The key point to understand is that Priority Club POINTS can be earnedand spent at all brands in the portfolio. However, the main benefits ofPriority Club STATUS are only valid at Holiday Inn, HI Express,Staybridge, Indigo, Crowne Plaza etc – not InterContinental.InterContinental has its own status programme called Ambassador, whichuniquely amongst hotel chains cannot be earned – it must be bought.Ambassadors may be upgraded at IC’s discretion to Royal Ambassador, thehighest level.
Section 1 – Priority Club and earning and spending PC points
PC membership is free. You can sign up via www.priorityclub.com,or – if you try to make a booking online without being a member – youwill prompted to sign up during the booking process. You will receive1,000 bonus points if you sign up during the booking process, accordingto the PC T&C's.
There are three levels of status:
Club is the basic level. The only benefits are late check-out(at hotel discretion) and a free newspaper (ditto). So, basically,nothing!
Gold is achieved after 15 nights or 20,000 points. PC is so generous with bonus point promotions (see the promos sticky run by Radioman)that you are 99% certain to achieve this through points rather thannights! You can also buy Gold membership for $50 through the PC websitealthough the benefits are so weak that it is not seen as worthwhile.Key benefits here are priority check-in, which basically means yourpaperwork is done in advance – there is no separate hotel line to join- and 10% bonus base points. Amex Centurion members in some countriesget PC Gold as a perk of the package.
Platinum is the highest level, after 50 nights or 60,000 points.Platinum members should receive a room upgrade (except at HI Expressproperties which don't have premium rooms) as well as 50% bonus basepoints and 72-hour guaranteed availability. Note that the 72-hourguaranteed room pledge is limited to one room per member, the hotel canimpose black-outs and you likely to pay full rack rate – you cannotbook a reward night this way.
The benefits of PC Platinum are not as good as Starwood Platinum,Marriott Platinum, Hyatt Diamond or Hilton Diamond. You should notexpect a suite upgrade, club access or free breakfast (although youwill occasionally get these) and you may have to push to get anythingat all. The trade off is that PC Platinum is substantially easier toearn than any other hotel top tier status due to the number of pointspromotions PC runs.
As a reminder – PC Gold or Platinum benefits (apart from the 72-hourguaranteed availability and bonus base points) do NOT apply atInterContinental hotels, although you may be able to secure a minorupgrade or later check-out. The Ambassador and Royal Ambassadorprogrammes for IC guests are explained later in this thread.
Common questions about Priority Club membership and PC points:
How long does status last?
PC status is based on calendar year. When you are promoted, you retainyour new status for the rest of the current year and until 31stDecember of the following year. PC has a ‘soft landing’ system so aPlatinum who does not requalify drops to Gold for a year beforedropping back to Club.
Do my ‘earned points’ reset when I hit Gold?
No. When you hit Gold, you are promoted immediately and then only needanother 40,000 points in that calendar year to hit Platinum. If you donot hit Platinum in the same year as achieving Gold, you will need toearn the full 60,000 points in the following year to go from Gold toPlatinum.
Do I get free breakfast or Club access?
No. No level of PC membership offers a guaranteed free breakfast orClub access although Plats will occasionally get them on adiscretionary hotel-by-hotel basis. Members living in EMEA can redeemPC points for vouchers for a free breakfast (4,000 points per personper day) at any EMEA non-InterContinental branded property - these mustbe ordered through the website and you need to allow time for delivery.
How many points do I earn per stay?
10 points per US$1, except for Candlewood and Staybridge which offer 5per $1. This is officially based on the pre-tax amount and someservices charged to your bill are excluded – see the small print.
InterContinental properties give a flat 2,000 base points per stay withNOTHING for additional spending. (You cannot book multiple back-to-backsingle night stays to get around this!) PC Gold and PC Plat membersreceive the 10% / 50% base point bonus on top of this, and RoyalAmbassador members get a further 1,000 taking them to 4,000 points perstay. There is also a long-term bonus scheme for Ambassadors whoreceive 20,000 bonus points for every 15 nights inInterContinental-branded properties.
Hotel in Japan branded ANA (not ANA CP or ANA IC, simply ANA) earn aflat 600 points per stay, apart from ANA Sapporo which earns 1,300points. Some ANA hotels also give credit for incidental charges, somedon't - check the website for details.
In general, if you take advantage of the promotions in Radioman's points sticky in this forum, your base points should form a very small percentage of your total earned points!
Do PC points expire?
Do I get points for incidental spend on reward stays?
Yes, except for reward nights at InterContinental properties which never give points on incidental spend even on paid stays.
Do I get stay credit on reward stays?
Do all rates qualify for points and stay credit?
No. This is one of the main problems with the programme. Whilst thereare some obvious exceptions (Expedia bookings, tour operator bookings,flight crew / employee rates etc) there is an additional rule thathotels in North, South and Central America do not earn points at ratesrates which are 30% lower than the ‘Best Available Rate’ for thatnight. Some hotels impose this, some don’t. Some hotels outside ofthese regions also try to disqualify discounted rates for points, evenif the rate was booked through the PC website and was publiclyavailable. If you don’t get points, you can usually get the decisionreversed by e-mailing Priority Club and reminding them that this ruledoes not actually exist. Note that hotels in Asia Pacific DO givepoints for 'locally negotiated rates' according to the T&C's.
If you book a stay using ‘two nights for the price of one’ offers thenit is PC policy to give points and stay credit for one night – again,if you don’t get this then e-mail PC and they will correct it.
You cannot earn points from two different hotels on the same night -one will always post with 0 points. Bear this in mind if planning amattress run.
Do I still earn points if I book through a cashback website such as quidco.com or fatwallet?
Yes, because these bookings are completed through the PC website and not through a third-party website such as Expedia.
Will I receive points and a qualifying night if I book a room using my account for someone else?
Officially not - you have to stay and pay yourself (ie no groupbookings) to get the points. In reality, though, you should get thepoints if you have booked the room using your account. To increase yourchances, add the name of whoever is using the room as an 'additionalguest' when making the reservation, and in the comments section add'Second guest: XXX XXXX, will arrive first'.
Will I receive points on multiple rooms?
Yes in the US and Canada, except InterContinental-branded hotels andonly for 10 or less rooms. Your PC number must be on ALL rooms, oralternatively the charges from the others rooms must be transferred toyour bill before payment. Anywhere else in the world you will onlyreceive the points for your own room no matter how many rooms you havebooked under your account.
Do all points count towards status?
Yes. This is real benefit of the programme. All points (base points,bonus points, credit card sign-up, credit card spending, pointspurchased, points transferred via Amex Membership Rewards or fromanother PC member) count towards status. This is why it is so easy toachieve Platinum Status with PC.
Can I transfer points to another member?
Yes, but you need to pay $5 per 1,000 points. You need to download theform from the PC website and fax it to them. Transferred points counttowards status progression for the recipient, but count against statusprogression for the transferror. It has been posted on FT that memberswho live in the Asia-Pacific region can transfer points for free toanother Asia-Pacific based member by calling the service centre - Icannot verify this myself.
Can I purchase points online?
Yes. There are usually a couple of promotions each year where you canreceive 10% or more bonus points when purchasing points. Purchasedpoints count towards status.
Can I collect airline miles instead of points?
Yes, you can choose to take 500 miles per stay in most airline schemesinstead of points. However ... this is not recommended for regularstayers because if you choose 'airline miles' as your earningspreference, you will not be allowed to sign up for the majority of thePC bonus points promotions. You are usually better off collectingpoints and then, if you want miles, transferring them to your preferredairline at 10,000 PC points = 2,000 airline miles.
How many points do I need for a free night?
Rates vary. InterContinental redemptions are usually 40,000 points (30kat some places). Crowne Plaza and Indigo are always 25k, Candlewoodalways 15k, Staybridge always 20k. Holiday Inn and HI Express are 15k(very occasionally 10k) but are 25k in peak cities like London, Paris,New York etc. In these cities you will therefore clearly get bettervalue from a 25k Crowne Plaza stay than a 25k HI Express stay!
Are nights ever discounted?
PC has a small number of ‘points break’ rewards each quarter, at whicha small number of hotels globally offer rooms at 5,000 points pernight. A new list is released quarterly and hotels disappear when theirquota is full, often within days. Locations vary but don’t expect ICLondon to appear any time soon!
What room categories are available for redemption?
In general, InterContinental properties only make the lowest roomcategory available for reward nights. HI, CP, Indigo etc hotels oftenmake a larger range of rooms available, occasionally including suites,at no additional points cost, but this is strictly done on aproperty-by-property basis.
Are there blackout nights?
PC has a ‘no blackout’ policy. However, this is NOT the same as theHilton ‘if we have a room, its yours’ policy. All it means is that ahotel is obliged to make at least 1 room per night available forredemption, and when its gone, its gone. In general, though,availability is good and you would be very unlucky not to find anyrooms available in a major gateway city on any particular night.
Does PC open up extra reward availability on request for Platinum members?
No. There have been occasions where FT’ers have contacted PC and theyhave persuaded a hotel to open up extra rooms, but this is not commonand certainly would not happen for anyone below Platinum level.
Can I cancel a reward night, and when do I get the points back?
You can usually cancel online until the day before arrival. Points aredeposited back into your account immediately - if you cancel a booking,log out and log in again, they will be back and available for use.
Are there other redemption options?
Yes. Interesting options include vouchers for breakfast or dinner athotels for 4,000 or 7,500 points respectively (not valid at IC’s, onlyavailable to members living and redeeming in EMEA), store gift vouchers(choice varies by country of residence) and American Express ‘anyhotel,anywhere’ gift cards that can be used to pay for ANY hotel in the worldthat takes Amex. Whilst not the greatest value, the Amex gift cards canbe useful if you have a lot of points and there is no suitable PCproperty in your vacation destination. You can also transfer points toairline miles at a ratio for most programmes of 10,000 points = 2,000miles.
Does PC comp status?
Generally not, although it never does any harm to ask if you arePlatinum in another programme and can show that you have a number of PCstays booked. There is no point asking for a Gold comp given theminimal benefits of the Gold tier and the fact that being Gold does notmake it any easier to achieve Platinum.