Kimpton Karma Rewards to Be Folded Into IHG Rewards

Oct 20, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

It’s been nearly three years since Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) acquired Kimpton Hotels, but in all that time, the two loyalty programs have remained separate entities. In 2015 the Kimpton CEO said that the companies would “explore how to best bring these two programs together,” and an email to Kimpton members later that same year hinted that things could change in 2017. But since then we haven’t had any further word on the matter.

Until now. On Friday morning, IHG announced that starting in early 2018, Kimpton Karma Rewards will be folded into IHG Rewards, uniting everything under one loyalty program. When the transition occurs, all Kimpton members will be automatically enrolled in IHG Rewards, and Kimpton hotels will become available for award bookings with IHG points.

The conversion of existing Kimpton member accounts to IHG is somewhat complicated by the fact that Kimpton Karma Rewards is not a points-based system. Instead, members earn a free night based on 7 eligible stays or 20 eligible nights. Therefore, IHG will convert existing Kimpton earned nights accrued as of December 31, 2017, to IHG points based on the following schedule:

Kimpton Karma members with… Will receive…
Tier 1 basic status 1,000 IHG points per earned night
Tier 2 status
Tier 3 status
Inner Circle status
2,000 IHG points per earned night

Basic IHG members earn 10 points per dollar spent at most of the company’s brands, except for Staybridge and Candlewood Suites, where members earn 5 points per dollar. So the conversion is effectively valuing the existing earned Kimpton nights as if they had cost $100 each, which seems low for Kimpton hotels. IHG elite members currently get a 10%-100% point bonus on dollars spent depending on their status, so 2,000 points per earned night might make a little more sense for Kimpton Tier 2 and Tier 3 members, though Inner Circle members are getting the same $100 value as they would if they were top-tier elites at IHG.

Speaking of which, Kimpton elite tiers will map to IHG Rewards tiers in pretty much the manner you’d expect:

Kimpton Karma Rewards Elite Tier IHG Rewards Elite Tier
Tier 1 Club
Tier 2 Gold Elite
Tier 3 Platinum Elite
Inner Circle Spire Elite (but will also keep Inner Circle)

An interesting note here is that Kimpton’s top-tier Inner Circle status will continue to exist at Kimpton hotels as an invite-only status, and existing Inner Circle members will be grandfathered in for 2018. So if you’re Inner Circle, you’ll get both Inner Circle and Spire Elite status, at least for the next year. However, the same doesn’t happen in reverse — existing IHG Spire Elites do not automatically get Inner Circle status.

For all tier levels, existing Karma Free Night Rewards will be converted to IHG Rewards Nights and will remain valid in members’ new accounts with existing expiration dates. Future stays at Kimptons will earn 10 IHG points per dollar spent for all IHG members like most of the other chains in the portfolio, with the usual bonus points for elites. On the redemption side, award nights at Kimpton properties will be available online with no blackout dates, both of which were longstanding complaints about the old program.

In an interview with The Points Guy, Kathleen Reidenbach, the Chief Commercial Officer at Kimpton, emphasized that the company is aware that even basic Kimpton members have historically enjoyed some special perks as part of the Karma Rewards program, and the company wanted to retain that. The popular $30 spa credit and the “Raid the Bar” perk — which provides one $10 credit ($15 in New York City) to spend at either the restaurant bar or the in-room honor bar — “will remain part of the experience,” said Reidenbach, with the spa credit available to all loyalty program members when staying at a Kimpton hotel and “Raid the Bar” to Gold elites and above.

We’re certainly happy to finally see Kimpton come under the IHG Rewards umbrella, as there are some great premium Kimpton properties among the brand’s 60+ hotels. It’s also nice that some of the special Kimpton perks will remain. The only major downside is that the conversion rate for previously earned Kimpton nights seems pretty weak, but at least that’s only a one-time event. In any case, we’re definitely looking forward to being able to redeem IHG awards at Kimpton properties starting in 2018 and in the years to come.

Featured image of the Mason & Rook hotel by Kimpton.

American Express® Green Card

WELCOME OFFER: 30,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: up to $100 annual CLEAR statement credit, up to $100 annual LoungeBuddy statement credit, 3x points on travel and transit, 3x points on restaurants worldwide

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, from subway swipes and window seats to hotel stays and city tours.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points at restaurants worldwide.
  • Receive up to $100 per year in statement credits when you use the American Express® Green Card to pay for your CLEAR® membership at select airports and stadiums across the U.S. and Permissible Biometric Scanning Technology terms: eye scanning, irises scanning and fingerprints scanning.
  • Use the American Express® Green Card to purchase lounge access through LoungeBuddy to any of the lounges in the LoungeBuddy network – no memberships, elite statuses, or first class tickets required. Earn up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year on your LoungeBuddy purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $150 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
See Rates & Fees
Annual Fee
$150
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.