IHG and Kimpton Are Finally Merging Loyalty Programs: Thoughts, Details and Analysis

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IHG Rewards Merges with Kimpton Karma Rewards

IHG Rewards Merges with Kimpton Karma Rewards

Today IHG announced that Kimpton Karma Rewards will become a part of IHG Rewards Club by early 2018. This news comes almost 3 years after IHG acquired Kimpton, so I’m not sure any of us actually thought it was going to happen. As an IHG Rewards member, I’m glad to see this news because for me, it means I can use my points/free nights at Kimpton. However, I know that some Kimpton loyalists are wary.

Details

Changes for Top Tier Kimpton Karma Elites: Inner Circle

Things will be staying the same for IHG Rewards Members, Kimpton members will be rolled into IHG’s program. It’s very clear to me that IHG is trying to preserve the “magic” of Kimpton and keep Kimpton’s elite members happy. In fact, Kimpton’s top tier Inner Circle Members will be grandfathered in to the Inner Circle AND automatically receive IHG’s Spire Elite Status.

I have to say, if I were an Inner Circle Member, I would be thrilled with this change. Not only are they receiving all the benefits of top tier IHG status (like 100% points earning bonus!), but they basically get to keep all the awesome benefits they worked hard to attain from Kimpton. Here’s a benefits chart detailing the Kimpton Benefits for each tier level. (The last Column is Inner Circle plus Spire Elite.) Note: this is in addition to the IHG benefits you’re already entitled to.

IHG Rewards Merges with Kimpton Karma Rewards

Things change a bit to qualify for Inner Circle in 2019, as you would need to qualify for Spire Elite and receive an invitation to Inner Circle.

Changes for Everyone Else

Kimpton Karma Members will be placed in corresponding IHG Tiers:

  • Tier 1- Club
  • Tier 2- Gold Elite
  • Tier 3- Platinum Elite
  • Inner Circle- Spire Elite + Inner Circle

Your IHG Tier will be based on the Kimpton Tier you would have earned by December 31st, 2017. Also, Kimpton has a different rewards structure based on night and IHG’s is point based. To convert Kimpton progress into IHG they will be giving 1,000 points for each Kimpton night already earned for Club (Tier 1) members and 2,000 points per night earned for other elite levels. See below for a chart of changes.

IHG Rewards Merges with Kimpton Karma Rewards

Conclusion

As an IHG Platinum Member and credit card holder, I’m thrilled at the prospect of being able to redeem my free night at Kimpton because they have a great reputation. Also, I think IHG did a good job at preserving what’s special about the Kimpton Brand and their loyalty program, but I’m not a seasoned Kimpton user, so I would love to hear what everyone else thinks. Looking forward to hearing your opinions.

 


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3 COMMENTS

  1. […] IHG and Kimpton Finally Merge Loyalty Programs:  Just about 3 years after the acquisition, IHG and Kimpton are finally merging their loyalty programs.  It seems like both IHG and Kimpton are working hard to keep Kimpton loyalists happy.  This is good news for those that want to redeem IHG points for stays at Kimpton properties. […]

  2. As a many year Inner Circle member these changes are not good. Other IHG brands hold little appeal to me and are never my second choice after Kimpton. To achieve top status for 2019, I’ll need 75 stays; there aren’t enough Kimpton properties where I travel to achieve that (although I have hit 89 stays at Kimptons in one year before).

    Kimpton brand loyalists like me have little interest in IHG’s other brands so I am unlikely to opt for them. Thus I won’t qualify for Spire and won’t try for some illusive invite only Inner Circle where I have no idea what it takes to qualify. Punchline: With these changes Kimpton gave me zero reason to try to achieve top status for 2019. I’ll use up my free nights in 2018 and switch my loyalty to a group with more hotel brands of the Kimpton caliber than IHG can offer.

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