IHG Rewards Club is changing the benefits of its InterContinental Ambassador and Royal Ambassador programs come 2019.
Some of the changes were leaked last week (read more here and here) and then yesterday (read more here) IHG sent out an email to Ambassador members. I now have got hold of a memo that hotels have received confirming what is coming on our way soon.
You can access IHG’s page for Ambassador program changes here.
Here’s the document:
InterContinental Royal Ambassador members will lose double occupancy for the price of a single. This mainly applies for stays in Japan. Royal Ambassadors won’t get the free pay TV movie anymore and all Ambassador members will lose the local gift.
Royal Ambassador members are eligible for guaranteed check in from 10AM instead of 8AM.
Royal Ambassador minibar benefit going forward will be $50 per night and max $200 per stay instead of complimentary beverages refreshed daily.
Ambassador members are getting $20 (could be less in other currencies) F&B credit per stay that can be used for minibar as well.
Here where it gets confusing. The website that IHG was referring to yesterday indicated that the Ambassador member complimentary breakfast would be only applicable for hotels in Greater China. Here there is no note about that indicating that it would be valid worldwide.
Royal Ambassador members are eligible for two breakfasts if hotel doesn’t have a club lounge.
Those nasty resort or urban destination fees are waived for Royal Ambassador members.
Benefit guarantees are exactly as leaked before. The late check out and room upgrade failure compensations are inadequate. Should have been at minimum 100,000 points to make any dent to the hotel. I do, however, like the $100 per night F&B credit in a case that hotel doesn’t have a Club lounge or offer Club experience for Royal Ambassador members.
I have requested clarification about the Ambassador breakfast benefit from IHG due to the discrepancy between the web page and material delivered to hotels.
The minibar benefit change to Royal Ambassadors is a significant downgrade. There is no way around it. From a daily refresh to $50 daily credit max $200 per stay penalizes those that have longer stays and members who are “thirsty”.
The guaranteed benefits are no longer really guaranteed when hotel can just give you 10,000 points and be done with the late check out and room/suite upgrade. The number of points given for these incidents should have been much higher to really penalize hotels.
I do like the Royal Ambassador member F&B credit and breakfast at hotels that don’t have a club lounge or don’t provide club experience. InterContinental Amstel comes to mind.
The double occupancy for a price of a single may have an effect for those that stay in Japan that often have different prices depending on how many people stay. I cannot remember when was the last time I watched a pay TV movie. There are often gifts at InterContinental hotels but I leave them behind 99% of the time.