Snag bonus points when you join or renew InterContinental Ambassador membership
Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.
Elite status comes with many great perks. Unfortunately, earning mid to high-tier hotel status usually requires a lot of nights in return. But, the InterContinental Ambassador program allows you to buy status in the IHG One Rewards program without meeting any stay requirements.
Best of all, IHG is currently offering limited-time renewal and enrollment offers for its InterContinental Ambassador program. So, whether you want to become a member or you’re already a member, you may be able to earn bonus points when you renew or join.
If you’re looking for perks at InterContinental and participating Six Senses hotels and resorts, you may find value in the InterContinental Ambassador program. In this guide, I’ll describe the program and then help you decide whether you should become a member. I’ll also discuss the current renewal and enrollment offers in detail.
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What is the InterContinental Ambassador program?
As the name suggests, the InterContinental Ambassador program provides perks when staying at InterContinental Hotels and Resorts. But you also get perks at Six Senses hotels and resorts participating in IHG One Rewards. And, through Dec. 31, 2022, you’ll also get perks when staying at Regent Hotels and Resorts.
The InterContinental Ambassador program doesn’t provide Ambassador benefits when staying at other IHG One Rewards brands, though. That being said, you’ll get IHG Platinum Elite status. But, if you’re purely interested in status, you may be better off with the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card. After all, the IHG Premier comes with automatic Platinum Elite status and other perks (see our IHG Premier credit card review for all the details).
How do I become an InterContinental Ambassador?
To be an InterContinental Ambassador, you must pay an annual fee of $200 or 40,000 IHG points. Based on TPG’s valuations, 40,000 IHG points are worth $200.
Once you pay, you’ll get access to Ambassador benefits for 12 months. So, it makes sense to enroll shortly before a stay. You can join the program online, at any InterContinental property or by calling the service center.
Limited-time offer for renewing
If your membership expires soon, there’s currently a decent offer to entice you to renew your membership. As long as you renew by your membership expiration date or by Dec. 31, 2022 (whichever date comes first), there are two renewal options:
- Pay the $200 fee and earn 15,000 bonus points. Then, when you complete two qualifying nights between your renewal date and Jan. 31, 2023, you’ll receive an additional 20,000 points.
- Redeem 40,000 points and earn 20,000 bonus points after you complete two qualifying nights between your renewal date and Jan. 31, 2023.
With this offer, you are likely better off paying $200 for the membership versus using points since you won’t receive any bonus offer for using points to renew your membership. As 15,000 points are worth about $75 (based on TPG’s valuations), your membership would effectively cost $125. Redeeming 40,000 points, on the other hand, is worth about $200.
Then, regardless of how you renew your membership, once you complete two nights — either two individual stays of one night or a stay of two nights (or more) — you’ll earn 20,000 bonus points. You must complete your two nights at participating InterContinental, Kimpton or Regent properties between your renewal date and Jan. 31, 2023. You must spend at least $30 per night and book a qualifying rate, which includes the Ambassador Complimentary Weekend Night rate and most other rates eligible to earn IHG points.
Current InterContinental Ambassador members can renew their membership up to 92 days before the current membership’s expiration date.
Limited-time offer for new members
if you want to join the InterContinental Ambassador program, you can earn 20,000 bonus points during a limited-time enrollment offer. Specifically, when you enroll between Sep. 2, 2022, and Dec. 31, 2022, and then complete two qualifying nights at participating InterContinental, Kimpton or Regent properties by Jan. 31, 2023, you’ll get 20,000 bonus points.
As with the renewal offer, you must book each of the two nights under a qualifying rate with a total spend of more than $30 per night.
InterContinental Ambassador benefits
InterContinental Ambassadors get the following benefits when staying at InterContinental Hotels and Resorts:
- Guaranteed one category room upgrade.
- Not available when you apply a confirmable suite upgrade milestone reward to your stay.
- This benefit isn’t guaranteed on free and award nights and is subject to availability.
- This benefit excludes lounge access as well as some suite types.
- Guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout.
- One complimentary weekend night on the second night of a paid stay when booking the Ambassador Complimentary Weekend Night rate.
- This free night is usually only valid at InterContinental hotels and resorts. But, for stays through Dec. 31, 2022, it is also valid at participating Kimpton Hotels and Regent Hotels and Resorts outside Greater China.
- Most hotels define “weekend” as Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. However, hotels in the Middle East may define the weekend as Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
- You can use this perk at Kimpton and Regent properties any night of the week.
- IHG One Rewards Platinum Elite status.
- A $20 credit per stay for use in select hotel restaurants, bars and minibars.
- In markets that don’t use U.S. dollars, you’ll receive either a predetermined amount or a credit based on the day's exchange rate, depending on the property's location.
- This benefit isn’t offered in mainland China, where the member gets a full breakfast in the main restaurant each day (if a Diamond Ambassador member staying in mainland China chooses the breakfast for two welcome amenity, they'll only receive up to two breakfasts per day).
- Daily mineral water.
- Premium internet in guest rooms, when available.
- No extra charge for a second guest.
Benefits at InterContinental Alliance Resorts
At InterContinental Alliance Resorts, Ambassadors only get access to the following benefits:
- Complimentary water upon arrival (not replenished daily).
- One category room upgrade, subject to availability.
Benefits at Regent
For stays through Dec. 31, 2022, you’ll get InterContinental Ambassador benefits when you stay at participating Regent Hotels and Resorts. You won’t get the $20 restaurants and bars credit, and the benefits guarantee won’t apply. But, you’ll get a local “Signature Amenity” benefit during your stay.
When staying at a Regent in Greater China, you'll get a discount at on-site restaurants and bars (excluding Regent Taipei), but late checkout and upgrades are subject to availability.
InterContinental Ambassador benefits are not applicable at Regent Chongqing and Regent Phu Quoc.
Benefits at Six Senses
At participating Six Senses properties, InterContinental Ambassadors get the following perks:
- Complimentary breakfast for two each morning in the main restaurant.
- Enjoy a signature amenity once per stay of a complimentary 50-minute Six Senses Spa massage for two or a local experience. You won't get this amenity if you book a corporate or negotiated rate.
- Complimentary one-category room upgrade, subject to availability (excluding residences and two-bedroom or larger suites and villas).
- 4 p.m. late checkout, subject to availability.
- Early check-in, subject to availability.
- Complimentary internet access.
- Wellness platter on your arrival day.
These perks — especially the choice of a 50-minute Six Senses Spa massage for two as a signature amenity — are extremely valuable and may help you justify buying a membership even if you only have one Six Senses stay during your membership year.
Benefits at Mr. and Mrs. Smith
At participating Mr. and Mrs. Smith properties, InterContinental Ambassadors get the following perks:
- Smith Extra (an additional gift or service) once per stay, per room.
- Complimentary room upgrade (subject to availability) at participating properties.
When are you eligible for benefits?
Although you usually need to book directly with IHG to receive IHG One Rewards elite benefits, this isn’t typically the case for Ambassador benefits. IHG only excludes select rates, such as airline crew and employee discounts.
However, there are two notable exceptions. First, InterContinental Hotels and Resorts in French Polynesia booked through third-party websites or tour operators don’t qualify for guaranteed upgrades or late checkout. And second, you must book directly with IHG (or an authorized travel agent, in the case of Six Senses) to get extra perks as an InterContinential Ambassador at participating Six Senses and Mr. and Mrs. Smith properties.
How to maximize InterContinential Ambassador benefits
You can often get enough value from the complimentary weekend night to justify paying the membership fee. But, if you’re looking to maximize your InterContinential Ambassador perks, here are some tips:
- Book your room type based on the guaranteed one-category room upgrade.
- Select a room type one category below what you want.
- Select the room type one category below a suite.
- Book when you want to ensure a 4 p.m. late checkout.
- Don’t let your complimentary weekend night expire.
- Check back periodically for price drops.
- Maximize the $20 credit per stay by booking shorter stays.
- Enroll or renew during limited-time offers.
InterContinental Ambassadors are guaranteed select benefits. Specifically, you may be eligible for compensation as follows if a hotel is unable to fulfill select perks:
- Room upgrade: A restaurant, bar or spa credit of $50 or 10,000 IHG points. You won't get any compensation on reward nights or free nights.
- 4 p.m. late checkout: A restaurant, bar or spa credit of $50 or 10,000 IHG points.
IHG doesn’t offer the benefits guarantee during select periods, though. These periods include:
- New Year’s Eve.
- Chinese New Year in Greater China.
- Ramadan and Hajj in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.
- InterContinental Sydney between May 1, 2021, and Sep. 31, 2022, due to a major refurbishment.
The InterContinental Ambassador program offers two types of membership extensions. Members can use each extension type no more than once per lifetime. But you can’t use both extensions during the same membership year.
You can ask for a two-month extension if you:
- Have an active membership.
- Have not used a two-month extension in the past.
And, you can ask for a six-month extension if you’ve:
- Maintained an active membership for more than a year.
- Have not previously used a six-month extension.
Remember that these once-in-a-lifetime extensions won’t apply to your weekend night certificates.
Is InterContinental Ambassador worth it?
So, should you enroll in the InterContinental Ambassador program? Not surprisingly, the answer depends on your travel habits. But, for most travelers, it comes down to the weekend night benefit.
Ambassador weekend night benefit
You should enroll if you think you’ll use the Ambassador weekend night benefit each year. However, you do have to book using a specific rate, which usually isn’t the least expensive. You can check rates before becoming an Ambassador member here.
Suppose you don’t utilize the weekend night benefit. In that case, membership usually won’t make sense unless you frequently stay at InterContinental hotels or have one or more Six Senses stays during your membership year.
Considering other benefits
If you’re still undecided, it’s worth considering how much value the other benefits will provide. Depending on how often you travel, the benefits may provide significant value. Guaranteed perks like 4 p.m. late checkout and a one-category room upgrade can be helpful but are challenging to value. On the other hand, the $20 restaurants and bars credit provides a set value for each stay.
You’ll also get IHG One Rewards Platinum Elite status. You already have this status if you have the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card. But, if you cannot get the IHG Premier Card, getting Platinum Elite status could be a deciding factor.
What is InterContinental Royal Ambassador?
Royal Ambassador is an invite-only status that IHG offers to select Ambassador members. IHG selects members based on their qualifying activity at Kimpton, InterContinental, Regent and participating Six Senses properties, though the specific qualification criteria aren’t shared publicly.
Royal Ambassador benefits
Royal Ambassadors get the following benefits when staying at InterContinental Hotels and Resorts:
- Guaranteed two-category room upgrade.
- If you book a suite, you will receive a one-category upgrade.
- This benefit is not guaranteed on free and award nights and is subject to availability.
- This benefit excludes some types of suites.
- Lounge access at hotels with a dedicated lounge.
- Access is for the member and a guest staying in the member’s room.
- If the hotel does not operate a dedicated lounge, the member and one guest will get breakfast in the main restaurant daily.
- This benefit is not guaranteed at hotels that don’t operate a dedicated lounge.
- One free night at an IHG hotel (excluding IHG Army Hotels) bookable for 70,000 IHG points or less.
- Guaranteed early check-in of 10 a.m.
- Guaranteed late checkout of 4 p.m.
- One complimentary weekend night on the second night of a paid stay when using the Ambassador Complimentary Weekend Night rate.
- Minibar food and beverage credit of $50 per night (RMB200 per night in mainland China), up to a maximum of $200 per stay (RMB800 per stay in mainland China).
- In-room welcome amenity on your day of arrival.
- Daily mineral water.
- Premium internet in guest rooms, when available.
- Waived amenity or destination fees (excluding taxes and resort fees).
- No extra charge for a second guest.
- Guaranteed room availability with 24-hour notice.
- Inner Circle member status at Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants.
InterContinental Ambassador status is a must-have for some travelers. If you can get good value from the complimentary weekend night benefit, it may be worth enrolling even if you don’t stay at InterContinental Hotels and Resorts frequently.
If possible, sign-up or renew during an enrollment or renewal offer. It’s often possible to snag a free night certificate or bonus points if you can take advantage of a promotion. Right now, you can earn up to 35,000 bonus points when renewing and up to 20,000 bonus points when enrolling.