How to score a free night at a luxury hotel through InterContinental Ambassador

Nov 14, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.


There are several common ways to earn hotel elite status.

You can typically meet specific elite-qualification thresholds or hold a credit card that provides elite status as a perk. But a few hotel loyalty programs also let you buy elite status or elite-like benefits – and one such example is IHG’s InterContinental Ambassador program.

The InterContinental Ambassador program effectively lets you buy IHG elite status and get additional perks when you stay at select IHG brands. Members get many perks, but one of the most valuable is a complimentary weekend night.

In this guide, I’ll discuss the InterContinental Ambassador program and how you can leverage it to get a free night at a luxury hotel.

Get the latest points, miles and travel news by signing up for TPG’s free daily newsletter.

In This Post

InterContinental Ambassador program overview

For $200 or 40,000 IHG points — which are worth $200 based on TPG’s valuations — you can purchase a yearlong InterContinental Ambassador membership. This membership provides perks when staying at InterContinental hotels, including a one-category room upgrade, 4 p.m. late checkout and up to a $20 food and beverage credit per stay.

InterContinental Ambassador persk
(Screenshot from ihg.com)

InterContinental Ambassador perks generally aren’t applicable at other IHG Rewards brands. But Ambassadors do get a few extra perks at Six Senses and Mr and Mrs Smith properties when booking through select methods, like a free room upgrade at Mr and Mrs Smith properties. And, for stays through Dec. 31, 2021, Ambassadors also get extra benefits at select Regent Hotels.

InterContinental Ambassador membership also includes IHG Platinum Elite status, which provides value throughout the IHG portfolio.

That said you may not want to pay for Ambassador solely for this benefit. After all, you can get Platinum Elite status cheaper as a perk of the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card. Plus, with the IHG Premier credit card, you’ll get other perks like a fourth-night reward on award stays and an anniversary night worth up to 40,000 points after each account anniversary.

Related: Why I’m happy to pay the annual fee on the IHG Premier Card

Complimentary weekend night

Yoga at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa
I redeemed a complimentary weekend night certificate at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa. (Photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy)

Even if the above InterContinental Ambassador perks aren’t intriguing, the final one could make up the $200 price by itself: a complimentary weekend night certificate.

You may redeem the certificate up to 12 months from the date it was issued, but you can only use each certificate once. To use the certificate, you must book a stay of two nights or longer using the Ambassador complimentary weekend night rate.

Usually, you can only book the Ambassador complimentary weekend night rate at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts (excluding InterContinental Alliances Resorts) for weekend stays, which are defined as Friday, Saturday and Sunday (except in the Middle East, where hotels may define the weekend as Thursday, Friday and Saturday).

So, for a two-night stay, you’d need to check in on a Friday or Saturday to book the complimentary weekend night rate.

That said, your certificate is also valid at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and participating Regent Hotels & Resorts for stays through the end of 2021 – and the program doesn’t limit you to weekend stays at these properties.

Using InterContinental Ambassador weekend night before end of 2021
For this sample weekday stay at the end of 2021, you could use your complimentary weekend night at Kimpton but not at InterContinental hotels. (Screenshot from ihg.com)

Before we look at the booking process, there are a few other things you should know about the free weekend night:

  • The Ambassador complimentary weekend night rate usually isn’t the least expensive flexible rate.
  • The complimentary weekend night cannot be “used in conjunction with any other promotion or free night offer,” including redeeming IHG Rewards points.
  • Only the InterContinental Ambassador member can use the complimentary weekend night. Another traveler won’t be able to use your night.
  • You’ll need to make advance reservations. Plus, you must have an unredeemed and valid complimentary weekend night in your account when you check in to the hotel. If you don’t, you’ll need to pay the hotel’s best flexible rate for all nights of your stay.
  • You can only use at most one complimentary weekend night per stay.
  • The complimentary weekend night only covers the room rate and tax. You’ll need to pay any fees, including resort fees, on your complimentary night.

When choosing a room type, remember that the Ambassador one-category-upgrade benefit applies to complimentary weekend nights. You probably don’t want to pick the highest-available room type. However, one quirk of this guaranteed upgrade benefit is that it won’t upgrade you into Club InterContinental or Regent Club access, which you will only get if you book a room type that comes with lounge access.

And one last thing: even if you get an upgrade to a room that would otherwise have lounge access, you won’t actually receive lounge access.

Related: 7 of the best hotel credit cards that come with an annual free night

How to book your free night

To book your complimentary weekend night, go to your IHG Rewards account homepage, scroll down to find “Ambassador Complimentary Weekend Night” and click the “Book” button next to the night you want to use:

Booking an InterContinental Ambassador weekend night
(Screenshot from ihg.com)

Or, you can shortcut that by just starting your search through this specific link:

Booking an InterContinental Ambassador weekend night
(Screenshot from ihg.com)

This page allows anyone to search and find the Ambassador complimentary weekend night rate. This is great if you don’t have InterContinental Ambassador but want to determine how much you’d save buying a membership.

As you look at your search results, pay attention to the Ambassador complimentary weekend night rate. Unfortunately, you’ll notice this rate often isn’t the least expensive flexible rate.

Rate difference when using InterContinental Ambassador complimentary weekend night
(Screenshot from ihg.com)

For example, here are nightly rates at both the Ambassador complimentary weekend level and at the least expensive flexible level for a two-night stay next May at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa:

Nightly rate including taxes and fees Garden Pool Lagoon Beachfront Club Suite
Ambassador Complimentary Weekend Night rate $250 $325 $396 $536 $676
Cheapest flexible rate $214 $278 $338 $458 $578
Difference $36 $47 $58 $78 $98

While the above differences demonstrate the premium you’ll need to pay for the privilege of using your free weekend night, bear in mind that one of those nights is free. So for the Pool room, you’re paying $336 for the two-night stay. Booking the same two-night stay as a non-Ambassador would be $556, so your free night would get you a value of $220. This more than pays for the Ambassador subscription.

Beach room at InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa
I booked a Pool room but got an upgrade to a Beachfront room at InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa. (Photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy)

With this in mind, try and make your Ambassador complimentary weekend night stay as short as possible. The value of the free night is quickly erased by overpaying for more than a few nights.

Also, keep in mind that this calculation completely ignores any added value you’d enjoy from the on-property perks. These perks can quickly add up over a two-night stay and become even more valuable if you’re staying at other InterContinental properties during your year of membership.

Finally, once you pick your dates and room type, don’t be surprised when the final booking page shows an undiscounted price. As explained on the InterContinental Ambassador complimentary weekend night booking page:

“Please note that the reservation will show full rate on both nights during the online booking process. This will be adjusted by the hotel on check-in to reflect as complimentary on the second night.”

Note that you must still be an Ambassador member and have a “valid complimentary night benefit that is not expired or already redeemed” at the time of check-in for IHG to waive the second night rate.

Related: Is hotel elite status worth it anymore?

Bottom line

The included complimentary weekend night can easily make up the $200 annual cost of InterContinental Ambassador membership. For example, I saved around $286 off the cheapest available rate during my two-night stay at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa. In addition, I knew going in that I’d get a guaranteed room upgrade, 4 p.m. guaranteed late checkout and a $20 food and beverage credit. All of that adds up to $200 well invested in the InterContinental Ambassador program.

Additional reporting by Katie Genter.

Featured image of the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa by JT Genter/The Points Guy.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.