In early 2019 it was announced that InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) would acquire Six Senses. To me this was a really exciting development — Six Senses is an awesome luxury hotel brand, and it was cool to think that it would be possible to earn & redeem points for stays at these hotels.
The catch is that the integration of Six Senses into IHG One Rewards has been happening at a glacial pace, and still not all properties are participating in the loyalty program. Fortunately there’s some good news on that front, as the number of Six Senses properties participating in IHG’s loyalty program has just increased substantially. So let’s go over the details.
Six Senses & IHG One Rewards basics
A dozen Six Senses properties have now been integrated into the IHG One Rewards program, meaning that members can earn and redeem points, and also take advantage of select elite benefits, when staying at Six Senses properties.
I’d argue that this is more exciting than ever before, given the refreshed IHG One Rewards program. IHG Platinum and IHG Diamond status offers considerably more value, and the Milestone Rewards program opens up even more possibilities. Let’s take a look at the basics of what IHG One Rewards members can expect at Six Senses properties.
Which Six Senses properties participate in IHG One Rewards?
As it stands, the following 12 Six Senses properties participate in the IHG One Rewards program:
- Six Senses Botanique (Brazil)
- Six Senses Courchevel Residences (France)
- Six Senses Fiji (Fiji)
- Six Senses Ibiza (Spain)
- Six Senses Kanuhura (Maldives)
- Six Senses Kaplankaya (Turkey)
- Six Senses Laamu (Maldives)
- Six Senses Ninh Van Bay (Vietnam)
- Six Senses Shaharut (Israel)
- Six Senses Uluwatu Bali (Indonesia)
- Six Senses Yao Noi (Thailand)
- Six Senses Zil Pasyon (Seychelles)
While these properties are now participating, note that some are only bookable through the new IHG One Rewards app (as of now), and not through ihg.com. So if you don’t see a property on the website, check the app instead.
For what it’s worth, Six Senses currently has around 20 properties, with several more in the pipeline. Hopefully these properties join IHG One Rewards soon as well. I don’t get why this hasn’t been more of a priority for IHG One Rewards leadership, because this is an aspirational portfolio that might get a lot of people interested in the program.
Earning IHG points at Six Senses properties
IHG One Rewards members can earn 10x IHG points per eligible dollar spent at Six Senses properties:
- This doesn’t include elite bonuses, which range from 20-100%
- If you pay with the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card (review) or IHG® Rewards Premier Business Credit Card (review), you can earn 10x bonus points points per dollar spent
- Stays at Six Senses properties should qualify toward any IHG global promotions
Personally I value IHG points at 0.5 cents each. As an IHG Platinum member paying with a co-branded credit card I’m earning a minimum of 26x points per dollar spent (not factoring in any further promotions), so that’s a nice return for luxury hotel spending.
Redeeming IHG points at Six Senses properties
When it comes to redeeming IHG One Rewards points at Six Senses properties, there are a few things to note upfront:
- Nowadays IHG has dynamic award pricing across the board, meaning that the number of points required for a free night redemption will vary day-to-day, primarily based on the cash rate
- IHG’s loyalty program doesn’t offer last room availability for awards, so award room availability may be a subset of standard room availability
- The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card and IHG® Rewards Premier Business Credit Card offer an awesome fourth night free benefit on awards, and this applies to Six Senses properties as well; this is really the way to stretch your IHG points the furthest for Six Senses redemptions
I’ve just done some random searches for a few Six Senses properties, so let’s take a look at the results (as a reminder, I value IHG points at 0.5 cents each).
For example, picking a four day period in early September at the Six Senses Ibiza:
- The cost is 150,000 IHG points per night, so with a fourth night free you’d be looking at 112,500 IHG points per night ($562.50 per night, based on my valuation of points)
- The cash rate is $1,479.13 per night
That’s just one example, but in general I’m consistently finding that IHG points can be redeemed for Six Senses stays at the rate of somewhere between 0.5 and 1.0 cents per point compared to the cash rate, before factoring in a potential fourth night free (which really takes the redemption value to the next level):
- If the rate is closer to 0.5 cents per point it could be worth paying cash so that you can earn points and also take advantage of Virtuoso perks
- When you’re getting closer to 1.0 cents of value per point the value is potentially huge, given that you could buy points at a discount and then redeem them for Six Senses stays
IHG elite benefits at Six Senses properties
What kind of elite benefits should be expected at Six Senses properties? Since Six Senses is a premium brand, many of the perks are offered as part of the InterContinental Ambassador, InterContinental Royal Ambassador, and Kimpton Inner Circle program. These benefits include the following (even award nights booked directly with IHG are eligible for these perks):
- Complimentary breakfast for two in the main restaurant per day
- Signature amenity of either a complimentary 50-minute Six Senses Spa massage for two or local experience once per stay; the amenity varies by resort, is subject to availability and confirmed on arrival
- Complimentary one category room upgrade (subject to availability, excluding residences and two bedroom or greater suites/villas)
- Extended check-out of 4PM subject to availability, guaranteed for Royal Ambassador & Kimpton Inner Circle members
- Early check-in of 10AM subject to availability, guaranteed for Royal Ambassador & Kimpton Inner Circle members; in circumstances where the room is not available at 10AM, the member may be checked into another available room until the original booked room becomes available
- Complimentary internet access
- A wellness platter welcome amenity on day of arrival
If you’re going to stay at a Six Senses property it’s totally worth joining the InterContinental Ambassador program for $200 per year, as the perks will quickly pay for that fee.
With the revamped IHG One Rewards loyalty program, the standard elite perks should apply at Six Senses as well. So Diamond members should receive free breakfast, and room upgrades should be offered as well, subject to availability.
Six Senses being part of IHG excites me
I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited about IHG as a hotel brand as I am right now:
- IHG finally recently added substantial elite perks, including confirmed suite upgrades, free breakfast, and more
- IHG’s portfolio continues to get more interesting, between the addition of Six Senses and the growth of the Kimpton brand
To me Six Senses is an interesting hotel brand. It’s growing at a fast pace, and Six Senses is opening creative properties in some destinations that other brands wouldn’t consider. In many ways I’d consider Six Senses to be the new Aman in terms of the locations where properties are opening.
So having a hotel group of that caliber belonging to a major loyalty program is exciting:
- If paying cash for a stay, I view the ability to earn points as a rebate on the room rate, so that improves the value of staying at Six Senses properties
- The ability to redeem points at Six Senses properties is awesome as well, especially for situations where you can get closer to 1.0 cents of value per IHG point
- Regardless of whether you’re paying cash or redeeming points, being able to take advantage of elite perks at Six Senses properties will be great
With IHG officially launching its suite upgrade benefit shortly (as part of the Milestone Rewards program), I’m curious to see what kind of upgrades this opens up at Six Senses properties. It could be worth planning a very long mattress run at a cheap property in Dubai to rack up elite nights, assuming you could confirm a significant upgrade at a Six Senses properties.
This is all very exciting, and it’s something I’m looking forward to following closely.
IHG is continuing its integration of Six Senses properties into the IHG One Rewards loyalty program. At this point IHG members can earn and redeem points, plus take advantage of elite perks, at a dozen Six Senses properties.
I’m thrilled to see this integration continues, especially following IHG’s loyalty program being changed for the better. Six Senses being added to IHG’s portfolio is quite special, as there aren’t many uber-luxury hotel groups participating in loyalty programs in this way.
To me there’s value all around, whether it’s earning points on cash stays, redeeming points for an award stay, or taking advantage of elite perks regardless of how one stays. I could also see it being worthwhile to pursue Diamond status if you’d otherwise frequently stay at Six Senses properties.
What do you make of Six Senses belonging to IHG One Rewards?
(Tip of the hat to Katie Genter)
So free breakfast has quietly been removed for Diamond Elite members at six senses properties as of last week?
This entire post is fundamentally dishonest.
You can not book a room you want, at any Six Senses property, using points (no matter how many hundreds of thousands of points that would require), nor using any free night certificate (even if topping off with half a million points). You need to pay money, and a lot of it. Go ahead, try and find a good room at any Six Senses property, paying with a certificate+points,...
This entire post is fundamentally dishonest.
You can not book a room you want, at any Six Senses property, using points (no matter how many hundreds of thousands of points that would require), nor using any free night certificate (even if topping off with half a million points). You need to pay money, and a lot of it. Go ahead, try and find a good room at any Six Senses property, paying with a certificate+points, or just a mountain of points.
What you will find is what I've found: they don't accept the certificates, at all. And if you can find a room that you can pay for just with points, it will be a "bad" room, with views facing a jungle or a parking lot, and that will cost you 120,000 points per night or more. The only room available on points is going to be the one you (and everybody else) doesn't want. The luxurious, "aspirational" rooms shown here are simply not bookable, no matter how many points you are willing to throw at them. This is not just "marketing spin" this is dishonesty.
They have gamed the system carefully, so you can't game it to your advantage. Fine if you are willing to spend half a million points for a couple nights with a view of a parking lot of a hillside, but none of the rooms pictured here or featured so prominently on the hotels websites can be booked with points. None of them.
Don't be fooled.
As Ben says, I just wish they’d hurry up and integrate the entire portfolio with IHG One! It’s taking far too long and it’s disappointing!
IHG appears to be the only hotel program showing a lot of innovation right now. Kimpton was a great step, but the addition of Six Senses, Mr & Mrs Smith and a revamp of the rewards program have made it significantly better.
Marriott and Hilton are falling behind. IHG and Hyatt are clearly leading.