Yesterday I made a post about how to redeem the anniversary free night certificate which comes with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.
In the comments section, reader Kev wrote the following:
Would be cool if you did a post about the actual benefits of IHG Platinum status, and how that differs from the older Ambassador status they used (and still do?) have.
IHG Rewards Club Platinum benefits
Other than the anniversary free night certificate, one of the other awesome perks of having the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is that you receive Platinum status for as long as you have the card.
This is the highest tier elite status available in the IHG Rewards Club program. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of perks for Club, Gold, and Platinum status:
As you can see, this isn’t the most rewarding program in the world, but then again, do you really expect it to be when they give you top tier status just for holding onto a card with a $49 annual fee?
In practice, the main perks of Platinum status are as follows:
- Complimentary room upgrades
- A 50% bonus on base points
- Priority check-in
Room upgrades are at the hotel’s discretion, and keep in mind that some IHG properties (like many Holiday Inn Express properties) don’t have premium rooms you can be upgraded to.
That being said, as as a Platinum member I’ve had pretty good luck getting lounge access and/or suite upgrades at Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and Hotel Indigo properties. Don’t expect suite upgrades every time, but you’ll certainly get them sometimes.
As a general rule of thumb, recognition seems to be better in Asia than Europe/the US (which is true with virtually all loyalty programs, in my experience).
A few months back I stayed at the Crowne Plaza Doha, and proactively received a suite upgrade without asking.
InterContinental Ambassador benefits
While InterContinental Hotels are part of IHG (it’s what the “I” stands for, after all), they actually have a separate loyalty program, called the Ambassador program. I find it incredibly puzzling that they have this system, but it has been the case for years.
Even more puzzling is that Ambassador status doesn’t require any loyalty. Instead you can buy Ambassador status for $200 per year.
This status comes with quite a few benefits, including the following:
- Guaranteed room upgrade
- Fresh fruit upon arrival
- In-room water
- In-room gift
- Single-room rate for double occupancy
- Extended checkout—up to 4pm
- Dedicated Ambassador check-in area
- Complimentary pay-TV film per stay
- Complimentary newspaper, delivered daily
- Complimentary weekend night certificate
- Elite status in IHG® Rewards Club
- 5,000 bonus IHG® Rewards Club points
It’s worth noting that these benefits only apply when staying at InterContinental properties, and not when staying at other IHG family properties (Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, etc.).
Is Ambassador status worth it?
If you stay at an InterContinental property at least a couple of times per year I’d say it’s almost certainly worth it.
That being said, don’t expect your experience at non-InterContinental hotels to improve as a result of buying Ambassador status.
Along similar lines, don’t expect to receive many IHG Platinum benefits at InterContinental properties. While some InterContinental properties will extend benefits to Platinum members as a courtesy, technically they don’t have to.
It’s important to understand that InterContinental Ambassador benefits apply at InterContinental hotels, while IHG Rewards Club Platinum benefits apply at all other IHG properties.
For $200 per night Ambassador status can be a great deal, just as Platinum status, a free annual night certificate, and other benefits more than justify the $49 annual fee on the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.
Are you enrolled in InterContinental’s Ambassador program?