8 perks of Kimpton Inner Circle - and how to get an invite
Kimpton Karma Rewards folded into the IHG Rewards program in early 2018. But, to the delight of Kimpton loyalists, Kimpton's Inner Circle status continues to exist within the IHG Rewards program.
Unlike other IHG Rewards elite statuses, there aren't published qualification requirements for Kimpton Inner Circle. And, unlike InterContinental Ambassador membership -- IHG's other brand-specific status -- you can't buy Inner Circle status.
Here's what you should know about Kimpton's Inner Circle, including how to get an invite.
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What is Kimpton Inner Circle?
Kimpton Inner Circle is an invite-only status that offers perks at Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants. Kimpton awards Inner Circle status to select top-tier IHG Rewards elites who are loyal to Kimpton.
How do you get Kimpton Inner Circle?
To receive an invite into Kimpton's Inner Circle, you must satisfy two criteria. First, you must be an IHG Rewards Spire Elite member. Second, you must show loyalty to Kimpton by meeting unpublished criteria.
Kimpton generally sends out new Inner Circle invites each January. But, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, IHG recently announced it would extend current Kimpton Inner Circle memberships through December 2022. Meanwhile, IHG also extended other elite status tiers through Feb. 2023.
Related: Booking direct: How much value does IHG status provide?
IHG Spire Elite status
To earn IHG Rewards Spire Elite status, you usually must complete 75 elite-qualifying nights or earn 75,000 elite-qualifying points with IHG each calendar year.
However, IHG allowed members to earn Spire Elite status with reduced requirements of 55 nights or 55,000 elite-qualifying points in 2020 and 2021. These reduced qualification requirements will continue in 2022.
Of course, you can get IHG Platinum Elite status as a benefit of the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card. If you want Spire Elite status and a chance at getting an Inner Circle invite, holding the card won't provide elite-qualifying points or nights. However, the IHG Premier Card is a great way to snag Platinum Elite perks and fourth-night-free rewards while you work toward earning Spire Elite status.
Loyalty to Kimpton
Kimpton doesn't publish loyalty criteria for earning Inner Circle. But, presumably, Kimpton considers how frequently you stay, how much you spend and other metrics.
Kimpton Inner Circle benefits
You must hold IHG Spire Elite status to become eligible for an invite to Kimpton's Inner Circle. So, you'll get Spire Elite benefits at all IHG brands. That also means you'll get both Spire Elite and Inner Circle perks when staying at Kimpton hotels.
Specifically, Kimpton Inner Circle members get the following extra perks at Kimpton hotels:
Inner Circle amenity
During each stay, Kimpton will provide your favorite snack and drink as an in-room amenity. You can set your preferences in your online profile or by calling the Inner Circle VIP line. Each hotel will do its best to meet your requests, but you may not get your exact preference for every stay.
When you eat dinner at a Kimpton restaurant, you can enjoy a complimentary chef's taste. The chef's taste is usually a small appetizer or dessert.
You don't need to be staying with Kimpton to enjoy a chef's taste while having dinner, but you do need to let the restaurant staff know you're an Inner Circle member.
That said, Kimpton's Inner Circle website notes that the following properties don't participate in the chef's taste benefit:
- Kimpton Buchanan Hotel.
- Kimpton Carlyle Dupont Circle.
- Kimpton Fitzroy London.
- Kimpton Glover Park Hotel.
- Kimpton George Hotel.
- Kimpton Hotel Wilshire.
- Kimpton Ink 48 Hotel.
- Kimpton La Peer Hotel.
- Kimpton Monaco Salt Lake City.
- Kimpton Schofield Hotel.
- Kimpton Saint George Hotel.
Interestingly, some of the properties listed above are no longer part of IHG Rewards or Kimpton, such as Ink 48.
New hotel free night
Inner Circle members get one new hotel free night certificate each year. Members can use the new hotel free night at select new Kimpton properties in North America based on availability and at the property's discretion. When staying on a new hotel free night, you'll book into a deluxe category room.
You must be a current Inner Circle member to use the free night. And, you'll only get a free night if you've stayed at Kimpton hotels at least three times in the last 12 months.
Related: The best hotel credit cards that come with an annual free night
Guaranteed one-category room upgrade
Kimpton Inner Circle members are guaranteed a one-category upgrade above the room type booked at Kimpton hotels – or, if the property prices all room types the same, you'll get a room in a better location.
However, this benefit doesn't include upgrades to presidential suites, specialty suites or suites with two bedrooms or more.
Guaranteed early check-in and late checkout
You can check in beginning at 10 a.m. on your arrival day. If your room isn't available early, you can use another room until yours is ready – and you can keep your room as late as 4 p.m. on your departure day.
Those set times mean you can rely on having extra time in your room when you need it.
Waived amenity fees
You won't need to pay guest amenity or destination fees when staying at Kimpton hotels, but you'll still need to pay resort fees.
When I looked at several popular Kimpton hotels, each property advertised guest amenity fees instead of resort fees. For example, the Kimpton Seafire Resort has an $80-plus-tax guest amenity fee per night, while, the Kimpton La Peer Hotel has a $28-plus-tax guest amenities fee per night. So, it appears this perk may allow you to avoid most fees when staying at Kimpton hotels.
Related: Resort fees aren't going away, but Marriott is finally making them more transparent in bookings
You'll get the highest speed internet offered by the property when staying at Kimpton hotels. At check-in, you should receive a code that will provide access to faster internet.
VIP phone line
You'll also get access to a VIP phone line that will connect you with Inner Circle agents. These agents can assist with IHG reservations as well as answer questions about benefits. Even if you don't call IHG frequently, these agents can make the process better when you need to do so.
Kimpton's Inner Circle only provides perks at Kimpton properties. But, unlike IHG's other brand-specific elite status, InterContinental Ambassador, you can't purchase Kimpton Inner Circle. Instead, you must earn IHG Spire Elite status and hit unpublished loyalty thresholds with Kimpton to get an invite.