A LoyaltyLobby reader who is also new InterContinental Royal Ambassador member sent me a question regarding benefits on award stays.
You can access InterContinental page for Ambassador benefits here.
Here’s the email from the reader:
I’ve seen all your recent posts on IHG RA – I actually qualified so have the benefit this year (I found out by accident – I wasn’t told by IHG?!). I’ve read the terms and conditions and have an area for clarification and wanted to see if you could help?
– I understand the benefits on paid nights (and how these (currently!) vary in different locations).
– I also understand that for reward nights all benefits apply for RA (excluding upgrades, free Pay TV, 24 hour availability, early check in and free minibar beverages) – which would imply it means that club intercontinental entitlement applies to reward nights too (looking at just Asia PAC properties today).
Do you have a view?
I’ve also written to IHG but guess you may already know?!
IHG Rewards Club is the only hotel loyalty program that basically penalizes elite members that stay using awards at their hotels (at least based on the program T&Cs).
I have to say, however, that the majority of InterContinental hotels that I have stayed using awards (mainly using PointBreaks in the past) have honored all the benefits on award stays as well. The only benefit that sometimes are not included are the minibar beverages.
The Club access for paid stays is extending to other regions too on February 1 and March 1, 2017 (read more here).
It really depends, whether Club access is considered an upgrade or not. IHG has now not explicitly excluded it.
IHG Rewards Club really should do the same like all the other hotel loyalty programs and apply the same benefits on award stays as on paid. It really doesn’t make sense that the guests are penalized when they are using points.
Like I said above, I have had hotels honoring the Royal Ambassador benefits on award stays as well. Could be that this is problematic at the most sought-after InterContinental hotels that get a higher share of award redemptions.