As had been rumoured on various forums, InterContinental has increased the cost of renewing membership of its Ambassador loyalty programme from $100 to $150.
If you not familiar with Ambassador, it is a loyalty programme with a twist. You get the status by paying for it ($200 for a new member) and the benefits on a paid stay are guaranteed and not at hotel discretion.
Whenever you stay at an InterContinental on a paid stay, you receive a guaranteed upgrade, guaranteed 4pm check-out, a free pay-TV film and free fruit and mineral water. (On a reward night, these benefits are at the discretion of the hotel but are usually given.) You also receive a voucher entitling you to a ‘2 nights for the price of 1’ weekend stay (based on Best Flex pricing) and a voucher for 5,000 Priority Club points. Full details are here.
In general, it is a good package. The $200 fee is covered by the 5,000 points and the value of the 2-4-1 voucher. If you do 5+ InterContinental stays a year (and I will hopefully be at the IC Carlton in Cannes, below, on Monday), it is worth joining.
Renewal used to be $100, and in return you would also receive a voucher for 5,000 Priority Club points and another 2-4-1 weekend night voucher. As of yesterday, though, the options are:
- Renew for $150 and receive 10,000 bonus points
- Renew for $200 and receive 15,000 bonus points plus a 10% points rebate on Reward Nights
- Renew using 24,000 of your Priority Club points and receive 10,000 bonus points
Frankly, looking at these options, I would recommend the middle one. Why? Well, you are paying an extra $50, of course, but the additional 5,000 Priority Club points are worth at least $35. That means that even if you make as little as one 25,000 point redemption booking a year, the 10% rebate will ensure that you are better off than taking the first option.
(I freely admit that, last year, I did not follow this advice and took the cheaper option. I then ended up gifting 150,000 points of reward stays to my brother, and so missed out on a 15,000 point rebate. Big mistake.)
All in all, I am pleasantly surprised by these new renewal options. I was fully expecting the price to rise from $100 to $150 with no increase in the number of free points, whereas the free points have gone up from 5,000 to 10,000.
Here is a handy hint as well – do NOT redeem the 10,000 bonus points voucher immediately if you will definitely requalify for Priority Club Platinum status for 2013. Save your voucher to redeem on 1st January 2013 – it will then count towards the 60,000 points you need to retain Platinum for 2014. The 241 and bonus points vouchers are also transferable – many people swap them.
(To see our complete list of all current hotel promotions for the major chains, click here to visit our ‘Hotel Promos’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)