It’s been a couple of years since IHG bought the Six Senses Hotels group for $300 million and they’ve finally started incorporating some of their properties in the IHG Rewards Club program.
There are 20 Six Senses properties, with three of those due to open later this year. Perhaps appropriately due to the brand’s name, six properties are now part of IHG Rewards Club meaning you can earn and redeem points, as well as receive elite member benefits if you have Ambassador, Royal Ambassador or Kimpton Inner Circle status. Update: As noted by Leo in the comments, Zil Pasyon in Seychelles is also bookable on some dates with points.
The list of the participating properties is as follows:
- Six Senses Botanique in Brazil
- Six Senses Fiji in Fiji
- Six Senses Uluwatu in Bali, Indonesia
- Six Senses Laamu in Maldives
- Six Senses Zil Pasyon in Seychelles
- Six Senses Yao Noi in Thailand
- Six Senses Ninh Van Bay in Vietnam
Award bookings for these properties are all over the place when it comes to availability and pricing. For example, the Six Senses Fiji has a minimum seven night stay requirement this summer but there’s no award availability on the dates I checked. This fall there’s a two night minimum stay requirement and they’re charging 100,000 points per night for a Hideaway Pool Villa.
While that’s a lot, the cash price is $921.10 which means you’re getting almost 1cpp of value from your IHG Rewards Club points which is very good. IHG points sometimes go on sale for 0.5cpp, so if you bought points during one of those promotions you’d effectively be paying $500 per night for the room.
Also costing 100,000 points per night is the Six Senses Laamu in the Maldives. While there’s a four night minimum stay requirement on the dates I looked, there was award availability for a Lagoon Water Villa. Even better, if you’re an IHG Premier or Traveler cardholder, you get every 4th night free on award stays. That means that four night stay would only cost 300,000 points, or 75,000 points per night.
The Six Senses Uluwatu in Bali appears to have plenty of award availability too and is more reasonably priced as award nights there are only 60,000 points per night for a 1,160 sq ft Sky Suite.
The lowest cash price per night for the dates I looked was $356.95, but that was for a non-refundable rate. The cheapest refundable rate for those dates was $496.56 per night.
Either way, booking an award stay means you’re getting well in excess of 0.5cpp of value from your points. It also means that a four night stay at the Six Senses Uluwatu only costs 180,000 points for anyone with an IHG Premier or Traveler credit card.
While 60,000 points doesn’t seem absurd given the cash price, IHG has annihilated its non-existent award chart for some Six Senses properties which helps explain why they moved to dynamic pricing last year.
For example, the Six Senses Botanique in Brazil charges an astronomical 237,500 points per night. To give a sense of how ridiculous that is, only two years ago the top tier of IHG’s award chart was 70,000, so this particular Six Senses property costs more than three times that previous top level.
That pricing isn’t even particularly dynamic either. If you were to buy points for 0.5cpp when they go on sale, a single award night at this property would cost $1,187.50. There’s no reason to do that though seeing as you can pay cash for the room for $578.05 per night which is a flexible rate. You’re therefore getting less than 0.25cpp of value by using points which is the worst redemption rate I think I’ve ever seen for an IHG property.
Update: Zil Pasyon in the Seychelles is also bookable using points and appears to cost 200,000 points per night. The room rates there appear to be equally astronomical, so that high award price is a little more reasonable on a cents per point basis.
When looking up dates, the Six Senses website initially seems to be helpful as it clearly indicates what dates are available for booking, whether or not there are arrival date restrictions and if there’s a minimum stay requirement.
While that’s helpful, that’s applicable for bookings in general, not necessarily award stays. You could therefore pick dates where there are seemingly rooms available, only to find that there’s no standard room available when using points.
As an IHG Spire Elite member, I place zero value on the status beyond the 25,000 point choice benefit and 100% point bonus on paid stays as IHG is simply terrible about elite member recognition (although that can differ by property).
It therefore shouldn’t be too surprising that IHG Rewards Club Gold, Platinum and Spire Elite members will receive very few benefits at Six Senses properties, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any elite benefits available when booking stays. If you have Kimpton Inner Circle, Ambassador or Royal Ambassador status, Six Senses properties are offering a wider range of benefits.
Here’s what’s on offer (all these are only applicable for Kimpton Inner Circle, Ambassador and Royal Ambassador members unless otherwise stated):
- Complimentary daily breakfast for two in the main restaurant
- Signature amenity (e.g. 50 minute massage for two, local experience, etc.)
- Complimentary one category room upgrade (subject to availability and excludes residences and two bedroom or greater suites/villas)
- 4pm late checkout (guaranteed for Royal Ambassador and Kimpton Inner Circle members, subject to availability for Ambassador members)
- 2pm late checkout (subject to availability for Spire Elite members)
- 10am early check-in (guaranteed for Royal Ambassador and Kimpton Inner Circle members. If room isn’t available, member may be checked into another room until their room becomes available) Subject to availability for Ambassador members)
- Wellness Platter (given to anyone with IHG Rewards Club Gold status and higher based on the table found here)
- All benefits applicable on award stays in addition to paid stays
This is a far better situation than I was anticipating. I’d expected IHG’s incorporation of Six Senses into their loyalty program to focus more on the points earning and redemption side of things, so the fact that you can buy Ambassador status for $200 and receive the benefits listed above is awesome.
In particular, complimentary daily breakfast for two at locations like the Maldives can be huge and so could be well worth the $200 investment even before taking into account the value you can get from the free night certificate you get with Ambassador status.
For even more about how to get Ambassador status and Greg’s experience with it, check out the following posts:
- InterContinental Ambassador: elite status you can buy
- My InterContinental Ambassador experience in Austin
Having these benefits be applicable on award stays is another welcome feature. That’s because Ambassador members booking award stays aren’t usually eligible for room upgrades.
Before making a reservation, be sure to check the cancellation policy of the rate or award you’re booking. Even some of the flexible rates have to be cancelled at least 7 or 30 days ahead of time, so be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into given the high room rates and award redemptions.
It’s great that we’re finally starting to see Six Senses properties being incorporated in IHG Rewards Club. There are some simply stunning properties where you can now earn and redeem points, although they’ll all cost you a pretty penny (or point), particularly the Six Senses Botanique which is almost a quarter million points per night.