InterContinental Royal Ambassador is the highest status that applies for stays at InterContinental hotels. It is by invitation only and requires you first to purchase Ambassador status using cash or points.
The qualification criteria has fluctuated over the years and Royal Ambassador members for a long time were also able to refer a friend to the same status level. These referrals were discontinued a couple of years ago. InterContinental is moving to a revenue based criteria for Royal Ambassadors that I wrote about here.
You can access IHG’s web page for Ambassador program here.
Here’s the various qualification criteria said to be used over the years:
1. Minimum of 20 InterContinental nights at 3 different IC hotels. Minimum of 50 IHG nights.
2. Minimum of 30 InterContinental nights at 3 different IC hotels. Minimum of 60 IHG nights.
3. Minimum of 30 InterContinental nights at 3 different IC hotels. Minimum of 75 IHG nights.
4. Being in the top 1% of all Ambassador members.
Sometimes award nights were counted and sometimes not. Also, stays that were fixed manually afterwards perhaps weren’t counted as qualifying under the automated process. You had to contact the Ambassador service center and ask them to do a manual count. This could still be the case.
When I was checking my account balance over the weekend, I realized that my Royal Ambassador status had been extended a month before it’s expiry. They used to run this two months before but now only a month.
I then decided to check the number of nights that I had consumed over the 12 month qualification period. Previously, you were only able to go back 180 days on the website but this was recently changed to 365. You can still go back much further on the mobile one (access here).
I had 175 items on my transaction history for the past 12 months. I did do a manual count and came up with the following numbers:
September 1 – August 31
– 110 qualifying nights (no rollovers included) including 1 award night
– 70 qualifying nights at 28 different InterContinental hotels
– Crowne Plaza 15 nights, Holiday Inn 11 nights, Holiday Inn Express 6 nights, Indigo 6 nights and Holiday Inn Resort 1 night
– I had stayed at IHG hotels in 29 different countries
And yes. There is a discrepancy of one night on these numbers…..
Now I am eagerly waiting to see if delivering the new Royal Ambassador portfolio takes 10 months like last time. I doubt it unless they decide to tweak the content of the portfolio or card again.
I really do like the benefits of Royal Ambassador status when staying at InterContinental hotels such as the almost guaranteed suite upgrades, guaranteed 8AM check in and 4PM check out, complimentary minibar (usually drink the non-alcoholic stuff) and club lounge access (usually given but not required by the program T&Cs).
When they go entirely revenue based, however, I will move my stays to another chain.