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8 perks of Kimpton’s Inner Circle – and how to get an invite

The Points Guy logo The Points Guy 7/13/2020 Katie Genter
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Kimpton Karma Rewards was folded into the IHG Rewards Club program in early 2018. Initially, Kimpton loyalists were concerned about the program being replaced by the IHG Rewards Club program. To the delight of Kimpton loyalists, Kimpton’s top-tier Inner Circle program survives as within IHG Rewards. Here’s what you should know about Kimpton’s Inner Circle as well as 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 Club elites who are loyal to Kimpton.

How do you get Kimpton Inner Circle?

a bedroom with a bed in a hotel room: Kimpton Ink48 in New York City (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy Kimpton Ink48 in New York City (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

To receive an invite into Kimpton’s Inner Circle, you must satisfy two criteria. First, you must be an IHG Rewards Club Spire Elite member. And second, you must show loyalty to Kimpton.

Kimpton generally sends out new Inner Circle invites each January. But, due to coronavirus halting most travel, IHG announced that current Inner Circle members will keep their status through Jan. 2022.

Related: Booking direct: How much value does IHG status provide?

IHG Spire Elite status

To earn IHG Rewards Club Spire Elite status, you normally must complete 75 elite-qualifying nights or earn 75,000 elite-qualifying points with IHG each calendar year.

However, IHG decreased the requirements for earning Spire Elite status in 2020 to 55 nights or 55,000 elite-qualifying points. IHG is also extending current elite status tiers through Jan. 2022, regardless of your activity in 2020. So, if you earned Spire Elite status in 2019, you don’t need to worry about re-earning status this year.

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

a dining room table: The Outpost restaurant at Kimpton Goodland near Santa Barbara, California (Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy The Outpost restaurant at Kimpton Goodland near Santa Barbara, California (Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

You must be an IHG Spire Elite before you can be invited 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 a welcome 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.

Chef’s taste

When you eat dinner at a Kimpton restaurant, you can enjoy a complimentary chef’s taste. The chef’s taste is usually a small seasonal appetizer or dessert.

You don’t need to be staying with Kimpton in order 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.

However, the following Kimpton 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 Eventi
  • Kimpton Hotel Wilshire
  • Kimpton Ink 48 Hotel
  • Kimpton La Peer Hotel
  • Kimpton Monaco Salt Lake City
  • Kimpton Schofield Hotel
  • Kimpton Saint George Hotel

New hotel free night

One new hotel free night certificate will be deposited into your account each calendar year. You can use the new hotel free night at select new Kimpton properties. When staying on a new hotel free night, most Inner Circle benefits apply. But, the one-category upgrade, early check-in and late check-out aren’t guaranteed.

You do have to be a current Inner Circle member to use the free night. And, you’ll only get a free night if you’ve stayed at three or more different Kimpton hotels 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 you 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 check-out

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.

Best of all, early check-in and late check-out have set times. So, 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 a $70 plus tax guest amenity fee per night. And, the Kimpton La Peer Hotel has a $30 plus tax guest amenities fee per night. So, this perk may allow you to avoid fees when staying at Kimpton hotels.

Related: The 10 most outrageous resort fees

Premium internet

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. This benefit is a step up from the standard internet that is normally available to IHG Rewards Club members.

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.

Bottom line

Much like how InterContinental Ambassador only provides perks at InterContinental hotels, Kimpton’s Inner Circle only provides perks at Kimpton. However, unlike InterContinental Ambassador, you can’t purchase Kimpton Inner Circle. Instead, you must earn IHG Spire Elite status and hit unpublished loyalty thresholds with Kimpton.

Featured image of the Kimpton Seafire Resort on Grand Cayman by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy.

SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.

And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free. 

These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.

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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.


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