IHG has launched the IHG Luxury & Lifestyle Collections, which gets you impressive extra benefits at many InterContinental and Kimpton hotels.
IHG, which owns the InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Kimpton, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn etc brands, has historically been behind the curve when it came to dealing with the luxury travel agent market.
As most HfP readers should know by now, almost all hotel brands with high-end properties offer special deals to travel agents who specialise in luxury travel. Here is our last review of Hyatt Prive, for example. This is driven by the American market, where many wealthy individuals still prefer to book by having a self-employed ‘travel counsellor’ visit them in their home to talk through potential options. Keen to get in front of these people, most hotels have special packages which can only be booked by ‘travel counsellors’.
There are a small number of travel agents in the UK who are also accredited to book these packages. Emyr Thomas, who we partner with, is one of them. You can find out about Emyr’s services on this page of Head for Points. You’d be silly to book a five star hotel without asking him if he can get you a better package. (He won’t get you a better price, but he can often get you a better overall deal.)
We are looking at the IHG Luxury & Lifestyle Collections across two articles. Today I am focusing on the ‘luxury’ side.
What is IHG Luxury Collection?
The IHG Luxury Collection is a set of additional benefits available to you if you are staying at a participating InterContinental, Regent or non-US Kimpton hotel.
For total clarity, the rate you pay is the same as the Best Available Rate on ihg.com. All of these benefits are genuinely free on top.
What are the IHG Luxury Collection benefits?
Here are the main benefits you get when you book via a luxury travel agent who can access IHG Luxury Collection rates:
- GUARANTEED 2pm late check-out
- Breakfast for two in the hotel restaurant
- $100 of hotel credit per stay
- One category upgrade, subject to availability on arrival
- Bottled water and fresh fruit or snacks in the room on arrival
As you can see, this is clearly a good deal. IHG hates giving away free breakfast – even top tier elite status members don’t get it! – so this is a great benefit. The $100 of hotel credit should cover a decent lunch or evening meal too.
For clarity, you WILL receive IHG Rewards Club points and elite night credit too.
The full benefits list is here (click to expand):
Which hotels participate in the IHG Luxury Collection?
Here is the full list – click to expand:
The list of InterContinental hotels is as you would expect. With Kimpton, I would flag that the Glasgow, Edinburgh (Kimpton Charlotte Square review), Manchester (Kimpton Clocktower review) and London (Kimpton Fitzroy review here) hotels are on the list, as is Kimpton De Witt in Amsterdam which we reviewed here. All five Regent hotels are included.
Some InterContinental hotels are also part of the Virtuoso luxury hotels group. As we wrote in this article, if you book the Virtuoso package you will receive free club lounge access at selected InterContinental hotels including London Park Lane and Paris Le Grand. Handily, Emyr can also book Virtuoso rates, so if a hotel is part of both programmes he will give you the choice of which benefits package to take.
If your hotel is not on the list, don’t worry. IHG has launched a second scheme, IHG Lifestyle Collection, for other Kimpton hotels and selected Hotel Indigo properties. We will cover that in a separate article.
The new IHG Luxury Collection offers excellent benefits if you are staying at InterContinental or Regent hotels or the few Kimpton properties included.
If you would otherwise book a cheaper non-refundable rate, you are paying slightly extra here because you need to book Best Available Rate. However, it is difficult to imagine how the value of the free restaurant breakfast and the $100 hotel credit, plus the guaranteed 2pm check-out, wouldn’t make IHG Luxury Collection a better deal.
For anyone who would usually book a cancellable rate anyway, these are genuine free extras.
You CANNOT book these rates online. You need to contact Emyr Thomas via the form on this page of Head for Points with your dates. He will confirm the rate and benefits and will then book once you’ve given final approval. You pay at the hotel as usual.