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)