I am posting my understanding and experiences of how the RA qualification process works. I am known as martyYYZ on FT. First, I’d like to state that I do not know the exact numbers that are required to earn RA although many have posted that it is around 50-55 nights, including 3 separate Intercontinental hotel stays. I have earned RA in the past and have been referred over the past couple of years. For people trying to earn RA status, my experience has been as follows: If you are already RA, a sweep will occur roughly 3 months before your expiration date. For example, if your expiration date is September (September 30), the sweep will occur on or around July 1. You can also earn RA before the 3 month sweep if you have enough nights. When IC determines whether you have reached RA, they will look back at your stay activity exactly 365 days. I have had agents tell me that they can see 2 numbers on their screen when I call in: how many qualifying nights you have in the past 365 days how many different Intercontinental (IC only, not CP, HI, HIX, …) you have stayed at in the past 365 days Based on many FT posts, I believe that award stays are also factored into this number. I also believe that the agent can look at future stays if you ask them to in deciding whether you requalify and they will factor this into the equation. Many on FT are always confused as to how many nights they have and when the window starts/ends. All that it takes is a simple phone call to CS asking how many nights do you have so far in order to get to RA. Most agents that I have dealt with will tell you this information. Although I do not know the exact number of nights that are required to reach RA, at least this number will tell you exactly where you stand. If you do not make RA during the sweep, you can call back at any time to see if you are eligible. They will always look back 365 days from the time of your call. For example, if your year end is September, 2011 and as of July 1, 2011 you only have 40 nights, you will not make the sweep. However, if you know that you will have a 2 week (21 night) vacation coming up in late July, 2011. Call back after your July stay posts since you will now be at 61 nights (assuming none of the 40 were in early July last year). The other major benefit of this late stay is that you now have 21 nights in the bank for your next year of qualification, since that sweep will happen next July 1 (2012) and will include this stay since they look back 365 days. I was lucky enough to have a 2 month stay near then end of my ambassador year. This got me 2 years of RA status – I got it when I reached about 50 nights and the following year’s sweep picked up the same stay since it posted within my 365 day window. I have recommended this strategy to many on FT and have received PM’s thanking me and confirming that this works. If you have never been RA and are trying to get there for the first time, I believe that the rules are the same. The agent and/or sweep simply looks at your past 365 days of activity. I know that some people say that stays only count since the day you became Ambassador, but I have seen many posts on FT saying otherwise. I cannot say 100% that this is the case but this is how I believe that it works. For people with an RA referral, my advise is as follows: An RA referral will grant you RA status until the end of your Ambassador year (assuming that you already have Ambassador status). So if you’re Ambassador year ends on September, 2011 and you send in an RA referral in March, 2011, you will only get 6 months of RA status (March-September) If you are not currently an Ambassador member, my advice is to apply for Ambassador status first using 32K points or $200. This will get you a package which has a 5K point code along with a Buy one weekend night (BOGO), get one free voucher. Once you get the package, send in your RA referral and you will get another package with the same 2 items. Your RA status will be good for about one year (since you just applied for Ambassador). Some lucky people (including myself in the past) have also received an RA referral voucher with their kit, however, this is by chance. Normally, I don’t think that referred RA’s are suppose to get a referral voucher.