Two Amazing Elite Statuses People Used To Push The Limits Taking Advantage Of

Intercontinental Hotels has had its own elite status program – the Ambassador program – separate from the rest of IHG. They use IHG for points, but not for elite benefits. Fortunately the new IHG One Rewards elite status gets recognized at Intercontinental properties.

The Ambassador program was a paid program, and you had to be a member to qualify for its invitation-only level Royal Ambassador. But when you made Royal Ambassador you used to get a referral certificate to gift the status to someone else.

And since the welcome kit came with the referral certificate, the referred member got a referral certificate. So frequent flyers just created referral chains. Once one person qualified once, the status lasted for a group more or less forever – until they stopped handing out these referral certificates.

This went on for years, and is how I lucked into being a Royal Ambassador. It involved a ‘guaranteed suite or executive room’ the specific upgrade policies varying by hotel, but I’d communicate in advance with a property to figure out what room to book to get the suite I wanted. I’d even confirm they would upgrade on friends and family rates and free weekend night certificates that came with the program. And it provided guaranteed early check-in, and the most coveted benefit of all – complimentary minibar.

When first becoming a Royal Ambassador there was a natural tendency to clear out the minibar. I did have a nice bar setup in my office in D.C. But after awhile you’re just grateful for water or orange juice.

The other status people used to play games with that comes to mind is a bit sketchier. Avis used to give its Chairmans status to people buying fractional jet time through MarquisJet. But the way they executed on this partnership was that MarquisJet provided a form that was faxed to Avis. So people photocopied the form and it made the rounds on FlyerTalk.

  • This particular offer came with a 5 day free luxury rental after first rental
  • And program benefits generally offered best car on the lot, vehicle delivery within 25 miles, and in-vehicle dropoff back at the terminal

The status, as I understand it, was supposed to last a year but Avis didn’t actually expire it. After many years some accounts got flagged and status removed, although rumor is there’s a few MarquisJet Chairmans Club members still out there.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @ Gary – It’s been nearly 5 years since IHG discontinued free unlimited minibar for RAs, and we still have a bin full of minis….

  2. @fauci
    are you ALWAYS a dick or just whenever?
    every single comment of your is some stupid attempt of a joke
    grow up

  3. @FAUCI
    you are a moronic douchebag
    and speaking of low IQ you said “loose weight” over no alcohol but mention the minibar is full of non alcoholic drinks…
    GFY and die if possible
    idiots like you with fake names are like poison

  4. BAN LOW IQ NAME CALLERS DOUG AND FRED Bet they are racists too. These are 1950s era racist white names

  5. Who are you people. Can’t anybody just have a productive conversation, with sarcasm and good humor! My god!

  6. Apparently not with Doug and Fred onboard. Old racists ruining it for everyone. A microcosm of middle America!

  7. @fauci
    yes…,a new york jew/israel son of european immigrants called doug is a racist from middle america

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