Earlier in the year InterContinental Hotels Group added the Palazzo and the Venetian in Las Vegas as InterContinental “Alliance” hotels. This was pretty exciting news, because it was a great way to earn Priority Club points while staying on the Strip, not to mention getting elite benefits as an Ambassador or Royal Ambassador member. For the most part they’ve been honoring the benefits, though recently they’ve added the following restrictions to Royal Ambassador benefits on their website:
Royal Ambassador Benefits:
Please be aware that all Royal Ambassador member benefits apply at these InterContinental Alliance Resorts with the exception of:
· Free Internet: Internet is included as part of the daily resort fee of your stay at The Venetian or The Palazzo.
· Mini Bar: As a Royal Ambassador member, you will receive a $100 credit toward mini-bar beverages per stay.
For those of you that have no clue what Royal Ambassador status is, it’s InterContinental’s invitation only elite tier, and I consider it to probably be the best top tier hotel status out there. What I love about Royal Ambassador is that all the benefits they offer are guaranteed, as opposed to based on availability — 8AM check-in, 4PM check-out, room upgrade, free beverages in the minibar — leaving very little variability.
There’s no doubt that the free minibar benefit is one of the coolest gimmicks ever. The novelty of being able to take whatever you want out of the minibar, all while laughing at the price list, never wears off.
Anyway, I can certainly see why they’d want to limit the minibar benefit. There’s no doubt that a lot of people abuse the benefit and invite friends over (I’ve been guilty of it in the past). I believe the rule is that the minibar beverages are for “in-room consumption,” meaning you’re not technically violating the rules if you have friends come over, though it’s certainly not in the spirit of the benefit.
What seems especially harsh is the $100 per stay rule, as opposed to $100 per night. Usually $100 worth of drinks would sound like a lot, but I believe the half bottle of champagne in the minibar retails for about $50 per bottle. For a one night stay that’s fine, but for a week-long stay it translates to a Diet Coke or two every day (which, in fairness, is all I want!).
Anyway, it certainly doesn’t set a good precedent, though I hope it’s only because this is an “alliance” hotel, and that we don’t see this spread to other InterContinental properties…