IHG has announced a couple of upcoming changes that will affect those with Ambassador status. While the changes will be minor for some, it could affect the value proposition for people deciding whether to join or renew Ambassador membership, especially with the current promotion going on.
Ambassador Complimentary Weekend Night – No Longer Useable At Regent & Kimpton
When joining or renewing Ambassador membership, you get a complimentary weekend night certificate that can be redeemed when paying for the first night of the weekend stay. Historically, this could only be used at InterContinental properties, but in the last year or two IHG enhanced the certificate so that it could also be redeemed at Regent (outside of Greater China) and Kimpton properties. Even better, at Regent and Kimpton hotels you could redeem the “weekend” night certificate on any day of the week, although weekend stays were still required at InterContinental properties.
Unfortunately from January 1, 2023 that’s changing. From the start of the year, you’ll no longer be able to redeem the complimentary weekend night certificate at Regent nor Kimpton locations no matter whether it’s a weekend stay or not.
That’s disappointing, especially because a two night stay which includes the use of the complimentary weekend night fulfills the requirements of staying two nights in order to earn the bonus points from the current Ambassador promotion (see Earn 20,000 Bonus Points When Joining Or Renewing IHG Ambassador Membership & Staying 2 Nights for more details on that). With that promotion, although you have to join/renew your Ambassador membership by December 31, 2022, you have until January 31, 2023 to complete the two nights stayed at eligible properties to earn the 20,000 points. If you had your eye on a Regent or Kimpton property to do that, you now only have until the end of December in which to do that.
No More Ambassador Status Benefits At Regent Properties
The other change that’s being made from January 1, 2023 is that members with Ambassador status will no longer receive benefits when staying at Regent Hotels & Resorts. That means Ambassadors won’t receive the following status benefits from the start of the year:
- A local ‘Signature Amenity’ benefit shall be offered.
- Royal Ambassador minibar credit capped at USD50 per day and USD200 per stay may be replaced by an alternative credit of equal value at the discretion of each hotel.
- Royal Ambassador two category room upgrade replaced by a one category upgrade. Room upgrade is upon availability at Regent Hotels & Resorts in Greater China.
- Early Check-in and Extended Check-Out for Ambassador and Royal Ambassador members are always subject to availability at Regent Hotels & Resorts in Greater China.
- Complimentary breakfast: One complimentary full breakfast for each night of the stay for the Ambassador member, valid only in the main restaurant. Not applicable to in-room dining. Valid in Mainland China only.
There are only 8 Regent hotels worldwide and so this change will have a limited effect on most people, but it could materially change the value of booking stays for those who do like to frequent Regent locations. Having said that, some of the loss of these benefits will be mitigated by those with Diamond status. For example, Diamond members can choose complimentary breakfast as their welcome amenity, while room upgrades should – in theory – be more generously provided since IHG revamped their loyalty program earlier this year, so Royal Ambassadors who also have Diamond status might not see their upgrade experience negatively impacted.
Overall, this is a disappointing development considering both of these changes are a devaluation with no upside to help balance the changes, but the changes will likely also only affect a relatively small number of IHG One Rewards members. For more details about IHG’s Ambassador status, see InterContinental Ambassador: elite status you can buy.
Will bin mine after this year.
Just see no benefits in this program.
IHG really has the “Two steps forward, three steps back” concept down pat.
Now that the hotel industry is at record profits, in spite of loyalty members’ complaints, the programs and the owners can cut benefit after benefit with the comfort knowing that it will all flow to the bottom line without risk. And, people still seek tier status.
Stephen, if we sign up for Ambassador to get our Direct to Diamond status extended through 2023, can we book a trip now (for before December 31) during the week at a Kimpton and get the second night free? If we do this, we just need to pay cash for one night and we’d get the next night free AND get the 20k bonus points?
Yep! You have to book the specific eligible rate which you can search for here: https://www.ihg.com/intercontinental/content/us/en/ambassador/free-weekend-certificate/book
Note that the rate displayed in the search results is usually the lower member rate or Advance Purchase rate, so you need to click through to the ‘Select Your Room’ page to see the ‘Ambassador Complimentary Weekend Night’ rate.
Do Ambassador guests get free breakfast at ICs?
Not as such. If you’re an Ambassador member staying at an InterContinental in mainland China you do. You also get a $20 restaurant & bar credit per stay which you can put towards breakfast, but I doubt that’d cover the cost of breakfast for one morning at any InterContinental.
If you have Diamond status with IHG though, you can now choose free breakfast as your welcome amenity at InterContinental properties.