Edit: There might have been a glitch on the Priority Club website that shows the Ambassador downgrade as a Royal Ambassador Renewal. I will update this post when I have further info.
InterContinental Royal Ambassador is the status above the Ambassador. Joining the InterContinental Ambassador program costs $200. I know it is somewhat confusing that you collect Priority Club points on your InterContinental stays, but Priority Club Gold or Platinum benefits do not apply. I have written about buying the Ambassador status and if it makes sense to pay for it, and about the InterContinental Royal Ambassador status and kit.
InterContinental Royal Ambassador Requirement
The Ambassador Service center has never come clean about the exact requirements for the Royal Ambassador status. The line that they tend to give out is that you need to be within 1% of the all Ambassadors to be “elevated” to a Royal one and that the award stays and stays at non-InterContinental hotels of the IHG wouldn’t count.
After you buy your Ambassador status the Ambassador service center will monitor the number of stays that you have and, if you meet the qualification for the Royal Ambassador, you will just see a line in your account history about this. Couple of weeks later you will receive the kit on mail.
Those that earn the status will also receive a referral certificate that they can use to upgrade an Ambassador to Royal Ambassador status. These sometimes end up being sold on eBay for around $500.
InterContinental Royal Ambassador Renewal
You were upgraded to Royal Ambassador status, referred by a friend/colleague, or bought it off of eBay. Now, you would like to renew it on your own, but unsure about the qualification requirements. You are then in as dark as everybody else when it comes to renewing the Royal Ambassador status.
The requirement for renewal is the same vague “being in the 1% of the Ambassador members” as is getting the Royal Ambassador in the first place.
It was been widely speculated on FlyerTalk that the requirement would be around 60 paid InterContinental nights. This is not the case, however, based on me personal experience.
My Royal Ambassador renewal was processed on August 31st and I had the following number of IHG, InterContinental Hotels Group, stays in the previous 12 months:
28 paid InterContinental Nights at 8 different hotels
13 paid non-IC Nights (Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express & Crowne Plaza)
= 41 PAID NIGHTS
15 award InterContinental Nights at 4 different hotels (13 on Point Breaks)
1 InterContinental night free on BRG (Best Rate Guarantee)
1 award non-IC Nights
= 17 AWARD NIGHTS
TOTAL OF 58 NIGHTS
The Ambassador service center or Priority Club never have clearly communicated the exact requirement of getting or renewing the Royal Ambassador status.
Based on my experience, the award and non-InterContinental nights do count in as well. There is no other explanation why my account would have been renewed at just 28 paid InterContinental nights.
I believe that the requirement is about 60 nights that can be a combination of awards and non-InterContinental nights as well.