I just signed up for the InterContinental Ambassador program, and in the process extended my IHG One Rewards Diamond status by a year. Let me explain.
Extending IHG Diamond with InterContinental Ambassador
IHG’s loyalty program situation can be a bit complicated:
- IHG One Rewards is IHG’s primary loyalty program, covering all hotel brands
- InterContinental Ambassador is a paid membership program (it costs $200 or 40,000 IHG points per year to enroll), and offers additional perks at InterContinental properties
For years, IHG has had an unofficial but consistent policy for easily renewing top-tier status (now known as Diamond, but previously known as Spire). Specifically, if you register or renew your InterContinental Ambassador membership, then your status is automatically renewed by a year.
Let me once again emphasize that while this has consistently been offered, it’s not a published policy. I’d imagine it’s not an error either, though. Enrolling for InterContinental Ambassador ordinarily gets you IHG One Rewards Platinum status, so I suspect the idea is to give existing Diamond members some further incentive to enroll.
I signed up for Ambassador, extended Diamond
While I’ve known about this trick for years, I finally used it for myself for the first time, thanks to a couple of factors:
- Like many of you, I recently picked up free instant IHG One Rewards Diamond status, valid through December 31, 2022 (this offer is no longer available)
- There’s currently an InterContinental Ambassador enrollment offer, where you can get 20,000 bonus points when you enroll by December 31, 2022, and stay two eligible nights at select properties by January 31, 2023
This seemed to me like a good opportunity. My IHG account showed my status as expiring on December 31, 2022.
I then enrolled in InterContinental Ambassador, which is a process that takes all of one minute. You can do this either for $200 cash or 40,000 IHG points. I value IHG points at 0.5 cents each, so that’s roughly breakeven.
I then refreshed my IHG account, and it immediately showed my status being extended by a year, through December 31, 2023. I also received an email confirming that my status had been extended.
Is this actually worth it, though?
Some will no doubt see the immediate value in this, while others will likely wonder if it’s worth parting with $200 or 40,000 IHG points to take advantage of this. Here’s how I view this:
- At a minimum I’m intrigued by IHG One Rewards Diamond status, and I want to experience the perks for more stays, to see how valuable it is; being able to get perks like free breakfast, 100% bonus points, and more, could really add up
- InterContinental Ambassador membership has the potential to pay for itself if you stay at InterContinentals with any frequency, and offers a guaranteed upgrade, a $20 credit per stay, and a complimentary buy one get one free weekend night reward, among other perks
- If I can stay two eligible nights by January 31, 2023, I’ll earn 20,000 IHG points, which I value at $100, so that recoups half of my InterContinental Ambassador enrollment cost
I don’t think this is some slam dunk value that everyone should take advantage of, especially if you are focused on other programs. But I also think there’s a lot of value to be had here for the right kind of person.
I should also mention that you can receive IHG Platinum status just for having the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card (review) or IHG® Rewards Premier Business Credit Card (review), and you can earn IHG Diamond status by spending $40,000 on either card in a calendar year.
It’s unofficially possible for existing IHG Diamond members to extend status by a year when enrolling or renewing an InterContinental Ambassador membership (which costs $200 or 40,000 IHG points).
Since many people recently picked up temporary IHG Diamond status, and since there’s currently an InterContinental Ambassador enrollment promotion, I figured this opportunity was worth covering. I just enrolled for InterContinental Ambassador, and my Diamond status is now valid for an additional year, through December 31, 2023.
Let me once again emphasize that this policy has been in place for a long time, but it’s unofficial. I’m only sharing my experience, but of course I can’t guarantee this will continue to be possible forever, etc.
Any other IHG Diamond members enrolling in InterContinental Ambassador in order to extend status?
(Tip of the hat to Tito)
just tried this. My ambassador membership was up for renewal 5/1. Cashed in 40k points to renew. When I refreshed the screen it showed Diamond had changed from 12/31/23 to 12/31/2024. Thanks for sharing this!
I just renewed AMB Membership. Strangely I didn't receive a renewal email and my AMB expires 1 April. I just happened to see the renewal message (I knew it was soonish but have been staying at Hilton's recently). Anyway, Diamond membership was extended to 31/12/2024 when I renewed AMB....pretty cool.
AMB Membership is worth it in my view and cost can be covered with just one weekend stay (on more expensive Intercon's, you can also save significant dollars).
Worked for me! I have been diamond elite with expiration date of 31 Dec 22. Didn't get enough stays/nights/points to get the status extended for 2023. Paid 200 USD to join ambassador and my diamond elite was instantly extended till end of december 2023.
anyone able to register lately? I get a "can't process payment" error using credit card or points.
Worked for me
For REAL diamonds who earned status the hard way, it still works (even with a CoVID-extension and no stays this year). I just tried it, took 40 seconds to reflect on my account (or maybe less, it took me 40 seconds to check ;-) ). Just the way it should be. Receiving status for free without a match is nice for a few months, but that shouldn't be extended IMHO. Keeps the perks for the ones who earned it.
Diamond status got extended to Dec 2023.
The delay got me anxious, took around 30 mins.
I appreciate this post and website very much
Thank you so much for the tip. It worked for me too... instantly! I was so afraid it wouldn't work because I'm located in Belgium (rules are so often different from the USA) but I got my Diamond status extended till Dec 31st, 2023! Amongst the perks, I love the free breakfast they offer to Diamond members (I think I'll move some of my bookings from Hilton to IHG for next year... at least).
Hey, thanks for sharing. I also took the offer to sign up for diamond elite, bought the ambassador and got instantly diamond until the end of 2023. By staying now 4 nights in any hotel you roughly get 40t points (10k for staying 4 nights promo, 20k ambassador promo, 5k doubled diamond elite) so totally worth it in my opinion. If IHG starts up a new sale on Black Friday there is a possibility to...
Hey, thanks for sharing. I also took the offer to sign up for diamond elite, bought the ambassador and got instantly diamond until the end of 2023. By staying now 4 nights in any hotel you roughly get 40t points (10k for staying 4 nights promo, 20k ambassador promo, 5k doubled diamond elite) so totally worth it in my opinion. If IHG starts up a new sale on Black Friday there is a possibility to walk out worth more points in euro than you have to pay all in all.
Again huge thanks!!
It did extend after all but took about 30 minutes after I signed up
Just signed up for Ambassador and it did not extend my diamond status
I already qualified for Diamond until 12/2023, does anybody know if Diamond would be extended until 2024 if I sign up now for IHG Ambassador ?
I had received the Diamond status through the challenge as mentioned above. Otherwise I am a Platinum. It did NOT extend my status which is still listed as expiring 12/31/2022.
Maybe Herbie screwed it up by calling and alerting them (see below). Adding some language to these advising against checking is probably worth doing.
Ah. It did update. Just delayed.
As I mentioned the other night, an IHG rep advised me that I could NOT get an extension by signing up for Ambassador. (I am a new Diamond, having jumped on the mistaken (?) offer recently made.) I do not have the nerve to commit to paying for Ambassador and then maybe finding out that I got no extension. As you may suspect, I am a firm believer in Murphy's Law.
i just now signed up online and it updated my expiration date to 12/23. I think you can safely count on it working, but to each his own.
Murphy's Law holds true because loose lips people like you sink ships.
And if you can't even commit $200 (and even get 20k points back!), you probably shouldn't be doing any of this.
Thanks Ben. I was already Elite but grabbed your published offer for Diamond. Reupped my Ambassador membership and extended until 12/31/23. Sitting in Intercontinental Koh Samui. Very good breakfast. Recently stayed in Vienna, Budapest and Istanbul. The breakfasts alone has paid for itself, plus I don’t have to stay 70 nights to keep Diamond this year!
Such good advice. I was in the same position, but had decided not to renew given lack of travel during the pandemic. This has made me rejoin, and am already confirmed as a Diamond Elite through until December 2023.
The single best advantage of Ambassador status is that room upgrade and late checkout. I hate having to pack to a deadline, or leave my bags with the concierge, so 4pm seems to cover most occasions.
This is why I read you blog!
Good post, thank you.
So that's why I got extended through December '23. Thanks for explaining. I renewed Ambassador and after that noticed the extension but hadn't connected the two. Some free breakfasts with Diamond status have been a good deal, last one I was a little disappointed this past weekend, not in the food (I wanted to try it, it was a Holiday Inn with an attached Machine Shed restaurant which basically is all about breakfast) but the...
So that's why I got extended through December '23. Thanks for explaining. I renewed Ambassador and after that noticed the extension but hadn't connected the two. Some free breakfasts with Diamond status have been a good deal, last one I was a little disappointed this past weekend, not in the food (I wanted to try it, it was a Holiday Inn with an attached Machine Shed restaurant which basically is all about breakfast) but the award came in the form of vouchers which turned out to be worth $10 apiece, which doesn't make anything free when every entree goes for more than that...
Yup worked here also! Extended Diamond Elite through 2023 very nice! IHG has so upped their game they are my new go to hotel chain. Looking forward to an Intercontinental or two as well.
I did exactly the same thing. Free Diamond two weeks ago and 40,000 points for Ambassador’s Club today.
What’s the best way to leverage this into status matching??
The IHG Diamond free DAILY breakfasts at hotels that don't already offer it is just an amazingly valuable perk (relative to the standard amenity that is typically a paltry number of points worth 600 points per STAY) . At recent Kimpton stays, these are worth easily $25-$40 per person for food and drinks. For example, Was able to opt for a steak and eggs "breakfast" right before the breakfast window closed (so "brunch"), plus fresh-squeezed...
The IHG Diamond free DAILY breakfasts at hotels that don't already offer it is just an amazingly valuable perk (relative to the standard amenity that is typically a paltry number of points worth 600 points per STAY) . At recent Kimpton stays, these are worth easily $25-$40 per person for food and drinks. For example, Was able to opt for a steak and eggs "breakfast" right before the breakfast window closed (so "brunch"), plus fresh-squeezed OJ and cappuccino that would have otherwise totaled close to $40 each. Effectively got comped $80 on what was an annual reward night stay.
I think this Diamond/Ambassador combo is an incredible value proposition for those that currently have Diamond, but which is set to expire at the end of the year due to insufficient stays or spending. I was converted from Spire to Diamond earlier this year, but was nowhere near being able to renew it organically through stays or spend. I had signed up for Ambassador last year and that expired in September (and I did not renew at the time).
Even though I was already Diamond, I jumped on the Straight to Diamond promo when it came out (thanks OMAAT!), and actually got a confirmation email (despite already being Diamond). I was then banking on 10 paid stays to renew through 2023, but also had some upcoming Intercontinental stays in December as part of that (and some coming in January), so figured I would re-enroll in Ambassador to also get the guaranteed upgrades at IC Cartagena and a Ambassador Weekend night rate at IC Tahiti (2 nights in an overwater bungalow for < $1000 after the 2nd night "free" - effectively < $600/night if I add in the $200 Ambassador fee). The sweetener was the 20000 point "rebate" after my first two Cartagena nights. Did that yesterday, and was surprised to get the email that my Diamond status was extended for another year (confirmed by looking at my account page).
I was not sure that my 10 paid nights after signing up for the StD promotion would actually happen and now I am debating whether to use IHG points for my 8 night Cartagena stay instead of paying (2 of 8 nights at 0 points due to being a IHG Rewards cardmember) since I already am extended through 2023. Did the math and it's a wash (at around 0.5 cents per point valuation), especially due to USD/COP exchange rate dropping like a rock and prices in pesos for 8 paid nights are very low for those of us with dollars. But it's good to have "options"...
Does the 1 free weekend night you get with this promotion count towards the 2 night stay you need to get the 20,000 IHG bonus points? So if I were to pay for a Friday night and use my free weekend night on Saturday, does that count? Any data points?
Yes, it does. Literally from the T&C: "The “Ambassador Complimentary Weekend Night” rate is a Qualifying Rate, and the complimentary night may be counted towards the two nights needed to qualify for the additional 20,000 bonus points".
Thank you Tito
Yup, that and much more!
In addition to being a hardcore Honors Honors ‘zealot’, I am about to become a hardcore IHG ‘zealot’, because after getting the IHG Diamond status through their recent 'botched' “Straight to Diamond” promo, I decided to read up closely on what the program has to offer. My overall impression is that as a result its latest...
Yup, that and much more!
In addition to being a hardcore Honors Honors ‘zealot’, I am about to become a hardcore IHG ‘zealot’, because after getting the IHG Diamond status through their recent 'botched' “Straight to Diamond” promo, I decided to read up closely on what the program has to offer. My overall impression is that as a result its latest programmatic 'enhancements', IHG has become a Hilton Honors clone, offering elites perks that I perfected the art of making the most of over the years ("The Art of the Deal", gulp!).
So, the "assimilation" is well under way:
• One of my first acts after becoming an IHG Diamond was to get the Chase IHG Premier MC, which will put 140K IHG points in my now-empty account after I spend $3K in 3 months.
• Then, I paid $200 to become an Intercontinental Diamond Ambassador, a no-brainer really, with all the perks that come with it. As a result, my IHG Diamond got automatically extended to 12/31/2023 before I did a single IHG stay or earned a single IHG point. [In fact, 3 days ago LoyaltyLobby prominently featured my post on how I got this done, with a screen shot of my account : https://bit.ly/3fvlIgd ]
• Lastly, I booked a 4-night revenue stay at InterContinental Hotels Chicago Magnificent Mile for around Thanksgiving that will earn me a 20K bonus for becoming Ambassador, in addition to all the points that I will earn from the relatively pricey revenue stay. I plan to put to the test all the claimed/promised Intercontinental Diamond Ambassador perks during the stay.
Here are the implications:
Before Marriott Rewards became BONVoY and gutted its Gold status that I had through a CC, it was my #1 fallback program, while HGP/WoH was #2 for the purpose award redemption. After MR became BONVoY and gutted both its Gold status and its once-decent Rewards program to try to appease former SPG loyalists, I had enough: I transferred all my BONVoY points to SQ miles and made WoH my #1 fallback program, in spite of the latter's tiny footprint.
After finding out more about IHG and feeling that it's a program that I can thrive in, I have now made it my #1 fallback program, which, considering IHG's huge footprint, may mean that WoH and I are about to become even more "estranged", except perhaps for very few destinations that may have a WoH hotel, but no HH or IHG presence.
Hello IHG, goodbye WoH!
LOL: HH - Honors Honors ? No, Hilton Honors, of course!
Good for you, I guess IHG didn't bother this time. Maybe because of milestones they didn't care much.
However, being highlighted by extortionists isn't something to brag about.
You lost me after "Good for you", as I do not have the foggiest idea what the rest, including pejoratives like "extortionists" and "brag", is about, especially since the process that I took advantage of to extend my IHG Diamond status has been a wide open secret for years...
'being highlighted by extortionists isn't something to brag about' - Eskimo is referring to LoyaltyLobby.
No wonder it made no sense to me but please enlighten me: why is LoyaltyLobby an 'extortionist'?
Not my opinion. But it's no secret that LL (particularly Sebastian) have some shady fame for some ppl in the community (based on many comments I have read).
Sebastian at LL is without a doubt a "loose cannon", but I find the site and its creator/editor to be generally more even-handed (read: less biased), hence, more informative in how they treat various loyalty programs and offers than either OMAAT or VFTW.
I just now signed up for the Ambassador program. For some weird reason though, the sign-up page wouldn’t work for me if I chose the option to by cash, however it did work when I chose to use 40,000 points. That’s not really what I initially wanted to do, but on second thought it was probably the best option, as I had just recently taken of advantage of the 100% bonus offer on purchased points...
I just now signed up for the Ambassador program. For some weird reason though, the sign-up page wouldn’t work for me if I chose the option to by cash, however it did work when I chose to use 40,000 points. That’s not really what I initially wanted to do, but on second thought it was probably the best option, as I had just recently taken of advantage of the 100% bonus offer on purchased points (I paid for 50,000 points and got an additional 50,000 points for free). So I suppose signing up for the Ambassador program really cost me only 20,000 points instead of 40,000.
As an aside, I’ve gotten quite a lot of value from my IHG membership lately. I’m wrapping up a 2.5 month long trip in Europe and I’ve been able to use my IHG benefits for six nights at IHG properties, without spending any cash at all. I had four annual free night certificates (thanks to my two IHG credit cards), which I was able to use for stays at the Intercontinental hotels in Barcelona and Marseilles, a Mr. & Mrs. Smith’s in Camogli, Italy, and a Holiday Inn in Istanbul.
So I’ve gotten quite a bit of value for my IHG Diamond Elite status this year, which is now extended through Dec. 31, 2023.
It worked for me. I think IHG was smart to basically give away top-tier status for $100 (Diamond promo + Ambassador promo) to the few people who cared enough to jump on it immediately when offered. I have been disappointed with the Hilton side of my Hilton/Hyatt combo ever since they did away with free breakfast for Diamonds in the US. Moreover, upgrades as a Diamond seem to be less and less frequent as time...
It worked for me. I think IHG was smart to basically give away top-tier status for $100 (Diamond promo + Ambassador promo) to the few people who cared enough to jump on it immediately when offered. I have been disappointed with the Hilton side of my Hilton/Hyatt combo ever since they did away with free breakfast for Diamonds in the US. Moreover, upgrades as a Diamond seem to be less and less frequent as time goes on. Many hotels have closed lounges. I just don't think Hilton's program has much value anymore.
IHG has just revamped their program to make it competitive and between Kimpton, voco, Regent, and Intercontinental, they have a lot of nice properties around the globe (admittedly it will be better when the majority of Six Senses properties join the rewards program). The Mr. & Mrs. Smith partnership is also great - between that and SLH at World of Hyatt there really is good access to a lot of cool boutique properties. On the cheap end, I see no difference between Holiday Inn Express and Hampton.
So I have gone from basically no IHG stays to getting the IHG Premier card from Chase and rebooking several Hilton stays in favor of IHG properties -- I likely would have done none of that had it not been for the promo.
@Ian -- The latest incarnation of IHG is simply a cheap imitation of Hilton Honors. If you are no longer getting any value out of HH, I doubt that you'll fare any better switching to IHG.
What exactly do you think you'll get on award stay an at Mr. & Mrs. Smith? There is now a notice in IHG accounts that "Beginning January 1, your Ambassador benefits will no longer be applicable at Regent,...
@Ian -- The latest incarnation of IHG is simply a cheap imitation of Hilton Honors. If you are no longer getting any value out of HH, I doubt that you'll fare any better switching to IHG.
What exactly do you think you'll get on award stay an at Mr. & Mrs. Smith? There is now a notice in IHG accounts that "Beginning January 1, your Ambassador benefits will no longer be applicable at Regent, and the Complimentary Weekend Night will not be available for use at Regent or Kimpton hotels." Regent may be leaving IHG... I suggest you read up on the program before making big pronouncements. You may simply be robbing St. Peter to give to St. Paul (the relative statures of the two personalities implied).
I still get a ton of value out of HH, which I see as complementary with IHG rather than as either/or or mutually exclusive. They have many of the same perks but offered differently, e.g., Hilton has the 5th award night free, and IHG has the 4th award night free, which extends one's ability to save points: with IHG book 3 nights get the 4th night free, with HH book 4 nights get the 5th free.
If the grass always seems greener elsewhere than where you are, it is quite likely a visual illusion.
I did the same, luckily I grabbed the instant Diamond a while back and now it’s valid till end of 2023, amazing!
Do award nights count as qualifying nights?
Award nights do count as qualifying nights.
If you were referring to the 20K bonus points for two stays before 31 Jan 23, they have to be paid nights.
This could have been outdated. I just purchased ambassador and it showed the ambassador status but my diamond status still shows expiring 12/31/22. Please make sure this trick still works?
Interesting - I just purchased ambassador and it successfully extended my diamond status through 12/31/23
I took it back. Apparently in my case somehow it took a longer while for the status to get updated. Now finally extended. Thanks Ben!
Thanks Ben - that finally addresses my question. I'd enrolled in March for Ambassador, and when the new program rolled out in April I saw that I had Diamond extended thru Dec 2023. Now I know why!
What if you are already Ambassador? Can it be renewed early to extend Diamond using this method?
I have the same question. I purchased Ambassador in September for a stay at an IC hotel. Then I got Diamond status in the promo Ben mentions in his article (which expires in December). However, I am not able to renew early to extend Diamond.
Sad I missed the news about this when it happened since I mainly stay at IHG. Platinum status doesn't really seem to get you much. I don't believe I have ever got a platinum upgrade for example. Late check out can be helpful but isn't really guaranteed. I suppose the extra bonus points are nice enough.
Platinum gets you a reasonable chance of upgrades x-US