InterContinental Royal Ambassador Qualification Requirements

InterContinental Royal Ambassador used to be one of my favorite top tier status levels. It was invitation only, and what I thought they did so well was offer a lot of guaranteed benefits. As a Royal Ambassador member you’d receive guaranteed 8AM check-in and 4PM check-out, guaranteed upgrades, complimentary beverages from the minibar, etc.

InterContinental-Minibar
Complimentary Royal Ambassador minibar beverages

My biggest frustration was that they didn’t publish qualification requirements for Royal Ambassador status, and I wasn’t prepared to spend 50-60 nights in a hotel chain, only to potentially not requalify. Fortunately back in the day there wasn’t really a need to qualify the “hard way,” given that they offered Royal Ambassador referral certificates. Royal Ambassador members could nominate someone else to Royal Ambassador status, and going back several years even referred Royal Ambassador members received referral certificates, so there was an almost never ending chain of Royal Ambassadors. Those certificates have been eliminated in the meantime.

Anyway, it looks like IHG has finally come to their senses and published qualification criteria for Royal Ambassador status.

IHG Rewards Club has updated their terms to reflect new published Royal Ambassador qualification requirements, which are as follows:

Royal Ambassador Criteria: Royal Ambassador status is by invitation only. To qualify for invitation to Royal Ambassador status, an Ambassador member must: During their membership year, stay at least 60 qualifying nights in any IHG®  properties including InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, HUALUXE™, EVEN™ Hotels, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites. At least 20 of these qualifying nights must be at InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts properties. The member must also stay at 3 or more different InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts properties. SCH reserves the right to change these criteria at any time and without prior notification.

These are around the numbers people were previously anecdotally reporting, though now it’s official. In order to qualify for Royal Ambassador, you need the following during your membership year:

  • 60 qualifying nights at any IHG properties
  • At least 20 of those qualifying nights at InterContinental properties
  • Those 20 nights must include at least three different InterContinental properties

Kudos to IHG on this change, and now I’m actually tempted to go for Royal Ambassador status again. I don’t get much marginal benefit for my stays with Hyatt or Starwood beyond 50 nights (Starwood has the Ambassador program which doesn’t seem very valuable, and Hyatt offers Courtesy Card, which doesn’t seem very attainable), so it almost makes sense to spread the love. The challenge is that they don’t status match and don’t offer referral certificates anymore, so I’d have to earn it the hard way.

InterContinental properties are all over the board in terms of quality. Some of their newer hotels are gorgeous…

InterContinentan-San-Francisco

While some of their older hotels are drab as humanly possible…

InterContinental-Doha

If anyone does still have a Royal Ambassador referral certificate, shoot me an email and let’s talk, please. 😉

Is anyone more likely to go for Royal Ambassador status now that they’ve published qualification requirements?

(Tip of the hat to LoyaltyLobby)

Comments

  1. I tend to have short 1 night stays so I prefer programs with Stay requirements. That said, I’m ok with just regular Ambassador status and have been treated well with that status (especially ICs abroad).

  2. I paid for gold status. I am in Chicago a lot for work, and stay at the Intercontinental. Gold gets me tons of stuff – seems like most of the benefits mentioned above. I always get upgraded, a welcome amenity, etc. Was well worth the 200 bucks.

  3. Holy s&*t! It’s about time. I was very seriously considering giving up trying to re-qualify for RA status after my upcoming renewal ~ October 1st because I am so sick of IHG’s little game. This is awesome news to me!!!! Only bad part is that I’ve gone overboard trying to guarantee re-qualification this year, so I’ve wasted money attaining 70+ stays.

  4. Great to see they have finally published, but I gave up on IHG as my major “stay partner” after the last devaluation.

  5. Ben,

    I wouldn’t be too sure that the mentioned requirements are sufficient. The way they spell it, it leaves still room for interpretation
    – by invitation only
    – member has to fulfill *at least * …
    Are I’m to conscious or how do you see the wording of the T&C?

  6. @ Dirk — I wouldn’t read that much into it. These have always been around the criteria we expected, and I think they’re just technically trying to keep an “out.” But I highly doubt they’d deny anyone that meets the criteria Royal Ambassador.

  7. Going for Royal Ambassador status – do not think so

    having stayed many many nights in holiday inn hotels in order to reach spire membership which is supposed to be the highest level in the ihg club, i also combined with the ambassador (paid) membership in order to maximize stays at the intercontinental hotels
    what has become very very apparent is that the intercontinental chain is a franchise so the owners at each hotel respect the above in many many different ways. so at each check in you have to literally fight to get any benefit and because the revenue management system (booking) is now so complex, the hotel rooms are divided into so many classes (as per aircraft seats) so that the only true difference is the room floor! and please advise me -what is the benefit of an upgrade to the 28th floor when the room type on the 6th floor was the same .why does one intercontinental not give club access and also charge a nightly service fee (inter – chopin plaza) when others do not (inter -doral – where also roomsa re much better)
    so what is the value of the ihg club ambassador + spire membership – depends on your good fortune at the time of check in – is it worth 75 nights at holiday inns plus a fee- i now very much doubt this and will look a the competition in particular marriott in terms of affiliation benefits sincerely

  8. @Carl Austin:

    I am currently staying at IC Frankfurt, this is my first “Spire Ambassador” experience and I am not that impressed. I have actually had a better experience as simply a “Preffered Guest” at Sheraton Yokohama, but again experiences will vary depending on where you are geographically. The cross-over rewards between Starwood and Delta are a nice little kick-off, but that’s only because Starwood in my opinion is very lacking in a lot of other areas… so at least they have that.
    Marriott just might be for me after all.

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