How I maximised the value of an IHG reward night, including free lounge access

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I have just finished three nights at InterContinental Le Grand in Paris, a hotel which I rate highly for its frankly epic public areas – including the most astounding ballroom you will ever visit – and great location.

I successfully pulled off one of the best tricks you can do to maximise the value of a reward night – stacking it behind a paid night and assuming that the hotel will continue to honour your existing room and benefits.

In actual fact, this is what I did:

Friday night – paid for a Club InterContinental room

Saturday night – used my InterContinental Ambassador free weekend night certificate

Sunday night – redeemed my IHG Premium Visa free night voucher for a standard room

I spent my 4th night, in case anyone is wondering, at a non-descript place near Gare du Nord.  With a 4pm check-out from the InterContinental and an early train, it wasn’t worth splashing out.

The InterContinental did not blink an eyelid about letting me keep my Club level room.  More importantly, they didn’t blink an eyelid about me continuing to use the Club lounge on my reward night.  They could have done, because Le Grand sells lounge access as an add-on for €120 per room per night for Ambassador members (€140 for non-members).

InterContinental Paris Le Grand

The club lounge is a big deal here.  The staff are excellent, especially Gilles.  There is food available pretty much all day, as well as free flow champagne at breakfast and in the evenings.  The food is of high quality, although does not vary much so got a little repetitive by my third night.  Because the hotel is so central, it is easy to pop back in during the day for a top up!

This technique is one solution to the problem of how to book ‘premium’ rooms for IHG points.  It is also a solution if you want to bring children with you but a standard room cannot sleep more than two people.  Book yourself a larger room for cash for the first night and then book redemption nights behind it.

It is not 100% foolproof.  I hear the odd story about people who are asked to change rooms.   In general, you WILL get away with it.  Of course if you book a suite for one night and then book a standard room on points for seven nights then you should expect trouble!  In my case, I had booked two cash nights – although the Ambassador voucher made one of them free – so extending the benefits for one reward night was not asking much.  I could almost certainly have added at least one more reward night without fear of being moved.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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  1. Can you use the Ambassador free night voucher at the Venetian/Palazzo in Las Vegas? (Wknd nights are typically twice the price of weekday nights)

    • Yes but to use the certificate you must book the other night at a specific rate which is usually much more expensive, somewhat negating the benefit.

    • barrycutters says:

      And the palazzo/venitian are so cheap anyway its not really a good use . I always stay at the palazzo, even the small rooms are massive!! Infact I normally pay about the same as what I’m paying in holiday inn express Lincoln tonight.

      • I wish that was the case – the dates we are going in Sep are average $270

        At the moment there is only one rate available – no advance payment ones so it might just work out better

  2. how much did the fri night cost ?

    • Raffles says:

      Standard Best Flex

      Which, of course, is now more £ than ‘Your Rate’ Best Flex ……

  3. Melvin says:

    I am currently finding no value to the visa reward night because as you say, I cannot book a room large enough for my whole family. Are you therefore saying that on the second night I can book a standard room for two peole and not diclose that I have children?

    • Jason says:

      Some hotels will change it to a room for 4 after booking, just email and ask if they refused it can be cancelled

    • Raffles says:

      Yes, would be fine usually. Use common sense though – if a hotel only has one room that sleeps 4, there is nothing to be done if someone books that for cash on your 2nd night.

      If a hotel has 300 rooms and 50 would take 4 people then you’re fine.

    • Jonty says:

      Used mine at the HI Maidstone/Sevenoaks for a room for up to six…it may not sound that glamorous but our 6 y.o said the patio was like being in Italy or Spain (full disclosure: He’s never been to Italy or Spain).

  4. Gavin says:

    Raffles, on the subject of the IHG Premium Visa free night voucher. I’m I correct in thinking that as long as I book a room before the voucher expires, I can use it past the voucher expiry date?

  5. LostAntipod says:

    IC Sydney are very strict on this topic. I have done the same booking as Raffles did in Paris several times. They generally will charge you $50/night to stay in your next-higher higher status room instead of moving to a standard room for that reward night, and, you don’t get club status for that night (having said that, I did not try to blag my way into their club room to test that idea). On the third time I did it, they waived the fee, on the basis that I was a “regular”. And similar to the IC Park Lane, they have a couple of layers of room category that are almost identical in reality, so their upgrade from a standard room is nothing to shout about

  6. Alan C says:

    I’m in Dubai for a week.No Wyndham status but Ramada JBR let us book a Club Room for the same 15,000 points as a Standard room. Upgraded to a huge 2 Bedroom Suite. Well impressed.
    Last 2 nights we were booked using the AMB certificate at IC Dubai Marina. Noticed the hotel is selling a 2 for 1 rate on the website at DHS 950 ++ for a Clubroom so going for that and keeping certificate.

  7. JoshBosh says:

    Do you get an upgrade with the AMB weekend cert? I’ve booked a club room under the AMB weekend rate for this friday and saturday, and currently its showing the room a booked. In Hong Kong and Tokyo on normal stays it showed an upgrade within a day or two of booking.

    • I had trouble with this at LeG because there is no club floor (well, obviously there are rooms on the floor where the club is, but they are not demarcated). A Club room is basically whatever decent normal room they can find with lounge access added to your profile.

      So … an Ambassador upgrade from a Club Room is not a junior suite, despite the room hierarchy shown online. It is a nicer bigger club room. I rejected the first two I was given, and it is very rare I reject two rooms (fairly common I reject one room!).

      As per the Instagram feed, I ended up with a south facing top floor room with a balcony and Eiffel Tower view. This is after I rejected a tiny twin room (didn’t need 2 beds and they filled literally all the space) and a standard King (very dark, internal view). I ended up getting the lounge staff to allocate my 3rd room as the reception staff didn’t care less.

  8. Martin says:

    When I stayed here for just two nights on a free-weekend-night certificate (Fri-Sun), what I did was to pay the Club upgrade at 10am on the Saturday morning, which meant I only paid for one night’s use.

    This gave us the opportunity to have a nice meal out in Paris on Friday evening as we had no lounge access then, but got full use of the lounge all day Saturday and all day Sunday, covering all our food/drink needs on those days.

    • Good thinking. It only really works if you are around in the evening, if not you might as well splurge the cash on the far bigger breakfast downstairs.

  9. George says:

    You are in my head. I was planning exactly the same redemption, at the same hotel, but with two IHG credit card free nights. Maybe it’s an overkill now…

  10. Andrew says:

    I assume you just mention upon checking in that you have two bookings and can you just stay in the same room throughout?

    • Yes. I also put it in the comments to the original bookings, including (on booking 2) listing the confirmation number for booking 1.

  11. shadowfixer says:

    Hi Raffles;
    Can you elaborate on *how* you managed to book the paid night and then the two reward nights on the same booking please?


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