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Currently, IHG runs two parallel programs for InterContinental hotels and IHG group's entire properties. InterContinental Ambassador Program benefits only apply when you are staying at InterContinental hotels.
For now, InterContinental Ambassador cost 200 USD or 40,000 IHG Rewards Points and gives you the following benefits:
Complimentary Weekend Night CertificateGuaranteed One Category Room UpgradeEarly Check-in and Late Check-outWelcome Amenities (Gifts, Refreshments and Water)
The benefits provided by Ambassador program at many aspects overlap with IHG Rewards Club's own. From Room Upgrade to Early Check-in etc. In many ways, real values of the Ambassador Program is rather limited in comparison to what top tiers get at other hotel chains. Despite which of the two or even both of the programs you become a part of. Free breakfast and club lounge access are still never guaranteed. This has to be one of the biggest turn-off for many business travellers.
Free Breakfast and club lounge access is something gold tier members easily get at other chains like Hilton and Marriott. I have to say that things aren't exactly are turning for the better, instead, a recent survey revealed some positive changes could be happening to the InterContinental Ambassador program next year.
The survey was sent to IHG Rewards Club Advisors members, that was a program ran by IHG years ago where they sent out invitations to certain members to join. Members who choose to join can complete surveys for IHG rewards points.
For this particular survey, Advisors can receive 5000 IHG rewards points for completing it. Here's some newly proposed benefits that could be added to next year's InterContinental Ambassadors Program:
One complimentary buffet breakfast per nightGuaranteed one category upgrade4pm late checkout$20 Food & Beverages/mini bar creditAnnual complimentary night certificate (valid on second night of paid stay)Platinum statusComplimentary high speed internetComplimentary mineral water per day
Additional when achieve membership milestones
Annual pass to Club LoungeAnnual suite upgrade on paid stay
In addition to this potential benefits, the cost for joining and renewing Ambassador membership has also raised from 200 USD to 250 USD.
Points To Reflect Upon
Royal Ambassador Benefits?
If this is what Platinum/Spire Ambassadors get, what could be happening to Royal Ambassadors?
Weekend Night Free Certificate Being Replaced?
In the new survey, they've not mention anything regarding the already existing free weekend night certificate. I suppose it's being replaced with a simple second night free certificate as a "improvement", or could they both co-exist?
Platinum Status Is Included In Ambassador Program?
If it become so easy to get Platinum Status, along with such benefits as free breakfast, then not many people are going to push for anything above, though nothing is guaranteed now, so one way or another, a huge improvement.
Mini-Bar Credit To Replace Welcome Gift?
The food & beverages / mini-bar credits would in many ways be of more value to the unspecified welcome gifts, as normally we would get some pieces of chocolates and cookies in a plate, being able to order at a restaurant for 20 USD surely is a lot better than chewing on dry cookies.
So far, this is only a survey that's being leaked among frequent flyers forums, so nothing would be set in stone.
I am happy to see how many of those benefits could really be added when they choose to "improve" the current program. To many people, the most useful perks would be free breakfast and lounge access. But seeing the way they are researching and developing on this, I doubt they are going to introduce all of the aforementioned benefits altogether more likely, they would just "improve" upon current ones.
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Premium OSL lounge is not another independent lounge at Oslo Gardemoen Airport, in fact, it's a part of the OSL lounge that's much newer and is known to the surprisingly few passengers.
The Premium OSL Lounge itself is not brand new, as it was first opened three years ago, the problem here is that the receptionists rarely inform passengers regarding this part of the lounge, so most passengers just ignore the small entrance and stay at the rather dated OSL Lounge.
Just like OSL Lounge, the access to Premium OSL Lounge is obtained by your elite status with an airline's frequent flyers program, or through some third party programmes, least fortunate case, you may pay 300 kroner for the admission.
Pratical Info:
Contracted Airlines:
Norwegian (long distance flights outside Europe, premium class), Aeroflot, Air France, Czech Airlines, KLM, British Airways, Finnair, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Icelandair, TAP Portugal, TUIfly, Nordic (long distance flights outside Europe, premium class), Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia (Royal Class passengers).
Opening Hours:
Open from 9:oo am and close before normal lounge closing hours.
Third-party Access Via:
DragonPass, DNB, SpareBank, Handelsbanken
They even have a small transitional area before entering the Premium OSL Lounge.
Seating Area:
Since the lounge is newer, they offer some impeccable seating options, with the ambience of lights, you could mistaken it for those jaw-droppingly-nice lounges by Cathay Pacific, well, for just one second.
As I've mentioned, with the minimalistic style of the decor and the ambient lighting setup, they set off the ritziness of the lounge by contrast. Scandinavian design speak for itself here.
Large communal table with chairs, with power socket accessible in the middle.
Sofa sets arrangements, pleasant-looking and inviting.
Another part of the lounge with impeccable seating design.
The seating area are capacious and the furnitures are modern and full of taste. A small drawback here would be the lack of power socket on each individual seat.
Food & Drinks:
During breakfast hours, they offer exactly the same spread of food and drinks for passengers in both lounges, but was informed by one of the staff that food & drink offerings are slightly better after 1:00 pm and some other times during the day.
I've figured by myself that the tea offerings in the back is a boutique brand from Aarhus, Denmark; which is not available at the "normal" OSL lounge.
Norwegian local beer brand Hansa on tap.
Wine and sparkling wine offerings, not something you would go out your way to try.
Another gluten free corner. Casually displayed.
Breakfast offerings.
Sliced fruit and cheese plates. Also not available at OSL lounge.
Salats and salmon rolls.
Whole grains to complement cereals.
Waffles with fruit jam.
Bottom Line:
As I was about to leave the lounge for my flight, I noticed that they start to change into their lunch menu offerings, in which they served some warm plates like curry chicken with pita bread, so I would say, based on my observation, food and drinks offerings at Premium OSL Lounge is consistently better.
If you travel through Oslo airport often or in the future, definitely check out this part of the OSL lounge, I have always had reservations towards contracted lounges in Europe, but if these are what they can manage to offer, I doubt why I wouldn't have a pleasant pre-departue experience.
Are you surprised by what you see? I looked up online and fail to see much coverage on the new part of the lounge. All the other reviews are only showing the "normal" OSL lounge, so hope some of you guys are excited on finding out about this, as even on Avinor's website, they do not mention much about it, just the mere picture that set the clue for me.
As always, stay tuned.
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