- Advertisement -
TravelIHG's InterContinental Ambassador program - The Points Guy

IHG’s InterContinental Ambassador program – The Points Guy


Mid- to high-tier hotel elite status comes with many great perks, but it usually takes a lot of nights to achieve. The InterContinental Ambassador program is a bit different, though. This program lets you buy status in the IHG One Rewards program without meeting any stay requirements.

If you’re looking for perks at InterContinental hotels and participating Six Senses resorts, you may find value in the InterContinental Ambassador program. In this guide, I’ll describe the program and help you decide whether to join.

InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

What is the InterContinental Ambassador program?

As the name suggests, the InterContinental Ambassador program provides perks when staying at InterContinental hotels and resorts. You also receive benefits at Six Senses hotels and resorts participating in IHG One Rewards.

The InterContinental Ambassador program doesn’t provide Ambassador benefits when staying at other IHG brands. Instead, you’ll get IHG Platinum Elite status. If you’re purely interested in IHG elite status, you may be better off signing up for the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card or the IHG One Rewards Premier Business Credit Card; both cards come with automatic Platinum Elite status for as long as your account is open.

InterContinental Phuket Resort in Thailand. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

How do I become an InterContinental Ambassador?

To become an InterContinental Ambassador, you must pay an annual fee of $200 or 40,000 IHG points. TPG’s June 2024 valuations peg the value of 40,000 IHG points at around $200. However, I usually get more value when redeeming IHG points and recommend paying cash instead of points for your membership. When I used my IHG One Rewards Premier Business Credit Card for the purchase, the membership fee coded as “Office & shipping.”

You can join the program online, at any InterContinental property or by calling the IHG Ambassador Service Centre. Within 48 hours of paying for InterContinental Ambassador, your account will be updated and you’ll get access to Ambassador benefits for 12 months. In practice, my account was updated with my new status as soon as I logged out of my IHG account and signed back in. As such, it may make sense to enroll in an Ambassador membership shortly before a stay.

IHG occasionally offers promotions for the InterContinental Ambassador program, so it’s worth watching for new member and renewal offers. For example, if you have an Ambassador membership about to lapse, you may get an offer for 15,000 bonus points if you pay $200 to renew.

Related: InterContinental brand evolution part of IHG’s broader luxury liftoff

InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort in Vietnam. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

InterContinental Ambassador benefits

InterContinental Ambassador members get the following benefits when staying at InterContinental hotels and resorts:

Daily Newsletter

Reward your inbox with the TPG Daily newsletter

Join over 700,000 readers for breaking news, in-depth guides and exclusive deals from TPG’s experts

  • Guaranteed one-category room upgrade. However, you aren’t entitled to an additional upgrade if you apply a confirmable suite upgrade Milestone Reward to your stay. You aren’t guaranteed an upgrade on reward nights and free nights, and this benefit excludes lounge access and some suite types.
  • Guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout.
  • One complimentary weekend night on the second night of a paid stay when booking the Ambassador Complimentary Weekend Night rate at InterContinental hotels and resorts. You must book online, and the Ambassador member must stay in the room. Most hotels define the weekend as Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, but hotels in the Middle East may define the weekend as Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
  • Upgrade to IHG One Rewards Platinum Elite status.
  • A $20 credit per stay for use in select hotel restaurants, bars and minibars. In markets that don’t use dollars, you’ll receive either a predetermined amount or a credit based on the day’s exchange rate (depending on the property’s location). This benefit isn’t offered in mainland China, where the member gets a full breakfast daily in the main restaurant.
  • Daily mineral water.
  • Highest internet access in guest rooms (when available for purchase).
  • No extra charge for a second guest.

Ambassador benefits at InterContinental Alliance Resorts

At InterContinental Alliance Resorts, Ambassador members only get access to the following benefits:

  • Complimentary water upon arrival (not replenished daily)
  • One category room upgrade, subject to availability

Ambassador benefits at Six Senses

At Six Senses properties that participate in IHG One Rewards, InterContinental Ambassador members get the following perks:

  • Complimentary breakfast for two each morning in the main restaurant
  • A signature amenity once per stay consisting of a complimentary 50-minute Six Senses Spa massage for two or a local experience (excluding corporate or negotiated rates)
  • Complimentary one-category room upgrade, subject to availability (excluding residences and two-bedroom or larger suites and villas)
  • 4 p.m. late checkout, subject to availability
  • Early check-in, subject to availability
  • Complimentary internet access
  • Wellness platter on your arrival day

These perks — especially the choice of a 50-minute Six Senses Spa massage for two as a signature amenity — are extremely valuable. They may help you justify buying an Ambassador membership even if you only have one Six Senses stay during your membership year.

You’ll only get these perks at participating Six Senses properties when you book directly with IHG, at the hotel or through an authorized travel agent (which excludes most online travel agents).

Six Senses Yao Noi in Thailand. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

When are you eligible for Ambassador benefits?

Although you usually need to book directly with IHG to receive elite benefits, this isn’t always true for Ambassador benefits. IHG only excludes select rates, such as those for airline crew and employees.

However, there are several notable exceptions:

  • InterContinental hotels and resorts in French Polynesia booked through third-party websites or tour operators don’t qualify for guaranteed upgrades or late checkout.
  • To get InterContinential Ambassador perks at participating Six Senses properties, you must book directly with IHG, the hotel or an authorized travel agent.
  • You won’t get Ambassador benefits at IHG Residence properties.

Related: What to do when a hotel doesn’t want to honor your elite benefits

InterContinental Hayman Island Resort in Australia. ERIC ROSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Benefits guarantee

InterContinental Ambassador members are guaranteed select benefits. You may be eligible for compensation as follows if a hotel is unable to fulfill select perks:

  • Room upgrade: A restaurant, bar or spa credit of $50 or 10,000 IHG points once per stay (but no compensation on reward nights or free nights)
  • 4 p.m. late checkout: A restaurant, bar or spa credit of $50 or 10,000 IHG points once per stay

However, IHG doesn’t guarantee the InterContinental Ambassador benefits during select periods. These periods include:

  • New Year’s Eve
  • Lunar New Year in Greater China
  • Ramadan and Hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Finally, the benefits guarantee does not apply to bookings through a third-party website, tour operator, wholesaler or as part of a group block or reservation.

Related: The 19 best IHG hotels in the world

InterContinental Rome Ambasciatori Palace in Italy. CAMERON SPERANCE/THE POINTS GUY

Membership extension

The InterContinental Ambassador program offers two types of membership extensions. Members can use each extension type no more than once per lifetime, and you can’t use both extensions during the same membership year.

You can ask for a two-month extension if you:

  • Have an active membership
  • Have not used a two-month extension in the past

You can ask for a six-month extension if you’ve:

  • Maintained an active membership for more than a year
  • Have not previously used a six-month extension

However, these once-in-a-lifetime extensions won’t apply to your complimentary weekend night certificates.

Related: What credit card should you use for IHG stays?

InterContinental Paris — Le Grand in France. ERIC ROSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Is InterContinental Ambassador worth it?

Whether the InterContinental Ambassador program is worth it depends on your travel habits.

Enrolling may be worthwhile if you think you’ll use the Ambassador weekend night benefit. However, you do have to book using a specific rate, which usually isn’t the least expensive. You can check rates here before becoming an Ambassador member.

You’ll also likely get enough value to make enrolling in InterContinental Ambassador worth it if you have an upcoming stay at a participating Six Senses property. Additionally, membership could make sense if you frequently stay at InterContinental hotels.

Guaranteed perks like 4 p.m. late checkout and a one-category room upgrade can be helpful but are challenging to value. That said, the restaurants and bars credit for InterContinental stays outside mainland China provides a set value during each stay, making it easier to determine how much value you’ll get from this perk.

InterContinental Ambassador membership also provides Platinum Elite status. While you already have this status if you have the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card or the IHG One Rewards Premier Business Credit Card, if you cannot get one of these cards, receiving Platinum Elite status through InterContinental Ambassador membership could be a deciding factor.

Related: Why you should get (and keep) the IHG One Rewards Premier card

Club InterContinental lounge at the InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort in Australia. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

What is InterContinental Royal Ambassador?

Royal Ambassador is an invite-only status offered by IHG to select Ambassador members. IHG selects members based on their qualifying activity at InterContinental hotels and resorts, though the specific qualification criteria aren’t shared publicly.

Royal Ambassador members get the following benefits when staying at InterContinental hotels and resorts:

  • Guaranteed two-category room upgrade. However, you will receive a one-category upgrade if you book a suite (and this benefit excludes some suite types). Plus, this benefit is not guaranteed and is subject to availability on free and reward nights. Finally, you aren’t entitled to an additional upgrade if you apply a confirmable suite upgrade Milestone Reward to your stay.
  • Lounge access at hotels with a dedicated Club InterContinental lounge for the member and a guest staying in the member’s room. If the hotel does not operate a dedicated Club InterContinental lounge, the member and one guest will get a full breakfast in the main restaurant each day. (However, choosing breakfast as a Diamond Elite welcome amenity will not get you more than two breakfasts per day.) This benefit is not guaranteed at hotels without a dedicated lounge.
  • Guaranteed early check-in of 10 a.m.
  • Guaranteed late checkout of 4 p.m.
  • One complimentary weekend night on the second night of a paid stay when booking the Ambassador Complimentary Weekend Night rate at an InterContinental hotel or resort.
  • In-room welcome amenity fruit or snack on your day of arrival.
  • Daily mineral water.
  • Highest internet access in guest rooms (when available for purchase).
  • Waived amenity or destination fees (excluding taxes and resort fees).
  • No extra charge for a second guest.
  • Guaranteed room availability with 24-hour notice.

Royal Ambassador members also get Kimpton Inner Circle status, 25 IHG food and beverage rewards (each worth up to $20) and one free night at an IHG hotel (excluding IHG Army Hotels and Six Senses properties) bookable for 70,000 IHG points or less.

Related: How to get your fourth reward night free when redeeming IHG points

Bottom line

InterContinental Ambassador status is a must-have for some travelers. Suppose you can get good value from the complimentary weekend night benefit or benefits during a stay at a participating Six Senses hotel or resort. In that case, it may be worth enrolling, even if you don’t frequently stay at InterContinental hotels and resorts.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Subscribe Today

GET EXCLUSIVE FULL ACCESS TO PREMIUM CONTENT

SUPPORT NONPROFIT JOURNALISM

EXPERT ANALYSIS OF AND EMERGING TRENDS IN CHILD WELFARE AND JUVENILE JUSTICE

TOPICAL VIDEO WEBINARS

Get unlimited access to our EXCLUSIVE Content and our archive of subscriber stories.

Exclusive content

Latest article

More article

- Advertisement -