IHG are now offering a dining discount at participating hotels in Asia Pacific, the Middle East, India and Africa. IHG Ambassador members are eligible for this new benefit, which we detail below.
The new benefit
Until the end of 2019, Intercontinental Ambassador members will receive the following:
- 15% discount at restaurants and bars in Asia Pacific
- 30% discount at restaurants and bars in the Middle East, India and Africa
The discount is on food, beverages and dining, and you do not need to be staying at the hotel to take advantage of the benefit.
The discount is applicable for a maximum of 8 people, including the member.
You must remember to confirm your membership with presentation of a valid Rewards Club membership app, card or virtual card, at time of settling the bill. You can obviously choose to defer your charges to your room if you are staying at the property, but you will still need to make sure the discount is calculated at time of signing your dining receipt, rather than at check-out.
For details of the participating hotels where this discount is available, see the list here.
For the most part, the properties are Intercontinental. However in Greater China—which includes Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan—there is a separate list which also includes other IHG brands, including Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn.
You will not receive a discount on any of the following:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Meals included within a room rate
- Seasonal menus
- In-room dining
- Groups, events bookings and private dining rooms
- In-room minibar
A guide to the InterContinental Ambassador membership programme
The InterContinental Ambassador programme is a $200 USD paid membership with a number of benefits specific to InterContinental Hotels globally, and which requires nothing more than cash to procure, making it ideal if you have an upcoming InterContinental stay.
Here we dig into the benefits of the Ambassador programme and cover some ways to maximise value from it.
The basics of the InterContinental Ambassador programme
IHG’s Ambassador programme is a paid membership that offers the following benefits at most InterContinental properties (the terms and conditions show that there are some variances in benefits at certain properties):
- Complimentary weekend night certificate, valid on the second night of a paid weekend stay on the Ambassador Weekend Rate.
- Enjoy a guaranteed upgrade to a superior room at check in, each time you stay. Note that while you may receive an upgrade to a Club InterContinental room, you will not receive any club benefits if you haven’t already booked one. Speciality Suite exceptions can be reviewed here
- Guaranteed 4 pm late check out
- USD20 restaurants & bars credit ($25 in AU/NZ, 120RMB in China but only for Spire Elite)
- Fresh mineral water, replenished daily
- Welcome fruit platters for stays in Greater China
- One complimentary breakfast every night you stay in Mainland China
- Complimentary premium Internet access
- Single room rate for double occupancy
- Guaranteed room availability with 72 hour advance reservation
- 15% discount at restaurants and bars at participating properties in Asia Pacific
You’ll also receive Platinum Elite status with IHG Rewards, which will give you recognition at all other IHG properties, like Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza.
All of these benefits are available as part of the Ambassador programme for $200 USD – this also being the renewal cost annually thereafter.
How best to use InterContinental Ambassador
The benefit that stands out to me is the annual complimentary second weekend night stay. If you are planning a weekend at any of InterContinental Hotels and Resorts properties, this benefit can offset the majority of the annual fee.
Ambassador free weekend night certificate
There are some restrictions on the use of the free weekend night certificate, the biggest being that they can only be used when the paid night is on the Ambassador Weekend Rate (IHG-speak for flexible rate), which is usually dearer than more “restrictive” rates.
However for two-night weekend stays, this will usually still be cheaper than booking at a restrictive rate, and my take is that the Ambassador membership is worthwhile even if it’s only put to use for that one weekend each year.
‘Weekend’ is defined to include Friday, Saturday and Sunday, except in the Middle East where hotels may define the weekend as Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The certificate is loaded to your IHG account. Those joining before 1 March 2019 however would have received a paper certificate that can be handed over to the hotel upon checking in.
The complimentary weekend night credit can be redeemed here.
Spend the weekend at the InterContinental Wellington
Ambassador room upgrades
Room upgrades are valid on any paid rate, and you’ll get bumped up to the next category room from the rate you paid on.
The best way to use the room upgrade benefit is to carefully research the room types at the InterContinental you are looking to stay at – target the specific room category you want to stay in, and then email the hotel before booking to ensure you book the right room type to ensure you get upgraded into the room you want.
Once booked, you can then revalidate with the hotel (again by email) that they will be upgrading you into the room type you desire.
Some InterContinental Hotels will upgrade your reservation category for you in advance so you can see it on your booking. This is not an official benefit however so don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t occur!
Note that on New Year’s Eve, the room upgrade will be subject to availability, rather than being an as-of-right benefit.
Are the room upgrade and late checkout really ‘guaranteed’?
The ‘guaranteed’ room upgrade and 4pm late check-out can be ‘bought out’ by the hotel for 10,000 IHG points, or a USD$50 restaurant & bar or spa credit.
IHG have confirmed for me that the offering is at the discretion of the hotel. For example, there are reports that the Intercontinental Bali will only offer points.
The Intercontinental Wellington however gave me the option when I stayed with them in June this year—I had booked a club twin room, and no higher category rooms offered two beds—and I naturally opted for the $70 NZD credit that was on offer. Together with the $25 NZD Ambassador credit, and two free drink vouchers, this made for a good hour or two at the bar!
How the IC Ambassador programme works alongside IHG Rewards
We’ve previously looked at several hotel loyalty programmes, including IHG Rewards from the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) which consists of InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Kimpton, Crowne Plaza, Indigo, Hualuxe, Staybridge and Candlewood Suites hotel chains.
IHG Rewards Club loyalty programme tiers start at the base Club tier, and you work your way up to Gold Elite, Platinum Elite and Spire Elite after meeting their respective prerequisites.
Ambassador is independent of IHG Rewards, with the exception that one of the benefits of paying for Ambassador is IHG Rewards Platinum status.
Your Ambassador benefits on rewards night stays
Booked your stay using points? You will receive this reduced range of Ambassador benefits on your stay:
- USD20 restaurants & bars credit ($25 in AU/NZ)
- Guaranteed 4pm late check out
- Complimentary premium internet access
- Complimentary mineral water daily
For an initial and ongoing USD 200 fee, you get a complimentary weekend night stay and a host of other benefits at any InterContinental Hotels and Resorts property around the world, the most valuable being the guaranteed room upgrade, and 4.00pm late check-out.
On top of that, you also get upgraded to Platinum Elite status on the IHG Rewards Club programme, which is recognised at over 4,900 IHG hotels in nearly 100 countries. If you have a weekend trip where there is an InterContinental hotel, the Ambassador membership may be right for you.
Have you had a great value Ambassador stay? Let us know in the comments below.