Many frequent travellers are accustomed to climbing the status ladder with their preferred airlines. The further up the status ladder you go, the greater the benefits you gain. However, many travellers are not as aware that many hotel loyalty programs offer similar status levels. And again, with that higher status comes greater benefits. For those in the know, however, the requirements to reach status with hotels just seem more out-of-reach than for airlines. Why? Because many travellers can rack up status points from airlines via day trips for work (or leisure, for that matter). Whereas hotel loyalty programs require stays and nights. And in many cases, multiple stays and multiple nights to get meaningful rewards.

So wouldn’t it be great if there was an option to fast-track your way to hotel status? Introducing the InterContinental Ambassador program. For an annual membership fee of US$200 or 40,000 IHG One Rewards points, you fast-track your way to a special status within the IHG One Rewards program. It’s not an IHG One status in its own right; rather, it sits alongside the IHG One Rewards program.

Such a paid membership is quite unique in the industry. Accor is the only other hotel chain offering a similar pay-for-benefits membership through its Accor Plus program. This guide runs through all the benefits you can expect if you join the InterContinental Ambassador program.

IHG Rewards Club
InterContinental Hayman Island resort

What is the InterContinental Ambassador program?

After you’ve paid the US$200 or 40,000 IHG One Rewards points annual membership, there are no other requirements needed for the Ambassador program’s benefits. As an Ambassador member, you will receive:

  • Guaranteed one-category room upgrade
  • Guaranteed extended 4 pm check-out
  • Complimentary weekend night*
  • Platinum Elite status in IHG® One Rewards, and the corresponding benefits
  • Restaurants & bars credit of up to USD$20 for every stay*
  • Complimentary mineral water
  • Complimentary internet
  • Dedicated check-in area
  • Single room rate for double occupancy
  • Mainland China Only: Complimentary breakfast for one each night you stay

* Terms & Conditions Apply. See Full Terms & Conditions.

As an Ambassador member, you will be upgraded to Platinum Elite status within IHG One Rewards. So technically, when you join Ambassador, you can’t be anything less than a Platinum Elite Ambassador member. Stay enough at IHG properties and you can upgrade yourself to Diamond Ambassador status.

Unlike Ambassador, which is only recognised within the InterContinental brand, Platinum Elite status is recognised across the IHG portfolio of brands.

Intercontinental Hotels
Enjoy upgraded benefits at IHG properties with Platinum Elite Status.

Invite only: Royal Ambassador membership

Select InterContinental Ambassador members may be invited to join Royal Ambassador status. This is an invite-only tier extended to a small percentage of members based on their activity at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts.

The benefits of this invite-only status include:

  • Guaranteed two-category room upgrade 
  • Free Night at an IHG property* 
  • Guaranteed extended 4 pm check-out and early 10 am check-in 
  • Club InterContinental® lounge access where available, and complimentary breakfast for two per night at properties without a Club InterContinental lounge  
  • Complimentary Weekend Night*  
  • Diamond Elite status in IHG One Rewards, and the corresponding IHG One Rewards benefits   
  • Updated for 2024: 25 Food & Beverage Rewards valued at USD$20 each* (this replaces the previous minibar benefit)  
  • Complimentary premium internet  
  • Choice of a sweet or savoury snack, or fruit 
  • Dedicated check-in area 
  • 24-hour room guarantee 
  • Waived destination/amenity fees 
  • Single room rate for double occupancy  
  • Invitation to Kimpton Inner Circle  

*Terms & Conditions apply. See Full Terms & Conditions

Ad – Scroll down to continue reading.Minimum spend, terms & conditions apply.

What are the best perks of InterContinental Ambassador?

My three favourite benefits are the granting of Platinum Elite status, the annual complimentary second weekend night stay and the one-category room upgrade. With the latter benefit, this has the potential to offset the majority of the annual membership cost.

Ambassador free weekend night certificate

There are some restrictions on the use of the free weekend night certificate. You must make sure that you select the Ambassador Weekend Rate (IHG-speak for flexible rate). And that you book on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, except in the Middle East, where you must book Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Otherwise, there is no free second night for you.

Clearly, a flexible rate is more costly than a non-refundable rate. However, for two-night weekend stays, using the certificate will generally still be cheaper than booking at a restrictive rate. Therefore, the second free night offers great value.

Ambassador room upgrades

Room upgrades are valid on any commercial rate. Your upgraded room is based on your original booking rate. As an Ambassador, that is a one-category bump.

The best way to use the room upgrade benefit is to carefully research the room types at the InterContinental Hotel you are looking to stay at. Target the specific room category you want to stay in and then book one category below this. As a tip, you may wish to email the hotel before booking to ensure you book the right room type.

We’ve collated some of the room upgrade policies for Ambassador members in Asia-Pacific here →

Once booked, you can then revalidate with the hotel (again by email) that they will be upgrading you to the room type you desire. Some InterContinental Hotels will upgrade your reservation category for you in advance so you can see it on your online booking or through the app. Don’t be disappointed if this doesn’t occur, however, as it is not an officially published benefit.

InterContinental Sydney Room
A room at the InterContinental Sydney

How does InterContinental Ambassador work with IHG One Rewards?

As a refresher, Ambassador sits alongside IHG One Rewards and is not a status level within the IHG One Rewards program itself. That is, the word ‘Ambassador’ is going to be tagged onto the end of whatever IHG One Rewards status level that you hold.

In 2022, IHG made changes to its status levels, which included new names and changes to status benefits. Here is a link to the changes to the IHG One Rewards Rewards program.

Summing up

For an initial and ongoing annual fee of US$200 or 40,000 IHG One Rewards points, you get a host of benefits when staying at InterContiental Hotels and Resorts, as well as some benefits that extend to the entire IHG group of brands. Specifically, the Platinum Elite status.

These benefits make your travel experience just that more comfortable and stress-free. From extended check-out time to a restaurant and bar credit, these benefits all help to make the travel journey run smoothly.

Therefore, if you frequent InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, the Ambassador program may just be the fit for you.

Article updated by Brandon Loo and Daniel Kinnoch.

Have you had a great value Ambassador stay? Let us know in the comments below.

The Ultimate Guide to the InterContinental Ambassador Program was last modified: April 19th, 2024 by Daniel Sciberras