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Great news: use your InterContinental Ambassador free night at Kimpton Hotels – ANY day!

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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.

Use Ambassador free night at Kimpton Hotels

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:

Ambassador voucher at Kimpton hotels

The two InterContinental options are now joined by Kimpton Fitzroy.  (The Kimpton Fitzroy is, in my view, the most pleasant IHG hotel in London.  My Kimpton Fitzroy review is here.)

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:

Ambassador voucher at Kimpton hotels

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:

The ‘coming soon’ list comprises:

  • Paris
  • Frankfurt
  • Rotterdam

You can see a full list of Kimpton properties here.

Kimpton Barcelona

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 – Ambassadorwhich costs $200 to join

InterContinental Ambassador review

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.


IHG Rewards Club update – November 2020:

Get bonus points: IHG’s current promotion is ‘2x’, which runs until 15th December 2020. You can learn more in our article here. You can register here using promo code 44480.

New to IHG Rewards Club?  Read our two-part overview of IHG Rewards Club here and here and our article on expiry rules here.

Buy points: If you need additional IHG Rewards Club 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 Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Comments (86)

  • Andrew says:

    I thought some of the benefits were still guaranteed with rewards night bookings – 4pm checkout?

  • Simon says:

    Manchester closed, London closed until September unfortunately

  • Olly says:

    Any update on the IHG/Mr and Mrs Smith collaboration?

    • Claire says:

      Yes. If they are going to be redeemable with points it is going to be much easier to book places. The problem with ihg at the moment is lack of nice hotels in comparison to say hilton in the uk.

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Eh? We know they are going to be bookable with points as a handful in Europe are already available to book using ihg. We are awaiting a full roll out..

    • Leo says:

      Been waiting for this for eons – in fact I’ve been hoarding my IHG points for this very reason.

      • Andrew says:

        How does this news have any impact on your use of points?

        • Andrew M says:

          Presumably because he wants to use his points at Mr & Mrs Smith properties.

          • Lady Londonng says:

            I think they are perhaps going to be very high priced in points when it becomes possible. 2for1 342’s will make that better if offered.

            i agree with the other poster about the choice of IHG hotels being uninspirational.

            Does anyone else think IHG only giving 10,000 points allowing a hotel to deny a guaranteef upgrade is at least 20,000 too little? given it’s higher class hotels so presumably a decent upgrade that was promised, 10,000 buys nothing at this level of hotel. Does anyone think the compo if denied upgrade should be at least 30,000?

          • Rob says:

            Totally agree.

          • Secret Squirrel says:

            Thats how I read it also, one of the reasons I continue to accumulate ihg points.

        • Chrisasaurus says:

          Tacking a points redemption behind a free night cert?

    • Jonathan says:

      Will definitely be dynamic pricing at a minimal value (0.3-0.4p) so not worth wasting points on unless you’ve got more than you know what to do with.

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Jonathan:
        Can see your logic but if your not happy with what IHG have to offer at present, Mr&Mrs Smith hotels open up a new option of potentially much improved locations to spend your points at.
        I would rather get a reduced value for my almost free hundreds of thousands of points than have to use them at a hotel I’m not happy with.

    • Rob says:

      Nope ….

  • anthony says:

    IHG status (even Ambassador or Spire) is really USELESS compared to what Hilton, Marriott, and Hyatt offer their top tiers. a different leasgue!!!
    My colleagues and i in consulting firms have staus in all and NEVER stay at IHG. Our firms will not pay for it.
    Braekfast alone for 2 alone costs $60-80 at IHG hotels. even with STATUS . If you add room upgrades and lounge access it can easily mean a PAID stay at IHG with status costs $150. per night additional if you like those benefits.
    So why any frequent traveller would choose IHG is beyond me????
    Radisson is almost as bad as IHG so also off our list.

    • Harry T says:

      Sometimes you get a good deal on points, and there’s plenty of options for breakfast around most city hotels I visit. But yes, their status benefits are very weak. The strength of the program is the ease at which you earn points. You can do well with the Ambassador program if you play your cards right.

      • Simon Barlow says:

        Agree – breakfast in the hotel when travelling for leisure is not a big deal for me. Far rather go to a local cafe or bar.

        • Lady Londonng says:

          +1. Any hotel breakfast has to be superb to tempt me. And I definitely have hardened my general avoidance of buffets since Covid.

    • Aston100 says:

      >>>Braekfast alone for 2 alone costs $60-80 at IHG hotels<<<
      Then stay at a HIX.
      Actually, who the heck pays $80 for breakfast for 2 everyday of a hotel stay, unless you are in some isolated location and therefore the hotel is the only option?

      • the_real_a says:

        Depends on schedule. Very rarely do i get time to go out and eat somewhere else on a business trip. There have been quite a few times recently that IHG hotel breakfast would have been over my expense limit and we chose to stay elsewhere. Not everyone is on banking allowances, you`d be shocked on how little we can claim in the tech sector ($20 inc. tip!)

      • Lady London says:

        @Aston100 some people, and particularly some people’s wives, wont set foot outside of their hotel before they’ve had breakfast inside the hotel.

        It completely baffles me as most of the time I prefer to eat local. If staying in a very nice hotel I make a point of having a drink or a small snack at least at some point during my stay so my file gets marked as spending something in the hotel. Typically I would buy one drink for every drink comped.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      The free night anywhere via the premium card & double points gets a list of nice eu hotels for next to nothing.

      • Harry T says:

        @SS I want them to bring back the premium card so I can get it! Their eligibility checker always rejected me for some reason.

        • Lady London says:

          It would be interesting to know why they pulled the card from the market. I mean, who cant make money from £160 per year plus % on every purchase the card is used for?

          • Secret Squirrel says:

            £160 a year? – Think you’ve got this mixed up with the VA paid card.

        • Secret Squirrel says:

          @HarryT:
          Can’t see it coming back TBH. Has any cards come back ever after being withdrawn?

    • ChrisC says:

      I chose IHG because the scheme works for me. Their hotels are more often than not closer to where I want to be and cheaper than other chains.

      I rarely eat breakfast anyway so the cost of that is immaterial to me. I’ve even tossed the free breakfast at Kimptons where I’ve been given one using their ‘secret password’ scheme so a free breakfast at a Hilton is not a benefit for me but fine if it’s important for you.

      Different schemes work for different people.

    • Genghis says:

      Status isn’t that valuable on work stays since I’m on expenses – I can claim for my breakfast, water, fruit, evening drinks and snacks etc. I still use IHG for work stays as I can rack up a hell of a lot of points. Paying good money for breakfast on work stays is rarely worth it anyway when I only want something small, so generally eat elsewhere.

    • First Class Fiona says:

      @anthony, thanks for the miserable post old bean, completely irrelevant to the article. You should really work for a better company that will allow you to get breakfast while on business. Who do you work for darling, Mike Ashley? The point of IHG is the tremendous opportunities to earn and burn points. Some of us rack up a huge number of IHG Rewards points through credit card spend. I have stayed at Intercontinentals around the world for free, which excludes breakfast on a points redemption. But, do you know what? I really don’t care. I prefer to enjoy breakfast in the local area – who really cares about breakfast from the hotel? Get a grip man. Lots of love, I’m off to crack open another bottle of my favourite Krug whiilst perusing IHG hotels in the Pacific. Toodle pip, Fiona x

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        @FCF
        We’re getting bored of your statements, Toodle Pip off & never come back!

        • First Class Fiona says:

          @Secret Squirrel, oh I say, how rude! “We’re” implies that you’re the spokesman for a rogue clique, who are you speaking for? Or, is it just yourself? Anyway, I offer profuse apologies for boring you old bean. Lots of love, Fiona x

  • Sanders says:

    Just because it lets you book it doesn’t mean they will honour it, I’d be waiting for official confirmation first

    • Anna says:

      Screenshots at all stages of booking!

      • Born2sKydive says:

        Hi Anna when you go to view rate details say booking a Mon to add the rate text states 22nd weekend night will be credited back. Feel this will be OUT get out of jail free card and result in them not honouring.

        • Anna says:

          My booking clearly says it’s using the Ambassador free night certificate and that the 2nd night will be free, just like when you book an IC in the same way. Do you mean 22nd or was that a typo?!

      • Pat the Postie says:

        Yes but I’ve stayed at Kimptons and they tried charging me for free night vouchers never mind explaining a 2 for 1 voucher

        • Anna says:

          That’s not how you want to end your stay, I know. I’ve had the most tussles over what we’re entitled to at US hotels where in the past they’ve tried to put us in a double room when the booking clearly said 3 people, and a HGI tried to refuse us free breakfast as gold in Washington DC. When I tried to check in at a Homewood Suites a couple of years ago the first thing the receptionist stated in an accusatory tone was, “You didn’t book direct”, as if that meant they could deny us a room if they felt like it!

  • Colin JE says:

    Wondering if anyone at IHG will confirm this is official and not an IT glitch. If it is official how have the rules changed? Eg does it still need a paid for night to be booked alongside at the weekend?

    • Lady London says:

      However the advice meanwhile would be to book quick.

    • ChrisC says:

      yes it still requires a paid night!

      Basically you get the 2nd night free after paying for the 1st night

      You can’t just book one night and get it for free, That’s not how the Ambassador certificate works.

  • Anna says:

    Just re the Ambassador free night, the voucher still shows as available to use after you’ve made a booking so does the hotel know to use it when calculating your bill or do you have to tell them?
    Just wondering whether to change our Easter IC Times Square booking for the Eventi which is saying you can book a suite with the voucher!

    • Andrew says:

      Yes the redemption of the voucher is all done manually at front desk when you check out. You could make multiple bookings on the AMB Weekend rate, or after your voucher has been redeemed. Its when you check-in/out you mention it to the staff, they check your AMB account for a valid cert and then redeem it. Which is why this, without confirmation from IHG, could be just a “don’t know what you’re talking about” at front desk and just a glitch to be able to book this rate but not able to redeem cert.

    • Harry T says:

      At the IC Sydney, they applied it to my bill automatically at checkout without any prompting.

      The voucher stays available to use in your account until redeemed on a stay (I asked about this a while back – it is a quirky feature of their IT).

    • Lady London says:

      Isnt it the case you can actually make the booking before you have the free night voucher?

  • Colin JE says:

    A benefit of cash renewal of Ambassador membership is meant to be a 10% discount on points redemptions. Anyone have experience of how this works in practice? I’ve got my first redemptions booked in September after Amb renewal. Is it automatic after a stay?

    • slowbrain says:

      Yes, but it can be very slow and sometimes doesn’t work.

      CS usually will add any missing rebates pretty quickly if you contact them after a long enough gap, like two months.

      If you have lots of stays, keep notes and remember to check.

    • Dinky says:

      The 10% is rebated back into your account 6 – 8 weeks after the stay, I normally have to email Ambassador CS , due to the hotel not refunding the points. It’s worth noting that buying all the points ( when IHG have 100% bonus points offer ) is often cheaper than paying the cash rate, done this every time when staying at West Yellowstone Holiday Inn for 10 nights , $2000 in points , opposed to $4500 cash.

      • Harry T says:

        Great point, Dinky – it always pays to compare the price of buying points with paying cash. I’ve bought points for the Amstel Amsterdam when it was briefly 40k a night and saved a lot. Works for Kimptons too with the new dynamic pricing. It’s a particularly good idea when cash rates are unusually high – I booked the Melbourne HIX using points purchased in a 100% bonus sale. Ended up costing me about £75 a night when the cash rate exceeded £200 a night (Melbourne Grand Prix).