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As IHG has been devaluing its points on a yearly basis and, more recently, has appeared to significantly devalue its PointBreaks deals as well, I’ve been spending a lot less time at IHG properties and, as a result, I gave up my InterContinental Ambassador status in May 2018….but now I think I may want it back.
What Is InterContinental Ambassador Status?
Although InterContinental hotels are part of the IHG group (Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza etc…) and therefore are part of the IHG Rewards loyalty program, they also have their own, separate, loyalty program called InterContinental Ambassador.
Although InterContinental Hotels are part of IHG Rewards they don’t actually have to recognise IHG Rewards status so, if you’re spending any significant amount of time at InterContinental properties, you shouldn’t be relying on IHG Rewards status to make your stays easier, nicer or cheaper….and that’s where the InterContinental Ambassador program comes in to play.
How To Get InterContinental Ambassador Status
The InterContinental Ambassador isn’t a status you achieve so much as a status that you buy – it costs $200/year.
InterContinental Ambassador Benefits
As of 1 March 2019 these are the benefits InterContinental Ambassador Members can expect to receive on paid stays:
- Guaranteed one category room upgrade, based on room type purchased, will be assigned. (Click here for more information)
- Guaranteed Late check-out time of 4pm on day of departure
- Complimentary mineral water daily
- Complimentary Weekend Night. (Click here for more information)
- Complimentary premium Internet access will be provided in guest room only at select hotels where available for purchase
- Single room rate for double occupancy
- Guaranteed room availability for member’s room with 72 hour advance reservation.
- A restaurants and bars credit of up to USD20, per stay, valid in select hotel restaurants, bars and minibar (excluding in room dining). Currency & credit varies by country and are subject to change
There are fewer benefits on offer for InterContinental Ambassadors staying on reward night bookings but some can be quite useful.
Of the InterContinental Ambassador benefits open to guests on paid stays the following also apply to reward night bookings.
- Restaurants & Bars credit
- Guaranteed 4pm late check out
- Complimentary premium internet access
- Complimentary mineral water daily
Why I May Buy InterContinental Ambassador Status Again
In the year leading up to May 2018 and in the 10 months since I gave up Ambassador status I’ve spent a total of 3 nights at InterContinental properties so I’m not entirely disappointed with my decision not to renew my status last year…but now I’m having a rethink.
In the coming weeks I’ll be spending 7 nights at InterContinental properties (across 2 stays) and I may need to book another 2-night stay for the end of April so, despite the fact that most of these nights will be reward bookings, I’m starting to think that the $200/year InterContinental Ambassador status may be worth having.
It’s all down to the math.
If, over the next 12 months, the only stays I have at InterContinental properties turn out to be the 2 stays that I currently have booked, the $20 F&B credit that I’ll receive on each stay will essentially lower the cost of Ambassador status to $160 and that $160 will essentially be buying me a late check-out on both my stays.
Considering both my stays are ending with late evening departures out of the local airport I consider $80 a reasonable amount to pay to extend each stay to 4pm (it’s not cheap but its acceptable).
If I end up booking the 3rd stay that I have in mind (there’s a 50/50 chance of that happening) the F&B credit will bring down the cost of buying Ambassador status to $140 and, as I’ll need a late check-out once again, the cost of the late check-outs will come down to $47 each.
I can live with that.
If I decide to buy InterContinental Ambassador status it’s highly unlikely that I won’t book any more InterContinental stays over the next 12 months (I’ll need to make sure I make the most of the ‘free’ weekend night certificate at some point) but, as I have no concrete plans to book any more stays right now, the prudent thing to do is to assume the worst and work out the math based on that.
The way I’m looking at things is that, in a worst case scenario, I’m essentially going to pay $160 for two late check-outs (which will make both stays more enjoyable and give me more time to explore the cities I’m in) and, with a bit of luck, I may get a few other perks as well (a room upgrade isn’t out of the question) – that’s not a great deal but it’s a deal I’m happy to take so I’ll probably buy back Ambassador status this week.
Have any of you guys received outsize value from InterContinental Ambassador status recently or in the past?