We previously covered some changes IHG Rewards Club instituted to the Royal Ambassador and Ambassador programs this year including the renewal options for the paid Ambassador membership.
The renewal options shifted back and forth many times this year alone and members reported different offers they were able to select in order to renew Ambassador.
Members have been able to renew their Ambassador status for years by choosing one of the options that have changed few times. The previous option to renew for $150 in cash has now been withdrawn.
You can access IHG’s page for Ambassador program here.
IHG allows to renew the Ambassador status starting three months prior to the expiration date and I found the invitation to renew in my account this week:
Here are the current options (August 2019):
I will definitely choose the cash option again for this year. I redeem an average of 200,000 IHG points per calendar year so the 10% rebate alone is worth 20k points (on top of the 10% I receive from the IHG Chase Mastercard which is isolated from the Ambassador option).
Together with the 15k bonus that’s worth ~ 35,000 points combined. I could also pay 40k points but don’t see the point of doing that as I frequently stay at the Intercontinental Seoul where a night currently costs 40k as well. I rather use my points balance for award stays there.
If one has more than couple of nights at InterContinental hotels, it makes sense to sign up for the Ambassador program. The BOGO Weekend Night voucher, guaranteed 4PM check out and at the minimum one category upgrade easily pay for the price. On top of it all, Ambassadors now receive a US$20 F&B credit per stay to use. If the hotel has a nice cafe or a reasonably priced breakfast that alone can make it worthwhile. Sometimes the property also lets you use the $20 towards lounge access.
In theory you need the Ambassador to get basic benefits such as late checkout and upgrade at Intercontinental Hotels but I’ve pretty much always gotten elite treatment even when I wasn’t Ambassador many years back. This is always at the discretion of the property.