In late June I had wrote about how Kimpton would be making changes to their loyalty program in July.
I first wrote about Kimpton Inner Circle in late 2012, as I found it to be a really innovative loyalty program. While they don’t have big enough of a footprint to suit my travel needs, I’ve always commended them for running a transparent and innovative program.
As a refresher, Kimpton’s loyalty program used to have two elite tiers — InTouch and Inner Circle — with the following benefits:
Kimpton has finally announced the changes they’re making to their loyalty program, which they’ve rebranded as Kimpton Karma Rewards. I have to say that the site they’ve made outlining the new program is gorgeous, if nothing else.
So what changes is Kimpton making to their loyalty program? For one, they’re going from having two elite tiers to four tiers:
- Kimpton Tier 1 (just for signing up)
- Kimpton Tier 2 (after 3 stays or 10 nights)
- Kimpton Tier 3 (after 7 stays or 20 nights)
- Kimpton Inner Circle (after 14 stays or 40 nights)
Very innovative names.
Here’s a summary of the benefits by tier:
So taking out the “fluff,” lets talk about the actual benefits by elite tier (and for a more detailed description of each benefit, check out the FAQs):
Kimpton Karma Rewards Tier 1 benefits
Just for joining Kimpton Karma Rewards you receive:
- Free wifi
- Raid the bar credit
- Ability to earn free nights
Kimpton Karma Rewards Tier 2 benefits
For making 3 stays or 10 nights you receive the following in addition to the above:
- $30 in-room spa credit
- Complimentary one category room upgrade at check-in based on availability once during your membership year
Kimpton Karma Rewards Tier 3 benefits
For making 7 stays or 20 nights you receive the following in addition to the above:
- Additional complimentary one category upgrade at check-in based on availability once during your membership year (total of two per year)
- Late check-out priority once during your membership year
- Welcome amenity once during your membership year
- Chef’s tasting
Kimpton Karma Rewards Inner Circle benefits
For making 14 stays or 40 nights (Inner Circle used to require 15 stays or 45 nights, so the qualification threshold has gone down) you receive the following in addition to the above:
- Complimentary one category upgrade at check-in based on availability with all stays
- Late check-out priority based on availability with all stays
- Welcome amenity with all stays
- Greater rewards availability
- Complimentary night at new hotels (status matched Inner Circle members must make three stays before they’re eligible for this)
My thoughts on the new Karma Rewards program
Maybe I’m just not the brightest, but to me the program seems unnecessarily complicated. Also, I find receiving a room upgrade, welcome amenity, or late check-out based on availability 1-2 times per year to be a bit of an odd benefit. If it’s based on availability, why not just make it unlimited, at least for Tier 3?
Inner Circle members no longer eligible for suite upgrades?
The best part of the Inner Circle program was previously that members would receive upgrades to the best available suites at check-in.
The new terms & conditions seem to suggest that Inner Circle members only receive a one category upgrade, specifically excluding suites (bolding mine):
Complimentary Room Upgrade : Upgrade is subject to availability at time of check-in and will vary by property. The upgrade benefit is available for one room for the personal use of the member only, regardless of the number of additional rooms reserved by the member and cannot be guaranteed in advance of check-in. When available, the complimentary upgrade is granted for one room level category higher than the room reserved by the member during every stay and excludes suites.
Ouch! However, the Kimpton representative on FlyerTalk seems to suggest this isn’t the case:
As far as upgrades go, we’ll do our best to put you in a suite if it’s available upon check in. That’s always been our policy and we haven’t changed that – we simply clarified in our T&Cs that it’s not a guarantee (never has been) and is based on the discretion of the hotels. But chances are, you’ll still be kicking back in an awesome room whenever you’re with us.
Yes, the terms make it pretty clear that upgrades are based on availability at check-in, though the new terms also suggest that suites are specifically excluded from the upgrade pool, so I’m not sure what to make of that.
Bottom line on Kimpton Karma program
I’m a big fan of Kimpton in general. While I haven’t stayed at a lot of their properties, it’s clear that they do business differently than most other hotel chains. These changes seem to be a lot of unnecessary fluff, in my opinion, and I find the contradiction regarding suite upgrades for Inner Circle members bizarre, given that Kimpton is one of the most transparent brands I know.
What do you make of the Kimpton loyalty program changes?