IHG’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith Partnership: How It Works

IHG’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith Partnership: How It Works

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In 2020, IHG rolled out a partnership with Mr. & Mrs. Smith, intended to give members of IHG’s loyalty program access to hundreds of additional luxury hotels. In this post I wanted to take a closer look at the partnership, and discuss under what circumstances it’s worth taking advantage of.

What is Mr. & Mrs. Smith?

Let’s start with the very basics. For those not familiar with Mr. & Mrs. Smith, the company describes itself as a “travel club and boutique hotel specialist.” The way I view it, Mr. & Mrs. Smith is essentially a luxury travel agency and marketing agency of sorts.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith doesn’t manage any hotels, but rather gets a commission when people book through the company. Think of it as being along the lines of Leading Hotels of the World (LHW) and Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) — these companies also don’t manage hotels, but rather market a variety of hotels.

Arguably Mr. & Mrs. Smith has even fewer requirements than LHW and SLH when it comes to exclusivity and standards. You’ll find that many Mr. & Mrs. Smith properties also belong to other hotel groups or marketing organizations, and Mr. & Mrs. Smith markets properties belonging to many of the world’s best hotel brands.

Bill & Coo Mykonos belongs to Mr. & Mrs. Smith

IHG’s partnership with Mr. & Mrs. Smith

IHG has historically struggled a bit in the luxury sector, though it’s an area where the brand has improved significantly, since acquiring Six Senses, Regent, Kimpton, etc. That’s also where the partnership between IHG and Mr. & Mrs. Smith comes into play.

Thanks to this partnership, IHG One Rewards members have access to hundreds of additional luxury properties where they can earn and redeem points. This also opens up lots of markets where IHG One Rewards members didn’t previously have access to properties.

Note that only select Mr. & Mrs. Smith properties participate in the collaboration with IHG — you can find participating properties here. In order to receive any IHG perks, you have to book through an IHG booking channel (so you can’t book directly with a hotel or with a travel agent and then add your IHG number after the fact).

The business model here is presumably that Mr. & Mrs. Smith gets a commission from hotels, and then in turn splits that commission with IHG when a member books through an IHG channel. This is very similar to the partnership that Hyatt has with Small Luxury Hotels of the World, and the partnership that Marriott has with Design Hotels (which it inherited from Starwood).

Matakauri Lodge Queenstown belongs to Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Earning IHG points with Mr. & Mrs. Smith

On the points earning front, this partnership allows IHG One Rewards members to earn points for stays at Mr. & Mrs. Smith properties when booking directly with IHG:

  • IHG One Rewards members earn 10x points per dollar spent
  • IHG One Rewards elite members are eligible to earn their tier bonuses at these properties — IHG Platinum members receive a 60% points bonus, while IHG Diamond members receive a 100% points bonus
  • Stays at Mr. & Mrs. Smith properties aren’t generally eligible to earn bonus points with IHG One Rewards promotions
  • If you’re paying with an IHG co-branded credit card, these stays don’t receive the bonus points you’d receive if staying at an IHG property

Let me once again emphasize that in order to earn points you need to book through IHG, and keep in mind that only a subset of Mr. & Mrs. Smith properties participate in the IHG loyalty collaboration. So while there are Amans, Singitas, etc., that belong to Mr. & Mrs. Smith, these don’t participate in the IHG partnership.

As exciting as earning points for stays at independent properties sounds, I’d note that in many cases there will be an opportunity cost to booking through this partnership. With most of these hotels:

  • There may be opportunities to book for less through other channels
  • The hotels may offer promotions and package deals directly that won’t be available through the IHG partnership
  • Since many Mr. & Mrs. Smith properties are luxury hotels, there may be opportunities to book them through other channels (like Virtuoso) with a lot more perks, including free breakfast, an upgrade, a room credit, etc.
Anemi Hotel Folegandros belongs to Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Redeeming IHG points with Mr. & Mrs. Smith

It’s also possible to redeem IHG One Rewards points for stays at Mr. & Mrs. Smith properties, though I’d really manage my expectations when it comes to this:

  • Award pricing is dynamic, and since IHG doesn’t manage these properties, presumably the redemptions are more costly for IHG
  • IHG free night award certificates can be redeemed at Mr. & Mrs. Smith properties, and the fourth night free benefit on IHG’s co-branded credit cards does apply for stays at these properties
  • There are capacity controls for redemptions at Mr. & Mrs. Smith properties, but then again, IHG has blackout dates for its managed properties as well; however, I find that many Mr. & Mrs. Smith properties don’t have availability for weeks on end

While there may be some decent opportunities to redeem points at Mr. and Mrs. Smith properties, don’t expect you’re going to get outsized value.

What should you expect in terms of redemption rates? I just pulled up two random properties. One property costs either 173 Euro (~$176) or 25,000 points.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith property cost in cash
Mr. & Mrs. Smith property cost in points

Another property costs either 297 Euro (~$302) or 45,000 points.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith property cost in cash
Mr. & Mrs. Smith property cost in points

At most properties it seems like each IHG point gets you roughly 0.6-0.7 cents toward the cost of a Mr. & Mrs. Smith stay. That’s not half bad — I value IHG points at 0.5 cents each — though again, that doesn’t factor in that you might find these properties cheaper through other channels.

Tierra Atacama belongs to Mr. & Mrs. Smith

IHG elite perks with Mr. and Mrs. Smith

What should you expect in terms of elite recognition at Mr. & Mrs. Smith properties?

All IHG members booking through IHG receive a “BlackSmith welcome gift,” subject to availability. The details of this will be listed on the hotel’s IHG webpage.

An example of a Mr. & Mrs. Smith welcome gift

While IHG elite status doesn’t get you anything extra, you do get something extra if you have InterContinental Ambassador, InterContinental Royal Ambassador, or Kimpton Inner Circle status. Specifically, you receive a “GoldSmith welcome gift” (something above the BlackSmith welcome gift), plus a complimentary room upgrade of one category, subject to availability upon arrival.

L’Ovella Negra Andorra belongs to Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Is IHG’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith partnership worth it?

The partnership between IHG and Mr. & Mrs. Smith is exciting on the surface — members of a major global hotel loyalty program get access to some ridiculously cute, boutique properties. As is often the case with these kinds of collaborations, I find the execution to be a bit lacking, and I still haven’t found a case where this was the best way to book.

I think it’s always worth being aware of this partnership and looking at the rates and points requirements for Mr. & Mrs. Smith properties through IHG. However:

  • Earning points for stays at independent properties is cool, but all too often you’ll find better deals elsewhere, whether it’s a lower rate or more perks for booking another way
  • Redeeming points is tricky, as I find availability to be ridiculously limited; I don’t really get that, because if pricing is dynamic and revenue based, why can’t IHG just make all rooms available for points at some cost?

A majority of Mr. & Mrs. Smith properties also belong to programs like Virtuoso, and it’s not worth giving up perks like free breakfast, a room upgrade, a property credit, etc., in order to earn some points, in my opinion.

Delaire Graff Estate Stellenbosch belongs to Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Bottom line

IHG and Mr. & Mrs. Smith have a loyalty collaboration, whereby IHG One Rewards members can earn and redeem points for stays at hundreds of independent luxury properties.

IHG isn’t the only major hotel group to have a collaboration like this, as both Hyatt and Marriott have similar partnerships. However, personally I find this one to be weakest in terms of execution. While there’s potentially going to be some value, make sure you’re managing your expectations.

You can redeem IHG points for Mr. & Mrs. Smith stays, and while redemption rates aren’t bad, availability can be extremely limited. Meanwhile you can also earn IHG points for stays at Mr. & Mrs. Smith properties, though there may often be a significant opportunity cost to doing so.

What do you make of the partnership between IHG and Mr. & Mrs. Smith?

Conversations (10)
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  1. Harve Guest

    One thing I have noticed when considering booking one of these properties using cash rather than points is that you have to pay upfront and then get a refund if you have to cancel within the allotted free cancellation period. That may be fine for some, but it was a definite negative for me particularly at some of the higher end properties.

  2. Mike1977 Guest

    Used IHG points and anniversary nights certs. to stay 3 nights at No. 5 Maddox Street in London. I am so glad it was free. Honestly the whole experience felt like an Air BNB. All the perks on the website never materialized (welcome basket, snacks stocked in the kitchen, etc) and it turns out they only provide housekeeping twice a week and only on stays of 7 nights or more. It was incredibly underwhelming to...

    Used IHG points and anniversary nights certs. to stay 3 nights at No. 5 Maddox Street in London. I am so glad it was free. Honestly the whole experience felt like an Air BNB. All the perks on the website never materialized (welcome basket, snacks stocked in the kitchen, etc) and it turns out they only provide housekeeping twice a week and only on stays of 7 nights or more. It was incredibly underwhelming to say the least. Location was excellent, but nothing else. If anyone else has
    had a truly "luxury" experience at a property I would love to hear about it.

  3. chuck Guest

    Was in a property in Greece last week and was disappointed.

    Problem is that there are no brand standards so "luxury" can mean anything

    the property was listed as "luxury" and it was "OK", at best

    never again

    1. Mike1977 Guest

      My experience exactly!! I don't understand how they define "luxury."

  4. pstm91 Diamond

    If nothing else, the partnership is great because it gets me checking for redemption opportunities in places I would otherwise never check IHG. Case and point, I was in Portugal earlier this summer and had 2 nights with no plans. We decided to head up the coast from Lisbon and I knew I had free night certs with IHG, so I figured why not check. Low and behold, Areias do Sexo, a Mr. & Mrs....

    If nothing else, the partnership is great because it gets me checking for redemption opportunities in places I would otherwise never check IHG. Case and point, I was in Portugal earlier this summer and had 2 nights with no plans. We decided to head up the coast from Lisbon and I knew I had free night certs with IHG, so I figured why not check. Low and behold, Areias do Sexo, a Mr. & Mrs. Smith property, pops up. Paid rates were quite expensive but I was able to use my free night certs plus 10k points per night and it was a fantastic stay. This partnership is great for those somewhat rand bookings where it happens to work out - M/M Smith's portfolio is large enough that there should be a fair amount of instances where it works out.

  5. Billy Bob Guest

    I managed to stay four nights in on Santorini at one of these properties. We used our certificates with a few thousand added points. The rate came with a welcome gift (wine and fruit plate) and breakfast for two every morning. We were in Imerovigli and with an unobstructed view of the caldera. Cash price for these rooms was into the stratosphere. Santorini was one of our bucket-list destinations. It was a great use of...

    I managed to stay four nights in on Santorini at one of these properties. We used our certificates with a few thousand added points. The rate came with a welcome gift (wine and fruit plate) and breakfast for two every morning. We were in Imerovigli and with an unobstructed view of the caldera. Cash price for these rooms was into the stratosphere. Santorini was one of our bucket-list destinations. It was a great use of the certificates that had piled up during the COVID mess.

    1. Khai Guest

      Which hotel in Santorini did you stay at?

  6. Bellissimo Guest

    Just noticed that every IHG card is missing from Chase's 'All Credit Cards' page, and if you try to apply via any direct offer link such as the 'Current' 140K + free night for the Premiere, you get thrown error. The business card hasn't even been out that long and it's no longer available to new applicants! This IHG hack is a complete embarrassment. They must be losing a fortune between losing their credit card...

    Just noticed that every IHG card is missing from Chase's 'All Credit Cards' page, and if you try to apply via any direct offer link such as the 'Current' 140K + free night for the Premiere, you get thrown error. The business card hasn't even been out that long and it's no longer available to new applicants! This IHG hack is a complete embarrassment. They must be losing a fortune between losing their credit card revenue pipeline and guests not being able to make or modify reservations. And clearly their reputation is being dragged through the mud as well: who knows where their guest data is, free night certs are expiring unused, and IHG can't take their loyal customers' money. The worst part is that IHG sells user data anyway. If you ever go to the IHG account settings page you'll notice that one of the few sections is the 'don't sell my data' area that only allows you opt out if you prove California residency. So basically, sign up and give your information to be sold with no way to opt out for most, and then third party actors steal the data too as 'routine maintenance'

    1. Kevin Guest

      Annoying that not all participants are bookable with points… wish NIHI was as it shows up on IHG’s website but never for points. Wa Ale resort looks awesome as well as some of the Zannier hotels, each bookable with points.

  7. Kirby Guest

    4th night free is available on points. Have a stay booked this way.
    I also do believe that free night certificates work as well.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Kevin Guest

Annoying that not all participants are bookable with points… wish NIHI was as it shows up on IHG’s website but never for points. Wa Ale resort looks awesome as well as some of the Zannier hotels, each bookable with points.

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Mike1977 Guest

My experience exactly!! I don't understand how they define "luxury."

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Khai Guest

Which hotel in Santorini did you stay at?

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