Chicago Seminars 2020 Presentation: IHG Ambassador Promotion

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Suite upgrade at the InterContinental Hong Kong. Photo courtesy of Intercontinental Hong Kong.
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The Chicago Seminars is one of my favorite travel conferences all year. This year was a bit different with it being online due to the coronavirus epidemic. Although we weren’t able to meet in person, there was still a lot of great information shared. Plus, all of the money raised went to charity. Here is my Chicago Seminars 2020 presentation about the current IHG Ambassador promotion. Keep reading to find out more.

What are the Chicago Seminars?

The Chicago Seminars is one of the oldest travel conferences in the industry. It is a fun-filled weekend of tips, tricks, and hacks with incredible people. The event is normally held near O’Hare Airport at the Holiday Inn Elk Grove. This year, however, it was a live stream due to coronavirus.

I love that all of the money (minus basic expenses) goes to charity. And this year was no different.

Chicago Seminars 2020 Presentation: IHG Ambassador Promotion

IHG Ambassador is one of the few elite status levels that you cannot earn, no matter how often you stay at IHG or spend on its credit card. You have to pay to play to receive these benefits.

The price is $200 or 40,000 IHG Rewards Club points. You can buy IHG Ambassador status online or at an IHG hotel.

Chicago Seminars 2020 presentation: IHG Ambassador promotion by Bald Thoughts

After buying your membership, you’ll automatically receive the following benefits:

  • Automatic IHG Rewards Club Platinum status
  • Bonus free night* after paid stay (worth up to 40k points)
  • Exclusive benefits at InterContinental hotels (and Regent through 12/31/2021)
  • Annual free night with paid stay**

* The bonus free night is available for people who sign up or renew by November 15, 2020.

** The annual free night with a paid stay is good at InterContinental, Kimpton, and Regent hotels. For InterContinental stays, it must be a weekend stay. Recently, IHG extended this benefit to Kimpton and Regent and allowed members to use the free night any night of the week.

Benefits of IHG Ambassador status

When you’re an IHG Ambassador, you’ll receive the following benefits when staying at an InterContinental hotel. Additionally, your benefits are extended to stays at Regent hotels through December 31, 2021.

  • Guaranteed 4 pm late checkout
  • Bottle of water daily in your room
  • Free high-speed WiFi
  • $20 resort credit for dining, bar, or mini-bar
  • One breakfast per day (in Mainland China)

If you don’t receive your upgrade or 4 pm late checkout, you’re entitled to a $50 resort credit or 10k IHG points for each. These credits are once per stay.

How to maximize the IHG Ambassador promotion

There are a few different ways to maximize the IHG Ambassador promotion. Here are a few.

How to pay for IHG Ambassador

First off, I recommend paying the $200 with your IHG Rewards Club credit card for the points or using a card’s annual travel credit. This way you can save your points to use the 4th-night free benefit from your IHG credit card. Click here for the latest travel credit card offers.

If you’re short on cash, using points is an ok redemption. You’re getting 0.5 cents per point in value this way. Using points to sign up for Ambassador before November 15th will give you a free night worth up to 40,000 points (after first paid stay). With that in mind, you’re basically getting IHG Ambassador status for free if you were planning to use those points to book a 40,000 point room.

Pairing BOGO with 4th Night Free

Once you’ve become an IHG Ambassador member, it’s time to book a room to get your free nights.

Book a stay at an InterContinental, Kimpton, or Regent hotel using the free night link in the Ambassador portal. Pair that reservation with the 4th-night free benefit (when using points) of the IHG credit card. Both the Traveler and the Premier card offer this perk.

By combining these promotions, you’ll get a 7-day, 6-night vacation using cash for one night, points for three nights, and freebies for the other two.

Within 72 hours after completing your stay, your IHG Ambassador promotion free night will post to your account. Use it for a one-night stay or again combine it with the 4th-night free credit card benefit for a longer stay.

The Bald Thoughts

I was really sad to not be able to see all of my friends in person in Chicago this year. The Chicago Seminars is an event where I know that I’ll see old friends and make many new ones. At least we were still able to support charities this year and learn from some awesome speakers over video chat.

I hope that you enjoyed my Chicago Seminars 2020 presentation about IHG Ambassador status. If you didn’t see it, contact Stefan from Rapid Travel Chai to see if there’s a way to still donate and gain access to the replay video for all of the sessions.

Even though you may be a fan of a competing brand, I highly recommend signing up for IHG Ambassador status to get the benefits and take advantage of this free night promo. IHG is in the process of revamping its loyalty program to stay competitive with other hotel brands. Having upper-echelon elite status when it launches will help you use all of the awesome benefits that are coming out soon.


  1. The bonus free night is not an eligible benefit for all members – as in my case, since I can’t renew until May 2021, I am not eligible. I understand you put the caveat in the fine print, but nonetheless it’s not a standardized benefit.

    • I’m right there with you. I can’t take advantage of this promotion either because my membership expires in February 2021. That’s why I’m signing my wife up for Ambassador in early November so we can take advantage of the BOGO and the bonus free night.

    • I have friends who are higher-up in the IHG loyalty department. They shared a broad outline last summer. Everything has been delayed due to coronavirus – less revenue, furloughed employees, uncertain future of travel, etc.

      • Care to share some of the broad outline that are coming? Are Spire elites going to get free breakfast/lounge access at ALL IHG brands? Is the IC Ambassador program going to roll out free breakfast for Ambassador members (just like in the Greater China region?)

        • My contact hasn’t provided specifics that I can disclose. He said that IHG has noticed what other brands have done to reward loyalty and that they plan to be very competitive in how they take care of their elite members. What I do know, and feel comfortable sharing, is that programs like IHG Ambassador and Kimpton Inner Circle will be merged into one loyalty program.

  2. Lee, can you tell me more about this: “When the InterContinental Club Lounge is not available, you’ll receive a $100 credit for every night that you cannot access the lounge.” Lounge access is not a benefit, except for RAs, so would this come into play only when you book a paid night in the room that includes lounge access? I didn’t know about this!

    • You’re right, Christine. I goofed on that one. I deleted that line since that $100 benefit is only for Royal Ambassadors, and I don’t want to confuse anyone.


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