A LoyaltyLobby reader left a comment to a recent piece that Sebastian wrote about signing up for the Ambassador membership (read more here) that I thought was worth featuring.
You can access IHG’s page for the Ambassador program here.
Here’s the comment from the reader:
I debated renewing AMB. . . Last year there was a major snafu I found out for new AMB signups. . . Apparently if you were spire in 2016 and signed up for AMB prior to 2017, they automatically kept you as spire for 2017 (regardless if you made the stated thresholds or not), credited your account 25,000 points just for signing up and then credited you 25,000 more points for spire status on Jan 1st 2017 (double bonus) – I was one of the lucky ones this happened to. .. I did call IHG and asked if I would retain spire status if I renewed and it took them a while to get back to me but when they finally did, they did research my account and that’s when I learned of last years computer error and was told I would not retain Spire status if I did not meet the thresholds.
This year’s renewal options were as follows:
1) Renew for $150 USD and receive 10,000* bonus IHG® Rewards Club points
2) Renew for $200 USD and receive 15,000* bonus IHG® Rewards Club points plus a 10%** rebate on Reward Nights
3) Renew using 24000.00 of your IHG® Rewards Club points and receive 5,000* bonus points
Assuming that the going rate for IHG points is .7 of a cent, below is how I came to the conclusion to use all points for renewal:
#1 – outright cost $150 cash with a point rebate worth $70 = “real” cost $80
#2 – outright cost $200 with a point rebate worth $105 – (did not make sense to me at all since I already have the IHG Mastercard and already receive that benefit) – “real” cost $95
#3 out right cost $ 168 (in points) with a point rebate of $35 – “Real” cost $133
the real cost for option 3 was much higher than the other two but given the fact that I have a ton of points that I seemingly can never spend fast enough before I earn them back and there was no outright cash cost (CASH is king!). . I figured route 3 was the way to go.
I just got my welcome package today after signing up the week before Halloween (my package came very quickly btw – considering they say 6-8 weeks) and they gave me a voucher for 10,000 points instead of the 5,000 listed (not sure if this was because I was spire or not) AND because I have an IHG MC they gave me a 10% rebate back of 2400 points for redeeming the 24,000 points for renewal. . . this earned me an additional 7,400 points back more than I thought I was going to get which basically dropped my real cost to $81 without spending any cash.
If you are spire and considering renewal, I advise you go with option #3 if you have a good balance of points to use up – realistically you are only using 11600 points to renew which in my mind is a deal in itself.
Getting the Ambassador status makes sense if someone has more than couple of stays at the InterContinental hotels yearly. The guaranteed 4PM check out, minimum one category upgrade on paid stays (and usually on awards too) and gifts easily offset the cost.
When renewing, you really need to calculate which one of the options makes most sense for you like the reader has done above.