A LoyaltyLobby reader left a comment on our most recent piece about the InterContinental Ambassador program benefit changes and about our coverage of these “enhancements”.
You can access IHG’s page for Ambassador program here.
Here’s the comment from the reader:
John, You have lost creditability over your slopping posting on Ambassador. You have now posted 5 times on the topic in the past 8 days always correcting yourself as you write on snippets you get from front desk lacky in China. Have you received an official statement from your contacts at IHG providing a comprehensive overview of what the changes actually are? So I assume your ‘fake news’ will continue until you share with us the official statement.
I am a Royal and haven’t received communication on where my status is, but I know how much I spend and feel comfortable that I will retain as a true loyalist so lets see what comes in January. Regardless of what comes and from what you have stated Royal is still the best invitational status from all the hotel groups as it guarantees early check-in and minibar even if it is a credit. I don’t see Marriott, Hilton or Hyatt doing this from only staying in one of their brands like Westin, Conrad, Grand etc.
I shall remain loyal to InterContinental as my stays go beyond what is written in benefits but appreciate the personal interaction and experiences with the InterCons hotels I stay in. They treat me like a human and are genuine with their warmth. Sure the InterCons in the US suck so I stay at Kimpton and Hyatt for a better experience. You have lost a reader as your postings get sloppier.
IHG sent out Royal Ambassador teasers to some Ambassador members in early November (read more here) that referenced the minibar credits instead of complimentary minibar. I requested clarification at this time from IHG.
Then last week, some of these changes were leaked on a FlyerTalk post (read more here) that I decided we should cover, although these were not confirmed. I sent a couple of emails to IHG trying to get clarification about the changes.
Shortly thereafter, I received a reply from an IHG spokesperson (read more here) that most of the posted changes were indeed connect.
Three days later (read more here), IHG put up a webpage for Ambassador members about the benefits in 2019. Do note that nothing has been said officially about Royal Ambassador benefits in 2019 to date.
This past Tuesday (read more here), I got an internal memo regarding Ambassador and Royal Ambassador benefits in 2019 that was sent to hotels by IHG. This memo confirmed the leak that we reported earlier. The only difference was the breakfast benefit.
A day later, on Wednesday (read more here), I had a call with the spokesperson at which time the breakfast benefit was clarified (I also received an email) to apply only to Greater China properties.
Sometimes when a spokesperson doesn’t reply, it means that they either doesn’t have the information, don’t want us to cover it or want to delay the piece. If we feel that the topic is important enough and I believe that the information we have on hand is correct, we will go ahead and publish it regardless. We rarely have articles with unconfirmed information based on rumours that the reader here is referring to.
I don’t think that material can be more official than something printed off of IHG’s intranet/sent to hotels by IHG in the case of the updated Ambassador & Royal Ambassador benefits (the two page doc we posted earlier this week).
I believe that the reader is just not happy that most of the readers have criticized these changes that IHG and InterContinental Ambassador program here are implementing.
I don’t believe that anyone should feel the need to be “true loyalist” to any of these corporations. I take advantage of the hotel and airline loyalty programs. When I feel that they don’t provide value, I dump individual programs and move on. You should always take critical view of them without too much emotional baggage.
We always welcome critical feedback. I just felt that I needed to explain our coverage of InterContinental Ambassador and Royal Ambassador programs changes in 2019. It would have been much easier for all of us if IHG would have just put up a simple web page explaining all the changes that they still haven’t done.