Priority Club members can earn InterContinental Ambassador status after three stays at InterContinental Hotels by July 31, 2011.
But, 32,000 points for InterContinental Ambassador is a Better Deal.
InterContinental Ambassador membership costs $200 or 32,000 Priority Club points for new members. Membership year is 12 months after you enroll and expires last day of enrollment month.
A new InterContinental Ambassador member on May 10, 2011 enrollment has a membership period ending May 31, 2012.
Annual renewal is reduced to $100 per year.
I favor the 32,000 points payment for immediate InterContinental Ambassador status rather than making three InterContinental Hotel stays for free status. The net cost to buy Ambassador with points is 27,000 points since you get 5,000 points back in a coupon included with your Ambassador membership packet. This is a point value of $7.40 per 1,000 points ($200/27,000 points) which is as good as most hotel night redemptions.
Completing three stays at InterContinental Hotels to earn free Ambassador status with this promotion will mean a minimum of three paid nights stayed without receiving Ambassador benefits.
- No confirmed room upgrade on three InterContinental Hotel stays (likely more than $200 value).
- Nights stayed at InterContinental Hotels before you are Ambassador will not count towards the Ambassador Accelerator promotion for 20,000 bonus points after 15 nights. You miss out earning 1,333 bonus points per night or a minimum 4,000 points when staying at least three nights at InterContinental Hotels without Ambassador status. You can also think of the Ambassador Accelerator points earned as reducing the cost to buy Ambassador membership with points by at least another 4,000 points making the net cost 23,000 points or less if you simply pay 32,000 Priority Club points for Ambassador membership rather than going for Stay 3, Ambassador free.
- Missing the opportunity to use the BOGO free weekend night certificate available as an InterContinental Ambassador when you pay for the first night. The paid night for the BOGO weekend counts for Priority Club elite status and points.
Important to note: InterContinental Ambassador status is a membership program specific to InterContinental Hotels brand and Ambassador membership has minimal benefit for hotel stays at all other hotel brands of InterContinental Hotels Group.
- Guaranteed room upgrade to superior room.
- Fresh fruit and daily water.
- 4pm late checkout.
- Complimentary pay TV film per stay.
- Welcome gift.
- 20,000 bonus points every 15 nights at InterContinental Hotels (registration required)
- Note: Incidental spend at InterContinental Hotels does not earn additional base points. 2,000 points per stay is it.
- Complimentary Club access (hotel executive lounge) is not a benefit of Ambassador membership, although some hotels offer discounted Club access upgrade rate to Ambassadors.
- Free breakfast is only an Ambassador benefit if given Club access upgrade.
- Free internet for Ambassadors is only a benefit at these few InterContinental Hotels.
- InterContinental Hotels with hotel stay bonuses including bonus points, breakfast, etc. For example, InterContinental Montreal offers 4,000 points, free breakfast and free internet (1 Dec 2010 – 30 April 2011).
- Complimentary weekend night with Buy One, Get One Free membership certificate. Second night is free on weekend stay at an InterContinental Hotel or Resort. Free night valid on Friday and Saturday night stay or Saturday and Sunday night stay. In Middle East Thursday and Friday or Friday and Saturday. The paid night is the rate for first night only, not an average of two nights. Valid for 12 months and expires on last day of enrollment month. You must book the ‘Ambassador Certificate’ rate (IBAMB), which is usually equivalent to the Best Flexible Rate.
- Complimentary Gold elite status (10% bonus points on all IHG stays is only real benefit).
- Membership packet has 5,000 Priority Club points certificate with code. You can add these points to your own account or gift the voucher code to another Priority Club member.
InterContinental Royal Ambassador is an invitational elite status with additional privileges.
- Top 1% of Ambassador members are invited to Royal Ambassador membership.
- Royal Ambassadors receive a referral certificate for each year of RA membership. The RA Referral allows member to gift RA membership to another person. RA referral certificate is the route to Royal Ambassador on less than 50 IHG nights. These certificates sell on eBay for $600-$1,000 (although Ebay and IHG rules forbid these transactions).
- Royal Ambassadors receive complimentary Priority Club Platinum elite status.
- Membership year expires on Ambassador membership expiration date. Renewal is dependent on total hotel stay pattern.
- Referred members who become Royal Ambassador through referral certificate do not receive a Royal Ambassador referral certificate in membership packet.
InterContinental Royal Ambassador qualification criteria are unpublished, but anecdotal evidence indicates Ambassador member needs 50 to 60 nights at any IHG hotels (Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites) with at least 3 hotel stays at InterContinental Hotels during the Ambassador membership year. Some Ambassador members with 50 nights and 3 stays do not get Royal Ambassador invitations and some people get invited on less. Again the actual criteria are unpublished except to say
How do I achieve Royal Ambassador status?
Royal Ambassador status is extended by invitation only to a small percentage of InterContinental Ambassador guests, based on the number of nights they have stayed during the past year.
Royal Ambassador Benefits
- Typically a two-category guaranteed room upgrade to Executive Room or even a Suite. This does not necessarily apply when booking suites like a guaranteed upgrade from paid full-suite to Presidential Suite.
- Complimentary in-room mini-bar. Some hotels may not have complimentary snacks in mini-bar. Check first. Mini-bar should be refilled daily.
- Guaranteed 8am check-in.
- 3,000 points per stay (additional 1,000 points over other members).
- Benefits like Club access, early check-in and complimentary mini-bar are not guaranteed for award stays.
- Club access is not guaranteed. Free breakfast only if given Club access.
Downgrading Royal Ambassador Elite Status in Steps
This FlyerTalk thread and posts by member Raffles (Ambassador and Royal Ambassador) are source for most of this information. I have updated the dates in Raffles description of Royal Ambassador downgrade process.
What happens if I lose RA status?
You drop down to Ambassador, and receive a free year of Ambassador, saving the usual $100 renewal fee. You will then drop down to Priority Club Gold if you do not pay your Ambassador fee the following year.
You will also retain your Priority Club Platinum status for the remainder of the calendar year following your demotion. So … in January 2011 you may be a ‘Platinum Royal Ambassador’. If you lose RA status in March 2011, you will drop to ‘Platinum Ambassador’ until December 2011. From Jan-March 2012 you will be ‘Gold Ambassador’ (assuming you don’t earn 60,000 points to retain Plat) and from March 2012 onwards (assuming you don’t pay $100 to retain Ambassador) you will be a simple ‘Gold’ member until December 2012. If you don’t retain Gold you then drop to ‘Club’ member in January 2013.
I followed my own advice during the writing of this post and enrolled as an InterContinental Ambassador member using 32,000 points. I have wanted to try Ambassador for several years, particularly since the InterContinental Clement Monterey is a couple miles from home and two IC properties are nearby in San Francisco. And the new partnership with the Venetian and Palazzo will expand my Las Vegas Strip options when visiting family in Sin City.
Now a quest for making a friend with a Royal Ambassador referral!
Links: PriorityClubInsider.com – good blog for Priority Club promotions and additional descriptions of Ambassador/Royal Ambassador.
FlyerTalk – Please post your Royal Ambassador experiences (Thread is 279 pages to date).
New RA Qualifying Limits Since June 2009 (Thread is 50 pages long and RA members typically publish their qualifying stay activity with hotel nights and brands.)
Please post your Priority Club elite experiences (Thread is 174 pages to date).
Milepoint.com – Royal Ambassador Qualification Helpful tips