Are you a Kimpton Karma Rewards member? By early next year, you won’t be. Instead, like it or not, you will be joining IHG Rewards Club. In an anticipated move by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), which acquired Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants in 2014, members of the two rewards programs will be folded into a single points-based reward system.
IHG Rewards Club is the world’s largest hotel loyalty program, with more than 100 million members, who have access to more than 5,200 hotels (and 11 brands) in nearly 100 countries. IHG Rewards Club members who stay at any of Kimpton’s 60 hotels in North America will begin to be able to earn and redeem points there, as well.
“Becoming part of IHG Rewards Club allows us to answer some common requests from our Kimpton Karma Rewards members, such as no blackout dates, online redemption and perhaps the pinnacle of it all, a whole world of international opportunities that the IHG Rewards Club program offers,” said Kathleen Reidenbach, chief commercial officer for Kimpton. “With the increased portfolio of hotels—80 times more hotels than what we’ve been able to offer—our members can now travel all around the world earning and redeeming points, including new international Kimpton destinations. What’s equally exciting is that members will continue to enjoy the highly personalized experience that Kimpton delivers, while gaining access to the rich benefits of IHG Rewards Club. It’s really a win-win.”
Some industry observers, however, wondered if Kimpton Karma members at InnerCircle, the highest tier, might perceive the move as at least a partial loss.
“A hallmark of the Kimpton Karma program was the deeply personal way members interacted with it. Those who qualify for InnerCircle status even receive a phone number they can use to call Kimpton CEO Mike DeFrino directly,” Skift noted.
Susanna Freer Epstein, senior vice president of customer loyalty marketing for IHG, sought to deflect any such concerns. “We’ve also preserved Kimpton Karma’s most-loved perks, like Raid the Bar (a $10 minibar credit, which will remain for Gold, Platinum and Spire Elite IHG Rewards Club members) and the $30 spa credit,” she said. “We think Karma Rewards members are going to be really happy to know their most beloved perks and the highly personalized Kimpton experience will remain, while at the same time, they will gain access to a whole new world of benefits that IHG Rewards Club introduces.”