Kimpton Inner Circle: above and beyond?

You all know how much I love Kimpton.

That being said, I’m putting them to the test this week.

Here’s how…

Once upon a time, I had Kimpton Inner Circle status. During this fabulous year, whenever I stayed at a Kimpton hotel, I would receive a customized welcome amenity. All of my favorite things – cheese plates, flights of whiskey, chocolate, BBQ chips – were showered upon me, and I loved it.

Inner Circle eventi goodies Alas, those days came to an abrupt halt when my status lapsed, and I returned to being treated as an average guest. Don’t get me wrong – “average” with Kimpton still contains a “wow” factor. However, unless you are an Inner Circle member, amenities are not as personal, and they aren’t as lavish.

So, I was missing the days of wine and roses. And I decided to do something about it.

Running back to the Inner Circle

Over the past few months, I’ve traveled a lot for work. Between that and stacking deals (such as Kimpton’s “Double Stay Credit” sales and the Magellan Luxury Hotels site), I’ve been able to rack up 10 stays so far this year, which is within striking distance of the 14 stays I need to achieve Inner Circle Status for next year.

So imagine my excitement when – as if they could read my mind – Kimpton recently announced another Double Stay Credit sale last month. I quickly booked numerous stays, including two for later this month. Because I’ll get double stay credit for each of them, these stays are going to push me into the Inner Circle!

The stays are a little bit mattress-run-esque (is that a word?): one is an overnight with my kids, just for fun, and another is with Hottie, to celebrate our birthdays (we are several months overdue, but whatever).

What happens in the circle (does it stay in the circle)?

As a Kimpton Karma member, I’ve been accumulating various rewards with the stays I’ve had this year (with each Karma tier, members earn additional rewards, which range from late check out to complimentary upgrades to free nights).

kimpton karma rewards Inner Circle

I decided that I’ll leave regular status and catapult myself into Inner Circle with a bang, and stack multiple Karma rewards on my last two stays – the main reason being that once I achieve Inner Circle status, theoretically I will enjoy all of these rewards automatically, without having to ask.

I’ve got it all.

I have 3 complimentary upgrades, a free night award, a late checkout, and a one-time welcome amenity to use.

For the stay with Hottie, I’m going to use an upgrade and a late checkout. For the stay with my kids, I’ll stack an upgrade and the in-room amenity.

I have to admit that I’m very excited about the amenity.

kimpton karma Inner Circle

Here’s what Kimpton has to say about it:

Tier 3 members can redeem this one time reward on the stay of their choice. It is valid for a customized in-room amenity that will include, to the best of the hotel’s ability, a favorite snack and beverage. This can be redeemed by contacting our Kimpton Karma Advisors at 1-888-695-4678. Specific delivery times, brands, and sizes are not guaranteed. This reward will expire one year after the issue date if not redeemed.

Huh. Not off to the best start.

I called the Kimpton Karma Advisors.

“Hello!” I said cheerily. “I’d like to redeem my one-time welcome amenity for an upcoming stay!”

“O-kay…” said the rep, who clearly did not share my excitement. “This is subject to availability when you check in.”

Now it was my turn. “O-kay..,” I replied. I forged on. “Do you need the certificate number?”

“Um, sure,” said the rep.

She didn’t sound very sure. I gave her the number anyway.

“All right,” she said. “Is there anything else I can help you with?”

I felt kind of delated by this point. “I still need to tell you my favorite things,” I told her. “For the amenity?”

“All right. I’ll make a note of it on your account,” she said.

This did not sound promising, but I rattled off my list. I included some variety so they had a lot to work with.

  • Single Malt Scotch
  • Root beer (for my kids)
  • Dark beer (for me)
  • Cheese plate
  • BBQ chips
  • Chocolate

Then the call was over. I felt a little let down by the whole experience, but I’ve decided to wait and see what happens.

What do you think?

Will Kimpton come through? I’d love to see them celebrate my arrival into the Inner Circle with fanfare, but I suspect that I’m MUCH more excited about it than they are. 😉

However, you never know. Kimpton has wowed me before, and I’m certain they’ll do it again. The question is, are they really paying attention to individual Kimpton Karma members’ progress through Karma tiers, or are the amenities more haphazard?

Have you had any wow-worthy moments with Kimpton? Which hotel were you in, and what happened?

I’d love to know!


  1. I had the same issue 2 weeks ago–Kimpton has changed a lot of their amenities and upgrades to “availability on arrival”. I remember before I had to call Karma rewards to request an upgrade but when I tried this time I was told to ask for upgrade and for the amenity at check in . I confirmed that means of course the amenity won’t be on arrival and questioned that since I was only staying one night and was going to be out all day would it be worth it….And the Karma rewards person said that is how it now works.

    I knew Hotel Palomar in Chicago was completely sold out so the upgrade wasn’t going to be available, but I called them directly the day before. When I checked in they told me they had been able to put me in the one bedroom (spa tub!). But I think that is because the staff at that particular Kimpton is absolutely outstanding and their customer service is well above and beyond the norm–even above Kimpton’s high standards. (I have stayed at 2 Kimptons in DC, 1 in La Jolla, and 2 others in Chicago in the past 4 months ).

    • Points Pixie says

      Jennie – that is kind of a bummer. I liked being able to call and know that things were set ahead of time. That was a smart move on your part to contact the hotel directly!

  2. You can enter your amenity requests through your KK account on their website; you do not need to call each hotel. I have been Inner Circle for about 6 months through a promotion that I received. My welcome amenity (wine and cheese/crackers/grapes or sometimes gummies or jelly beans) are usually waiting on my arrival. Some hotels’ efforts are better than others. The Tides Inn in FL made jelly beans in the shape of the fleur de lis – the emblem of my favorite football team (the Saints). I have never failed to get an upgrade except on one occasion in my 11 stays. I even got the President’s suite at the Donovan hotel recently. In short – use the website to make your requests for amenities; the upgrade will be automatic usually.

  3. Alyssa Becker says

    Love Kimpton – I agree with Jennie M that Bobby and Mark along with the outstanding team at the Hotel Palomar in Chicago is unmatched. That being said I have been wowed by the Tideline, Ink48 and Epic Miami teams as well lately. Worth every stay.


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