A LoyaltyLobby reader forwarded me his requalification email for Royal Ambassador status that IHG Rewards Club has just sent out (still waiting for mine).
The Ambassador program moved the Royal Ambassador qualification period and status validity to calendar year starting in 2017 and has now informed on this email about a significant qualification change for the 2018 membership year.
You can access IHG’s web page for the Royal Ambassador program here.
Readers posted (access here) what their activity in 2016 was and whether their status got renewed or not. The Royal Ambassador program changed how upgrades are processed (read more here) and club access will soon be included everywhere. There were other changes too (read more here) that affect Ambassador members.
Based on the data points posted by the readers, it appears that there is a requirement of $10,000 spent at InterContinental hotels to get renewed or upgraded to Royal Ambassador status.
For 2017 status, IHG seems to have included activity at other hotels brands as well BUT this is gone for 2018 qualifications based on the email sent:
For 2018 invitations, only activity at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts will be taken into consideration.
I believe that it is a mistake on the IHG’s part not to include spend at other IHG brands towards the Royal Ambassador invitation. There are only about 200 InterContinental hotels around the world and the brand is missing from many major cities where IHG has other hotels.
For those that wish to requalify or qualify towards Royal Ambassador status, there is no incentive to stay at Crowne Plazas or Indigos at all beyond some bonus points (Spire Elite benefits are still mostly non-existent at all IHG brands).
Members can now stay at Hilton, Marriott, Starwood and other brands that offer full service hotels (and meaningful status benefits) in these cities where IC has no presence.
It will be interesting to see if $10K spend is enough to qualify for 2018 or if they gradually jack this up to $15K to $20K.