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Is IHG Ambassador Status Worth It?

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IHG Ambassador status is a niche elite status tier that many travelers have never heard of. It provides exclusive benefits at InterContinental Hotels, plus automatic IHG Rewards Club Platinum Elite status for perks at other IHG brands.

Though there aren’t many hotel loyalty programs that offer elite status that you can buy, you still need to ask yourself: Is IHG Ambassador status worth it?

What does IHG Ambassador status include?

Benefits at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts

When you sign-up for IHG Ambassador status, you’ll receive a suite of benefits that are good at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts locations around the world.

  • Guaranteed one category room upgrade.

  • Complimentary weekend night.

  • Automatic IHG Platinum Elite status.

  • Guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout.

  • Complimentary mineral water and internet.

  • Single room rate for double occupancy.

In China, there are additional benefits for Ambassador members. Mainland China hotels provide complimentary breakfast for one person each night that you stay, while Greater China (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) properties include a welcome fruit platter.

These benefits are exclusive to stays at InterContinental hotels, so they do not apply for reservations at other IHG brands. Through Dec. 31, 2021, Ambassador benefits will also apply at participating Regent Hotels & Resorts.

Free weekend night extended to Kimpton and Regent

In 2020, IHG extended the complimentary weekend night so that it could be redeemed at Kimpton and Regent properties as well. In fact, the free weekend night is actually more flexible at these other brands because it can be used any night of the week. At Kimpton and Regent, you are not restricted just to the weekends.

When you book your Ambassador free night, do not be alarmed if the full price is listed on your reservation. The second night will be manually adjusted and credited to your bill so that you’re not charged for it.

Perks at other IHG brands

When staying at other IHG brands, Ambassador members receive the benefits included in the complimentary IHG Platinum Elite status that comes with your membership. Many of these benefits are similar to what you’ll receive as an Ambassador at InterContinental properties.

Platinum Elite status includes:

  • Complimentary room upgrades.

  • Guaranteed room availability.

  • Extended checkout, when available.

  • 50% bonus earnings on top of base points.

How to get Ambassador status in IHG

Unlike most other hotel loyalty programs, IHG Ambassador status is not earned by points, hotel nights stayed or how much you spend on the hotel’s credit card. So, here’s how to get Ambassador Status in IHG.

Buy it

IHG Rewards Club members can buy Ambassador status by paying $200 or redeeming 40,000 IHG points per year. You can purchase it online on the IHG Ambassador page or at any IHG hotel property, and your membership is good for 12 months from the date you sign up.

Use credit card perks, maybe

Some data points suggest that the $200 fee codes as travel, so you may be able to use your credit card’s travel credits to cover the fee. Otherwise, you can earn 10x points per dollar when you use the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.

Exclusive Invitation: IHG Royal Ambassador Status

Although you can buy IHG Ambassador status, IHG Royal Ambassador Status is by invitation only. IHG rewards their most loyal guests with this top-tier elite status based on an undisclosed formula that factors in qualified activities at Kimpton, InterContinental, Regent and participating Six Senses locations.

IHG Royal Ambassador status is based on a calendar year and includes the following benefits:

  • Guaranteed two category room upgrade.

  • Free night at any IHG property up to 70,000 points.

  • Guaranteed 4 p.m. check-out and 10 a.m. check-in.

  • Club InterContinental lounge access.

  • Complimentary weekend night.

  • Automatic IHG Spire Elite status.

  • Complimentary minibar up to $50 per day.

  • Choice of snack or fruit.

  • Waived destination and amenity fees.

  • Single room rate for double occupancy.

  • Invitation to Kimpton Inner Circle.

The complimentary weekend night is good for 12 months from the date of issue, and is valid on the second night of a minimum two-night stay over a weekend. The weekend night can be redeemed at any InterContinental hotel around the world, except InterContinental Alliance Resorts.

Benefits of IHG Royal Ambassador status are only available at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts. However, the benefits you receive as part of your automatic IHG Spire Elite will apply to your stays at all other IHG brand properties. Through Dec. 31, 2021, IHG Ambassador benefits are also available at participating Regent Hotels & Resorts.

The bottom line

Is IHG Ambassador status worth it? Travelers who frequent InterContinental Hotels & Resorts should invest in IHG Ambassador status. It provides exclusive perks when staying at InterContinental hotels, plus automatic IHG Platinum Elite to receive benefits at other IHG brands.

Although Ambassador status costs $200 or 40,000 points per year, the benefits outweigh the cost. Simply redeeming the complimentary weekend night should cover that upfront investment, and that’s even before factoring in other perks like room upgrades, $20 in dining credits per stay and guaranteed 4 p.m. late check-out.

For IHG members who don’t typically stay at InterContinental properties, you can receive the same Platinum Elite status automatically by having the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. With an annual fee of $89 and an annual free night, it is the better deal for you.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:

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