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While Intercontinental is part of IHG, and you can use IHG points to book Intercontinental hotels, and you earn IHG points while staying at Intercontinental, IHG won’t give you any guaranteed benefits while staying at an Intercontinental. To receive extra bennies, you need to join the Intercontinental Ambassador program. The first year it costs $200 and gives some great benefits right off the bat: guaranteed upgrade, free weekend night, late check out ( these are all with restrictions, but my experience has been they are almost always honored). After that first year, you can elect to pay $150 to renew, or you can use points. I manage several accounts for friends and family, and came across a general trend: You can renew Intercontinental Ambassador for 19,000 points or $80.
Here’s an overview of Intercontinental Ambassador
And here’s some benefits per the website:
Here was the offer to renew Ambassador for 19,000 points or $80 net.
As you can see I was given a tiered offer:
- $150 and get 10,000 bonus points
- $200 and get 15,000 bonus points plus 10% back on reward nights ( which if you have an IHG credit card you already get 10%, this would be an additional 10% or 20% off! H/T to reader Neil for mentioning this)
- Use 24k points but get 5000 bonus points
You can always buy IHG points for $0.007 by booking a cash and points reservation so let’s just assume that value. The first offer gives you $70 back in points so nets out at $80. The second is $200 and gives $105 back netting $95. The third nets out at 19,000 which is worth $133. Clearly the first option is the lowest “price.” However, value is relative, and this particular Ambassador has A LOT of points and it was worth using points vs spending the cash. I have another Ambassador that is going to do the $200 option because they are going redeem a lot of points next year. That 20% discount is going to be amazeballs. It’s great they allow a few different ways of renewing so people can choose what’s best for them.
I think the Intercontinental Ambassador program is DEFINITELY worth the price IF you stay, or are planning to stay with them much.
Both of my parents have separate accounts and we have made them both Ambassadors. This wouldn’t be necessary, but we often use different accounts to book reservations, and value the benefits a lot. If you use the weekend night voucher, the cost of the program is immediately absorbed and they have received great upgrades around the world.
Here’s some of the Intercontinentals I’ve had the pleasure of staying at, some with Ambassador privileges, some not.