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Which InterContinental hotels give free club lounge access if you use a ‘preferred partner’ agent?

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You may not know that you can get free access to club lounges at some InterContinental hotels if you book via a travel agent who is affiliated to the exclusive Virtuoso network.

This is a benefit which is well worth knowing about, because IHG / InterContinental does not offer lounge access to top-tier members of its IHG Rewards programme.

IHG does offer InterContinental lounge access to Royal Ambassador cardholders.  This requires a high level – into US$ five figures it seems – of annual spend across InterContinental, Kimpton and Regent to qualify, so don’t pin your hopes on that.

IHG’s approach is particularly poor.  If you’re Hilton Honors Diamond, you get lounge access.  If you’re Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite or Titanium Elite, you get lounge access.  If you are IHG Rewards Spire Elite, you get a free chocolate bar and 600 bonus points at check-in at most European hotels …..

Luckily, there is a way around this.  A handful of top InterContinental hotel are part of the Virtuoso luxury hotels network.  These can only be booked by a closed network of hand-picked travel agents, of which our hotel booking partner Emyr Thomas is one of the few in the UK.

The following InterContinental hotels will give you guaranteed lounge access if you book them via Emyr (details here).

The price will usually be Best Flexible Rate.  If you were booking a flexible rate anyway then this is a genuinely free extra bonus.  If you would otherwise book Advanced Purchase (non-refundable) then you will pay a little more but you are getting a substantial list of extra benefits which should easily offset the cost.

For clarity, you WILL earn IHG Rewards points on these rates.  If you are also InterContinental Ambassador, my experience is that the hotels will often upgrade you an additional level, as Virtuoso bookings also come with an upgrade.

These InterContinental hotels offer free lounge access on Virtuoso agent bookings for stays in 2021:

InterContinental Davos

Benefits: upgrade on arrival, subject to availability, buffet breakfast daily for up to two guests per bedroom, complimentary access to Club Lounge, $100 USD equivalent hotel credit, early check-in/late check-out subject to availability, complimentary Wi-Fi

InterContinental Ljubljana special benefits

InterContinental Ljubljana (above)

Benefits: Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability, complimentary Buffet Breakfast daily for two per bedroom, $100 equivalent Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay, access to Club InterContinental, complimentary Wi-FI

We reviewed InterContinental Ljubljana here.

InterContinental Park Lane benefits

InterContinental London Park Lane

Benefits: Upgrade at time of booking subject to availability, full English Breakfast daily in Club InterContinental for up to two guests per bedroom, complimentary internet access/Wi-Fi, complimentary access to Club InterContinental exclusive lounge, including: breakfast, afternoon tea and evening drinks and canapés, early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

We reviewed InterContinental London Park Lane here.

InterContinental Madrid

Benefits: Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability, buffet breakfast for up to two guests per bedroom (in Club Lounge), Club Lounge access with all exclusive Club services, late check out until 4:00pm, early check-in subject to availability, complimentary Wi-Fi

Intercontinental New York Barclay special benefits

InterContinental New York Barclay (above)

Benefits: Upgrade at time of booking, subject to availability, complimentary daily buffet breakfast for two (per bedroom) served in Club InterContinental Lounge, complimentary access for two to Club InterContinental Lounge, designated VIP arrival reception, early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability, complimentary Wi-Fi

We reviewed InterContinental New York Barclay here.

InterContinental Paris Le Grand (above)

Benefits: Upgrade at time of booking from Classic to Superior room (upgrade on arrival subject to availability for other categories), daily buffet breakfast for up to two guests per bedroom in the Club Lounge, or guests may breakfast at Café de la Paix for a discounted rate of €37 per person per day, guaranteed free access to the private Club Lounge with complimentary use of all its services (normal cost of access is €150 per night), VIP welcome amenities, early check-in / late check-out subject to availability, voucher for 20% discount at spa on any treatment, complimentary internet access

We reviewed InterContinental Paris Le Grand here – and I have returned many times since – but it has been subject of a refurbishment over 2020/21 which I haven’t seen yet.

Details of how to contact Emyr with booking enquiries can be found here.


IHG Rewards update – October 2021:

Get bonus points: You can earn up to triple IHG Rewards base points with IHG’s new Autumn promotion. It runs from 1st October to 31st December. You can register here and our full article on the offer is here.

New to IHG Rewards?  Read our overview of IHG Rewards here and our article on points expiry rules here. Our article on ‘What are IHG Rewards points worth?’ is here.

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.

Comments (31)

  • LEWIS says:

    Ljubljana is one of the ugliest hotels I’ve seen in a while

    • Dubious says:

      The inside or the outside, or both?

    • Travel Strong says:

      If you want to see the inside, search for the HfP review from a couple of years ago.

      I’ll never see the inside first hand, as Ljubljana, like Budapest, offer some of the most amazing Airbnb’s for equally amazing prices (£20-30). High ceilings, parquet floors, balconies etc – and usually in a better location than the big name hotels! LJU hotels in particular are all clustered on the outskirts (still walking distance, but not in the middle of where I’d like to be). The only shame is that you have to deal with Airbnb as an intermediary, who are always on the take through COVID times.

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      Well I’d say it is not great but matches what’s around it. the Park Lane (whose exterior is pictured in the article) is gopping, and given the relative affluence of the locations, has a lot less excuse.

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        Is what??

        • Rob says:

          My 13-year old denies all knowledge of the word.

          She did tell me that I need to wrote ‘boy’ as ‘boi’ now, however, to be swag.

    • Tiff says:

      It’s a charming city, though, and well worth a visit.

    • Alan says:

      Service there was excellent though, great views from the rooftop bar and I was given a superb upgrade and Club access when staying using my Amb free 2nd weekend night cert!

  • Hm23 says:

    Can you use an Free night for being part of Ambassador program with a night booked through the travel agent or does this have to be direct with IHG?

    • Rob says:

      Ambassador voucher needs to be booked direct via intercontinental.com/ambweekend

      • Anna says:

        Perfectly doable though, I’ve got bookings with Emyr with free or award nights tagged on. Hotels are usually happy for you to stay in the same room throughout if you contact them in advance.

        • Rob says:

          Oh yeah, totally possible on separate bookings. I have done this myself – in Paris once I put reward nights after a few paid nights, and not only kept my suite but unofficially kept the lounge access. This was because the lounge is not key-carded but has a manned desk instead, and the staff were used to seeing me by Day 4 and didn’t question my eligibility.

          • Anna says:

            Ha – wonder if that will happen to us at the Park Lane at Xmas 🤦‍♀️

  • Chris Jones says:

    I really like Ljubljana as a city and the raddison is miles out. The IHG is OK, booked via Emyr and got upgrades and lounge. Well worth a visit. Only a hour drive from where I am living once they open the border.

  • DK says:

    What’s the rationale of hotels giving these benefits when booking via an agent who takes comission instead of booking direct for loyal members?

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