IHG Rewards Club has separate recognition program called Ambassador that only applies for stays at InterContinental properties and one needs to pay to join.
Ambassador members are also members of IHG Rewards Club and collect and redeem IHG Rewards Club points for their InterContinental stays.
You can access InterContinental’s page for their Ambassador program here.
Here are the benefits that are advertised:
1. Guaranteed Room Upgrade
Ambassador members are guaranteed one category room upgrade but this no longer means that one would get club access if they book one category below the club as previously was the case. There is also growing list of suites that are outside of the Ambassador/Royal Ambassador upgrades.
2. Guaranteed 4PM Check Out
Ambassador members have guaranteed 4PM check out. This is not based on the availability and there are no resort exclusions.
3. Free Weekend Night Certificate
Member get free weekend night certificate with the membership kit that is valid for 12 months. The certificate can be used for Friday to Sunday nights or Thursday to Saturday in the Middle East. You must book specific Ambassador Certificate Rate that is basically the Best Flexible Rate but is not necessarily always available.
You have to keep in mind that it sometimes can take month or two to get the Ambassador package. You can make the Free weekend night booking using the guidance and the link that I have on my recent article (access here).
It often doesn’t make sense to book base level rooms using the free weekend night certificate when higher level ones are also available such as suites.
4. Fresh Fruit & Mineral Water
Members can now actually choose between sweet or savory snack or fruit amenity. Members will also get mineral water replenished daily.
Here are another benefits:
5. Free Movie
Ambassador members are still eligible for free Pay TV movie once per stay at hotels where this is still available
6. 5,000 IHG Rewards Club Points
Membership material comes with a code that one can deposit to his/her account or to give someone else. The code is worth 5,000 points.
7. IHG Rewards Club Gold Status
Ambassador membership comes with IHG Rewards Club elite status (Gold) that can easy the pain at staying at some of other IHG brands.
Members can renew the Ambassador membership for $150 or there could be options for using points as well.
You have to bear in mind that officially most of the Ambassador benefits are not applicable for award stays. Many if not most InterContinental properties do extend them nevertheless.
Worth the $200?
I would say that if one has more than handful of stays at InterContinental hotels it makes sense to join the Ambassador program. Late check out charge at one of the more expensive InterContinental hotels could be $200 or more alone.
If one has a LOT stays at the InterContinental hotels and has a chance to become Royal Ambassador member, they should first sign up for the Ambassador (you cannot become RA otherwise).
The “Free” Weekend Night-voucher is worthwhile especially at properties that don’t have discounted rates and for those that tend to book higher category rooms and suites that are often available using this certificate too, although officially excluded.
Each InterContinental property has monthly goal for Ambassador sign ups. If you are going to stay at an InterContinental, there could be space for “negotiation” for signing up at the property level and getting an upgrade on the sport.
What is your take on the Ambassador program? Worth paying the fee using cash or IHG Reward Club Points?