A LoyaltyLobby reader sent me an email regarding possibility of getting his Ambassador account upgraded back to Royal Ambassador status during the year end upgrade/downgrade reviews.
You can access IHG’s page for Ambassador program here.
Here’s the email from the reader:
i was for meny years a royal ambassador IHG
in 2017 thay take it from mi beacus i did only 70 nights right naw im spire elit ambassador
this year im riching over 80 nights (over 55 in intercontinentals 5 of them) and the rest in holiday inns
do you think thay will send mi back the royal ambassador or shell i will just move to a nother chain like hilton? over there the dimand member have to do over 60 nights and you get a lot more benefits then intercontinental like lounge acses and more benefits then holiday ins
this year spending i will be over 80 nights and around 8k
what would you do?
It was rather easy to get or renew the Royal Ambassador status in the past. Intercontinental Ambassador program used to have certificates in the box where Royal Ambassador members could refer an Ambassador member to Royal Ambassador status for 12 month period (and those being referred usually received referral certificate as well).
Qualification criteria wasn’t that difficult either and required just 50 nights and minimum of 3 Intercontinental hotels (those nights could be at all IHG brands). Later this was changed to higher night requirement and minimum number of nights were required to be spent at Intercontinental hotels.
Last year, IHG decided to start “refreshing” the Ambassador program and making it more revenue based (read more here). The Royal Ambassador program moved to based on calendar year at the time. The Royal Ambassador renewals took place on January 4 this year (read more here) and members posted their data points on that piece.
Unfortunately for the reader, I don’t believe based on the comments on that thread that the revenue of $8K is enough. I believe that the revenue target should be somewhere between $12K to $15K range for upgrades and renewals (perhaps $10K of pure IC revenue is enough).
I believe that the Intercontinental Ambassador program is fine for those that occasionally stay at Intercontinental hotels. If I hadn’t qualified for the Royal Ambassador status under the old rules, I wouldn’t try to reach it now.
The only extra benefits that Royal Ambassador members get over Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott and SPG top tier stats are guaranteed 8AM check and complimentary minibar beverages.
You have to keep in mind that there are only roughly 200 Intercontinental hotels where one can actually enjoy these benefits compared to much higher number under these other chains. There are many markets where there are no Intercontinental hotels (Rio de Janeiro) or the hotel is so bad (Santiago de Chile) that I just simply refuse to stay.
I believe that IHG and InterContinental Ambassador service are doing themselves a disservice by not clearly communicating what the qualification criteria are.