InterContinental Hotels Group announced plans to acquire Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants almost exactly one year ago. Although a few hotels decided to leave the larger entity, IHG has generally left Kimpton alone. It continues to operate the Kimpton Karma loyalty program with no way to earn or redeem stays through IHG Rewards.
This could be viewed as good or bad. Kimpton is a great chain with excellent customer service. A big worry of mine was that IHG would ruin this, but they haven’t. However I was also hoping it would become easier to book free stays at Kimpton properties since the IHG program is so much more elaborate.
Today we got some more information from Kimpton about their plans.
Most importantly, there are still no plans to discontinue Kimpton Karma and merge it with IHG Rewards. For 2016, “Kimpton Karma Rewards will continue to serve as the loyalty program for Kimpton.”
After 2016, something might change. The language is so vague that I don’t think IHG or Kimpton have a decision yet. That’s what the next year will be about. But here are their two goals:
For one, Kimpton will be going global, so get ready. Of course, we’ll also have more to share as it relates to marrying Kimpton Karma Rewards and IHG Rewards Club.
Kimpton is currently a U.S. brand, but they are opening their first international property in Grand Cayman in 2016. I believe this is what they mean by “going global.” It could also be that IHG is planning re-brand some of its other properties with the Kimpton brand or acquire independent hotels and put them into this category. For example, it could be similar to Starwood’s partnership with Design Hotels.
And as for “marrying Kimpton Karma Rewards and IHG Rewards Club,” I don’t see that as meaning Kimpton Karma will be discontinued. I think it means you’ll have new ways to earn and redeem between programs, what I originally hoped might happen when the acquisition was announced last year. It’s similar to how you can participate in both IHG Rewards and the InterContinental Ambassador program. In any case, it’s still far too early to speculate that Kimpton Karma will be going away given the past success it’s had with members.