InterContinental raising elite qualifiction requirements in a recession?

The one nice thing about the recession has to be the plethora of deals we’ve seen in the travel industry, from every legacy carrier offering some sort of double elite qualifying miles promotion to hotels offering double stay credits and nights “rolling over” towards next year’s status. Certainly most airlines and hotel chains realize that people are traveling less, not more, this year. And then there’s InterContinental.

InterContinental’s top tier status, Royal Ambassador, is invitation only and doesn’t have published qualification criteria. All they say is that it’s extended to the top 1% of Priority Club members. Nonetheless, 50 nights with stays at three or more InterContinental hotels always seemed to do the trick. However, since June some on FlyerTalk have reported not receiving an invitation, despite spending over 55 nights at Priority Club properties. This thread on FlyerTalk suggests one now needs at least 60 nights to be invited to the Royal Ambassador program.

Fo’ real, raising the threshold in a recession?

Filed Under: Hotels, Priority Club
  1. I’m at 60 nights exactly and my renewal should be reviewed in the next week. I’ll let you know the outcome.

  2. 60 nights for a Holiday Inn top tier level card?? Keep it. I’ll pay for my own honor bar 😛

  3. Rather than an indication that the chain is doing well I would propose the rationale is another cost-cutting measure in a time of decreasing profits across hotel chains and the industry.

    The luxury segment of lodging has been hit hard this year. I know the new 2008 InterContinental Monterey had hoped to be pulling minimum rates of $400 per night in 2009 when I interviewed a manager in May 2008.

    Rates fell to under $120 per night this past winter and are just pushing over $200 for summer 2009.

  4. @ Sam — Could be, but I have a feeling it’s not exactly the top 1%, but that they just say that to make it sound exclusive. For the past few years it took exactly 50 nights, so I doubt that’s a coincidence.

    @ Gene — Hope you make it!

    @ Tommy777 — I’ll assume the smilie means you’re kidding. 😉 RA is probably the best top tier status of any hotel program.

    @ Scholar — Yeah, cause the luxury hotel market is really doing so well in a recession….

    @ Ric — Well said.

  5. Lucky,
    I’m a plat ambassador with 15 qualifying nights (5 IC nights) so far and already qualify plat status for
    2011 with 60k points instead of nights.
    Do you think I might have a shot on Royal amb?


  6. Of the hundreds of reports I’ve heard of people making RA, that’s the first I’ve heard of anyone making it with less than 50 nights. What were your stay patterns?

  7. @lucky. If you stay at IC hotels, yes. Since there are only a handful of them, it’s not worth it unless you actually stay 25+ nights at actual IC

  8. I am a Royal Ambassador and I received a letter from IC Hotels two weeks ago stating that I did not qualify for Royal Amb for the 2010 year. I found the timing of this letter to be odd as the qualification period runs until November 1 and I have 15 nights with 10 or so scheduled before 11/1. They concluded that I was being given a complimentary Royal Amb membership for 2010.

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