IHG Royal Ambassador Terms & Conditions Update

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InterContinental Hotels Group has quietly changed some of its program terms and conditions regarding the Royal Ambassador status and benefits. This update was done this past Friday or Saturday (October 18 or 19, 2013).

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Here are the old terms and conditions:

Royal Ambassador Status: Royal Ambassador status is the highest level of status and entitles IHG® Rewards ClubAmbassador members to additional benefits at InterContinental Hotels and Resorts. Royal Ambassador status is granted to IHG® Rewards ClubAmbassador members by invitation and at IHG® Rewards Club’ sole discretion. IHG® Rewards Club reserves the right to limit the number of members with Royal Ambassador status. Royal Ambassador’s receive Guaranteed room availability for one room occupied by the Royal Ambassador with 24-hour advance reservation. Reservations must be made before 12:00 midday (local hotel time) 24 hours prior to intended arrival for room availability to be guaranteed. Only in exceptional circumstances where the hotel has been completely reserved by the Government and with explicit IHG® Rewards Club approval, may a reservation be declined. Early check-in (8:00 am) shall be available to all Royal Ambassadors. An upgrade to an Executive room, Club InterContinental room or a Suite for Royal Ambassadors at check-in is guaranteed. Where a Club InterContinental room is given, Club lounge access must also be given. Club lounge access otherwise is only to be given at the discretion of the hotel and is not a benefit. The following Suites are not included in the upgrade policy: InterContinental – Presidential Suite. InterContinental – Royal Suite. In circumstances where an executive room, Club InterContinental room or a suite is not available at 8:00 am, the Royal Ambassador will be checked into an available room until the executive room, Club InterContinental room or the Suite is available later on the day of arrival. Use of all in-hotel health club facilities (where available) shall be complimentary for Royal Ambassadors. Treatments such as massage, facials, manicure may incur charges. Beverages are complimentary from the mini-bar in the Royal Ambassador’s personal room only, and for in-room consumption by member only (benefit excludes non-beverage items). Void where prohibited by law.

Here are the updated terms and conditions:

Royal Ambassador Status: Royal Ambassador status is the highest level of status and entitles Ambassador members to additional benefits at InterContinental Hotels and Resorts. Royal Ambassador status is granted to Ambassador members by invitation and at IHG® Rewards Club sole discretion. IHG® Rewards Club reserves the right to limit the number of members with Royal Ambassador status. Royal Ambassador’s receive Guaranteed room availability for one room occupied by the Royal Ambassador with 24-hour advance reservation. Reservations must be made before 12:00 midday (local hotel time) 24 hours prior to intended arrival for room availability to be guaranteed. Only in exceptional circumstances where the hotel has been completely reserved by the Government and with explicit IHG® Rewards Club approval, may a reservation be declined. Early check-in (8:00 am) shall be available to all Royal Ambassadors. An upgrade to an Executive room, Club InterContinental room or a Suite for Royal Ambassadors at check-in is guaranteed. Where a Club InterContinental room is given, Club lounge access must also be given. Club lounge access otherwise is only to be given at the discretion of the hotel and is not a benefit. The type of room upgrade allocated is at the discretion of the hotel. The following Suites are not included in the upgrade policy: InterContinental Hong Kong – Signature Suites (Terrace Suite, CEO Suite, Presidential Suite). InterContinental Park Lane – Signature Suites. In circumstances where an executive room, Club InterContinental room or a suite is not available at 8:00 am, the Royal Ambassador will be checked into an available room until the executive room, Club InterContinental room or the Suite is available later on the day of arrival. Use of all in-hotel health club facilities (where available) shall be complimentary for Royal Ambassadors. Treatments such as massage, facials, manicure may incur charges. Beverages are complimentary from the mini-bar in the Royal Ambassador’s personal room only, and for in-room consumption by member only (benefit excludes non-beverage items). Void where prohibited by law. Royal referral certificate: Each certificate is valid for 12 months from the date of issue and only one certificate is redeemable per member per year. Members who have themselves been referred are not eligible to make a nomination.

IHG has occasionally mailed out Royal Ambassador referral certificates even for referred members by a mistake. This latest update on the T&C’s deals with this issue rendering those worthless.

There are some suite types that are now excluded from the Royal Ambassador upgrade benefits, but those are really high end suites that properties don’t typically upgrade Royal Ambassador members.

Conclusion

This is not a huge change, but I don’t like when programs update their terms and conditions and don’t inform their members about the program changes.

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