Lucky reports that Intercontinental “BOGO” (a.k.a. free weekend night valid with a paid weekend night) certificates may be losing some value.
These certificates come in the welcome kit for Intercontinental Ambassador membership ($150 per year, complimentary for downgraded Royal Ambassadors, and there are sometimes promos to earn this status through stays and there are also reportsof successfully redeeming Priority Club points for it).
Details on the free weekend night certificates are here.
A year ago, these certificates were restricted so that you couldn’t book a suite and receive a free night in a suite. Previously, you could book any room you wished — even a Presidential suite — for a paid Friday or Saturday night, and get the next night free. (Weekend definition varies somewhat in the Middle East.) With the new restriction you could only book a room below the level of a suite. Usually even an Ambassador can count on a one category upgrade, which often means a suite of some kind (perhaps junior), and Royal Ambassadors might still get something better.
Now it appears that these certificates will require booking a specific free weekend night certificate rate, which appears to mirror the best flexible rate. So no more discounted or pre-paid rates in combination with a free weekend night certificate rate (rate code IBAMB — book directly with this link). In fact, the FAQ on the Intercontinental website now reads
Do I have to book a specific rate when using the complimentary weekend night certificate?
Ambassadors need to book on the Ambassador Weekend Rate (“AMB Certificate”) in order to claim their free weekend night. Certificate is only valid on the second night of a minimum two night paid weekend stay and is not valid in conjunction with Reward Night bookings or any other free night offer. The Certificate is not valid on any other rates or for suite bookings. Advance reservations required. Rooms on the Ambassador ‘Weekend rate’ are subject to availability.
So they specifically require a designated rate, and now it may be subject to capacity controls.
Presumably older buy one get one certificates would not be subject to this restriction, that the new certificates will reflect something of these new terms and conditions. If that’s the case, that will make the older certificates more valuable until they expire.