[17 December 2018 Update: Complimentary breakfast will only be provided in Greater China hotels]
I have heard through the grapevine this morning that InterContinental Ambassadors (as well as Royal Ambassadors) will be getting some enhanced benefits in the year ahead. Unfortunately for RA members, they will be seeing some significant changes to minibar inclusions - RA members used to be able to enjoy everything in the minibar for free. If you are a regular InterContinental Ambassador member like me, you should relatively happy with all the upcoming changes. Remember, you can pay to become an InterContinental Ambassador for just USD 200 or 40,000 IHG Rewards Club Points - the membership will last for 12 months.
While I personally do not achieve any status on IHG Rewards Club, I have managed to rack up some amazing points over the years through Accelerate promotions. The InterContinental Ambassador membership is an easy decision for me since the complimentary weekend night certificate that you get with the membership essentially covers the cost of membership easily. New benefits for InterContinental Ambassadors are slated to roll out from 01 March 2019 and these are some of the new perks you can expect to see:
1. Platinum Elite Status in IHG Rewards Club
All InterContinental Ambassadors are currently given Gold Elite Status in the IHG Rewards Club program - this gives you a 10% bonus on base points that you earn with each eligible stay. You will also get an extended check-out timing but I do not like how this benefit is inconsistent across properties. One of the best thing about the InterContinental Ambassador membership is the 4:00PM guaranteed late check-out that you get across all participating InterContinental properties. Starting from 01 March 2019, members will receive Platinum Elite Status in the IHG Rewards Club program and they will receive a 50% bonus on base points on all eligible stays. Additionally, Platinum Elite members will also get to enjoy complimentary room upgrades (where available) when staying outside of InterContinental properties.
2. ONE Complimentary Breakfast for Every Night You Stay
If you typically do travel alone, you will soon be able to enjoy complimentary breakfast with every night that you stay at InterContinental properties in Greater China. Unfortunately this benefit is only extend to one person and therefore if you are sharing the room with a friend, he or she will have to pay for breakfast - this probably translates to a half-priced breakfast which is still pretty good for me. In any case, having a benefit and an option is always a good thing since you can always mitigate these issues with a breakfast-inclusive rate or by booking a Club InterContinental room.
3. E-delivery of Complimentary Weekend Night Certificate
InterContinental Ambassador members used to have to wait ages for the welcome pack to arrive - the complimentary weekend night certificate comes together with the package which meant that even though you could book a room prior to receiving this, you could not consume the stay until you have gotten it. Thankfully, that will change in the year ahead and members will soon be able to take advantage of this benefit as soon as they purchase or renew their InterContinental Ambassador membership.
4. Ambassador Benefit Guarantee
InterContinental Ambassadors should always receive a guaranteed room upgrade. Soon there will be an Ambassador Benefit Guarantee - members will be given 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points per stay or USD50 spa/F&B credit if this benefit is not adhered to. The same compensation applies if an InterContinental Ambassador does not receive a guaranteed 4:00PM late check-out. Royal Ambassador members will receive USD 100 per night if they do not receive Club InterContinental Lounge Access or alternative Club experience - this compensation should not exceed the Club InterContinental upgrade supplement value.
Apart from all these new benefits, there will be a slight change for InterContinental Ambassador members - they will soon only receive a welcome fruit platter instead of a unique amenity which I sometimes look forward to receiving. RA members will also enjoy early check-in from 10:00AM (instead of 8:00AM) and the complimentary minibar will be replaced with USD 50 credit per day (up to USD 200 per stay). All in all, I would say that the upcoming changes are great (and especially so if you are just an InterContinental Ambassador member) and I look forward to renewing my membership in 2019.
(H/T: John from LoyaltyLobby)