My wife and I recently stayed three nights in New York City at the Kimpton Muse Hotel. For two of the nights we used IHG credit card free night certificates, and for the third night we used IHG points.
Our original plan was to use free night certificates for all three nights, but during the booking process we discovered that my wife no longer had an IHG card! Apparently Chase had shut it down at some point due to non-use when she applied for another Chase card and we didn’t realize that (or maybe we just forgot — I’m not sure). Anyway, we already had in-hand my wife’s free night certificate that was issued last year and we were expecting a second one to be issued this year. That didn’t happen due to the disappearance of the credit card. So we used points, instead, for the third night.
We originally booked the new Crowne Plaza HY36 (which gets incredible reviews on TripAdvisor), but just a few days before our stay it became possible to use IHG free nights or points to book Kimpton hotels. We’re Kimpton fans, so we switched the reservation. The first two nights cost the same (one free-night certificate per night), but the third night cost considerably more. I had booked the Crowne Plaza for 45,000 points (it has since gone up to 50,000), but the Kimpton charged an eye popping 70,000 points. Fortunately I’ll get 7,000 points back thanks to my IHG card which had not disappeared and which offers a 10% rebate on point awards. Booking the Kimpton was easily done through the IHG website.
IHG cardholders automatically get IHG Platinum status. Would that do anything for us at Kimpton hotels? According to the IHG Kimpton Karma website (found here), Platinum status should offer the following in-hotel benefits above those offered to base members: extended check-out, priority check-in, complimentary room upgrades, and “Raid the Bar.” All members get $30 in-room Spa Credit (which we didn’t use), and Dining Exclusives (I don’t even know what that is).
We didn’t have any need for extended check-out or priority check-in (there was no line), but a free room upgrade and raid the bar credit was welcome. More on these…
Complimentary Room Upgrade
I didn’t expect any upgrade at all, but when we checked into the Muse Hotel we were told that we were upgraded to a suite. Sweet!
Raid the Bar
This benefit used to be available to all Kimpton members, but now it requires IHG Gold status or higher. At many properties, you get $10 in Raid the Bar credit, but at some properties (including the Muse) you get $15. This credit is per stay, not per night.
As you can see in the in-room bar menu below, $15 would be enough for (for example) a beer ($10) and a full sized Kit Kat ($5). It wouldn’t be enough for a JamBox ($185). Can anyone guess what that is? It took me a while to figure it out! Hint: Nothing in the min-bar looked anything like a box with jam.
We did not take anything from the mini-bar. The reason is that the Raid the Bar credit can be used for any food charged to the room. We ate breakfast a couple times at the in-hotel restaurant and charged it to our room. While we don’t have the final folio yet (see below), I expect that we’ll see that they took off $15 for those charges.
When we checked out of the hotel I expected a receipt showing our breakfast charges (minus the $15 Raid the Bar credit), but the guy at the desk said that he couldn’t print a receipt because there were no charges at all. That would be really cool, but the truth was that charges appeared on my credit card a few days later for roughly the amount I expected (I should have kept track of how much we spent at breakfast, but I didn’t). That’s fair. On the IHG website, the stays are listed separately (since each was booked separately). The first two show no charges. The third currently says “Pending Stay * Thanks for staying with us. We’ll have your account updated to reflect your new balance within 3-5 business days of check-out. Stay tuned, and stay again!” I’ll update this section once the bill appears for that third night.
My assumption is that the weirdness of the bill is due to this being the early stages of integration between IHG and Kimpton. It seems that finalizing a stay currently takes them 3 to 5 business days to get right. That’s weird, but not a huge problem in my opinion.
I wasn’t expecting to get any special benefits out of my credit card generated IHG Platinum status, but I was pleasantly surprised. Our stay at the Muse was excellent, and our suite upgrade made it even better. This just reinforces what I’ve written many times in the past: the $49 IHG credit card is one of the best deals in travel today. The addition of Kimpton properties makes the annual free night certificate more useful than ever before, and the card’s automatic Platinum status is worth having! When we realized that my wife no longer had the card we logged her into IHG (where she still has Platinum status leftover from the old card) and searched for a paid hotel night. This generated the expected 80K signup offer (+5K for adding an authorized user) with the addition of $50 credit:
She signed up. The application went pending, but the new card appeared in the mail about a week later. It has been more than 2 years since she received a signup offer for this card, so she’s qualified to get it again. This bonus will more than pay for that third 70K night!