Sometime last year, I got an email invite from IHG to join the InterContinental® Ambassador program.  I had seen this offer from time to time, but I wasn’t staying at Intercontinental properties often enough to make it worth my while.  That was, until things change late last year. I had to attend a work event and I decided to give the program a try.  The cost to enroll in the program is $200 USD or 40,000 points.  I opted for the latter.

Benefits of the IHG Ambassador program

I was already an IHG platinum due to holding the Chase IHG card. In my experience, the platinum doesn’t get you much “tangible” benefits, at least compared to other hotel brands.  The status does not provide for complimentary breakfasts/credits, and room upgrades are rare.  The IHG program can feel underwhelming in that way.

Since the IHG Ambassador program is a paid program, I had much higher hopes.  These are the listed benefits:

  • Guaranteed one category room upgrade
  • Guaranteed extended 4pm check-out
  • Complimentary weekend night*
  • Platinum Elite status in IHG® One Rewards, and the corresponding benefits
  • Restaurants & bars credit of up to USD20 for every stay*
  • Complimentary mineral water
  • Complimentary internet
  • Dedicated check-in area
  • Single room rate for double occupancy

I bolded the benefits I was most interested in, and tested them out at the Intercontinental stay.

Experience with Restaurant/bar credit for up to $20

I had a drink that was added to my folio during my stay.  The not-fully-used credit was automatically credited back to my folio at check-out, under “Ambassador Perks”.   I appreciated that this was automatically applied, without having to ask.  While the credit won’t go far at Intercontinental, it is still a nice perk if you plan to grab a bite or a drink.

Experience with complimentary weekend night

I actually thought the complimentary weekend night was going to be the most valuable benefit of the program.  The website has a FAQ:

The “The Complimentary Weekend Night is valid on the second night of a minimum two-night paid weekend stay on the Ambassador Complimentary Weekend Night Rate at any InterContinental Hotels & Resorts property worldwide”, generally defined as Friday, Saturday and Sunday, except in the Middle East.

In hindsight, I’m not confident that this is as good of a benefit as I thought.  I was searching for availability at a particular property in Europe.  While the regular rate is available, the “Ambassador Complimentary Weekend Night Rate” was not available.  We ended up having to look for another option.  The major downside is that if the rate isn’t available, then this benefit can be a hit or a miss.

Experience with Extended 4pm checkout

I haven’t had to request an 4pm checkout, but I have asked for a late check out at 3pm.  The front desk accommodated the request.  I like the flexibility here in the event you have other morning or early afternoon plans on the departure day.

Experience with one category room upgrade

The one category upgrade was the reason I wanted to try out the program.  It paid off.  I had a booking for a standard room and a couple of days before check-in, I see that I was upgraded to a “King Premium Corner View”.  It was a true category upgrade (spacious and a fantastic corner view on a high floor!)   There are some properties that count a better room views as one “category” upgrade, which I think is quite misleading.


All in all, I enjoyed the benefits of the Ambassador program, with the huge caveat that they are useful only if you plan to stay at an Intercontinental property very often in a given year.  While I like some of the perks of the program, they are actually not so compelling enough to make me want to renew year after year.


I am intrigued.  If you are an IHG ambassador, what had been your experience with upgrades at the Intercontinental properties?   Any particularly great or bad upgrade experiences?