A LoyaltyLobby reader dropped us an email about IHG Rewards Club InterContinental Royal Ambassador renewals for 2019 that have been at least party processed by now.
You can access IHG’s page for Ambassador program here.
Here’s the email from the reader:
I have this week raised the question with IHG about Royal Ambassador renewal, as it is that time of the year again when we all wonder if we have been “good enough” over the past 12 months to be rewarded. I have my work schedule for Q1 of 2019, and need to book plenty of room nights across the world. So it stands to reason, before booking up, to know if my Royal Ambassador Status is to be maintained.
Interestingly, one of my friends, also a Royal Ambassador has seen an entry on his online IHG Statement dated 27th December showing “Royal Ambassador Kit – 0 points” so it begged the question why I had not. We have both stayed an equal number of nights, and spent a similar amount of money – exceeding the US$10,000 spend requirement to trigger Royal Ambassador, and staying in excess of 30 InterContinental nights a year. My total IHG nights are 115 to date for 2018.
The response from IHG Ambassador Services (below) is more than a little bit worrying. Ambassador Services appear to have returned to fielding the response of “by invitation only” and more of concern is the statement “The collaterals were already triggered to “some” of our members prior to end of the year as they need to be processed and shipped” Now given that both of us Royal Ambassador members live in the UK, about 65 miles from each other, it appears that some accounts are earmarked as higher priority than others. I would hope this is not the case – because there are simply no differences between our stays/spend, and equally I would hope this is not anything more sinister, as the only thing that separates us is that we have recognisable surnames that would clearly denote our ethnicity.
Back in December 2016 I received a call from Kari Morris, IHG Corporate Liaison, who had been asked to call me by Ruth Negus, then VP of Loyalty. I was advised at the time that IHG had finally decided to be transparent with the Royal Ambassador triggers. It was stated very clearly that a minimum US$10k spend at IC properties (no other brand would count) would trigger Royal Ambassador, and that was all that was required. No mention of minimum nights at any InterContinental property, or a blend of stays across 3 continents as had been set previously. I recall the blog sites making big news of this heralded announcement. For the first time, people had a goal to aim for.
So it seems that IHG have turned the clock back again, and are now saying that it is invitation only and finishing the email with “hoping that you maintain Royal Ambassador membership for next year” which after 18 years of sole brand loyalty, a significant number at Royal Ambassador – apart from those years when growing my family – it is a pretty pathetic way to treat a customer.
Any ideas what is happening? David Canty, the new VP Loyalty is far from engaging, and every email is fielded by Michael Lawyer with the sign off “I’m sorry this isn’t the outcome you would have liked”
Here’s the email that the reader sent to IHG:
I have been made aware by several colleagues that they have been notified already of their Royal Ambassador membership renewal via statement notification on their IHG Rewards Account. I however have not seen such notice – and the same thing happened to me last year at this time.
Please can you investigate why this has happened, as I have certainly topped the $10k spend as well as staying a total of 46 qualifying paid for nights at InterContinental properties (114 total qualifiying IHG nights so far this year).
I did have to ask for a couple of IC stays to be manually adjusted to the account this year as they had not tracked correctly, so that may be a contributory factor to this delay.
I have 18 flights booked for my work schedule in Q1 2019, however as usual at this time of year, I am holding off booking InterContinental properties until my membership has been confirmed.
And here is the IHG’s reply:
Thank you for taking the time to contact the InterContinental Ambassador Service Center. My name is XXXXX and we would like to thank you for your loyalty with IHG since 2001.
We wish to inform that there is no official invitations yet being released to members as of this time. Official invitations to Royal Ambassador status will be sent out via email within January 2019 and status takes effect on February 2019.
The collaterals were already triggered to ‘some’ of our members prior to end of the year as they need to be processed and shipped.
As the status is by invitation only, we are unable to provide more details on the criteria if you have qualified or not but we do hope you will maintain the Royal Ambassador membership for next year.
Please let us know if you need further assistance by sending us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seems that IHG has already run two sweeps for Royal Ambassador status in late December based on reports on FlyerTalk (access here). My account doesn’t reflect the status extension for the 2019 membership year yet.
My IHG nights and spend for 2018 are down now that only InterContinental stays count towards the Royal Ambassador status and there are some IC’s that I actively avoid. I should have roughly 70 InterContinental nights and spend is somewhere between $11K to $12K. The issue is that some of these are “adjusted” that previously have been skipped and only counted if done manually by Ambassador service.
I would assume that they have sweeps in early January and you can always contact Ambassador Service Center if you have met the spend requirement but the status has not been extended for one reason or another by mid next month.