I just received an email from Kimpton to inform me that IHG has acquired them. This is interesting news since IHG themselves were the subject of a failed acquisition just a few months ago, as SPG made a bid for them.
Often, as a consumer, mergers and acquisitions are bad things. It is typically the more efficiently run operation that is able to acquire the less efficient operation – in the world of luxury that means ‘cut backs’. However, sometimes it makes sense. It really depends on how the acquisition takes place, but IHG has the opportunity to build out the niche boutique brand here, and could relabel certain properties on a global basis to the Kimpton name – this would be a win for consumers as Kimpton is otherwise limited to North America.
That said, overall I would imagine the loyalty programs would be merged, which would be a bad thing for Kimpton Elites. Kimpton recently rolled out the Karma award program, with 4 tiers of Elite, their top level ‘Inner Circle’ gets some great perks.
Ultimately I think many of these will be removed as the programs align, but that said, providing that Inner Circle members are matched across to the IHG top level (Ambassador) then I think that the expanded hotel options is well worth the price. It tends to take some time to align loyalty programs, and there is no talk of when this will happen with the Kimpton/IHG merger. Personally I will not be earning more Kimpton nights, but if they merge while I am still Inner Circle then I think I’ll be pretty happy about the whole thing.
Lastly, IHG was my next co-branded card to get, Kimpton doesn’t have have a credit card, and these are great ways to top up your points and take that well earned annual family trip….
So, here’s hoping for a good merger, and at the end of it holding top tier status with IHG and a co-branded credit card with which to book rooms.
It’s worth noting, if I was the type of person who paid his own money to earn Inner Circle status and was actually ‘loyal’ to a company I’d likely be annoyed by this turn of events. But buying into loyalty to a company is plain dumb. I’ll take a free market economy thank you!