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As reported late last year, Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) acquired the Kimpton brand for a reported $430 million in cash as part of IHG’s move to expand its presence in the growing boutique hotel market. Kimpton currently has 66 boutique hotels in 30 US cities. While IHG enthusiasts celebrated the purchase, Kimpton fans wondered what would ultimately happen to their beloved Kimpton Karma Rewards program.
Well, wonder no longer. Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants CEO Mike DeFrino has chimed in, and it looks like be brings (hopefully) glad tidings: Kimpton Karma Rewards will remain as its own extension under the IHG Rewards Club umbrella. In DeFrino’s own words:
We think we have a pretty compelling opportunity with the IHG Rewards Club and continue to explore how to best bring these two programs together – keeping Kimpton Karma as unique as it is and also giving you the ability to tap into the rich IHG Rewards Club perks.
We’re hoping one of those perks will be the ability to redeem award nights online; at present, Kimpton requires you to call in and speak to a Karma Rewards Advisor in order to check availability. While the personal touch is a staple of the Kimpton brand, the option to book online would certainly be convenient.
According to the acquisition FAQ sheet, Kimpton Karma Rewards will remain completely separate from IHG Rewards:
- You won’t earn IHG points at Kimpton.
- You’ll need to enroll in the Kimpton Karma Rewards program in order to earn points and benefits from Kimpton hotels.
- You cannot make IHG hotel reservations with Kimpton.
- Corporate accounts and group rates will not be automatically folded into IHG’s global sales account programs.
Kimpton has some great properties, so while this development will keep Karma Rewards intact, it’s disappointing news to IHG Rewards members who were hoping to gain access to more premium hotels. Hopefully IHG and Kimpton will soon offer some degree of reciprocal benefits for elite members. Otherwise, if the rewards programs remain entirely separate, then the merger will have been pretty meaningless from the perspective of award travelers.
H/T: One Mile At A Time
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