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IHG’s top tier brand Intercontinental ( not counting Regent or Six Senses – can’t wait for that one ) operates their own wholly independent loyalty program, Ambassador. Unlike most loyalty programs, Ambassador is a pay to join program, traditionally costing $200 for the first year, and then $150 for each subsequent year. ( There are some options to use points as well). With that you receive the following benefits:
Here’s what the program currently offers:
- Joining costs either $200 or 40k points
- Guaranteed upgrade upon arrival
- Usually the upgrade shows on the account prior to arrival
- Complimentary Weekend Night
- must be booked via their site
- Enjoy a 4 pm late check out
- Choice of refreshments on arrival, in-room welcome gift, and mineral water.
- Comped Platinum Status
- $20 bar or restaurant credit per room
- 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
These benefits have been highly valuable to me and my family ) and as a result we’ve kept Ambassador on multiple accounts since 2016. The past couple of years, 2017 + 2018, IHG has offered their Ambassador members outstandingly attractive renewal options. This year, they’re back at it, and I’ll walk you through my thinking on why we chose to renew, and how it will ultimately create value for us.
The past two years, 2017/2018 there were 3 options:
- Renew for $150
- Pay $200 and then get 15k IHG points + 10% back on points up to 100k
- Renew for 40k points
This year, we received two options – you’ll notice the $150 has been eliminated
- $200 and receive 15k IHG points + 10% back on reward nights ( 100k total w/Intercontinental )
- This stacks with any other offers including old IHG Rewards Select 10% back deals
- Renew with 40k points
We went with $200 + 15k IHG points + 10% rebate for the 3rd straight year.
If we value 15k IHG points at 1/2 a cent a piece then they’re essentially giving us $75 in value. That knocks the out of pocket cost down to $125. Seeing as tho we get a free weekend night, and almost any Intercontinental in the world is more than $125 a night, we’re already net positive on the renewal. This doesn’t take into account upgrades, free movies, etc. However, even if we don’t utilize the BOGO night I still think it make sense for us. Why?
The 10% rebate. This is a huge win for my family. Using the same 1/2 cent valuation on IHG points, as long as we use 250k points a year, we’re going to receive 25k+ in refunds which equals $125+ in value.
This year we took a trip to Israel and stayed at the Intercontinental David. We used points to stay there a total of 5 nights in 2 rooms. That means each room, since they were both booked via Ambassador accounts, each received 25k points back recouping the cost of the membership easily. In reality, because I, my mom, and my dad all have old IHG Rewards Select cards card that offer an additional 10%, we spend just 40k a night at a hotel that charges $400+
Also…if you carry a Chase IHG Premier card that offers a 4th night free, you’d receive an additional 10% off the net cost of your Intercontinental stay. 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 less if you’re Ambassador w/ 10% back ).
With renewal offers like these…we will continue to happily renew – if you’re interested in signing up for Ambassador go here.
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