InterContinental trialling ‘Club InterContinental Experience’ at non-lounge hotels

InterContinental, the luxury brand inside the IHG Rewards Club portfolio of hotels, has been trialling a new product since January called the ‘Club InterContinental Experience’.

This is aimed at hotels without a private club lounge and is an attempt to offer some of the same benefits despite not having a dedicated space.

You can find full details on the InterContinental website here.

The package is currently being used in Amsterdam, Porto and Marseille.  I am booked into the Amstel in Amsterdam in June and will hopefully be able to try it, as it seems decent value for money in the right circumstances.

Royal Ambassador members of IHG Rewards Club – which now seems to require an unpublicised $10,000 to $12,000 of annual spend at InterContinental-branded hotels to achieve – will be given the ‘Club InterContinental’ package for free on paid stays and at a discount on reward stays.

Ambassador members (see this article for an explanation of the $200 InterContinental Ambassador loyalty programme) pay a discounted rate.

InterContinental Amstel

What do I get for my money?

The benefits below are what is offered in Amsterdam, although they are virtually identical in Porto and Marseille.  You would receive:

Priority check-in and a welcome drink

Full restaurant breakfast

Afternoon tea, either in the Amstel Lounge or served in your room, between 3pm and 5pm

Aperitifs (wines, beers, spirits) plus canapes between 6p and 8pm in the A Bar

Hot drinks available throughout the day in the Amstel Lounge

Premium bathroom amenities

Pressing of two items of clothing

Free local telephone calls

Free wi-fi (which IHG Rewards Club members receive anyway)

Priority check-out and 4pm late check-out if available (Ambassador members would get this guaranteed anyway)

The price seems surprisingly reasonable – given that the Amstel is a very expensive and very luxurious hotel, more upmarket than many InterContinental hotels – at €84 per room on Fridays and Saturdays and €76 on other days.  These are the prices for Ambassador members.  The price for non-members appears to be €105 / €95.

The hotel is probably assuming that most guests will be out during the afternoon, so won’t take the afternoon tea option, and may not even be back in time to take advantage of two hours of drinking in the evening!

If you book in advance you can only book this package as a Best Flexible Rate plus the surcharge.  If you don’t need a refundable rate it makes more sense to book Advanced Purchase and make an upsell when you are there.

I’m not sure that this package offers much for the business traveller, since the key thing they want – a quiet area to sit and work in the evening outside their room – is not available.  For the leisure traveller, however, it does seem attractive.  In my case, it would also be revenue generating since I normally skip breakfast on Amstel reward nights – due to the crazy cost (€40+ IIRC) – and head to the bakers round the corner!

Full details of the Club InterContinental Experience are here on ihg.com.

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Comments

  1. Richard says:

    Sorry Rob, which hotel is available for 84 euros per night? It doesn’t seem to be the Intercontinental in Amsterdam as that is coming up as 500 euros +

    Cheers, Richard

    • Nick Burch says:

      It’s an extra €84/night for Ambasador members on a weekend, for the virtual club, on top of the normal flex room rate!

    • Peter K says:

      This package is extra on top of your room rate! The room cost is separate but this is meant to replace their being no lounge, as the article explains well :-) you can upgrade to this package.

  2. Peter K says:

    Seems to me a good way to increase revenue for for a hotel that doesn’t have a lounge to entice people to pay for.

    Travellers on holiday are often more price savvy than those traveling on business/expenses so may well not bother with breakfast/drinks etc at the hotel and this does seem more aimed at holidayers like you said.

    • Agreed. I will probably try it when I am there, I will mainly be in the hotel working so I can get the lot, and frankly across breakfast, afternoon tea and canapes that is basically all my food for the day provided!

  3. The Athens Intercontinental offered us lounge access last weekend for 60 EUR per day per room (ie for 2 of us). The lounge has an excellent view of the Acropolis, and the snacks looked very nice but as tourists, we wanted to be out and about in Athens – and that is the key question with these offers – how much time do you really want to spend inside the hotel compound?

  4. If you’re not going to be back for the afternoon tea or evening snacks/drinks then there isn’t much point is there? You might as well just pay for the breakfast rate.

    This is why I wouldn’t be too bothered about lounge access on a weekend break, would rather be out exploring the city and enjoying local restaurants. Unless you’ve been many times before but then why not go to a new city?

    • Lots of people do like to go back to well known places precisely because they are well known and the “tourist pressure” is off – that’s exactly why I went to Berlin over New Year, and made use of the Hilton lounge!

  5. Genghis says:

    Interesting. Is this available on reward stays? Could be worth it when we stay in IC Amstel in Sep.

  6. RussellH says:

    We thought that the IC in Porto was excellent. Perfect location in the very centre and only a couple of hundred metres from two metro stations.

    We used a two-nights free voucher from an earlier IHG Accelerate offer a couple of years ago. Plenty of decent cafes for breakfast, the restaurant menu looked great, though in the end we did not give it a try. Planning to go back sometime…

  7. My Ambassador membership ends end of May. I am offered the ‘renew now’ option on my account. If I renew early to ensure I have plenty of time to receive my free night voucher for a summer booking, will next year’s renewal date still be May or will it be 12 months from now? Thanks in advance.

    • 12 months from May

      • Thanks for the quick reply

      • Genghis says:

        My AMB expires 31 Aug but don’t really foresee any IC stays for personal usage and for cash until Sep 18 in order to use the voucher. Have IHG been flexible to anyone in use of their AMB voucher?

  8. Andrew_A says:

    I was wondering something similar. If I don’t renew AMB just now and let it run out, will I need to pay the full price again to renew it in a few months time or still get the reduced rate?

    • My understanding is you have to start from scratch again – hence my renewing next week! Have people actually received their packs in the last 12 months? – I never actually saw mine.

      • Genghis says:

        I got mine but 3 months after joining.

      • Johnny_c-l says:

        I joined Amb earlier this year and the pack arrived in about 6 weeks.

      • barry Cutters says:

        Had a nightmare with mine.. They kept sending me an upgrade from platinum ambassador to spire ambassador pack. -Even tho i have always been spire and never been platinum since the new IHG even came out.

        Applied in december with 32k points.
        Received first ”upgrade pack” in jan – complained as no weekend night or 5000points
        given 5000points comp in jan and new pack sent out
        same pack received
        complained again and they said would send again
        eventually emailed the head of ambassador program and they got in contact to say they had refunded all 32000 points , i could keep the 5000, and they also adding the 5000 point voucher and mailing the certificate to my address dhl.

        So i actually got free ambassador status inc all perks , plus 5000 points on top for free,

        reasonably happy- although don’t understand how the company can still have so many issues sending out a simple welcome pack.

  9. Optimus Prime says:

    OT

    First off – great blog, amazing stuff published here. Wish I had found out about it 8 years ago when I was eligible for my first CC since I moved to the UK!

    My long spending card is the BAPP and I was wondering what I should use as non-Amex alternative for places that don’t accept Amex. I was thinking of the American Airlines MBNA card. Its miles can be redeemed on Etihad flights, can’t they?

    The fee-free Tesco ClubCard puts me off due to its poor ratio and rounding ‘issue’.

    Thanks!

  10. Paul Jones says:

    I just went to see if the rate was any different for a weekend escape rate with breakfast and a club life rate. Only a mere £220 extra for afternoon tea and a few drinks what a bargain!!!