UPDATE – JANUARY 2022 This article is now out of date, but don’t worry. We produce a monthly summary of the top hotel bonus point offers – please click HERE or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ menu above.
IHG Rewards Club has launched an attractive promotion for anyone who stays at an InterContinental hotel this Autumn.
There is also an interesting bribe for joining the InterContinental Ambassador reward scheme, which might tip you over into joining.
you need to register here
you will receive 3,000 bonus IHG Rewards Club points on up to five InterContinental cash stays between 26th September and 30th November
if you sign up for InterContinental Ambassador ($200), you will receive 10,000 additional bonus IHG points
new InterContinental Ambassador members will also receive an additional 3,000 bonus points – so 6,000 bonus points in total – on up to five InterContinental cash stays between 26th September and 30th November
The total number of bonus points available is:
15,000 points (3,000 x 5) for all IHG Rewards Club members
an additional 10,000 points for joining Ambassador and then a further 15,000 points for completing five InterContinental stays
…. which means a maximum bonus of 40,000 IHG Rewards Club points
I value an IHG Rewards Club point at 0.4p so everyone is getting at least £12 of points per stay. If you joined Ambassador and completed five stays before 30th November, the 40,000 bonus points would be worth £160.
Note that if you an EXISTING Ambassador member, you will only receive 3,000 bonus points per InterContinental stay. The higher bonus of 6,000 points is only for new Ambassador members who join via the link on the promotional page.
And for total clarity …..
This promotion doubles up with the current Accelerate promotion.
You will also receive bonus points via Accelerate on top of the bonus points from this offer. Click here for my article on the latest Accelerate promotion, and click here to register and see your personal targets.
Is it worth joining Ambassador?
It is a no-brainer to register for this promotion, and pick up an extra 3,000 bonus points on up to five InterContinental stays during the promotional period.
Whether you should join the Ambassador programme as well, to earn the additional 10,000 bonus points and the additional 3,000 bonus points per stay, is a trickier question.
InterContinental, the luxury hotel brand inside IHG Rewards Club (which also covers Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and others) is a little odd when it comes to loyalty schemes:
As part of the Holiday Inn / Crowne Plaza group, it participates in IHG Rewards Club
InterContinental hotels do not officially recognise your IHG Rewards Club status. In reality, they often do, but it is not guaranteed.
InterContinental also has its own loyalty scheme – Ambassador – which costs $200 or 40,000 IHG Rewards Club points to join
Despite the $200 fee ($150 or $200 to renew depending on benefits), I consider Ambassador a good deal and was a member for a number of years. I let it lapse last year but this was purely due to a change in our travel patterns, as I found myself with over 1 million Marriott Bonvoy points to spend post the Marriott / SPG merger.
The key thing about Ambassador is that, once you are a member, the benefits are GUARANTEED on paid stays. They are NOT guaranteed on reward stays but most properties do let you have them. These benefits are:
A certificate for a free weekend night when you join and each year when you renew. In one swoop, you can save your entire membership fee with this benefit. To use the voucher, you need to book a 2-night weekend stay and pay the Ambassador Weekend Rate, usually equal to Best Flexible Rate. The rules say that only standard rooms can be booked. However, many hotels let you book club rooms or suites which is especially useful for families.
(As the Ambassador Weekend Rate is more expensive than a non-refundable Advance Purchase rate, your free night is not totally free if you would otherwise have booked a cheaper pre-paid rate. It is totally free if you would otherwise have booked at Best Flexible Rate.)
A GUARANTEED one-level room upgrade on every InterContinental stay – this is usually processed before you arrive and is visible online
$20 food and beverage credit per stay
4pm check-out – this is a GUARANTEED benefit and comes in very handy on a weekend break or on a trip with an evening flight back home
Free fruit in your room
Double occupancy for single occupancy rate – useful in Germany, one of the few countries where they still charge a ‘second person’ supplement
Platinum Elite status in IHG Rewards Club
If a hotel does not deliver either a) your guaranteed upgrade or b) your guaranteed 4pm check-out, you will receive a food and beverage or spa credit of $50, or 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points, per stay. Note ‘per stay’ and not ‘per night’.
Does 10,000 bonus IHG Rewards Club points make a difference?
In my view, the carrot of an extra 10,000 bonus points – plus an extra 3,000 points per InterContinental stay before 30th November – should not make any fundamental difference to you. The bonus is not worth a huge amount – I would value 10,000 IHG points at £40, whilst Ambassador membership is $200 (£160).
Note that the IHG Rewards Club bonus points do not count towards elite status.
I would say that:
if you know that you will use the ‘buy one get one free’ voucher at an InterContinental hotel over the next 12 months, you should definitely join Ambassador – you will save money
if you have a few InterContinental stays coming up which would benefit from a guaranteed one-level upgrade and, perhaps more importantly, a guaranteed 4pm check-out, you should join – especially as you’ll be getting an additional 3,000 bonus points if those stays are between 26th September and 30th November
if you have regular InterContinental stays, the cumulative value of the $20 food and beverage credits will soon cover your membership fee anyway
Another way of looking at this offer – irrespective of how many InterContinental stays you do – is that you are ‘buying’ Platinum Elite status in IHG Rewards Club for £120 ($200 Ambassador fee minus £40 value of the 10,000 bonus points). However, you can get Platinum Elite status as a benefit of the £99 per year IHG Rewards Club Premium Mastercard – and the card comes with 20,000 bonus IHG points for signing up.
At the end of the day, you could earn back the cost of membership in just one weekend stay via the BOGO voucher. It may even be worth it even if you had just one long stay booked and wanted to guarantee your upgrade and late check-out. I wouldn’t be swayed either way by the extra 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points from this offer, however.
You can learn more about InterContinental Ambassador here if it sounds interesting.
Don’t forget to register
The key thing to remember is that everyone qualifies for the 3,000 bonus IHG Rewards Club points per InterContinental stay, even if you do not join Ambassador.
You should register today – click here – just in case you find yourself in an InterContinental in the next 10 weeks.
IHG Rewards update – January 2022:
Get bonus points: IHG Rewards is not currently running a global promotion.
Buy points: If you need additional IHG Rewards points, you can buy them here.
Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from IHG and the other major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.