Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Which InterContinental hotels give free club lounge access via a ‘preferred partner’ agent?

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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 One Rewards programme unless you take it as a 40 night ‘milestone bonus’.

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..

Luckily, there is a way around this.  A handful of top InterContinental hotels 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 One 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:

InterContinental London Park Lane

Benefits: Upgrade at time of booking subject to availability, daily full breakfast for up to two guests per bedroom served in the Club InterContinental, complimentary access to Club InterContinental and all associated benefits, early check-In / late check-out subject to availability, complimentary Wi-Fi

We reviewed InterContinental London Park Lane here.

InterContinental Madrid

Benefits: Upgrade on arrival subject to availability, buffet breakfast (in club lounge), club lounge access with private check-in + late check-out until 4pm + buffet with a wide range of snacks and drinks (available 7am-11pm), 10% discount at El Jardin Restaurant & Brunch, two item pressing service at the laundry, complimentary Wi-Fi

InterContinental New York Barclay (above)

Benefits: Upgrade at time of arrival subject to availability, buffet breakfast served in the Club InterContinental Lounge, access to the Club InterContinental Lounge, personalized VIP arrival with welcome note & seasonal welcome amenity, early check-In / late check-out subject to availability, complimentary Wi-Fi, daily $35 plus tax New York Amenity Fee waived upon guest check out, daily housekeeping / evening turn down upon guest request

We reviewed InterContinental New York Barclay here.

InterContinental Paris Le Grand (above)

Benefits: Upgrade at time of booking from Cosy to Classic room (upgrade on arrival, subject to availability, for other categories), daily buffet breakfast in club lounge, daily access to club lounge, VIP welcome amenities and letter, 25% discount on rack rate suite from Ambassador Suite, early Check-In / Late Check-Out subject to availability, complimentary Wi-Fi

We reviewed InterContinental Paris Le Grand here and I have probably stayed 15 times over the years.

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

PS. Emyr can get ‘added value’ deals at ALL InterContinental hotels – this usually includes an upgrade, free breakfast and $100 of hotel credit – but only the four above offer club lounge access when you book a standard room.


IHG One Rewards update – December 2022:

Get bonus points: You will earn bonus IHG One Rewards points on stays between 13th October 2022 and 31st December 2022. You can choose between 2,000 points for every two nights or 10,000 points for every four nights (not cumulative). Read this article for full details. You can register here.

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 a 100% bonus if you buy IHG One Rewards points by 29th December 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.

Comments (24)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Beverly says:

    Very quick query –if I book an Intercontinental through Emir can I combine it with my free night from my Ambassador membership, and will I get the points?

    • Chris says:

      You need to book the ambassador night with IHG as it’s a special rate code. No reason not to make two separate bookings to cover your stay though.

    • LittleNick says:

      I presume you’re talking about the free weekend night. Not for the same booking as the weekend night needs to be booked from your IHG account. However if you’re staying longer you could have an additional booking through Emyr to extend your stay

  • Colin MacKinnon says:

    Not ALL Intercontinentals – I emailed Emyr just yesterday about the IC Miramar Panama and he replied (super fast) that it wasn’t on his list.

    • Marc says:

      That is exactly what the article says?

      • memesweeper says:

        No , it says all ICs are bookable with benefits through Emyr, which isn’t correct. You can check the virtuoso list here: https://www.virtuoso.com/hotels

        Emyr may have deals with hotels that aren’t on Virtuoso too, so if it’s on the site, it’s assured, if it isn’t, no harm in asking anyway.

        • Rob says:

          He can do (virtually) all IC hotels via the IHG Luxury Programme. If a hotel is in Virtuoso too, you can pick the benefits package you prefer.

          • Alan says:

            In the last year I have asked Emyr about Warsaw and Sofia neither were on his list.

            Previously Sofia was so maybe the list has been trimmed. Any chance of posting the current list.

        • Phillip says:

          What is shown on Virtuoso is very limited compared to the overall programme participation. If you do a quick Google search for the IHG Luxury and Lifestyle programme you can see all the participating properties. They include Kimptons and Regents as well as Indigo on the Lifestyle side of things. A bit like Marriott’s Stars and Luminous rates.

  • memesweeper says:

    Ambassador & Emyr can result in a double upgrade from standard, which may come with club access. I got this last month in IC Festival UAE.

  • chelseafifi says:

    Slightly O/T I have an upcoming stay at The Regent, Berlin booked via Amex FHR, I did add my IHG number during booking but it’s not showing on my IHG app future bookings (which I think is usual for FHR). I am now Diamond Elite and have also joined Ambassador for first time, will it be OK to just give my IHG number when checking in, they will then see my status, or would it be more beneficial to contact the hotel ahead of my arrival? Much appreciate any advice as new to hotel status.

    • Rob says:

      If you pre-paid for the stay then you won’t get benefits or points so it doesn’t matter. If you didn’t pre-pay then drop the hotel an email asking them to add your number to your reservation.

      • chelseafifi says:

        Thanks Rob, not prepaid, I’ll drop an email.

      • aseftel says:

        Ambassador benefits aren’t excluded on third party bookings. The benefits guarantee is only for ‘direct’ bookings though so you’re very much relying on the hotel to play ball.

        I’d always recommend mentioning loyalty membership on third party bookings ahead of arrival. It’s a one-way bet, worst they can do is enforce terms and reject benefits – which is what you get anyway.

  • StanTheMan says:

    Any precedent for compensation/alternative if we have lounge access included in our booking, but kids (10 and 8) arent allowed in the lounge – Abu Dhabi – for the evening pre-dinner drinks/canapes ???
    I’d like to just be allowed to go to a hotel bar instead, but not sure if that is realistic?

    • Rob says:

      This happened to us at IC Dubai Festival City last month. They let us go to the hugely expensive ‘all you can eat’ buffet downstairs instead, for free, which was a result.

      • StanTheMan says:

        Great. Already on HB, but good to know that there should be something we can aim for.

  • Sunnyside says:

    Just an fyi on Emyr’s services, he did not respond to my inquiry. He responded to acknowledge receipt but then nothing. I booked through another channel since customer service doesn’t seem to be his forte.

    • Rob says:

      Probably dropped into spam. He is the best person I know in terms of customer service – not just travel, I am talking about any aspect of my life. There is no-one else I deal with in any capacity who is more responsive and helpful.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Tbh that seems very unlike Emyr he’s usually very responsive even to random requests

    • iSub says:

      I have to agree with Rob and TGLoyalty. I’ve used Emyr’s services at least ten times and his customer service is incredible. I am regularly shocked by how quickly he turns around queries and requests. He always seems to go the extra mile

  • James says:

    Do any give lounge access and/or complimentary breakfast when staying on points ?

    • Rob says:

      No (obviously Diamond gets free breakfast, and you can take lounge access as a 40-night Milestone Reward).

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.