Changes Coming to Priority Club Over the Next Two Months

Via Priority Club Insider, Business Traveler reports on Priority Club’s planned ‘revamp’ in the coming two months.

The piece is light on specifics but does mention the introduction of “a ‘flights anywhere’ function will allow travellers to redeem their points on any flight globally” which sounds tremendously like “SPG Flights” — directly spending points to buy airline tickets, which is almost certain to be a low value reward (too many points per dollar of airfare).

The rest of the piece focuses on introduction of mobile platforms, and revamping lobbies to accommodate small business meetings, so doesn’t give much to go in as far as a revamp of the program itself is concerned.

Surely there’ll be more than a flight option? Priority Club sorely needs:

  • Ability to spend additional points for upgraded rooms
  • Real elite benefits (suite upgrades? Breakfast?)

But it’s hard to imagine that they give us either of these, though this is where the program is sorely lacking relative to most of its competitors.

The Intercontinental Royal Ambassador program is outstanding, with guaranteed early check-in at 8am as well as 4pm late checkout, outstanding upgrades, and of course complimentary drinks from the minibar. But it’s confusing to most, you earn Priority Club points at Intercontinentals, Intercontinental status doesn’t matter at other hotels in the chain (though they comp you the ‘platinum’ level which doesn’t get you much generally). And Priority Club status doesn’t get you anything with Intercontinentals.

That’s a mess they probably ought to sort out, but whenever they get around to it I fear for the consequences.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary- you hit nail on head. Need to get upgraded rooms for more points. Nothing worse than a “standard” room.

    Thanks

  2. Until they offer the same upgrades for awards that they do for paid stays, they are not a competitive program, Royal Ambassador or no. I’m not made to feel second class when I book an award at Starwood or Hyatt.

  3. @Carol for upgrades it really depends on the property. Most of the properties I have been to have given me the proper upgrade even on award stays. The real issue with the program is consistency, and with the relaunch of Holiday Inn, and the probable relaunch of Crowne Plaza soon, now is the time to make a push for consistency.

    Depending on how many people switched from Hilton last year, I don’t think we will see a wholesale devaluation of points, simply because of the PR push that would be used against them. If anything they could be improving the program to try and attract more business travelers who appreciate on-property benefits.

  4. Priority Club & Intercontinental should figure something out for PC’s Platinum’s, or just dissolve the partnership. I’m confused, after staying at the Intercontinental-San Juan last week, why these two are even partners if either program is useless when staying with the other…

  5. All things considered, I’m pretty happy with the program the way it is. Earnings can be considerable, while redemptions are much less than the competition especially with tax-free cash and points. The website displays all affiliation rates in your profile quickly and painlessly across multiple properties, and those rates are often less than Hilton Worldwide. Platinum status does count for something, including upgrades and/or best view room, if you contact the front desk ahead of time. And IHG properties are all over.

  6. Something is happening – IMHO – with the way ambassador status doesn’t show up the same on the priority club web site any longer. Something is in the works and I fear it is separating IC’s from PC all together. I don’t see how this is a good thing for them or customers, but I don’t know what else to think when I see the online change in how status is represented.

  7. Mine still shows the same, has the link for the ambassador website:
    Platinum Member “Ambassador Website” **link**

  8. yes but if you are RA, they’ve dropped that on PC, used to be Platinum Royal Ambassador, now just Platinum, I agree it does look the times are a changing

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