InterContinental has brought back a special offer to encourage you to join their InterContinental Ambassador loyalty scheme.
This isn’t as generous as previous offers we’ve seen, but if you have been on the fence about joining Ambassador it may tip you over.
If you were emailed about the deal by IHG, and join before 31st March, you will receive 20,000 IHG Rewards points when you stay two nights at any InterContinental, Kimpton or Regent hotel by 30th April 2022.
The ‘new member’ offer is technically only open to people who were emailed about the offer. The rules say:
“This exclusive Offer is valid and applies to the original recipient only.“
This may not be the case, but you are taking a risk if you sign up without receiving the email.
What is the small print of the Ambassador free night offer?
If you scroll to Clause 45 of the Ambassador terms and conditions here you will find this:
To participate in the “Join Ambassador, stay two nights, earn 20k bonus points” (“Offer”), you must enrol in the InterContinental Ambassador program during the period of 18 January 2022 through 31 March 2022 and then complete two qualifying nights at participating InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, or Regent Hotels & Resorts by 30 April 2022 to be awarded 20,000 IHG Rewards bonus points. This offer is not applicable for Royal Ambassador members. This offer is not valid for InterContinental Ambassador membership enrolments or renewals obtained on a complimentary basis or using the IHG Employee discount.
To qualify for the 20,000 bonus points, each of the two nights must be part of one or more Qualifying Stays. A Qualifying Stay is defined as a minimum 1-night stay booked under a Qualifying Rate, with total spend exceeding $30 USD (or local equivalent) per night. Only one room per member per Qualifying Stay will be eligible. If more than one member checks into the same room, only one member is eligible to claim the night for purposes of the Offer. No retroactive credit will be awarded for Stays prior to this Offer. The ‘Ambassador Complimentary Weekend Night’ rate is a Qualifying Rate.
This Offer is subject to the standard IHG Rewards Membership Terms and Conditions and earning structure, which can be obtained here. Please allow up to 4-6 weeks for bonus points to be posted to your account. The use of certain rates (if applicable) may be subject to applicable agreement(s). Any misuse of such rates is considered a fraud activity subject to IHG Rewards Membership Terms and Conditions. IHG reserves the right to remove a member’s bonus points award or cancel a member’s account if fraudulent use of the Offer is detected. To the extent permitted by applicable law, IHG Rewards reserves the right to cancel, suspend and/or modify the Offer at any time with or without notice. To the extent permitted by applicable law, IHG reserves the right of final interpretation of this Offer. This exclusive Offer is valid and applies to the original recipient only. Members must make any promotional inquiries by 60 days from the end of the Offer period.
The Offer can only be redeemed once per member and a maximum of 20,000 IHG Rewards points can be achieved for enrolments based on the payment of USD200 or redeeming 40,000 points. The bonus points awarded through this Offer are not Elite status qualifying. IHG reserves the right to recoup any points incorrectly awarded.
How does InterContinental Ambassador work?
InterContinental and Regent, two of the luxury hotel brands inside IHG Rewards (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 participate in IHG Rewards
- InterContinental and Regent hotels do not officially recognise your IHG Rewards status. In reality, they often do, but it is not guaranteed.
- InterContinental and Regent also have their own loyalty scheme – Ambassador – which costs $200 to join
- The process of integrating Six Senses hotels into Ambassador is starting but will take some time to complete
For new members, there is an option to use 40,000 IHG Rewards points instead of paying $200 in cash. Given my 0.4p valuation of an IHG Rewards Club point this is a fair deal.
Via this new offer, of course, you are joining for half price. You could pay 40,000 points to join and, when you have completed the two nights, you would receive 20,000 points back.
What are the benefits of InterContinental Ambassador?
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.
- Note that, 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 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 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 (usually requires 40 nights)
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. Even without this special offer, however, you can earn back the cost of membership in just one stay by redeeming the weekend 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. 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.
Does this new offer change the maths?
Joining InterContinental Ambassador is a lot more attractive under this offer – IF you are sure that you can complete two InterContinental, Kimpton or Regent nights by 30th April 2022 to trigger the 20,000 points.
In the UK, you would be looking at the InterContinental hotels in London or Edinburgh, or the Kimpton hotels in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow or Manchester. There are no Regent hotels in the UK.
Be wary of one catch with the 20,000 bonus points
Let me clarify one thing: if you do a two night stay using the ‘free night’ voucher, it will NOT count for two nights under this offer. It will only count as one night, ie the night you paid for.
This means that you’d either need to do a three night stay (assuming you were using the free night voucher as part of it) or a second trip somewhere else to get the two qualifying nights required to trigger the 20,000 bonus points.
(EDIT: the comments below suggest that the bonus will trigger on a 2-night stay using the free weekend night voucher, even though the 2nd – free – night doesn’t count towards elite status and is otherwise non-qualifying. Up to you ….)
If you can manage all this then Ambassador looks good:
- Cost to join for 12 months: $200 (£145) or 40,000 IHG Rewards points
- Value of 20,000 IHG Rewards points certificate after two qualifying nights (by 30th April): £80, based on the HfP valuation of 0.4p per point
- Other benefits: ‘buy one get one free certificate’ valid at InterContinental (weekends only), Kimpton and Regent; Platinum Elite status in IHG Rewards; attractive upgrade, check-out and in-hotel credit offers at InterContinental hotels
Looked at another way …. if you use 40,000 IHG Rewards points to join Ambassador, you will get 20,000 points back if you can do two qualifying nights by the end of April. This makes the other Ambassador benefits good value for the rest of the year, especially as you get Platinum Elite status in IHG Rewards.
You can learn more about InterContinental Ambassador, and sign up, here if it sounds interesting. Remember that this offer is NOT shown on their landing page and you are taking a big risk if you sign up without having received an email from IHG Rewards.
IHG One Rewards update – May 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.
You will receive an 80% bonus when you buy IHG One Rewards points by 10th June 2022.
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.