On the demo site I took the following route and saw no issues
change the Contrib page to accept Pay Later
completed a Pay Later membership for the demo user
confirmed that by then clicking on Edit for membership at backend, clicking on the Contribution block with 'more' and 'record payment' the membership was set to Current and there was no 'renewal' ...
So this was my solution. Using Wordpress triggers, its fired off whenever an order is submitted and successfully paid. If it contains the product to create new/or renew then. I hope it helps someone. I still need to add some error traps, otherwise should work fine for my setup.
# Product ID for the registered participant is noted below
I'd suggest this setup:
Auto-renewed annual memberships (different membership types for each amount).
Fixed renewal dates (July 1).
Adjust the Membership Status rules to allow "Grace" status to extend several years (or whenever it is that you're ready to say good by to non-engaging members).
Memberships are often tricky because of language - if some of the ...
I wrote a patch for this bug some time ago - but I didn't find time to follow up and improve it the way my reviewers requested. If you feel comfortable applying this though, it will solve your problem for now.