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NEW: Use your InterContinental Ambassador free hotel night at Regent Hotels – ANY day!

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You can now redeem your InterContinental Ambassador ‘free weekend night’ certificate at Regent Hotels outside China.

Even better, you DON’T need to use it at weekends.  With Regent, the certificates are valid at any time.  This makes it a lot easier for your Ambassador membership to pay for itself.

It is only a couple of weeks since InterContinental Ambassador added Kimpton Hotels to the programme.  Your 2-4-1 voucher is now valid at all Kimpton Hotels, as this article shows, and you can use it ANY day, not just at weekends.

Importantly, it also appears that Ambassador benefits will apply at Regent Hotels albeit there is no $20 F&B credit.  There is also no automatic penalty to the hotel if other benefits cannot be provided.

Get Ambassador benefits at Regent Hotels

Where can I find Regent Hotels?

In March 2018, IHG acquired 51% of Regent Hotels & Resorts for $39m, ie peanuts.  For comparison, the refurbishment of InterContinental Park Lane a few years ago cost three times that.

The reasons it was so cheap is that Regent Hotels & Resorts only runs seven properties:

  • Beijing
  • Berlin
  • Chongqing
  • Porto Montenegro (looks nice – see below)
  • Singapore
  • Taipei
  • Shanghai (recently rebranded from Four Seasons)

…. and the pipeline was thin, although InterContinental Hong Kong will (re)brand to the Regent name once its refurbishment is complete in 2022.

The properties in Greater China are excluded from Ambassador.  This means that you can only use your Ambassador 2-4-1 voucher at three additional hotels:

It should also be valid at:

…. in Vietnam, due to open in December 2020.

Montenegro is reportedly the best of the three, with the advantage of also being somewhere ‘different’ and of course having a fantastic location in the port.

You can use your Ambassador 241 voucher at Regent Hotels

The 241 voucher can now be booked at Regent.  Head to the voucher booking site – intercontinental.com/ambweekend – and do a test.  This is what comes up as your options for Montenegro:

Use Ambassador benefits at Regent Hotels

Even better, all room types are included.  Here is a Junior Suite:

Ambassador benefits at Regent Hotels

There are three quirks you need to know about the way the pricing works with the voucher:

the second weekend night is free.  It is NOT the average of the two nights.  If you stay Fri/Sat, Saturday is free.  If you stay Sat/Sun, Sunday is free.  If you stay Thu/Fri/Sat, Saturday is free as it is the second weekend night.

you pay Best Available Rate for the other night.  As you can see in the example above, this means that you pay slightly more for your ‘paid’ night because Best Available Rate is higher than the IHG Rewards Club member or Advanced Purchase rates.

you don’t see the discount during the booking process.  The hotel reduces the second night to zero on check-out.

How does InterContinental Ambassador work?

If you’re not familiar with InterContinental Ambassador, the rest of this article will explain how it works.

IHG has launched a special offer for joining or renewing Ambassador (a free night voucher after your first stay).  We will cover this in the next day or so.

InterContinental and Regent, the two luxury hotel brands inside IHG Rewards Club (which also covers Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo and others) are a little odd when it comes to loyalty schemes:

As part of the Holiday Inn / Crowne Plaza group, they participates in IHG Rewards Club

InterContinental and Regent hotels do not officially recognise your IHG Rewards Club status.  In reality, they often do, but it is not guaranteed.

InterContinental and Regent also have their 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 Regent 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 and Regent 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 at an InterContinental.  There is no compensation at a Regent.

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 an InterContinental hotel cannot provide late check-out, you receive 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points compensation.  There is no compensation at a Regent.

A $20 food and beverage credit per InterContinental stay (not valid at Regent)

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 or Regent 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 (41)

  • SammyJ says:

    I was hopeful when I read this that I might actually be able to use my AMB cert, which has been extended to 1st Sept, only to discover that the only one on the list with any possible chance of travel at the moment (Berlin) is closed for August!
    I guess there’s little chance of them extending the certs for a third time, despite the vast majority of properties (for us in the UK anyway) being out of reach right now?

  • BJ says:

    Just a thought: it might not be smart to jump on the current ambassador offer as a better one might come along for Black Friday, especially if travel chaos persists. Decision comes down to dates I suppose; if current offer date restrictions work for you then jump now but if they are so so then take a chance on Black Friday.

    • Anna says:

      I’m thinking that too. The offer is extremely restrictive given the lack of opportunities to travel at the moment and the small number of qualifying properties in the UK.

      I also noticed that cash prices drop noticeably from May 1st 2021, even for the bank holiday weekends, not sure if this is linked to the current promotion or not!

  • Chrisasaurus says:

    I agree with Rob’s general view that a non-guaranteed benefit has a value of $0

    Therefore the “GUARANTEED” benefits listed above need to be considered in the context of that guarantee – the hotel can simply lob compensation ( 10k points is it?) at you if it is “unable ” (at the hotels discretion) to honour the “guaranteed” benefits.

    Thus they are worth the lower of 10k points or your personal valuation, but the hotel gets to choose which…

    • Harry T says:

      The good hotels won’t even entertain the idea of shafting you, though. The Amstel gives you a list of your, in their view, guaranteed benefits with your welcome letter from the GM, for example. They don’t even ask me if I want 4pm checkout – it’s assumed! They also upgrade me automatically.

      • meta says:

        Yes, until you stay at the time when they are really busy…

        • Harry T says:

          Fair point, I’ll test it at New Year’s! Got a redemption booking there.

      • Rob says:

        IC Porto in Feb let me choose between the upgrade and the 10k points, since the bigger (and pricier) room had no view. I took the 10k. That said, the room I took ended up being smaller than I expected (a junior suite no bigger than many ‘standard’ hotel rooms) so in retrospect I should potentially have asked to see both.

        • meta says:

          I will see what they do for me at the end of August. Executive Rooms are 32m2 vs Junior suite at 37m2. It’s really not much and it comes down to what you do with the extra 5m2. Once you put a sofa in the junior suite, it eats into floor space and the room feels much smaller.

  • E says:

    I don’t think that some of these benefits are ‘guaranteed’ (unlike years ago). If the hotel cannot provide the benefit then they give you points in compensation. You may not receive the benefit so it’s not guaranteed. What is ‘guaranteed’ is a one level upgrade OR 10,000 points, not necessarily the upgrade (or late check out either).

    • meta says:

      I also think penalty is not cumulative. So basically hotel can deny you upgrade and late check out and give you 10k points only.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        It’s for each so if they denied both you should get 20k

        each benefit is worth about £40 which isn’t bad on some 2 night stays.

        • meta says:

          Thanks. I haven’t had a refusal yet, but I thought I read somewhere that it is not cumulative. Good to know.

        • Rob says:

          £40 is no way compensates for lack of late check-out if you have a late evening flight and had been planning to work in your room all day, as I often do.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            In reality it’ll be a couple hours as you’ll always get 2pm (which is really 2:30)

          • Secret Squirrel says:

            Do you have to inform the hotel if you plan to check out late?

          • Rob says:

            It’s only polite. In theory, no you don’t but I always tell them on check-in. For a start, your room keys will almost certainly be coded to expire at 11am or noon if you don’t.

          • Harry T says:

            The ICs I’ve been to often have a spiel as part of check in that includes your right to a 4pm checkout, or they give you a letter with it on. Probably wise to prompt if not – as Rob says, you don’t want to have to awkwardly ask the front desk to let you back into your room.

          • Lady London says:

            I always agree / remind hotels at check-in that I will be using a late checkout too. Without fail however, time and time again my keycard stops working at the usual checkout time. I think I can only remember one time on the past couple of years my card actually worked through to a late checkout.

            And I think there might be something degaussing in my travel handbag because time and time again keycards stop working after checkout time on the second day even if I’m staying 3 days.

            Clearly I’m not staying in a high enough class of hotel… whether IHG, Hilton or the odd Accor.

        • Lady London says:

          I think IHG does not understand customers in the luxury segment if they think 10,000 points is fair compensation for the hotel not providing late checkout or upgrade.

          For this segment of customers, 25,000 might get nearer. 10% off the room rate for every benefit denied might be fair and meaningful – especially to hotels, who might decide to provide the benefits they’re supposed to rather than lose actual cash.

          • meta says:

            @TG Loyalty I had plenty of IHG hotels refuse late check out at 2pm. At a push you can get 1pm even as a Spire. It is not a guaranteed benefit.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Nothing is guaranteed with IHG except 100% points and the welcome points/drink

            Just my personal experience I’ve been able to get 2pm no problem

  • Kai says:

    Room upgrade and 4pm check-out are subject to availability at Regent hotels, and there’s no $20 F&B credit offered!

    • Rob says:

      Updated. It isn’t that they are ‘subject to availability’ – there is simply no 10k compensation if they are not provided.

  • Anna says:

    OT but IHG. I’d heard good things about the CP MAN re upgrades for Spire/Ambassador, and booked a double room on points for the night before travel next year. Emailed them and asked very politely if they would be able to upgrade us to a room which would accommodate 3 of us (none available on points). The answer came back that we could have an extra bed in the room for £30! I don’t automatically expect upgrades, however Hilton has always upgraded us (even though I’m only gold) without asking, and also charges the same amount of points for a family room as for a standard one, so they will continue to get our airport business!

    • ChrisC says:

      But upgrades are on an available on the day basis – t hough I’ve had CP and HI upgrades appear in the app a few days before I’m due to stay and a couple of apologies on arrival they they were unable to upgrade me.

      Emailing in months in advance is generally going to get a ‘no’ because they want to see if they can sell the larger rooms for cash first.

      • Anna says:

        I get this but need to know in advance that the room can accommodate an extra person. Hilton are great with this.

        • Crafty says:

          But if you need a certain category of room, you should book that room in the first place. It seems extremely odd not to do so, and then come here to effectively moan about not being guaranteed a more expensive room that you have actively chosen not to pay for.

          • Anna says:

            Honestly, some people seem to come on here just to get rid of some anger. Some of us do like to know what experiences others have had with different hotel chains for future reference. I don’t know if you have a family (I suspect not), but for many of us it’s a huge deal to know which hotels are the most accommodating.

        • ChrisC says:

          Well book with Hilton then if you want certainty or use cash with the CP for the room you actually want and use your points for another stay where you don’t need a specific room.

          If they can get cash for a room rather than points then they will take the cash over giving an upgrade any day.

          It’s a bit much to ask for something months and months in advance (that is not guarenteed anyway) and then complain when they say no.

          • Anna says:

            Not sure why you have to be so vitriolic; I wasn’t complaining I was comparing my experiences with IHG and Hilton. You don’t have to read the comments if you don’t want to.

          • ChrisC says:

            Vitriolic?

            Ridiculous retort. My response was very measured. Pointing out the options available to you is now vitriol? Well that’s every internet board in the world then.

            You were doing more than a compare and contrast you were basically complaining that the CP wouldn’t give you an upgrade months in advance.

          • Matt says:

            You seem like an angry man ChrisC! Chill out a bit and you’ll probably live longer 🙂

          • ChrisC says:

            Matt I note you have nothing to add so perhaps you should chill out.

            And why do you just assume I’m a man ?

            I have not been rude to anyone and nor am I ‘angry’ but two of you have been rude to me.

            Pointing out the IHG policy on status upgrades and that someone has options is perfectly valid for this board.

            Others don’t seem to like that so perhaps they should – in your words – chill out.

          • AlanP says:

            If it’s any consolation ChrisC, your response didn’t seem bitter or vitriolic… just factual 🤷🏼‍♂️ (And along with what Crafty said, seems sound advice that is often repeated here)

            I also take the approach that status means diddly unless it’s guaranteed 👍🏻

  • ChrisC says:

    I had looked a while back at the Regent in Berlin and rejected it as too expensive. Good that the weekend cert can be used there now

    I’ll consider 2 night using the cert and either 2 nights using Emyr’s special rates or use points.

    Whilst these additioanl hotels you can use the cert for are good it makes it more complicated working out which is the best value to use it with!

  • pauldb says:

    If anyone wants some thoughts on Montenegro, it really is one of our favourite places we’ve been on the Med. The slight misfortune is that the Regent isn’t in the more-scenic, inner part of the bay: Kotor Bay, mislabelled a fjord but looks like one, which has the Venetian towns of Kotor and Perast where we prefer to stay. The Regent would be a bit like going to Lake Como but staying at Lake Maggoire, which of course might make sense for a better hotel or free night.

    There’s a well reviewed Iberostar in Perast if you need full-service, the HUMA near Kotor or the Chedi outside of the bay – the latter two with private beaches. So several decent options. Combines well with a visit to Dubrovnik but, in a normal year, you’ll find DBV overrun by comparison.