Old Dec 10, 18, 4:07 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: FlyerTalker688786
Ambassador programme will change on 1st February 2019. This will start with Royal Ambassador's benefits. Then, all other Ambassador will have new benefits from 1st March 2019.

For Royal Ambassadors, the new benefits starts from 1st FEB 2019 will be:
  1. EARLY CHECK-IN from 10AM (instead of 8AM)
  2. ONE COMPLIMENTARY BREAKFAST FOR EVERY NIGHT YOU STAY [CONFIRMED AS IN GREATER CHINA REGION ONLY, On 1st March, it seems IHG quietly made a U-turn again, now this benefit only APPLIES TO IC HOTELS IN MAINLAND CHINA ONLY, Hong Kong IC hotels are excluded on the last minute U-turn.]
  3. UP TO TWO COMPLIMENTARY FULL BREAKFASTS PER DAY IF THERE IS NO CLUB LOUNGE
  4. UPTO 50USD/200RMB/400HKD MINIBAR CREDIT PER DAY (200USD/800RMB/1600HKD PER STAY MAX)
  5. WAIVED DESTINATION/AMENITY FEES
  6. COMPLIMENTARY WEEKEND NIGHT CERTIFICATE WITH E-DELIVERY
  7. AMBASSADOR BENEFIT GUARANTEE (See below)
  8. [Officially Added Benefits] FREE NIGHTS AT AN IHG PROPERTY (capped at 70K points value)
  9. [Officially Added Benefits] HERTZ GOLD PLUS REWARDS PRESIDENTS' CIRCLE MEMBERSHIP

For all other Ambassadors, the new benefit starts on 1st MARCH 2019:
  1. GUARANTEED PLATINUM ELITE STATUS IN IHG REWARDS CLUB
  2. ONE COMPLIMENTARY BREAKFAST FOR EVERY NIGHT YOU STAY <== Only for Greater China Stays !
  3. COMPLIMENTARY WEEKEND NIGHT CERTIFICATE WITH E-DELIVERY
  4. WELCOME FRUIT PLATTER (instead of welcome fruits and gifts) <== Only for Greater China Stays !
  5. AMBASSADOR BENEFIT GUARANTEE
ADDITIONAL BENEFITS FOR STAYS IN GREATER CHINA ONLY:
One complimentary breakfast every night you stay
15% discount on restaurants and bars

AMBASSADOR BENEFIT GURANTEE work as bellow:
  1. Guaranteed Room Upgrade: Member must be given a food and beverage or Spa credit up to USD50, or 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points per stay, applies to InterContinental Ambassador and Royal Ambassador only;
  2. 16:00 (4p.m.) Late Check-out: Member must be given a food and beverage or Spa credit up to USD50, or 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points per stay, applies to InterContinental Ambassador and Royal Ambassador only;
  3. New Club InterContinental Lounge Access or alternative Club experience: Member must be given a food and beverage or Spa credit of USD100 per night, not exceeding the Club InterContinental upgrade supplement value, applies to Royal Ambassador only.
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Changes to Ambassador from 1st March 2019 (now confirmed)

Old Dec 13, 18, 11:17 pm
  #106  
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I have taken the liberty to edti the title to reflect that it is yet unconfirmed and that there are a number of other changes.

FLYGVA
co-moderator IHG Forum
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Old Dec 14, 18, 3:20 am
  #107  
 
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Originally Posted by Flying Lawyer
Not really helpful: Breakfast is generally included in my rates and weakening the early check-in and the upgrade privileges is not good at all.
Same.
If these changes are to be believed, it looks like a typical case of accountants running numbers resulting in cost reduction on paper, but little thought has gone into the delivery. Result; inefficiency combined with admin disaster.

From a personal perspective it looks like RA devaluation and somewhat improved for regular Ambassadors. Until yesterday I was expecting my IC footprint to fall of a cliff in 2019, but then I got offered to take on a role which entails frequent travel to an IC I've spent hundreds of nights in the last half decade or so Guess I'll have to reap the new benefits for regular Ambassadors, and hope the hotels will look after me as a regular.

Or just drop Amb all together for once!
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Old Dec 14, 18, 3:33 am
  #108  
 
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Originally Posted by shoven
Unashamedly I'm with you on that but I don't see it as a need to "raid the entire mini bar" as it was put but rather it's about having that choice that's the important thing for me and a good minibar can be a great thing to have, looking at you Hong Kong

I like the fact that if I don't feel like going out for the evening or miss the club I have the choice to enjoy a few or more drinks bearing in mind that not everyone is a solo business traveller all the time, couple of beers, couple of G&Ts maybe a half bottle of fizz for the other half and that $200 stay cap is gone in 1 night let alone the $50 per night thing.

Using myself as an example of how things can influence spend with this being my first year as RA I am way ahead of what I spent last year when qualifying even though last year I nearly always booked club rooms I had 0 reward nights at IC's against a dozen or so this year and quite often drunk all the beer in the minibar and more lol, it's the choices that the RA program gives currently that has helped influence some of my increased spending choices this year.
You put it better than me and indeed your usage mirrors mine.

I have two MO's on stays roughly speaking. The first is stops to go events or work (yawn) and that tends to skip club but have modest use later on mini bar, and yes use the room goodies ... whether fruit or pringles or shortbread :-) .... then the second is more hotel focused where I (we) will use club lounge heavily from open to close (and often beyond close with the right friendly faces), then out for food and then back to hotel and then a more enthusiastic usage of bar, but again, only wines, sparking and the odd spirit. I do put hands up to taking a beer and a couple of spirits back home in the bag. Big deal.

On a particularly over enthusiastic night (usually weekend) I will call for a bar refresh and get it and use it ... but if I'm honest that's less often in reality ... certainly on stays away with Mrs Atacama on city stops. That said it's still full of soft drinks and the like.

There is a third (much rarer) mode when I take others away and they have rooms and they use my bar. Some could argue the morals of that but it's rare and small in nature.

And you are absolutely right ... it does influence spend and repeat visits, how could it not? It simply works! And that does affect real world spend ... drink too much in the lounge, loose interest to walk out and spend 300+ in Theo's, Spoon, Maison 1880 etc ... who's not done that no matter how cosmopolitan a stayer you are. And I believe that's were the revenue wins. We spend more! We stay more and if your work role includes the influence, we spend more in that role as well.

Take those simple treats away and what's the magic ... a bigger room? Suite? That novelty soon wears a bit thin ... nice as it is.
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Old Dec 14, 18, 6:34 am
  #109  
 
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Originally Posted by chongcao
This is nonsense. Look at my posting history since 2007, which part would indicate that I am IHG employee? If you do not have concrete evidence, please withdraw your accusations.

and frankly I could not care less about this issue. I posted the information on good faith of sharing information on FT. Your accusation abosultely hurts. Please apologize if you could not find any of my past posting could indicate that I am an insider of IHG. I am serious. Your accusation make me question what is the point to share something I accidentally got. It is utterly personal attack and false.
It is not my intention to hurt you, but I don't see a reason to apologize, when you want to sell a position which is only benefitial for IHG or the hotels. Not guaranteeing any upgrade for your most loyal customer is nothing else in my opinion. And the statement that you have only the options to eliminate or downsize the minibar benefit or abandon the whole program is mildly spoken not well thought.
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Old Dec 14, 18, 7:34 am
  #110  
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Originally Posted by chongcao
Not to dispute, but basically IHG has two choices: cancel the entire RA programme or restrict the usages of unlimited mini-bar. I am just glad that they choose the later.
I'm simply baffled why you believe this to be the case. How does the requirement to make a choice between two such weirdly unrelated options arise?

If the IHG team were to ask themselves what do about mini-bars, there'd be many options, one of which would be to maintain the current structure and service. If they opted for change, they'd then face the ancillary problem of how to adjust the RA programme to take account the changes.

Originally Posted by chongcao
Then to dispute your comment, USD$50 credit is equal to THREE miniatures or TWO miniatures + FEW non-alcoholic drinks in most IC hotels. Would you agree that is plenty intake of drinks to most of the average people considering more UNLIMITED drinks can be had during happy hours in Club Lounge? If that is case, why RAs would get upset because they can not drink like a fish anymore?
Dispute as much as you wish, but the RA's responding to this silliness clearly are pissed off. It's got little to do with how much use we make of the facility. It's a reduction in the scale and scope of benefits enjoyed under the programme. Simple as that. It might not have much impact on you, but If you roll over for such whittling down of the programme's value then you invite further cuts.

I'd be royally annoyed if they stopped the free weekend night benefit, even though I haven't used it for years. In much the same way I'd be pissed off if any rights or privileges, used or unused, in other walks of life were withdrawn.

I've never knowingly used a right of way in my life, but tell me I no longer have access as a right and I'll be joining the protest marches
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Old Dec 14, 18, 7:59 am
  #111  
 
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Chongcao has already mentioned the term changes are based on internal training doc for the IC staff. As such will be quite advanced regards any needed agreements between IHG and ICs, with feedback amendments already incorpoated, I'm thinking things like restricted usd200 cap on minibar or restaurant b/f to restrictive semi-useless if 2ppn as b/f only 1ppn/room.

I did sound out at an IC this week but got blanked on there being any changes in pipeline, body language wise though I'd go with staff having been told not to admit/discuss next years RA/Amb changes.

Removal of guaranteed upgrade for me when booking non entry level cheapest room is a game changer for me as club room upgrades is well over usd50 for each of the 2x cat upgrades for RA benefit which alas is the booked room point at which an IC will decide to give a crappy usd50 fee.

If no longer guaranteed upgrades, and my corp rate allows cancel on checkin day, (50% ICs still do), then very tempted to fight back and book both a)base room b)clubroom, and wait on checkin to see if upgraded 2cats from club and if not cancel club instead of cancel the base room.

Also due to foc RA minibar, on solo stays, I mostly eat in-room-dining meals with foc minibar drinks (why eat in restaurant and pay for wine/beer), with minibar unavailable then IC will lose my nightly inroom dining spend as I will eat (and drink) outside the hotel.
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Old Dec 14, 18, 9:29 am
  #112  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
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1. Any IC that decides to pay 50 USD to avoid upgrading RAs, will lose that RA as a future customer. Forever. Period.
2. Guest relations managers should start bracing themselves for a rush of emails from RAs, who will reach out in advance of arrival in order to get a written guarantee that upgrades and early check-in / late check-out will be provided. Imagine showing up with your wife and kids expecting a suite, but instead be given a twin room and a 50 USD voucher. Not happening.
3. The 50 USD daily credit for minibar makes sense for those properties that really go out of their way to make the minibar stacked with premium stuff. 90% of the ICs I have been to, have a very standard offering (at a high price). The 200 USD cap will lead to more emails pre-arrival to guest relations to get them to waive the cap on longer stays. Also, imagine the nonsense upon check-out at typical 'rule following' ICs; "Zir, your minibar charges has exceeded your allowanz - would Zie like ze additional zree Euro and 50 Zents added to your invoiz or paid zeparately?"

Some good changes too - I love that non-Club ICs finally have to commit to offering RAs something of substance (2 x breakfast + 100 USD per night). I might move all my business from the Barclay to Times Square. The former has one of the most underwhelming "happy hours" I've experienced in terms of offerings (drinks: Heineken, Bud Light, two bottles of wine, one sparkling - no liquor of any kind), might as well raid the (mini)bar at TS instead. Imaginary / fake room categories is already an issue at both properties anyway.
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Old Dec 14, 18, 9:44 am
  #113  
 
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Originally Posted by scubaccr

Also due to foc RA minibar, on solo stays, I mostly eat in-room-dining meals with foc minibar drinks (why eat in restaurant and pay for wine/beer), with minibar unavailable then IC will lose my nightly inroom dining spend as I will eat (and drink) outside the hotel.
Is the other side of the coin that I mentioned earlier .... take the benefit away and it impacts spend.
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Old Dec 14, 18, 10:52 am
  #114  
 
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I have tons of IC reservations on Jan for my family trip. I'm sad that this would be my last luxurious stay with full of minibar..
But now I'm writing this post in a JW Marriott and I think I would be happy if I have $50 minibar credit right now..
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Old Dec 14, 18, 1:32 pm
  #115  
 
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Sure I should know but could someone explain please what this one means?

WAIVED DESTINATION/AMENITY FEES
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Old Dec 14, 18, 1:56 pm
  #116  
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Originally Posted by boekel
It is not my intention to hurt you, but I don't see a reason to apologize, when you want to sell a position which is only benefitial for IHG or the hotels. Not guaranteeing any upgrade for your most loyal customer is nothing else in my opinion. And the statement that you have only the options to eliminate or downsize the minibar benefit or abandon the whole program is mildly spoken not well thought.
You should apologise. On this issue I am sided with IHG's position, so what? What right do you have to accuse me just because my opinion is different from yours and seems to stand for IHG? Please answer the question and apologise. Any unfounded accusation is a personal attack and you should apologise for making false accusation.
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Old Dec 14, 18, 2:02 pm
  #117  
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Originally Posted by Atacama40
Sure I should know but could someone explain please what this one means?

WAIVED DESTINATION/AMENITY FEES
My understanding is RESORT FEE alike fees. For example, NYC Marriot Marquis calls its own Resort Fee as Destination Fee. Several Kimpton hotels have these resort fee called Amenity Fee.

That is why my speculation is that one day Ambassador programme will be extended to Kimpton, because so far most IC hotel that has Resort Fee actually called it Resort Fee. But some Kimpton hotels used words like Destination Fee or Amenity Fee.

Also that is reason that I thought the new benefits for Ambassador is a combination or better, a compromise of current Ambassador programme and Kimpton Karma/Inner Circle so that Kimpton hotel owners can easily get on board. But I am not familiar with Kimpton Inner Circle programme and need someone from the programme to tell me more in order for me to further affirm my speculation.
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Last edited by FlyerTalker688786; Dec 14, 18 at 2:13 pm
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Old Dec 14, 18, 3:22 pm
  #118  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
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Originally Posted by chongcao
My understanding is RESORT FEE alike fees. For example, NYC Marriot Marquis calls its own Resort Fee as Destination Fee. Several Kimpton hotels have these resort fee called Amenity Fee.

That is why my speculation is that one day Ambassador programme will be extended to Kimpton, because so far most IC hotel that has Resort Fee actually called it Resort Fee. But some Kimpton hotels used words like Destination Fee or Amenity Fee.

Also that is reason that I thought the new benefits for Ambassador is a combination or better, a compromise of current Ambassador programme and Kimpton Karma/Inner Circle so that Kimpton hotel owners can easily get on board. But I am not familiar with Kimpton Inner Circle programme and need someone from the programme to tell me more in order for me to further affirm my speculation.
Ahh ok, thanks for the the explanation. new one on me. Cheers
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Old Dec 14, 18, 9:03 pm
  #119  
 
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Are the upgrades and free breakfast guaranteed for award stays under the new program?
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Old Dec 14, 18, 9:19 pm
  #120  
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Originally Posted by BaconSF
Are the upgrades and free breakfast guaranteed for award stays under the new program?
I really doubt it. However you slice it, the program is going down - not up - and I doubt theyd reverse a years old policy that your points are effectively a liability for them and they prefer you dont use them.
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