Last week I wrote about Intercontinental’s Royal Ambassador status – arguably the most generous hotel elite status – having updated its terms and conditions to finally offer a clear criteria for qualifying.
It turns out that, without notice, the program has changed other elements of the status spelled out in its terms and conditions. But since I have a ‘change detection’ set on most program terms, it didn’t go unnoticed.
Five years ago the hotel chain made its friends and family rate bookable by anyone. I used this prepaid rate many times, while leveraging Royal Ambassador status for great upgrades (always checking by email with the hotel first whether any rate booked on the IHG website would qualify for the upgrades I wanted. Then boom, I booked this one.
No more, now the terms and conditions exclude all benefits on friends and family stays.
InterContinental Ambassador benefits are not available when staying on the IHG Employee or Friends & Family rates.
On the positive side, now water is a benefit each day of your stay.
Ambassadors receive fresh fruit and water in their room on arrival, with mineral water replenished daily.
Venetian and Palazzo in Las Vegas are specifically allowed not to replenish the water.
Meanwhile, upgrades aren’t guaranteed in French Polynesia on third party bookings.
Exceptions: At InterContinental Hotels & Resorts in French Polynesia (InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora, InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, InterContinental Resort & Spa Moorea, and InterContinental Resort Tahiti) upgrades to the next room category and 4pm late check-out are not guaranteed for Royal Ambassador and Ambassador members who book through a third party Tour Operator.
Some hotels have explicit permission to ‘cap’ the level of upgrades they provide. I infer from this that hotels not so listed have no such exemption, so should be interesting…
The following Suites are not included in the upgrade policy for Ambassadors & Royal Ambassadors: InterContinental Hong Kong: Signature Suites (Terrace Suite, CEO Suite, Presidential Suite). InterContinental Park Lane: Signature Suites. InterContinental Sydney: Australia Suite, State Suite and Governor Suites. InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort: Penthouse, Beach Villa, Rock Villa, 2 bed Rock Villa and Royal Residence. InterContinental San Francisco: Bay Suite, Terrace Suite, Presidential Suite. InterContinental Athenaeum Athens: Presidential Suite. InterContinental Adelaide: King Diplomatic Suite and King Presidential Suite. InterContinental Moscow Tverskaya: Nizhinsky – Diplomatic Suite, Duncan – Diplomatic Suite, Ulanova – Presidential Suite. InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam: Presidential Suite (includes Executive Presidential Suite, Executive Presidential Twin room & Executive Presidential Junior Suite), Dom Perignon Suite (includes Executive Dom Perignon Suite & Executive Dom Perignon Junior Suite). InterContinental Berlin: All Club Suites & Presidential Suite.
The terms and conditions still explicitly recognize the existence of referral certificates to Royal Ambassador status, say they are available for 6 months, and that members who are themselves referred cannot also refer others to the status.