This has not been announced officially, but it is clear from test bookings that you can now redeem your InterContinental Ambassador ‘free weekend night’ certificate at Kimpton Hotels.
Even better, you DON’T need to use it at weekends. With Kimpton, the certificates seem to be valid at any time. This makes it a lot easier for your Ambassador membership to pay for itself.
This is a fantastic new benefit, opening up a lot of new opportunities to use your 2-4-1 voucher. Kimpton Hotels are generally funkier and cheaper than InterContinentals, and are present in a wider range of cities.
Coverage in Europe is, to be honest, still weak, but it is improving as we will show below.
You can use your Ambassador voucher at Kimpton Hotels
You won’t find any messaging online, even in the voucher rules, about the ability to spend it at Kimpton properties.
However, you can easily prove it yourself. Head to the voucher booking site – intercontinental.com/ambweekend – and do a test. This is what comes up as your options for London on a weekend night:
If you do the same search on a two night midweek stay, you ONLY see the Kimpton Fitzroy offered.
Even better, all room types are included, even up to the top suites as you can see here:
For clarity, only Kimpton Hotels have been added to the voucher. Regent and Six Senses, IHG’s other recent luxury acquisitions, are NOT included.
Where can I find Kimpton Hotels in Europe?
It’s not a huge list, to be fair. You’ve got:
- Barcelona (see pictures in this article)
- Amsterdam (Kimpton De Witt review here)
- Edinburgh (Kimpton Charlotte Square review here)
- London (Kimpton Fitzroy review here)
- Manchester (Kimpton Clocktower review here)
The ‘coming soon’ list comprises:
You can see a full list of Kimpton properties here.
How does InterContinental Ambassador work?
If you’re not familiar with InterContinental Ambassador, the rest of this article will explain how it works.
For clarity, apart from the free night certificate, the other benefits do NOT currently apply at Kimpton Hotels.
InterContinental, the luxury hotel brand inside IHG Rewards Club (which also covers Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo 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 to join
You can sign up here. The cost is $200.
For new members, there is an option to use 40,000 IHG Rewards Club points instead of paying $200 in cash. Given my 0.4p valuation of an IHG Rewards Club point this is a fair deal, although it is always possible to exceed 0.4p – often by a large margin – at peak hotels on peak dates.
The key thing about Ambassador is that, once you are a member, the benefits are virtually 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 night (BOGOF) 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 stay (weekend only at InterContinental, any day at Kimpton Hotels) and pay the Ambassador Certificate Rate, which is 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 Certificate 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. For clarity, the free night is the 2nd night. It is NOT the average of your two nights.)
A GUARANTEED one-level room upgrade on every InterContinental stay – this is usually processed before you arrive and is visible online. If the hotel cannot provide an upgrade, you receive 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points compensation.
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. If the hotel cannot provide late check-out, you receive 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points compensation.
A $20 food and beverage credit per InterContinental stay
Free mineral water in your room
Platinum Elite status in IHG Rewards Club (usually requires 40 nights or $4,000 of qualifying spend)
The benefits package is slightly different for stays in Mainland China, including free restaurant breakfast for one person.
Is InterContinental Ambassador worth it?
Obviously InterContinental Ambassador is not for everyone. You can earn back the cost of membership in just one stay by redeeming the free night voucher. It may even be worth it if you had just one long InterContinental stay booked and wanted to guarantee your upgrade.
Ambassador members also receive Platinum Elite status in IHG Rewards Club. This will make your future Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo etc stays a little more pleasant although it is unlikely to lead to major upgrades or lounge access.
You can learn more about InterContinental Ambassador, and sign up, here if it sounds interesting.
(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.)