Intercontinental Hotels offer Priority Club points for stays but maintains a separate elite program — Ambassador status — which is purchased rather than earned.
The benefits of this status are Gold Elite membership in Priority Club (unless you earn platinum on your own), a free weekend night certificate (in conjunction with a paid weekend night, valid on just about all rates), one room-class upgrade, late check-out, a free in-room movie with each stay, and a welcome amenity.
There’s also an upper tier of Ambassador, Royal Ambassador, awarded based on revenue spent with the chain. Early check-in is available, guaranteed upgrades, and free mini-bar are the parks. That status can’t be purchased.
The usual cost of membership is $150, although there are sometimes promotions to earn the status free with a certain number of hotel stays.
I joined for a year in August 2004 when there was a signup offer of 25,000 Delta miles. Since Delta had a parallel offer of 5,000 bonus miles for transfers of points from hotel programs, I actually received 30,000 Delta miles.
The welcome packet also came with a 5,000 point Priority Club certificate and two nice luggage tags. I emailed the Ambassador program and asked for more luggage tags. They sent me a new welcome packet which included the tags and another free weekend night certificate.
I understand that they’ve caught on, and requests for additional luggage tags no longer generate additional free night certificates. And I’m not certain that the welcome packet will continue to include the 5000 point certificates as they aren’t a published benefit of Ambassador status.
Nevertheless, for those interested in the program there are several current bonus offers — though all far less lucrative than last year’s Delta bonus. If you’re going to join the program, it behooves you to use one of the following links, rather than earning nothing at all.
The Northwest offer is for 3,500 Worldperks miles, and expires February 28, 2006.
Then there are offers for 3,000 miles (expiring December 31, 2005) with seven airlines:
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- America West FlightFund
- American AAdvantage
- Continental OnePass
- Delta SkyMiles
- United Milage Plus
- US Airways Dividend Miles
The program doesn’t make sense for people who aren’t going to be staying at Intercontinental properties. But in some cases a single stay can make the program worth it. For example if you’re traveling to French Polynesia, perhaps at the Intercontinental properties on Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora a single night’s upgrade alone can be worth the price of membership.