Venetian and Palazzo institute minibar restrictions for Royal Ambassadors

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…

Comments

  1. studio253 says

    I’m happy my week long stay was before this policy went into effect. I don’t drink alcohol but drink plenty of bottled water, vitamin water, diet coke and juices. That would have been very disappointing.

  2. MS says

    Hi Ric, yes once again greed kills a benefit. I was curious if these folks do the same at hotel club lounges, where the drinks are complimentary?

    I mean you could sit there and drink the contents of the club lounge refrigerator as well.

  3. TheBeerHunter says

    The next question to ask, then, is whether this is a new policy at all ALLIANCE resorts, which the Montelucia is now. A big thumbs down from this RA on this policy.

  4. John says

    I agree The Points Guy,Brian, bragging about how he and his buddies cleaned out the minibar at this hotel probably had something to do with this change! Thanks Brian!

  5. Andrew says

    Seriously, who are you people? I don’t think I’ve ever even opened a mini-bar in a hotel room, and you’re complaining about “only” being able to get $100 worth of free drinks? I don’t care if you only drink water or diet coke, give me a break.

  6. gotago says

    This is what will be the beginning of end for enhanced frequent traveller benefits. As usual, some guy getting a benefit for free, feels the need to act juvenile about something AND post it to his blog.
    He truly bit the hand that fed him this time. Points Guy. Way to go schmoozer.

  7. erndog says

    Seriously – Who is being cheap and greedy here? This is the Venetian and Palazzo we’re talking about!

    These are CASINO hotels, people. They give away “free” drinks at the tables and slot machines, for goodness sakes!

    How many “Royal Ambassadors” are there anyway? Not THAT many, and the benefit only applies if you are actually paying for your room and not staying there on points.

    The actual “cost” of stocking that mini bar? At retail? C’mon – were talking about a half dozen diet cokes and a half dozen airplane bottles of liquor. Good grief, this is what, $20-$30 maybe if had to go a liquor store or Walgreens and go buy all the stuff myself?

    Shame on those ‘greedy’ bastards at the Palazzo and Venetian! The Points Guy did them a favor! You know what the occupancy in Vegas is these days????? With a somewhat limited amount paying Royal Ambassadors staying at these properties on any given night, the Palazzo and Venetian just blew a terrific opportunity to differentiate themselves among all the other hotels in Vegas. Sure, the Venetian was cool when it opened, what, 15 years ago or so? Now what? There are DOZENS of other options that didn’t exist then that exist now in Vegas.

    And I’d bet (pun intended) that anyone who is a Royal Ambassador is someone who is going to spend some time at the tables anyway – – like either of these properties are going to really ‘feel’ the financial impact of a couple of nights of mini-bar raids in a handful of rooms per week . . . .

    I’m an Ambassador at Priority Club, doubt I’ll ever make the Royal Ambassador level as I favor SPG and Hyatt for elite benefits, but if I WERE an Royal Ambassador and was considering rooms in Vegas (which I do two-three times a year for trade shows), the “mini-bar clean-out” benefit would get me in the door at these properties for certain — given these change in benefits – I’d rather stay over at the Westin Casuarina . . .

  8. Dan says

    Are you serious… one person posts a blog entry and he somehow manages to alter a program? I’m sure any of the program hotels must have that situation on an ir-regular basis. No??

  9. david says

    I never understood people that empty the mini bar in their backpack, if you feel like drinking everything in the minibar and have friends over great, but so I have seen a few TR where the traveller empty the minibar in a “to go” bag! Classy…

  10. JD says

    @Andrew Using the mini bar is a privilege of RA. Who are we? I’m assuming we’re RAs… who use the mini bar.

    @Dan you’d be surprised at how one person blogging on a well known blog can change things….

    It’s one thing for someone to wipe out the mini bar, it’s a completely different thing for someone with friends to wipe out the mini bar and then brag about it on sites that get a large amount of traffic. Bad form.

  11. Scott C says

    ” 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.”

    It’s right in the T&C that the benefit is for in-room consumption by the member only. It is a plain and simple violation of the rule. That said, I’ll probably never be a Royal Ambassador so I couldn’t care less. But I don’t understand why everyone keeps missing that part.

  12. rich says

    A sad diluting down of RA status. Compared with other brands where you have access to a club lounge for elite members and alcohol is free. I always saw the cost of the mini bar a great peak but probably a negligible cost to the hotel.

    A sad day for RA members especially considering It’s more difficult to achieve RA status this year (30 IC nights required).

  13. danray says

    I’m staying on 2 reward nights at the Palazzo in January. Does anyone know if I would still receive any RA benefits?

  14. businessflyer says

    If staying on award points, you will most likely not get RA benefits as it is a policy not to provide benefits on free stays. This is more of an Achilles heel of the Priority Club program whereas other hotel programs recognize benefits.

    That being said, if attending a convention at the Venentian and they are the host hotel; would I receive the now limited RA benefits at the IC Alliance Resort as stated – published rates are given benefits including but not limited third party websites? I tried to research the T&C so I could bring with me as I do not want to be stuck with a $149 room with no mini bar or upgrade when I stay across street at Mirage for $79.

    And my 2 cents on PointsGuy blog, tsk tsk. I wonder which came first, the blog or the ego?

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