A LoyaltyLobby left us a question on the website regarding InterContinental Royal Ambassador upgrades on paid versus award stays?
You can access Ambassador program homepage here.
Here’s the question from the reader:
I was wondering how much hotels are paid by the Ambassador club when I pay the normal rate with ihg points? Not with the point breaks promotion but with the full amount of points? I booked the Intercontinental Hotel Standfort in Hong Kong. Once with points (50’000) and once with cash. I’m a Royal Ambassador member and as you can imagine, the upgrade for the room paid in cash shown for the upcoming reservation in the App is much better than the one paid with points.
I realise that treatment is not the same. As most loyal customer they let you feel that you should better pay cash….
Who knows more an can give me a good advice?
InterContinental Ambassador program gives great leeway to the properties what they must offer to Ambassador and Royal Ambassador members on award stays. Most of the benefits are officially excluded, although many properties don’t discriminate between between paid and award stays.
Here’s what IHG Rewards Club T&Cs say:
When staying on Reward Nights, all Ambassador and Royal Ambassador Privileges apply with the exception of upgrades, free Pay-TV film per stay, 24-hour guaranteed room availability, 8:00 am early check-in and complimentary mini-bar beverages (where a cost for these benefits is applicable). A Rewards Night booking must be booked under the IHG Rewards Club account of the member for him/her to enjoy the benefits.
Basically Ambassador/Royal Ambassador members are eligible for the 4PM check out and welcome amenity.
IHG Rewards Club reimburses hotels for the award nights consumed. The standard reimbursements is $20 to $50 per night. If the hotel occupancy rate is greater than 95%, IHG then reimburses close to the ADR (Average Daily Rate) for the night. IHG Rewards Club has incentives for properties that get large share of award nights by offering them higher reimbursement rate.
Most InterContinental properties that I have stayed at have extended the Royal Ambassador benefits even when staying on points or using promotional free nights such as the China Dream couple years back.
The problem probably is that there are handful of properties that get far higher share of award redemptions compared to middle of the road IHG properties. Hong Kong is probably one of those locations.
I have stayed at the Grand Stanford many times and most recently last week. The standard Royal Ambassador upgrade has been the Premium View Room with Club lounge access. Whenever I am at the property, I tend to get some work done in the Club lounge. There is quieter area that has a large table next to the conference room.