Kimpton, with just over 50 hotels and restaurants in its network, is a David among Goliaths when it comes to hotel chains. Marriott, for instance, just passed the 4,000-hotel mark, and it’s not the largest of the major chains.
Size is a decided advantage for hotel loyalty programs: The more hotels, the easier it is to earn points wherever you go, whether you’re traveling on business or on vacation. And the converse: It’s harder to be loyal to a smaller chain, because you won’t find participating hotels everywhere you go.
That competitive disadvantage means that a small chain’s loyalty program has to be better than those offered by the mega-hotels.
Kimpton, apparently recognizing that its InTouch program was too weak to offset the hotel group’s size disadvantage, has refreshed and relaunched the program as Kimpton Karma Rewards.
The new program features four tiers instead of the previous program’s two. And the top tier requires 14 stays or 40 nights, versus 15 stays or 45 nights previously.
Non-elite members receive free WiFi and a $10 bar credit.
Depending on their tier, elite members receive some or all of the following: a $30 in-room spa credit, space-available upgrades (suites not included), late check-out, welcome amenity, complimentary “chef’s taste,” and complimentary newspaper.
As before, free nights are offered after seven stays, or 20 nights.
Credits expire after 24 months of account activity.
There’s nothing particularly wrong with the new program. But for most travelers, it’s neither innovative nor generous enough to overcome the limitations of the hotel network itself.
Reader Reality Check
How loyal can you be to a hotel company with only 50 properties?
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.