A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us a question regarding the InterContinental Royal Ambassador renewals for 2022?
You can access IHG’s page for Royal Ambassador status here.
READ MORE: IHG Rewards Rate & Bonus Points Offers
Here’s the email from the reader:
Im very concerned about loosing my RA status I have since 2011.
I believe most of RA guests haven’t been able to travel as the used to do since the pandemic began.
I’ve personally experienced dramatic lockdowns in Israel as well as my main European destinations closed their borders to foreign travellers.
IHG closed many hotels during Covid period and reopened part of them later, in a much lower level of service.
The main point is that the club lounge which was the most important benefit for RA is now very limited in terms of service whereas in many other hotels they are not even operated.
IHG renewed all RA status but its been way worse than we used to have before.
Even the service in the very few hotels where decided to open the club lounge was much limited: no more buffet breakfasts, lack of staff, opening just at 1200 etc..
For all the above mentioned, my experience was totally different and a great disappointment for me as RA.
I’d appreciate comments from RA guests to my review.
I’m totally convinced that IHG must extend our status for 2022, otherwise it might be very unfair and loyal to us.
InterContinental Royal Ambassador is an invitation-only status for IHG Rewards members who have joined and paid for the Ambassador program
Way back, the Royal Ambassador required a very significant revenue contribution. IHG then started to extend the status for Ambassador program members who had had 60+ nights with all of their hotels, non-IC hotels counted too, as long as at least three different InterContinental hotels were thrown in.
Royal Ambassador members were also given a referral voucher to invite someone to the same level (and those who were referred got another referral on their welcome kit).
IHG became concerned about the program, discontinued referrals altogether, and instituted a revenue requirement (north of $10K) that had to come exclusively for stays at InterContinental hotels.
IHG then started to count revenue at first Kimpton, then Regent, and most recently at Six Senses hotels towards Royal Ambassador status.
Royal Ambassador program downgrades:
- Guaranteed 8 AM check-in became 10 AM
- Complimentary minibar beverages (you could empty the minibar daily) turned to a maximum F&B for the duration of the stay
- Guaranteed suite upgrades turned to a maximum two-category upgrade from the booked room or one category upgrade from a booked suite
- InterContinental hotels have expanded the list of suites that are excluded from upgrades
- A free weekend night voucher could be applied to all paid rates. Now you need to book the best flexible one and the second night is hardly “free”
- Welcome gift gone
- Guaranteed upgrade and early check-in are no longer guaranteed – the hotel can instead give a member 10,000 points
Here are positives:
- Expanded from just InterContinental to include Kimpton, Regent, and Six Senses hotels
- Royal Ambassador members are eligible for Club access
- Free award night yearly
Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott all offer lifetime status for members that reach a particular milestone of $200,000 in spend (Hyatt) to 1,000 nights (Hilton). IHG doesn’t offer anything, and the qualification requirement (spend) to Royal Ambassador tier can fluctuate from year to year.
If I had put the nights that I spent with IHG and InterContinental towards Hilton and Hyatt, I would already have a lifetime with both. But, instead, IHG downgraded my status from Royal Ambassador even on a year when I spent $10K+ with the InterContinental brand alone.
I believe that we have come to the point where Royal Ambassador members should evaluate if the program is the right fit for them. The benefits previously with guaranteed suite upgrades and complimentary minibars were great, but the program has become watered down lately (literally).
There are some InterContinental hotels that I like. However, there were more and more that I didn’t want to stay and decided that I don’t spend money at hotels, regardless of the program, that don’t provide good service.
We may soon be in a situation where less than 10 nights at Six Senses or Regents might get you a Royal Ambassador invitation while spending 100+ nights with the InterContinental won’t.
The revenue contribution to get Royal Ambassador status extended this year has to be very low, or IHG may extend them for another year.