Extending IHG Rewards Club Spire Elite Status By Buying Ambassador Membership?

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93 Comments

There appears to be a way to extend IHG Rewards Club Spire Elite membership that usually requires 75 nights or 15,000 base points by 12 months by buying Ambassador membership if you don’t already have it.

ihg-rewards-club-spire-elite-extension-ambassador

IHG Rewards Club runs two (or actually three if Kimpton’s Karma is included as well) partially separate programs: IHG Rewards Club for collecting points and elite status that applies to all other IHG hotels besides InterContinental that have their own guest recognition program called Ambassador.

You can access IHG’s web page for Ambassador program here.

Here’s what apparently happening according to a reader:

1. Buying Ambassador membership using cash ($200) or points (32,000) extends the status that the member have at the time of processing the Ambassador purchase by 12 months.

2. You can then choose the Spire Elite Choice benefit (read more here) that is either 25,000 points or Platinum status for someone.

3. The Ambassador package comes with 5,000 points code that you can deposit to your account or give to someone else.

If this works as the reader reported, the Ambassador member purchase using points is almost cost neutral when you factor in the points that you get back (Spire Choice benefit 25,000 points + Ambassador member letter gift of 5,000 points) total of 30,000.

The Ambassador package also comes with free weekend night voucher (read more here) that the member can use for a weekend stay at InterContinental hotels.

The IHG Rewards Club Gold, Platinum and Spire Elite benefits don’t apply for InterContinental stays. Ambassador members get minimum one category upgrade and guaranteed 4PM check out that can come very handy (I am utilizing this today).

Conclusion

This is an interesting development IF it works for all members. Unfortunately, I cannot test this personally as I have Royal Ambassador status with the chain.

Have any readers tried this way to extend their Spire Elite status and gotten the Ambassador status thrown in basically for free considering the number of IHG Rewards Club points received back in the form of the Spire Elite Choice benefit choice + Ambassador package 5,000 welcome points?

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  • Bruce Hsu

    Hi,
    I am the IHG credit card holder which already comes with the spire status. If this the case, do I still get the 25000 choice benefit ?

    • Various IHG credit cards come with Platinum not Spire Elite Status. You get the Choice benefit when your Spire Elite status is extended.

      • Carlos Alvarado

        If you are platinum and buy the ambassador will you stay platinum or they move you up to spire?

        • No user name provided

          Platinum

          • margaret laidlaw

            can we delete this thread before it spoils it for everyone

  • Lilin Jin

    Is there a link to show where it says buying the Ambassador extends your IHG status by 12 months? I can’t find it in the Terms and Conditions. Thanks!

    • There is nothing on the T&Cs about this and I am not able independently verify it.

  • I think you just killed the deal 😉

  • Rabbit

    I have just tried it myself (12/14/16 6:30 CET). Let you know if it worked for me. Hope so cause I DO NOT need Ambassador membership whatsoever hehe

    • Rabbit

      12hrs later. 32k deducted. Spire Elite Status Expiration Date: 31 Dec, 2017(!!!!!!!!!!!). Ambassador Expiry: Jan-2018. Works allright then! Thank you, John :-))))))))
      P.S. Spire Elite Benefits NOT updated yet, though :-/

      • bob

        Mine has been 13hrs and no points deduction or Spire extension yet 🙁

      • Marlon Gobitz

        I am wondering when if and when we will get the 25.000 points for the spire renewal…if at all.

        • Greg Nelson

          still waiting. let me know if you hear anything. also the 5k points.

  • G

    Worked for years. Hope this doesn’t change that.

  • Bob

    Think I’ve just wasted 27k points, I’m Spire due to drop down to gold at the end of the year any my RA status states:
    Member Status: Pending Gold Ambassador

    • Why would you but this if you were Royal Ambassador? If you don’t requalify for RA, you will automatically be downgraded to regular Ambassador for a year (at Gold, Platinum or Spire Elite level).

      • Bob

        Apologies, my mistake, I’m not RA and probably never will be. It was just the member status that said “Pending Gold Ambassador” not RA member status. That said, it still says gold so it still looks like I’ve just dropped 27k points in the bin and suggests that this does not work at all.

        • Jason

          Bob did anything update in the last couple of days on your pending status being gold?
          Im due to drop from Spire to Platinum (10 nights short of the 75) but dont wanna waste 27k of points

      • Romain

        Hi John,
        Based on my understanding of your post above, if you’re spire RA today and buy a new ambassador, your spire status will be extended next year, and you will be spire ambassador. If however you let your RA expire, you’re apparently getting ambassador for another year for free, but your status (gold/plat/spire) will depend on your stays. Is that correct? If that’s the case, then wouldn’t it be better to extend now, so you get spire (and 25,000 points to offset the renewal cost)?

    • David

      Bob, do you have any update on your Spire status extension? I am thinking about extending my Spire membership by applying for RA. Your advice would be appreciated.

  • Lotfi

    From my side I have been renewed automatically during the ambassador renewal for a second year Spire. Right now I achieved 75K so I believe I will get it renewed again one extra year ? Concerning the terms&conditions we can believe that they give you again the same elite status… :

    ” Upon purchase of InterContinental Ambassador status, IHG® Rewards Club members who are Club or Gold Elite members will receive Gold Ambassador status upon enrolment. All InterContinental Ambassador members can earn Platinum Ambassador or Spire Ambassador or be invited to Royal Ambassador status. “

  • bob

    Anyone know how long the website should take to say I’m an Ambassador and deduct my 32k points? It seems they send these packs out weeks later, so what if the status retention is from when the pack is issued? Maybe this only works if you put things in place before September. Wife’s going nuts that I’ve most likely list a free nights worth of points!

    • The status retention is at the time when the purchase either using points or cash is processed.

  • scubaccr

    great way to kill off this trick/loophole John (not that I ever need this trick).

    This post now ranks up there with the idiot who posted the NYC Hotel IHG BRG info that really started the ruination IHG BRG

  • gthawaii

    still works as of 12/14/16

  • aqua

    Be careful, does NOT work for all!!!
    I’m currently AMB Spire Elite (for this year ’16), AMB expired 01DEC16 but still active due to IT malfunction.
    I just renewed my AMB status with points, cost me 24k points instead of 32k.
    Right now for this year I have 35k status points + 21 nights so for 2017 I will be Gold member but I have 1 more stay tmrw that will get me to Plat.

    After doing the AMB renewal through my profile, I get the following message:
    Member Status: Pending Gold Ambassador
    Account Expiration: Expiration Date Pending

    So it did not extend my AMB Spire Elite member sadly and I just wasted 24k points since I otherwise would have renewed my AMB status not before I stay next time at an IC

    • aqua

      So maybe buying AMB for the 1st time extends the status but renewing it doesn’t help extending the status (sadly) :/

      • Jeff

        I’m a Spire Elite and just signed up for AMB for the first time and I got the same message: Pending Gold Ambassador. Does that mean I’m SOL??

        • David

          Remember, Ambassador automatically gives you Gold, but if you’ve earned a higher status in the awards program it should adjust to that tier. This is likely just a standard “glitch” for new Ambassadors. Contact the Ambassador customer service people by email and get this fixed.

          • aqua

            UPDATE!
            Just received the email, Spire Elite extended to 31DEC17, thanks a lot John!!!
            24k for AMB, no Spire Elite benefit available as of now but if it comes available in January then I will actually make 1000 points (24k-25k=-1000 for AMB cost) by extending my AMB status 🙂

        • See the other responses. Seems to take few hours before the Spire Elite is extended too.

    • gthawaii

      If getting Ambassador for the first time: Wait until you get the Ambassador welcome email. I initially got Gold pending as well, but once it was processed I was notified via email and elevated to Spire Elite Ambassador till 02/18.

      If you are renewing Ambassador status, I’m not sure if it works.

      • bob

        How long did the email take to arrive? I’ve had nothing at all and if I go to the join site it still gives me the option to join for 32k points, even though I did it this morning. Should I have had an initial confirmation?

        • gthawaii

          It took about 12 hours to arrive, probably right after they opened for business on 12/14. I submitted during the evening of 12/13. There was no initial confirmation email, just the Welcome one.

          • msterpax

            @disqus_B1pS1f6Bty:disqus Being granted Spire Elite Ambassador until 02/18 doesn’t sound right at all. If you signed up for AMB this week your AMB expiration would be 12/17. If you were granted new Spire elite status after signup your Spire expiration would also be 12/17. Remember though that your AMB / IHG elite statuses are not linked and can expire at different dates. For example my “Spire Ambassador” expires 01/17, but my “Spire” doesn’t expire until 12/17.

            Can you check your account again and then share both your “Ambassador Expiry” and “Elite Status Expiration Date:” dates? If these dates are the same for you can you confirm as such?

          • gthawaii

            Elite Status Expiration: Dec 31, 2017
            Ambassador Expiry: Jan 2018
            E-mail Ambassador Expiry: 02/2018

  • David

    This sort of confirms what I wrote a week or so ago when you questioned your elite extension to the end of 2018. And what occurred in my case (albeit with Platinum status) when I renewed my Ambassador membership and even though I’d not have enough nights/points for Platinum next year my status was extended through to the end of next year (2017).

    • Sometimes you just cannot make sense what IHG Rewards Club & Ambassador program are doing and whether these are intentional or not. Well. At least it gives me something to write about.

  • Renewed ambassador, spire expiry now at 31 Dec, 2017.

  • Laurel

    IHG service told me over the phone that my Spire status was valid thru Dec 31, 2017 regardless of whether or not I renewed ambassador even though I did not stay 75 nights or earn 75,000 points in 2016.

  • RJ

    I have been waiting 25 hours for mine, would anyone who has already registered and also heard nothing be able to go to the registration page and see if it still gives them the option to register? If not then I might have to try again.

    • kerrigjl

      I got the confirmation email overnight and can still go to the registration page. Took about 2 days from registering to completion.

  • Charlie

    My email says Spire Elite Ambassador, expiry 02/18! Did it last night

  • Ben

    Question: Currently I’m just a IHG Rewards Club Gold member. If I purchase Ambassadors status by using 32,000 points, will I receive an Ambassadors & upgrade to Spire Elite status at the same time? then allow me to choose 25,000 bonus IHG Rewards Club points? Thank you for your help!

    • This extends the Platinum or Spire Elite status (or grants Gold if you don’t have one).

  • ENOTTY

    I received an email from a customer service rep asking to confirm that I actually wanted to do this. Did this happen to anyone else? Was there success in keeping Spire?

    • I would just reply saying yes.

      • ENOTTY

        Excellent I can see the expiry in 2018. Thanks! Hopefully the choice benefit appears soon next year. Had cancel a few reservations to free up the points.

        • Marlon Gobitz

          yep, same as for me

          • Jason

            Hi What status for elite were you before and planned to be had you not done this?

            Im currently spire, but going to drop down to platinum, so trying to establish if doing this with 32k of points will defintely keep me as Spire for next year

          • Marlon Gobitz

            Hi Jason. I am spire (qualified last year October) and was going to drop status to gold end of this year. However by buying ambassador my spire got extended to end of 2017. I am just hoping I will get 25000 points for renewing the spire status as was described in this post…

          • Jason

            Thanks for that, ill probably do it now and even if the 25k points doesnt appear I shouldnt be too far out with spire doubling base points 🙂

    • Marlon Gobitz

      Yes so did I

  • Marlon Gobitz

    Guys it took a few days, I initially got an email from the ambassador service if I was sure. I confirmed and then I got another email about my zip code not working. And now I got the confirmation and John was right: my spire expires Dec 2017 and my ambassador status is valid until January 2018. Thank you all!

  • Marlon Gobitz

    So now that my Spire status has been renewed – after buying ambassador for 32000 points – , i am trying to find out how to get the “25000” spire “renewal” points. When I log into my account and click on “Spire Elite Benefits” there’s no option to choose 25000 points. Has anyone had success? Maybe the IHG system knows i didn’t qualify by staying 75 nights / earn 75000 points, so they won’t give 25000 points to anyone that renewed his spire status by buying Ambassador (?).
    Also, I am wondering when I will get the 5000 ambassador points. Does anyone know?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/053fe1313b767c69505cdb8630b8287f0706907e06625b8c7468797d67dbbfac.png

    • There is a welcome letter that comes with your Ambassador package that includes code for 5,000 points. You can deposit it to your IHG Rewards Club or anyone elses account.

  • RJ

    Now a few people ha had success with this, I guess the next question is “when does the Spire Elite benefit choice” kick in? My account shows me as having last redeemed this in Sept 2015 – has can anyone who has renewed Spire by hitting the target nights/points this year confirm when and if they have been able to select the choice benefit, or if it simply waits until 1st Jan?

    • Marlon Gobitz

      RJ I’m wondering the same. I remember last year I got an email from the IHG customer service when I hit 75 nights – if I wanted points or platinum for someone else. I’m kinda worried we won’t get 25.000 points for spire renewal this time because we didn’t get the spire status the regular way… Did anyone have success getting these points after buying ambassador status?

      • rj

        That is my fear exactly, perhaps the choice benefit is triggered by the achievement of status rather than the expiry date simply being updated…could be a 27,000 point waste unless you plan to stay enough next year to earn that in Spire 100% point bonuses.

        • Marlon Gobitz

          True. On the other hand, it’s nice to be recognized as (ambassador) spire and get upgrades and discounts when staying in any IHG hotel. 27000 points for renewing my spire status may still be worth it – even when staying on bonus nights. You know what I mean?

  • Ben

    Be cautious with trying this. As was said before in a post, posting it may have killed the deal. If it was working before, it does not appear to be now. If you would like Ambassador status anyway, go for it. If you have 32,000 points to kill, go for it. I purchased Ambassador for 32,000 points on 12/15 at around noon. After confirming, was sent to payment confirmation screen which stated that it may take up to 72 hours to process and account balance to be deducted.

    Almost 96 hours later, no point deduction, no Ambassador status, no emails, no indication of signing up for Ambassador status except the payment confirmation screen that I printed. I contacted IHG Rewards customer service via online chat to check on Ambassador status. After the agent contacted the Ambassador department, she instructed me to contact them via telephone because they wanted to confirm my request before they processed it (no emails or contact from them previously, they were just going to ignore my Ambassador purchase.) I contacted the Ambassador department and completed the Ambassador enrollment.

    Now, when I go online to check my account, my Elite Status has been extended to an expiration of Dec 31, 2017 and my Spire Ambassador status says it has an expiration of Jan 31, 2018. However to get the true picture I feel like you need to look at it deeper. If you break that down to the two different status levels, it tells a different story (Ambassador status is indeed good through the end of Jan 2018, however, after a quick online chat to find out when my Spire status expires, I was informed that my Spire status is only good through the end of 2016.) While I am currently Spire Ambassador (through Jan 2018 according to the IHG site,) on Jan 1 that status will change to Platinum Ambassador because I did not qualify for Spire again for 2017. I guess I will find out for sure in 13 more days.

    • bc

      Thanks for taking the time to type this out. I decided to take the chance on it as well, mostly because I could easily make up the 30k points with the 2017 Accelerate offer if I have to. If it all works out as planned, that would be great. If not, I’ll stay at a few cheap IC hotels this year to take full advantage of the new status.

      • Ben

        Agreed. I have been on the fence about purchasing Ambassador for awhile anyway so this wasn’t a big leap for me. 32,000 points isn’t that expensive and the free night certificate make it a wash in my mind. Who knows, I might still have a surprise in Jan if Spire status renews (but not holding my breath.)

    • Marlon Gobitz

      I am also worried my spire status will expire end of 2016, as I didn’t qualify this year. Buying ambassador for 32000 points might temporarily trick us into thinking our spire is renewed, but I have to see it to believe it on January 1st 2017. I guess we will all have wasted 27.000 points. Btw, chatting with the IHG customer service or calling them in the Philippines doesn’t help as they’re not very professional …

    • RJ

      I agree and this is my worry they call Gold “Elite” now too and AB gives you gold, so therefore an “Elite” status until the end of 2017…here’s counting down the 13 days..

  • RH

    I just love the way the welcome email contains your email address, PC number and pin number all in the same message.

  • Disqus had deemed them to be spam probably if some marked them as such. I had to manually approve them.

    You should give IHG Rewards Club a call to see if they have processed the purchase.

  • Thanks so much, this is very useful! Will let you know if my Spire Elite Ambassador status comes through….

    http://www.primalplay.com

  • Joey

    I did the same last night and it definitely “extended” my spire expiration but I do not see the “Spire Elite Benefit” of 25,000 points…

    • Aspire

      Same here. I guess we’ve got to wait and see what happens in Jan :-/

      • RJ

        I would have expected to see these by now, I don’t see what would change on 1st Jan that would suddenly make these appear…unless we can find someone who has renewed the correct way to confirm if they had their 25k on renewal or not.

  • Aspire

    Update 01/01/17 9:30 CET: Elite Status expiration date still showing Dec 31. Ambassador expiry still Jan 2018. NO Spire Elite Choice Benefit, though :-/ What’s the next move? Contact IHG or forget them 25k points??????????

  • Marlon Gobitz

    It’s 2017 now, Spire status still there until end of 2017, but 25.000 are not being offered… Don’t think calling the service center would be smart as they may figure out I didn’t really qualify for Spire status and may drop me to gold …What do you guys think?

  • RJ

    I guess that’s 25k points down the drain then. I would not call IHG as they will simply say you get that bonus when you trigger Spire, which we’ve not done. I doubt they will take it away but I also doubt they will offer up the 25k points. 25k points was worth a hell of a lot more to me than Spire this year and I have no intention of staying at any IC, so I’m pretty upset.

    • Greg Nelson

      i got a letter saying i qualified for spire and would get 25k “now and every year i qualify”. but i didnt get 25k

      • RJ

        That would be because we did not qualify, as in meet the criteria.

        • Vegas Craig

          Not only did I not get the 25,000 points, when I received my packet on Saturday it didn’t even have the 5,000 point certificate!

          • RJ

            Blimey, you should be able to complain about that as it is not related to anything Spire. At least it didn’t take 6-8 weeks.

  • AnotherEngineer

    I am happy to pay 27,000 points to retain Spire Elite status. In itself it is pretty useless, but with one IHG stay this year I should be able to retain my (otherwise undeserved) Hilton Diamond status for the third year. I would certainly pay 27,000 points for that, and the 25,000 may turn up eventually; it is still holiday time after all, although probably not in the hotel industry!

    • Traveller

      “with one IHG stay this year I should be able to retain my (otherwise undeserved) Hilton Diamond status for the third year.”
      Hi, how can it be done, please??? Ta

  • This worked for me! Unfortunately it appears the extra 25,000 points is nowhere to be had as it says I already redeemed them. Maybe this is because I did not hit the nights or points to requalify for Spire in 2016.

  • Ben

    Since there was too much uncertainty, I had to know for sure. I did receive my Spire Ambassador Elite welcome package last week. I also did not receive 25,000 points. I talked to a helpful agent at IHG today. Spire is an upgrade that they may choose to give you when you enroll in the Ambassador program. However, Spire status given by goodwill or upgrade does not get you the 25,000 point choice benefit (despite what your welcome email or letter says.) The ONLY way to get the 25,000 is to earn it with 75,000 qualifying point or 75 nights. This achievement level will automatically trigger it in their system.

    Long story short, if Spire status is of benefit to you, this is a great way to keep it if you didn’t qualify by points earned or number of stays. If you are pretty much only doing it for the 25,000 points, you won’t get it.

    • Aspire

      So even though last time you wrote: “While I am currently Spire Ambassador (through Jan 2018 according to
      the IHG site,) on Jan 1 that status will change to Platinum Ambassador
      because I did not qualify for Spire again for 2017”, you have kept SPIRE status anyway, haven’t you? But that’s just an upgrade that IHG had decided to give you upon Ambassador sign-up? Correct??? Makes sense now. Ta Ben

      • Ben

        Correct. I did not qualify for Spire to continue in 2017 so I was expecting to be dropped back down to Platinum (what I did qualify for.) And yes, the agent confirmed that IHG decided to gift Spire status for another year based on my Ambassador sign up. She stated that when they gift or upgrade Spire status, they do not include the additional benefit of 25,000 points. It does make sense and it seems fair. An extra 25,000 would have been nice, but oh well.

    • RJ

      I think that is what we all expected. For me I’ve effectively paid 22k points for the odd bottle of water in my room for the few times I expect to stay this year. In the UK, Spire benefits seem to be very rare, especially at Holiday Inns & Hotel Indigo’s. Crowne Plaza often offer upgrades. Did someone say I can swap the IC extra night voucher for another 5k points? At least the waste will only be 22k that way.

  • Dat

    Just spoke with both IC and IHG reps wondering when the Spire Elite Benefit would appear. Was told they are processing these and I would lose my Spire Elite
    renewal and be downgraded to Gold. No soup for you…

  • ENOTTY

    I think I got a 10% Chase points rebate for spending 32k points on this.

  • RJ

    I am missing the 5k points voucher from my pack too, what a joke, with no intentions of ever staying in an IC, this now looks like a 32k points loss for me.