With all the devaluations going on in the major hotel programs, it’s easy to wonder what the point of loyalty is. Much like airline programs, hotel loyalty programs are evolving in some ways. Many would say a few choice words other than “evolving” are more appropriate. On the other hand, I think there is a point to remaining loyal. I’ve been spending more time at Marriott Hotels this year than I have in a while. I realize that makes me the “anti-blogger” when it comes to hotels. Let’s face it, Marriott Rewards is not sexy at all, but it works for me and my travel patterns right now. Of course, the thing I love most about Marriott is that you know what you’re going to get.

While I appreciate consistency, sometimes a change is nice. There are alternatives to the big chains out there, and I thought I’d look at some of those over the next few days beginning with my favorite not so huge chain hotel program, Kimpton InTouch, a program not based on “points” at all. I realize that just a couple days ago, I said I won’t “just repackage and restate what others have already said for the sake of tossing up a blog post” but I’ve had Kimpton on my mind for a while now. I’m not the only one as Scott at HackMyTrip had some thoughts on Kimpton just the other day. Frankly, I’m surprised Kimpton doesn’t get more attention than it does on the interweb. I’ve found their hotels to be awesome, their staff awesome, their restaurants awesome…. In other words, I think Kimpton is awesome. 😀

Just for being a member of InTouch, you’ll receive free wi-fi and a minibar credit of $10 dollars ($15 in NYC). I suppose the ultimate purpose of a hotel loyalty program from a guest perspective is earning free hotel stays. At a time in my life when I appreciate making things simpler, Kimpton InTouch fits the bill. After 7 stays or 20 nights, you earn a free night. That’s it.

As we know, I’m a fan of elite status programs, and Kimpton InTouch has frequent guests covered with Inner Circle status. After 15 stays or 45 nights, you’ll earn Inner Circle status. Inner Circle includes space available upgrades and my favorite, your choice of at least two snacks or drinks delivered to your room. You can review the other Inner Circle benefits as well as the terms and conditions of the entire program here.

In summary, I think Kimpton Hotels and the InTouch program offer compelling benefits to any business or leisure traveler who travels to major cities across the country. And I haven’t even mentioned the hosted wine hour! My next Kimpton stay is coming soon, and I’ll be sure to provide a full review here.

-MJ, March 23, 2013