Is IC Ambassador worth it?

Discussion in 'IHG | Rewards Club/Ambassador' started by muflyer, Mar 18, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. muflyer

    muflyer Silver Member

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    I have searched the forums and seen general discussions regarding IC Ambassador and aspects of it, but I have not seen a general thread devoted to whether IC Ambassador purchase is generally viewed as worth the $200. I know it is a situation where YMMV, but wanted any thoughts regarding the overall view of the current program after the recent change in some terms.

    For my situtation, I am currently at a IC property (1st time ever) and they have asked me to purchase for $200 and they say there is a promo with an extra 30K points. However, I would rather use points to purchase and essentially get the pts back. This is my first stay at an IC and while I will consider them in the future, I would generally go with the best value, award redemption or points earning prospect. I might also consider a Priceline purchase. I am a IC platinum and have enough points for a couple IC stays, but am not thrilled that the terms have changed to require booking at what seems to be the higher weekend rate for the BOGO. I could forsee a future stay at the IC Rome and I read the excellent info in that thread, but I'm not just not sure if I'm an Ambassador candidate.
     
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  2. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    I'm not too sure there is a reason not to get Ambassador, even if you only stay a few times at an IC. True, the price and terms were a bit better in the past, but I still feel it makes sense if you know you will be staying at an IC at least a couple times a year.
     
  3. muflyer

    muflyer Silver Member

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    Thanks...do you have any idea how much more the typical Ambassador weekend rate is vs. other rates?
     
  4. TheBeerHunter
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    TheBeerHunter Silver Member

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    It's usually in-line with Best Flexible Rate, which is what I tend to book since I take lots of last-minute trips, so the change didn't really affect me.

    I personally think purchasing Ambassador status is worth it, but of course it depends on your travel patterns. If you aren't planning on staying at a pricey IC over a weekend in the next year, then no, it probably isn't worth it.
     
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  5. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    This is where you may have to do some leg work since these rates tend to be high ($400 + at some locals). You may want to make a few calls to the property and try and negotiate rates. I have done this in the past (not certificate related) and after taking to three different people (three separate calls) I received three different rates. :eek:
     
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  6. Jaimito Cartero
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    Jaimito Cartero Silver Member

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    Your first year will be $200, after that, the renewals are a lot less. $100, I think.

    I've found the benefits to be very nice, but seem to have about 1/2 my PC stays at IC properties. The added points, and benefits really add up for me.
     
  7. milepig
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    milepig Silver Member

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    I do think it's worth it. I've been a member for years, and have used my BOGO in Athens and Paris among other locations. Those alone paid me back for my annual fee. The other benefit for me is that I do enjoy getting a nicer room - for others this may not matter as much. Sometimes the upgrade is modest, sometimes huge and seems to depend largely on the number of room types hotels have. At a property with lots of room levels, one level up may give you nothing more than a standard room with a slightly better location or view - at other properties you might get club level or a huge suite. The welcome gift varies from really nice to almost nothing - in Paris we got a box of very nice chocolates along with some of the best plums I've ever eaten, sometimes it's nothing more than a couple pieces of fruit. Automatic late checkout is HUGE.

    I also find that even though they say the benefits don't apply, I've been treated very nicely at many HIs, and often get an upgraded room as well as drink/breakfast coupons that weren't included in the room rate.
     
  8. Petrus
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    Petrus Silver Member

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    I recently signed up for PC due to having my first stay at a IHG property. I hit PC Gold on this stay (20K + points). Is PC Gold effectively the same as IC Amb? The website is offering me to buy Ambassador but not sure there is a point?
     
  9. KIXman
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    KIXman Gold Member

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    For non Intercontinental hotels, PC Gold is effectively the same as IC Amb. (If you buy IC Amb, you get PC Gold automatically). However, IC Amb has benefits at Intercontinental hotels above those of PC Gold and PC Platinum.
    If you have a number of stays in the future at ICs buying Amb can be worth it. However, if you stay only at HI / HIX / CP / Indigo / Staybridge / Candlesuites only, there's no need to get the Amb status.
     
  10. MrHalliday
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    MrHalliday Silver Member

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    And, of course, you can renew for 20K points if you prefer..
    I just did it.
     
  11. Misplaced Texan
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    Misplaced Texan Gold Member

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    Yes, if you're staying at IC hotels at all regularly. I'll let others debate whether it is worth it just for the BOGO, but if you actually stay at IC hotels there are other benefits that I think are worth $200:
    • Late checkout can be really valueable in terms of life improvement. Since I started switching over to IC and bought Amb, I've found it really nice to be able to leave a meeting or a client in the early afternoon and return to the hotel to shower and change into something easy to travel in before heading to the airport. It may not matter to you, but to me that's a lot easier than having to pack up in the morning and wear meeting clothes sometimes late into the night while sitting on a plane. SPG gives the same 4PM checkout to Plats and Golds but none of the other hotels have as a good policy and only IC does it basically from the first stay.
    • The movie returns some value. A lot of times I have meetings or drinks with friends until late (and obviously on leisure stays I'm not sitting around the room watching movies), but sometimes after a long day of work it's nice to just vegetate and see something you meant to see in the theater and never did. Plus, for some reason PPV movies are a big no-no with our many clients on expenses so this is one benefit I actually get direct personal savings from when I use it on business stays.
    • Upgrades can be nice if you are careful. While "one category" often is just a slightly bigger room or better view, if you pay careful attention to the categories and buy into the category directly below a big bump in cost you can get a fairly high return in terms of the cost difference if you had paid up to the next room type. For example, you can use this at some (maybe most) ICs to get club access or get what would otherwise be a high $ buy-up to a suite if you are careful with what you book.
    • Obviously you have to be a pretty frequent guest for this to matter, but you can't earn RA status without first buying Amb status.
     
  12. southender
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    southender Silver Member

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    Late checkout- have utilized frequently and especially appreciate it when flights are delayed (big shout out to flight stats alerts!)
    other- free water, the fruit plate- these and the Club help me stretch the per diem.
    BOGO- not that I do a lot of weekends, but when overseas (where prices seem to be higher), it can make the difference in coming in under budget (AMS, SYD are two notable and recent examples).
    My advice- try it for two years, then give it a pass after that if it doesn't work out for you. My experience and travel patterns are such that IC now factors into my 'go to if available' list with SPG and Fairmont
     
  13. Travelsavant
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    Travelsavant Gold Member

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    For me, answer is an easy yes, especially if you plan on staying at IC properties. I'm a Platinum AMB & I get treated very well at all PC properties & have had exceptional experiences at IC hotels/resorts. As others have advised, give it go for a year or 2 & see if you get your money's worth on upgrades, freebies & the BOGO weekend.
     
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  14. thegrailer
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    thegrailer Silver Member

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  15. SQ LPP
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    SQ LPP Gold Member

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    IMHO, it's worth it for having Ambassador status and staying at IC. Main reason is the guaranteed 4pm check-out which is consistently fulfilled. When I used to have SPG Platinum or Hyatt Diamond, in many properties, I had to fight to request a 4pm check-out.
     
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  16. Eloy Fonseca Neto
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    Eloy Fonseca Neto Silver Member

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    For me there's no better loyalty program than the Intercontinental Ambassador, if they could embrace the Priority Club for all hotels would be the Best in the whole world for certain!!!
     
  17. sdcarver
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    sdcarver Silver Member

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    I have been Hilton Diamond, SPG Platinum, and IC Platinum Ambassador... It is almost impossible to compare objectively, it depends on your travel patterns, particular hotels, customer service etc... All in all I have been quite happy with IC Ambassador, my only complaint is the lack of consistency among the Priority Cub Hotels with PC Platinum--I know it has nothing to do with IC Ambassador directly...

    sdcarver
     
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  18. Eloy Fonseca Neto
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    Eloy Fonseca Neto Silver Member

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    That's what I meant... If they could apply the Ambassador benefits to all IHG hotels such as HI, HIX, CP, HINN, it would be the best loyalty program in the world!!!
     
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  19. RicGarrido
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    RicGarrido Silver Member

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  20. sdcarver
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    sdcarver Silver Member

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  21. Trout Fishing in America
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    Trout Fishing in America Silver Member

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    Any comment I have would be a needless repetition of what RicGarrido has so thoughtfully explained on his blog. So, I would like to voice my opinion in "ditto" form. I stay IC infrequently enough that I would hesitate to pay the first years fee, but, in my opinion, the renewing price is much more impressive. So, I'd say put up the points, tough it out the first year, and take advantage of the significantly lower renewal option.
     
  22. Eloy Fonseca Neto
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    Eloy Fonseca Neto Silver Member

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    Trout Fishing in America is right!!! Nothing more to say!!!
     
  23. KIXman
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    KIXman Gold Member

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    LOL I was wondering what trout fishing had do with IC Ambassador, then I saw the previous post :p
    FWIW, I also renew using my points since I build them up easily, and use them rarely.
     
  24. Trout Fishing in America
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    Trout Fishing in America Silver Member

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    I agree. This guy knows what he's talking about :cool:
     
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  25. Eloy Fonseca Neto
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    Eloy Fonseca Neto Silver Member

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    It's all a question of math, taking under consideration all the variables and you, dear friend trout, solved with a brilliant solution. Congrats!!!
     

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