterContinental AmbassadorWhat is the InterContinental Ambassador program and is it worth it? (2024...

What is the InterContinental Ambassador program and is it worth it? (2024 edition)

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IHG One Rewards is the primary loyalty program associated with all of IHG’s brands, but the InterContinental brand has its own rewards program too. This is called InterContinental Ambassador and in this article, we take a look at what benefits this program offers and what value those benefits can provide.

In summary

InterContinental Ambassador is unlike most other hotel loyalty/rewards programs that we discuss on Traveling for Miles (including IHG One Rewards) because it’s not a program in which you earn elite status.

InterContinental Ambassador a program in which you pay to access select benefits that are, primarily, focused on IHG’s InterContinental properties.

The cost

The cost of the InterContinental Ambassador program can be covered by using cash or IHG One Rewards points and as things stand, 12 months of Ambassador membership costs $200 or 40,000 points (the membership year starts from the day that you pay for the program).

InterContinental Ambassador benefits

As per the InterContinental Ambassador page, this is what the program currently offers its members when they stay at InterContinental properties:

  • Guaranteed one category room upgrade
  • Guaranteed extended 4pm check-out
  • Complimentary weekend night*
  • Platinum Elite status in IHG One Rewards
  • Restaurants & bars credit of up to USD20 for every stay*
  • Complimentary mineral water
  • Complimentary internet
  • Dedicated check-in area
  • Single room rate for double occupancy
  • Mainland China Only: Complimentary breakfast for one each night you stay

*These benefits are covered in more detail further on in this article.

InterContinental Ambassador members currently also get a few extra benefits when they stay at Six Senses Hotels & Resorts.

  • Complimentary breakfast for two in the main restaurant per day (this benefit is not applicable at Six Senses Residences).
  • A signature amenity of either a complimentary 50-minute Six Senses Spa massage for two or a local experience once per stay. The signature amenity varies by resort, is subject to availability, and is confirmed on arrival.
  • A complimentary one-category room upgrade (subject to availability, excluding residences and 2-bedroom or greater suites/villas)
  • Extended checkout of 4 pm subject to availability.
  • Early check-in subject to availability.
  • Complimentary Internet access.
  • Wellness platter welcome amenity on the day of arrival, subject to availability.

Be aware that all Ambassador benefits are only applicable to the room occupied by the member and are not applicable to other rooms that the member may have also booked for the same stay.

Thoughts on the benefits

The key thing to know about Ambassador benefits is that members are guaranteed to get them on paid stays (generally speaking) but not on Reward Night bookings (although quite a few InterContinental properties now seem to honor the benefits on award stays).

Several of the benefits of the Ambassador program are quite pedestrian (e.g. complimentary internet, complimentary mineral water, and dedicated check-in area), but there are also a few benefits that can be quite valuable.

IHG One Rewards Platinum Elite status isn’t really a big deal because it doesn’t offer any guaranteed major benefits (see the benefits here), but the 60% bonus points that the status offers can be useful, and Platinum elites (and higher) now also get access to IHG Reward Night sales (like this one) which can be good value.

Also, having some kind of elite status in a hotel program is always better than not having status at all, so the Ambassador Platinum benefit is definitely a worthwhile benefit to have.

Note: If you have access to the US credit card market you can enjoy IHG One Platinum status and access to IHG Reward Night sales just by holding the annual_fees/year card_name which currently comes with a nice welcome bonus.

The guaranteed room upgrade benefit is a good benefit to have because the upgrades offered to IHG One Rewards Platinum and Diamond elites are only available “subject to availability”.

A guaranteed upgrade can be particularly useful if there’s a specific room category that you need, but that you don’t want to pay for – you can book a room one category below the one you need (which should be cheaper) while knowing that you’ll be upgraded.

The guaranteed 4pm checkout can also be a nice benefit to have and it can come in especially useful when you have an evening flight.

Not having to check out until mid- or late-afternoon can make the last day of a vacation feel much more like a proper vacation day and less like a day wasted hanging around waiting to go home.

The restaurant/bar credit can be a good money saver, and if a member makes enough stays at InterContinental properties in a year, it can help them claw back a considerable percentage (possibly all) of the Ambassador membership fee.

Unfortunately, however, this is a benefit that’s a little less straightforward than it may appear to be, as it’s not a simple $20 (USD) credit worldwide.

The credit has different values in different parts of the world:

  • $20 in the United States
  • €15 in countries where the Euro is used
  • £15 in the United Kingdom
  • THN600 in Thailand
  • AU$25 in Australia
  • ¥2000 in Japan
  • SAR70 in Saudi Arabia
  • MRY50 in Malaysia
  • IDR180,000 in Indonesia
  • VND280,000 in Vietnam (excluding Danang where it is VND460,000)
  • HK$135 in Hong Kong
  • KRW20,000 in Korea

In all other countries, a credit of $20 (USD) will be converted to the local currency at the local hotel exchange rate of the day, except in mainland China where this benefit is not offered.

One of the more popular benefits that the Ambassador program offers is the complimentary weekend night certificate (which members first get in their welcome pack and then again every year that they renew their membership), but as is the case with the restaurant/bar credit, this benefit isn’t quite as straightforward as its name may suggest.

The complimentary weekend night certificate is only valid for the second night of a two-night stay (at InterContinental properties), and is only when the first night has been paid for using the Ambassador Complimentary Weekend Night rate (which is almost always more expensive than the cheapest rate that’s being offered).

The benefit can be used ‘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’ so, effectively, a newly minted InterContinental Ambassador member has a year in which to use their complimentary weekend night certificate.

There’s no doubt that there’s quite a bit of value to be had out of this benefit, but it’s a little less valuable than, for example, one of Hilton’s free night certificates thanks to the restrictions attached to it.

The benefits currently being offered at Six Senses properties can also be quite valuable and could be reason enough for someone to pay for Ambassador membership if they’re planning a visit to a participating Six Senses property – the complimentary breakfast for 2 would, on its own, probably cover the cost of a year’s membership to the Ambassador program.

Is it worth it?

Overall, the are clearly some good benefits associated with the InterContinental Ambassador program, and for anyone visiting InterContinental properties more than once or twice a year, the program should easily pay for itself.

For travelers only planning a couple of InterContinental stays, the program can still be good value thanks to the fact that the free night certificate can often (but not always) save a member more than the cost of the yearly membership, but anyone in this position should do their due diligence before parting with their $200 (or 40,000 points) and make sure that the certificate is offering a genuine saving.

Don’t forget that if you have an IHG One Rewards free night certificate from the card_name (review) or the card_name, you can use it alongside the Ambassador’s weekend night certificate to book a longer (3-night) stay for no extra cash outlay (although unless you’re lucky enough to find an InterContinental property costing no more than 40,000 points per night, you’ll probably have to top up your credit card’s free night certificate with a few IHG points from your account).

Bottom line

The InterContinental Ambassador program is a paid program that offers its members select benefits at InterContinental hotels and at Six Senses Hotels and Resorts.

For those who visit InterContinental properties with any kind of frequency, membership in the Ambassador program will probably make quite a bit of sense as it’s not difficult to claw back the cost of membership through the value offered by the program’s benefits.

For less frequent visitors to InterContinental properties, the Ambassador program is less likely to be of great value, but membership may still be worth considering if the free night certificate and the guaranteed upgrade benefit can be put to good use.

What do you think of the InterContinental Ambassador program?

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  1. For me, the Ambassador program has really increased in value with the change in IHG rewards program that effectively allows me to stack benefits. Think there are many other business travelers in similar boat. I’m diamond with IHG based mostly on business stays in unremarkable holiday inn or similar properties near my client sites. My IC stays are limited and often leisure trips. Diamond now provides free breakfast which is valuable when staying at IC properties and other premium brands (it’s worthless at mid tier properties). Guaranteed one-class upgrade and late checkout on top of guaranteed breakfast is easily $75-150+ per night at IC by stacking benefits and collectively often make IC more compelling than alternative options. Even without weekend night the program pays for itself very quickly and returns more value to me than it did prior to introduction of diamond benefits. Without diamond breakfast benefit I’d make fewer stays at IC and get less milage out of Ambassador benefits.

    • Diamond + IC Ambassador sounds like a very good combination. Definitely agree that the the improvements to IHG Rewards have made a big difference to the value on offer.

  2. I found it valuable when i travel outside of the USA. I felt I got better recognition and upgrades. Also more IC hotels.

    • I agree. I’ve never had a particularly great stay at any IC in the US but it’s a different story in parts of Europe and SE Asia.

  3. Frankly i get the breakfast with Marriott and Hilton status. Secondly, I don’t need to pay $200 for the benefits I get with them like 4 pm checkout. Lastly
    I usually get suite upgrade at Marriott , and Hilton but very rarely at ihg. Suite upgrade is worth a lot to me . And status at Marriott and Hilton is a lot easier to get than at ihg. So despite the improvements at ihg I still consider it a second or third tier program.

    • I still don’t really value IHG One Rewards (even after the improvements) but if you have Diamond status and Ambassador status, that combo can work pretty well for you.

      As for Marriott, well, I’m a little tired of the US properties being underwhelming and I’m tired of Bonvoy as a whole. In SE Asia things are great at Marriott properties…but SE Asia is great no matter what program you have status with so that doesn’t really count.

      Domestically, Hyatt is still by far and away the best program for me and with more and more World of Hyatt options opening up in Europe (seemingly monthly), that’s still my #1 (despite my lifetime Bonvoy Titanium status).

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