Intercontinental Ambassador full review – Pay $200 for litany of IHG benefits

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Intercontinental Ambassador

IHG overhauled their IHG One Rewards program last year, but did you know that there is actually a completely separate loyalty program specifically for the Intercontinental brand. In fact, some of the benefits affect Six Senses as well, and it comes with a bevy of valuable benefits.

Unlike most loyalty programs, the Intercontinental Ambassador program is a pay to join program costing $200 a year. Over the history of the program, I’ve been a member since 2016, I’ve gotten a ton of value, especially because renewal options often offer a point rebate which knocks the cast down to about $125, and it comes with a Buy One Get One weekend night certificate.

Personally, I’ve gotten a lot of value out of Intercontinental Ambassador and think it’s worth a look not only if you have any Intercontinental trips upcoming, but also if you currently have IHG status because anecdotally members get an automatic extra year of status when they join or renew.

IHG Ambassador Program benefits:

The program is absolutely stuffed with benefits if you stay at Intercontinental, Kimpton, Regent, or Six Senses Hotels very often. The program is specifically designed for Intercontinental, but as IHG added more luxury brands, the program offered benefits for those as well.

For stays at Intercontinental Hotels

  • Joining costs either $200 or 40k points
  • Guaranteed upgrade upon arrival
    • Usually the upgrade shows on the account prior to arrival
  • Complimentary Weekend Night – Buy One Get One
    • must be booked via their site
  • Enjoy a 4 pm guaranteed late check out
  • Choice of refreshments on arrival, in-room welcome gift, and mineral water.
  • Complimentary IHG One Rewards Platinum Status
  • $20 bar or restaurant credit per room per stay
  • E-Delivered Free Weekend Night
    • This is overdue and greatly appreciated.
  • Extra benefits in China
    • One Breakfast for each night you stay
    • 15% discount on bar and restaurant purchases

The free breakfast was a fantastic perk at the Six Senses Maldives Laamu

Speaking of Six Senses benefits

  • Complimentary Breakfast for two in the main restaurant per day.
    • Benefit not applicable at Six Senses Residences.
  • Signature Amenity of either a complimentary 50 minute Six Senses Spa massage for two or local experience once per stay.
    • The Signature Amenity varies by resort, is subject to availability and confirmed on arrival. Not applicable with corporate or negotiated rates.
  • Complimentary one category room upgrade
    • (subject to availability, excluding residences and 2 bedroom or greater suites/villas)
  • Extended check-out of 4pm subject to availability.
    • Guaranteed for Royal Ambassador and Kimpton Inner Circle members. Benefit always subject to availability for all tiers at Six Senses Residences.
  • Early check-in subject to availability.
    • Guaranteed for Royal Ambassador and Kimpton Inner Circle members and in circumstances where the room is not available at 10 am, the member may be checked into another available room until the original booked room becomes available. Benefit always subject to availability for all tiers at Six Senses Residences.
  • Complimentary Internet access.
    • Internet accessibility, speed, and connectivity in common areas and guest rooms vary by resort
  • Wellness Platter welcome amenity on day of arrival.
    • Benefit always subject to availability for all tiers at Six Senses Residences.

I had the pleasure of staying at the Six Senses Maldives for my honeymoon and the benefits listed above, on a 5 night stay, were easily worth $1000

Six Senses Maldives

Current IHG Ambassador Sign Up and Renewal Options

Currently, you can either use 40k IHG One Rewards or pay $200 via this link.

  • Use 40k IHG Rewards
  • Pay $200

Renewal options

  • Pay $200 and then get 15k IHG points deposited in your account
    • If you value IHG points at 1/2 a penny, you’re getting about $75 back in the form of points
  • Or use 40k points

IHG Ambassador BOGO Weekend Night terms

One of the cool parts of this benefit is that it’s not limited to entry level rooms, and you can redeem it at Intercontinental hotels. It used to be more generous and allowed Kimpton and Regent hotels, but that is no longer the case.  Even with that change, it’s been super easy to recoup the cost of membership in this weekend night.

The big caveat is it needs to be booked via their internal Weekend Night Certificate portal and over the weekend. This is the link to it

You can see in this example that even super expensive premium suites can end up being Buy One Get One – this is the Intercontinental Chicago


Stack with IHG cards from Chase

If you carry a Chase IHG credit card which offers a 4th night free, when you use points. This is particularly attractive at hotels under 40k points where you can throw the IHG Premier free night at and lock down a 5 night stay and get it all for the price of 3.  Even when using points I’ve gotten my Ambassador benefits including room upgrades. Pretty awesome.

Read more about the IHG Premier card here: 

Status Extension

This isn’t an advertised benefit of the program, but anecdotally, it has extended status through the following year. I just did this with my account, and sure enough, it extended my IHG One Rewards Diamond Status through Dec 2024.


If you don’t stay at Intercontinental hotels…this may not be worth it to you. But… If you do, or if you’re even thinking about staying at a Six Senses property in the near future, want to extend your status, or just want to enjoy the breakfast benefit, there are many ways you could recoup the fee on a few nights stay.


 Affiliate link via Card Ratings

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card


The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based. 

Welcome Offer

60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months

Annual Fee


Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

  • 3x on dining
    •  including eligible delivery services for takeout
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
  • $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Primary rental car coverage is my favorite

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 


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  • James March 21, 2022

    Kimpton Epic isn’t on South Beach. It is on the mainland part of Miami, not the big island where South Beach is.

  • Megan March 19, 2022

    Do you get the benefits on award nights or only paid nights? Particularly curious about Six Senses benefits. Thank you!

    • Miles March 19, 2022

      yep, i’ve always had them extended, in fact room upgrades usually show up in your account prior to check in

  • […] yet…if you’re like me and received a targeted Ambassador 10% renewal offer and stayed for 4 nights, the average cost in points is just 40.5k ( 162k for 4 nights […]

  • […] free benefit. If you’re like me and hold an IHG Select with 10% back, and made use of an Ambassador renewal that included another 10% back – a 4 night could end up costing you just 168k points. That is […]

  • Gino September 10, 2018

    If they were offering that package to new members I would for sure be signing myself up!

  • colleen September 10, 2018

    As a CC holder, the “renew with points” option also gives the rebate. When I renewed for 40K points, I received a 4K point rebate for a net renewal of 36K. Plus the 5K award that comes with renewal (via any option), the renewal “costs” only 31K points.

    I agree with your analysis, but just wanted to provide another data point. I too have had difficulty using the weekend free night, and haven’t redeemed one in years.

    • Miles September 10, 2018

      ah good point!

    • scott September 10, 2018

      What is the 5k award you are referencing? I’ve never received that before with Ambassador.

      • colleen September 10, 2018

        In the renewal package received after renewing, there’s typically a luggage tag, a booklet, the free BOGO certificate and a letter. Not sure what else is in the letter but it includes a code and a website to enter the code for 5000 points. Every year for at least a few IIRC. Easy to miss – my mom threw hers out thinking it was just a Welcome letter.

      • colleen September 10, 2018

        And I misspoke. This year was 5K. 2017 and 2016 were 10K points at renewal.

        So this year I renewed for 40K and got back 4K (10% CC rebate) and 5K “ambassador enrollment incentive”, all three posting separately.

        • Scott September 19, 2018

          I just received my renewal packet today and all it included was a membership card, the BOGO cert, a form with a list of Ambassador benefits and short, short letter that pretty much just says thank you. There is no code or website anywhere on any of the materials so I guess the additional points award was discontinued (at least for me).

  • Enjoy Fine Food September 10, 2018

    I missed the bargain sign-up deals a few years ago. So sad now. Bargain renewals, sigh…

  • Madison September 10, 2018

    While staying at the Intercontinental London Park Lane, the Ambassador program didn’t get me much of anything. The hotel stated we have too many Ambassador members staying with us. The weekend night certificate can only be used in combination with a paid night, correct, so it’s not really free IMO because you paid to be in the program. I have traveled back to London and stayed at the Intercontinental because I love the hotel and the location, but I don’t feel the Ambassador program is worth it.

  • Steve September 10, 2018

    I like the Ambassador program, as the late checkout and room upgrades have been always honored, creating more than $200 in value for me. The free weekend night requires a second night at a higher rate, which makes me value it at less than $200, probably $150 or so.

    But the big question I have is whether that 10% will stack with the IHG platinum 10% I get by having the credit card….

    • MDDCFlyer September 10, 2018

      The 10% from the Ambassador does stack with the 10% from the credit card.

  • Rob September 10, 2018

    What bugs me the most is when trying to use the weekend night certificate. I’ve found when clicking through the link for it gives you a higher price than what’s available for regular discounted nights. Why jack up the price just to use the certificate. Not cool.

    • Miles September 10, 2018

      Rob – definitely true, but I’ve found some outsized value in using it to book suites instead of standard rooms

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