There will also be some form of elite benefits at Mrs. and Mrs. Smith properties, because IHG says that their “most loyal members” (presumably Spire Elites, but also “including InterContinental Ambassadors and Kimpton Inner Circle members”) “can expect free room upgrades whenever available and a free gift, called a Smith Extra, on arrival at each Mr & Mrs Smith hotel.”
Smith Extra may include “a bottle of champagne, picnic hamper or 30-minute massage on arrival.” In addition to points-earning on paid stays, elites will earn their usual tier bonuses for spend at Mr. and Mrs. Smith properties.
The chain is highlighting the possibility to redeem at:
- “Jasper Conran’s self-styled riad hideaway L’Hôtel Marrakech”
- “18th-century organic Tuscan estate Borgo Pignano”
- “high-in-the-Himalayas retreat The Kumaon”
- “charming Old Rectory on South Africa’s famed Garden Route”
Credit: Borgo Pignano
IHG overall is skewed towards lower-end properties, and this helps fill out the aspirational end of their redemption portfolio. They emphasize that the partnership “will more than double” their luxury and boutique offerings, though as if to underscore how modest that current portfolio is they offer that alongside brands such as Six Senses, Regent, and Intercontinental they include Kimption and Hotel Indigo in that space.
How valuable this partnership will prove depends on redemption pricing. IHG no longer has a published award chart and they haven’t talked about what redemption costs will be at these hotels. In order to access rooms they may have to pay a premium, as Hyatt appears to have done at SLH properties, and this may mean that redemptions wind up less than a great value. More options are always better, but how far your points will go is an open question.
IHG appears to be taking a page from the Hyatt playbook which not only includes incorporating SLH hotels into the World of Hyatt program, but builds on the pioneering relationship they developed six years ago with MGM M life Rewards for reciprocal points earn-and-burn and elite recognition.