Large language models (LLMs) encode a vast amount of world knowledge acquired from massive text datasets. Recent studies have demonstrated that LLMs can assist an embodied agent in solving complex sequential decision making tasks by providing high-level instructions. However, interactions with LLMs can be time-consuming. In many practical scenarios, they require a significant amount of storage space that can only be deployed on remote cloud server nodes. Additionally, using commercial LLMs can be costly since they may charge based on usage frequency. In this paper, we explore how to enable intelligent cost-effective interactions between the agent and an LLM. We propose When2Ask, a reinforcement learning based approach that learns when it is necessary to query LLMs for high-level instructions to accomplish a target task. Experiments on MiniGrid and Habitat environments that entail planning sub-goals demonstrate that When2Ask learns to solve target tasks with only a few necessary interactions with an LLM, and significantly reduces interaction costs in testing environments compared with baseline methods. Experiment results also suggest that by learning a mediator model to interact with the LLM, the agent's performance becomes more robust against partial observability of the environment. Our code is available at https://github.com/ZJLAB-AMMI/LLM4RL.