IHG Rewards Club Ambassador program has finally sent out the Royal Ambassador invitation and renewal emails for 2019. They haven’t sent out the downgrade ones yet.
We have been aware of most of these “enhancements” already such as the reduced minibar benefit and cut in early check in time from 8AM to 10AM.
You can access IHG’s page for Royal Ambassador changes here.
Here’s the email that IHG sent out:
Here’s the page:
More What You Love
- Guaranteed two category room upgrade
- Complimentary Club InterContinental Lounge access
- Extended 4pm check-out and early check-in
- Minibar privileges
- Spire Elite status in IHG® Rewards Club
- 24-hour room guarantee
- Choice of a sweet or savoury snack, or fruit
- Complimentary weekend night*
- Dedicated check-in area
- Complimentary Internet
Royal Benefits Starting In February 2019
- Free night at an IHG® property**
- Two complimentary breakfasts per night at properties without a Club InterContinental lounge
- Waived destination/amenity fees
- Early check-in, beginning at 10am
- Up to USD50 minibar credit for each night you stay***
- E-delivery of complimentary weekend night certificate
- Ambassador Benefits Guarantee to ensure you make the most out of every stay
- Hertz Gold Plus Rewards® President’s Circle® membership
Here’s the small print:
*Complimentary Weekend Night: Valid on the second night of a paid weekend stay on the Ambassador Weekend Rate. Weekends may vary by region. Expires on the date stated on the Complimentary Weekend Night Certificate. Must present ID & member number at check-in. Reservations must be cancelled at least 48 hours prior to the day of check-in in order to avoid a cancellation fee.
**Free Night: Exclusions include InterContinental Alliance & IHG Army Hotels as well as a points cap at 70,000 per night.
***Minibar credit: Up to USD200 per stay. In China Mainland (excluding Macau, Hong Kong, and Taiwan) Royal Ambassador members are entitled to up to RMB200 credit per day and RMB800 per stay.
Here are the Benefits Guarantees that are still missing from official communication (read more here):
- Guaranteed Room Upgrade Failure: F&B or Spa credit of $50 or 10,000 points per stay (Ambassador & Royal Ambassador)
- 4PM Guaranteed Late Check Out Failure: F&B or Spa credit of $50 or 10,000 points per stay (Ambassador & Royal Ambassador)
- Club InterContinental or Club InterContinental experience failure: F&B or Spa credit of $100 per DAY(Royal Ambassador only)
IHG Ambassador program calls these enhancements and refinements. I would say that overall there is no change in benefits as long as some hotels don’t starts “buying” out RA/Ambassador guaranteed early check in, late check out and upgrade benefits by merely giving 10,000 points (worth perhaps $50) in compensation.
The free night certificate (up to 70,000 points) is welcomed addition as is the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle membership.
The daily $50 minibar credit (up to $200 per stay) which can be much less in other countries ($30 only in China) is significant downgrade for thirsty Royal Ambassadors. The daily credit basically buys you three mixed drinks at minibar prices.
Breakfast and Benefits Guarantees changes really incentivize hotels to come up with Club InterContinental or similar concept for Royal Ambassador. They need to provide breakfast for two and $100 daily credit when there is no lounge.