Ending of Royal Ambassador??

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Old Aug 5, 14, 11:33 pm
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Ending of Royal Ambassador??

In a German Forum "Vielfliegertreff" there is rumour going on, that IHG will end Royal Ambassador Status and even the Ambassador Program, because in the future there will be only one Reward Program for all IHG-Hotels and not the Special one just for InterContinental Hotel.

Can anyone here confirm anything about this Horror News?
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Old Aug 6, 14, 12:15 am
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The exact linkt to the discussion in German language and the source for this rumour would be:

http://www.vielfliegertreff.de/ihg-r...affung-ra.html

In short, two members there have heard from discussion with call center and GM / FOM that Ambassador Service will run out and IHG would focus on one frequent guest programm for the chain. There should be a programm for a fee. This could be the reason why no referral vouchers are send out anymore. One member mentioned that he renewed his RA membership by having enough stays.
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Old Aug 6, 14, 2:26 am
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Originally Posted by FLYGVA View Post
The exact linkt to the discussion in German language and the source for this rumour would be:

http://www.vielfliegertreff.de/ihg-r...affung-ra.html

In short, two members there have heard from discussion with call center and GM / FOM that Ambassador Service will run out and IHG would focus on one frequent guest programm for the chain. There should be a programm for a fee. This could be the reason why no referral vouchers are send out anymore. One member mentioned that he renewed his RA membership by having enough stays.
They like strange user handles there don't they ..... "Krematorium"

FT'ers here have long been puzzled by the preservation of two completely different programmes for one chain. I guess the latest recent recalibration to earnings per dollar spent at IC's might be an early sign - although even then it is with a caveat of not all dollars qualify. They never learn about the joys of simplicity.

One wonders whether they saw the RA voucher trade on ebay and thought, "hold on, that's money we should be making".

It will be interesting to see if this transpires into a real programme and what they offer and at what price. I hope it's RA for a bigger fee but I doubt they'd include mini-bar!
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Old Aug 6, 14, 3:31 am
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well, my two cents are:

1>, A paid membership programme is always good to make the relevant brand looking exclusive. And it generates extra revenue. Ambassador programme is successful and it is so successful that only IHG could be able generate enough revenue and kept this programme going for years. People are still paying for the membership that shows it is a good business.
2>, Royal Ambassador is, however, abused by E-bay users. Reducing its numbers and restrict some benefits would be a good start to redesign the whole programme.

So my ideal solution is:
1>, Keep the Ambassador programme. But make it a single tier programme and expand it to Crowne Plaza brand.
2>, Abolish the benefit based mentality but make it a leisure focused programme. Instead of room upgrade and newspapers etc, keep the welcome gift and add the exclusive rate that match level 1 and level 2 corporate rate for those travelling in leisure.
3>, Make Platinum benefits better so room upgrade and in hotel benefits will be transferred to IHG Reward Club tiers.

But I am sure IHG has its own plans.
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Old Aug 6, 14, 6:22 am
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Thumbs down Loyal who?!

Not sure if the hospitality industry really suffering these days or it's just "brilliant" ideas for their development ppl! It's been dramatically worse last 2 years with few exceptions ie.(free net, IC 10p per $).
My main concern would be to see how they going to treat those struggling to maintain / obtain RA? (Expecting smooth renewal this Oct!).
Regarding the current benefits, I found the upgrade policy essential and should kept with necessary improvement to Plat.
- selling RA on ebay issue could been handled smarter by offering a challenge stays for the buyers.
* anyway I won't be surprised if they start increase reward night points next year

Last edited by Voucher; Aug 6, 14 at 6:24 am Reason: Correction!
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Old Aug 6, 14, 7:39 am
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Could you imagine if they turned the concept on it's head and instead of giving RA away for free - but no one knows exactly how or why - and with customers constantly arguing about what they should be getting, instead they charged for it and benefits became a stronger and clearly spelt out contractual obligation?

So instead of DYKWIA it becomes a clear commercial contractual relationship. No variation. No whims of local management. And the fee is the same for anyone who pays but the people who gain most are those that stay most. What difference would a $1000 fee make to all the people who currently stay 75 nights a year or more or whatever it is to get RA ......

1. Swanky upgrade
2. Early checkin and later checkout
3. Free mini-bar
4. Lounge access
5. Free Laundry - 2 pieces per day
6. Special RA weekend lower but flexible rates
7. In room/suite checkin
8. Same earnings as everyone else but 33% discount on all points redemptions

No weekend vouchers. No films. Oh alright just the one for blokes travelling by themselves.

Forget the nicknacks and little silly gifts. Just a welcome note explaining what you get.

A plain and simple and consistant and guaranteed contractual programme that anyone can buy.

Last edited by uk1; Aug 6, 14 at 7:51 am
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Old Aug 6, 14, 8:37 am
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Originally Posted by uk1 View Post
Could you imagine if they turned the concept on it's head and instead of giving RA away for free - but no one knows exactly how or why - and with customers constantly arguing about what they should be getting, instead they charged for it and benefits became a stronger and clearly spelt out contractual obligation?

So instead of DYKWIA it becomes a clear commercial contractual relationship. No variation. No whims of local management. And the fee is the same for anyone who pays but the people who gain most are those that stay most. What difference would a $1000 fee make to all the people who currently stay 75 nights a year or more or whatever it is to get RA ......

1. Swanky upgrade
2. Early checkin and later checkout
3. Free mini-bar
4. Lounge access
5. Free Laundry - 2 pieces per day
6. Special RA weekend lower but flexible rates
7. In room/suite checkin
8. Same earnings as everyone else but 33% discount on all points redemptions

Sweet, but won't they think; why would then our customers be bothered to push their stays into IHG basket aiming RA status? can they simply get rid of all those nights for sake of $1000?

Last edited by Voucher; Aug 6, 14 at 8:42 am
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Old Aug 6, 14, 9:31 am
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The German Vielfliegertreff is not the most reliable forum. Sometimes I have the impression most of the posters are teenagers who dream about flying in premium classes. A lot of the posts are utter nonsense or unverified rumors.
Don't get too excited about this rumor (even if logically it would make sense of IHG to combine the A/RA program with their regular program)
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Old Aug 6, 14, 9:42 am
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Originally Posted by Voucher View Post
Sweet, but won't they think; why would then our customers be bothered to push their stays into IHG basket aiming RA status? can they simply get rid of all those nights for sake of $1000?
Well for a start those customers get RA by suprise rather than by intention as the target is unpublished. So it isn't an incentive for most of that very small number. Why bother at all about so few customers you are aren't currently incentivating by clear stay targets? If it is only >1% of Ambassadors then the business need hardly concern themselves about them. Is it 0.01% of all the people that stay?

It is trying to get the other 99% of those already demonstrating they are prepared to cough up for Ambassador membership that is your target and all those that might do from other brands that don't qualify for RA.

Last edited by uk1; Aug 6, 14 at 9:54 am
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Old Aug 6, 14, 1:10 pm
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I hope both Ambassador and RA programs do come to an end. I stay at ALL other IHG brands BUT NOT IC for ONE reason only: because I am not recognized at IC's. I stay well over 200 nights each year at IHG properties. At Marriott, I'd be a Lifetime Plat by now but Marriott properties just don't work for most of my stays. It's pathetic that they have two different recognition programs at their different brands. There should be just ONE with different levels...and it would entice me to stay at IC properties.
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Old Aug 6, 14, 1:40 pm
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Originally Posted by CalItalian View Post
I hope both Ambassador and RA programs do come to an end. I stay at ALL other IHG brands BUT NOT IC for ONE reason only: because I am not recognized at IC's. I stay well over 200 nights each year at IHG properties. At Marriott, I'd be a Lifetime Plat by now but Marriott properties just don't work for most of my stays. It's pathetic that they have two different recognition programs at their different brands. There should be just ONE with different levels...and it would entice me to stay at IC properties.
I agree ... but at least your stay nights have reduced from 300+ nights you previously mentioned you stayed in IHG in 2013. That, with your stays and status at Marriott / Ritz Carlton must mean you never ever see home. I'd not survive that.

Sympathies.
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Old Aug 6, 14, 3:29 pm
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It will be a sad day if they move away from the aspirational 1% criteria. The mystery surrounding that is priceless for IHG (just see the thread on here re RA renewal). To move to a straightforward program with open qualifying criteria would simply bring it into line with all the other chains and remove the obvious cachet that exists today. The trade on eBay was an indicator of that cachet.
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Old Aug 6, 14, 5:13 pm
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Originally Posted by Wan1dap View Post
It will be a sad day if they move away from the aspirational 1% criteria. The mystery surrounding that is priceless for IHG (just see the thread on here re RA renewal). To move to a straightforward program with open qualifying criteria would simply bring it into line with all the other chains and remove the obvious cachet that exists today. The trade on eBay was an indicator of that cachet.
I agree, personally I think AMB should be reviewed and beefed up and be made to feel more exclusive - rewards night rebates, exclusive promotions etc that are meaningful and worth using. I'd remove the option to purchase the first year with points as the programme looks to easy to join at 32k points tbh which reduces the benefit to the people who have joined. I'd go as far as say this is the biggest problem with platinum as well it's far to easy to attain which leads to the benefits being watered down and the properties owners/management barely recognising it as sixty of the eighty guests booked in are apparently elite.

I've never been an RA and I doubt I ever will be due to the vast majority of stays being CP, HI and HIX with only 10-12 nights a year IC but I agree with Wan1dap there is an element of mystery to it and being invited should feel special. I also felt that the referrals should never been included and again waters down the programme, RA should definitely have to be earned.
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Old Aug 6, 14, 8:46 pm
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Originally Posted by uk1 View Post
Could you imagine if they turned the concept on it's head and instead of giving RA away for free - but no one knows exactly how or why - and with customers constantly arguing about what they should be getting, instead they charged for it and benefits became a stronger and clearly spelt out contractual obligation?

So instead of DYKWIA it becomes a clear commercial contractual relationship. No variation. No whims of local management. And the fee is the same for anyone who pays but the people who gain most are those that stay most. What difference would a $1000 fee make to all the people who currently stay 75 nights a year or more or whatever it is to get RA ......

1. Swanky upgrade
2. Early checkin and later checkout
3. Free mini-bar
4. Lounge access
5. Free Laundry - 2 pieces per day
6. Special RA weekend lower but flexible rates
7. In room/suite checkin
8. Same earnings as everyone else but 33% discount on all points redemptions

No weekend vouchers. No films. Oh alright just the one for blokes travelling by themselves.

Forget the nicknacks and little silly gifts. Just a welcome note explaining what you get.

A plain and simple and consistant and guaranteed contractual programme that anyone can buy.
That would be a disaster, at least here in the cities of China with RA numbers (or members of the paid program) multiplying within days; leading to crowded hotels and lounges particularly on the weekends. So I highly doubt that will happen.
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Old Aug 6, 14, 9:01 pm
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Originally Posted by CalItalian View Post
I hope both Ambassador and RA programs do come to an end. I stay at ALL other IHG brands BUT NOT IC for ONE reason only: because I am not recognized at IC's. I stay well over 200 nights each year at IHG properties. At Marriott, I'd be a Lifetime Plat by now but Marriott properties just don't work for most of my stays. It's pathetic that they have two different recognition programs at their different brands. There should be just ONE with different levels...and it would entice me to stay at IC properties.
And if Ambassador program goes away what makes you think a Platinum status will instead suffice. I can not see it happening.

If you think IC's struggle with number of Ambassador's + RA's staying at the moment, it would be far worse if the millions of Platinums had to be given recognition and meaningful upgrades.
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