Today, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants unveiled their new hotel loyalty program, Kimpton Karma.
Overall, and with an initial, overall look at the new program, I’m confused and disappointed. What once was an easy was to define loyalty – with only having 2 status levels – now seems to be a complicated mess of features, and a downgrade of certain benefits, especially for those members who attain the highest level of Inner Circle.
Let’s have a look at the 4 new status tiers Kimpton has created in the new Karma program.
Benefits across all levels
Free WiFi for all members is available across the board. With hotels competing for customers, this really isn’t a new “perk,” since many, if not most, hotels are providing this benefit. The $10 raid the mini-bar credit has stuck, providing guests a $10 credit for mini-bar items once during their stay ($15 in select NYC hotels). There are some other benefits including a birthday discount, access to offers, etc., but in the grand scheme of things, these don’t really set the program status tier levels to stand out from one another.
Benefits for Tier 2 (3 stays or 10 nights)
At Tier 2, you’re allowed a $30 in-room spa credit once during your stay, at participating hotel spas. You also get (1) complimentary upgrade at check-in to the next category of rooms – excluding suites. To get this benefit only 1 time until you reach the next level seems a little odd, but I guess I can understand their reasoning.
Benefits for Tier 3 (7 stays or 20 nights)
At tier 2, you’re given the $30 spa credit, in addition to 2 room upgrades at check-in, 1 use of a late check-out benefit (note that you only have priority for this benefit, and it is not guaranteed), 1 use of a welcome amenity and a complimentary chef’s tasting item each time you visit a participating Kimpton restaurant. It’s going to be difficult to track when you’ve used each of your benefits, so for me, that seems the most awkward and challenging part of this new program.
Inner Circle (14 stays or 40 nights)
First off, it’s worth noting that Kimpton has made their highest status a little easier to obtain, reducing the amount of required states by 1, and the required nights by 5. Inner Circle members receive complimentary upgrades each time at check-in, subject to availability, late check-out priority on each stay, a welcome amenity on each stay, a chef’s tasting item with each restaurant visit, as well as several other select benefits only available to IC members:
- Greater rewards availability
- Complimentary night at new hotels, and a $50 food/beverage credit at those same hotels
- Newspaper delivered to your door
- Dedicated hotel reservation line
- VIP priority restaurant reservations
- Exclusive direct access to Kimpton’s CEO
Overall, I’m disappointed that room upgrades don’t include suite upgrades, especially for IC members. I suspect this will tend to vary by each individual hotel, but it would have been nice to have a blanket “allowable” policy to make this a worthwhile perk for IC folks. I’m very happy they’ve kept the free night benefit at new hotels for IC members, as this was a perk I fully utilized last year, and really enjoyed it. For the lower tiers, I’m confused by the 1x and 2x allowable amenity options, and am interested to see how they will track this. Overall, while they program isn’t tremendously worse than it was before, I don’t see it as too much more rewarding.
I do like the look of the new website, and find it sleek, modern and easy to use. Overall, a good improvement there.
I’m a huge fan, and loyal member with Kimpton, and find their hotels to be well-located, well-kept and friendly. I’ll continue to strive to be an IC member every year, just because they tend to treat IC members very well, and I enjoy their top-status and their hotel brand for domestic hotel stays in the US.
Have you every stayed at a Kimpton hotel? Do you have status with them? What do you think of the changes?
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