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:
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 (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
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
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 (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
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 One Rewards update – June 2022:
Get bonus points: IHG One Rewards is offering bonus base points on all cash stays between 18th May and 31st August. You earn double points on your 2nd to 5th nights, triple points on your 6th to 14th nights and quadruple base points from your 15th night. Our full article is here. Click here to register.
New to IHG One Rewards? Read our overview of IHG One Rewards here and our article on points expiry rules here. Our article on ‘What are IHG One Rewards points worth?’ is here.
Buy points: If you need additional IHG One 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.