InterContinental Ambassador Annual Renewal Fees to Increase By 50%?

Several FlyerTalk members are reporting with conviction that the fee to renew Ambassador elite status with InterContinental Hotels will increase from $100.00 to $150.00 annually — an increase of 50 percent — effective as of August 10, 2012.

Enrollment — not renewal — of membership with Ambassador elite status with InterContinental Hotels increased from $150.00 to $200.00 — an increase of 33 percent — greater than two years ago on July 1, 2012.

While many FlyerTalk members certainly are not happy about the reported fee increase, there are those FlyerTalk members who believe that the Ambassador elite program will be more exclusive as a result of the fee increase.

To confuse this issue even further, there are those FlyerTalk members who attempted to renew Royal Ambassador membership for 10,000 Priority Club frequent guest loyalty program points after receiving a letter by the Ambassador service center to do so as a promotion — only to find out that it is purportedly a “printing error.”

The Ambassador elite status program is only good at InterContinental Hotel properties and should not be confused with the Priority Club frequent guest loyalty program. It comes with the following benefits:

  • Upgrade to a superior room
  • Priority wait-list reservations
  • Late checkout until 4:00 in the afternoon
  • Instant check-in
  • Instant check-out
  • Complimentary Weekend Night Certificate upon enrollment and renewal
  • Fresh fruit and mineral water upon arrival
  • VIP greeting and in-room welcome gift
  • One free pay movie per stay where available
  • Complimentary standard newspaper delivered to the room of the Ambassador member every day
  • Airport chauffeur service at published rate

…and you receive a bonus of 5,000 Priority Club frequent guest loyalty program points when you enroll in the Ambassador elite status program. To me, that and the complimentary weekend night certificate upon enrollment and renewal are the only benefits which really appealed to me when I became a member of the InterContinental Ambassador program several years ago due to a special offer I could not resist.

I used my complimentary weekend night certificate at the InterContinental Buenos Aires several years ago which — if I recall correctly — saved me enough money to more than pay for my membership as Ambassador due to the special offer. The fresh fruit and mineral water I received are shown below:

Fresh fruit and mineral water shortly after my arrival at my hotel room at InterContinental Buenos Aires. Photograph ©2012 Brian Cohen.

While I enjoy fruit, some of the fruit on the plate was already rotting and inedible. Additionally, the welcome gift I received was a bottle of local Malbec wine from Argentina. I do not drink alcoholic beverages, so the wine really was of no use to me. Still, it was a nice touch. If the room in which I stayed was a “superior room” — whatever that means — I did not notice it, as I am uncertain as to what was the difference between that and a standard room. Although not particularly special or outstanding in any way, the room and stay were nice overall — no real complaints from me. I would overall recommend the InterContinental Buenos Aires.

I did not renew my Ambassador membership simply because it was not worth it to me. I get most of the aforementioned listed elite benefits at other hotel chains without having to pay for the privilege of membership — and some of those elite benefits are useless to me as well. Then again, upon payment of Ambassador membership fees, you get to immediately enjoy your benefits instead of waiting to “work your way up” to earn and receive them, as is the case with most other frequent guest loyalty programs — including Priority Club.

If you do not regularly stay at InterContinental hotel properties, Ambassador elite status membership may be a waste of your money unless the value of the 5,000 Priority Club frequent guest loyalty program point bonus and the complimentary weekend night certificate meets or exceeds the value of the cost of membership — and that cost is supposedly going to increase on August 10 if you are renewing your membership.

Despite the alleged renewal fee increase, do you plan on being a member of the InterContinental Ambassador elite status program for next year? Please state your reasons as to your decision in the Comments area below.

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