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If you book a lot of paid hotel stays, you can save hundreds of dollars each year with the AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts program.
This benefit is available for folks with an AMEX Platinum Card. When you book through the Fine Hotels & Resorts website, you’ll get perks like guaranteed 4:00 pm late checkout, room upgrades, or free nights. That can add up to a lot of Big Travel with Small Money!
I’ll show you how the program works. And how much you might save!
What’s the Fine Hotels & Resorts Program?
You can book rooms at over 800 hotels that participate in the program. And you’ll get perks, including:
- 12:00 pm check-in, when available
- Guaranteed 4:00 pm late checkout
- Room upgrades when available
- Free daily breakfast for 2
- Free in-room Wi-Fi when available
- A benefit unique to your hotel, like a $100 dining credit, free meal, or spa service
- 3rd or 4th night free at certain hotels
I’ve written about the perks you get when you sign-up for 1 of these cards, including:
- $200 in statement credits per calendar year for airline incidentals with your selected airline (luggage fees, in-flight food & drink, etc)
- Access to airport lounges (Delta, Priority Pass, Airspace, and American Express Centurion Lounges)
- Statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
- Free Hilton HHonors Gold elite status and Starwood Gold elite status
- Terms & limitations apply
The $450 or $475 annual fee sounds like a lot. But with the $200 statement credit you are effectively paying only $250 or $275 (annual fee – $200 statement credit). And you can easily cover that if you make the most of the other benefits!
Note: To get the $200 credit you must enroll and select an airline online OR call the number on the back of your card.
How Much Can You Save?
Some of the perks, like the $100 meal credit or a free 3rd or 4th night, have a defined value.
But other perks, like room upgrades or early check-in, are harder to assign a dollar value to.
FHRNews is a great place to see which hotels participate in the program. And see what special perks they offer!
You must use an AMEX Platinum card to book your stay through American Express Travel. But you can use any American Express card to pay when you actually check-out.
To test out the program, I ran the numbers on a 4-night stay in April 2016 at Le Meridien New Orleans.
This hotel has a promotion to get the 4th night free on a paid stay.
I made sure my test booking was eligible for the 4th night free promotion.
I also checked to see if I was getting a fair room rate with Fine Hotels & Resorts. When I looked on the hotel’s website, I found the same $294 rate.
After you make sure you’re getting a good deal, review the perks you’ll earn!
At this hotel, you’ll get a free lunch or dinner for 2 (excluding drinks, taxes, and tip) on top of the other perks AND the 4th night free when you book through Fine Hotels & Resorts!
OK, So What Are the Savings?
Again, it’s not easy to put a value on some of the perks, but I estimate you’ll save:
- $294 with the 4th night free
- $120 on breakfast (assuming breakfast is $15 for 2 people for 4 days is $15 X 2 X 4 = $120)
- $100 on free dinner for 2
- $100 for early check-in and guaranteed late checkout
- $400 for an upgraded room (assuming $100 extra per night for an upgrade 1 room category)
That adds up to $1,000+ in savings!
Of course, you might not get a room upgrade, because they’re based on available rooms. And you may value early check-in and late checkout differently. Or have to skip breakfast 1 day because of your schedule.
Or, you might get an amazing room upgrade worth much more than $100 per night. Keep in mind this is just 1 example, and there’s no way to put an exact dollar amount on all the perks.
And, the unique benefit perk will vary based on which hotel you select. Hotels range widely in price, so some are better deals than others.
But, if you plan on booking a paid stay anyway, it’s worth it to get extra benefits by booking through AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts.
If you book a stay or 2 each year, your savings can more than cover the annual fee on the AMEX Platinum Card!
Keep These in Mind!
In the example above at Le Meridien New Orleans, the final price shows up as $1,176.
That’s because the 4th night free is credited when you check out of the hotel.
And, taxes are NOT included in the estimated price.
A better estimate for this 4-night hotel stay is ~$1,017 ($294 + ~$45 in taxes X the 3 nights you’ll pay for).
But compared to the ~$1,357 you’d pay out-of pocket by booking directly with the hotel, you’ll save ~$340 off the top thanks to the 4th night free. That’s not counting all the other perks you get!
And keep in mind some hotels may have resort fees, especially if they’re in touristy beach areas like Hawaii. So always check for taxes and fees so you know what to expect when you check-out.
You’ll Still Earn Elite Status Perks
When you book through AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts, you’ll earn elite status stay credit, and any perks you receive from having elite status.
When you have an AMEX Platinum Card (the regular, small business, or Mercedes-Benz version), you gain access to the AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts program. There, you’ll find perks including 3rd or 4th night free, room upgrades, 4:00 pm late checkout, and a benefit unique to each hotel.
It’s usually worth it to book through Fine Hotels & Resorts if you plan on purchasing a paid hotel stay because of all the extras you’ll receive. I estimate you can save ~$1,000 (or more!) at certain hotels when you add it all up!
Of course, compare rates with the hotel’s website to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
And 1 major plus is you’ll still earn elite status credit and bonus points on your bookings! That’s especially useful at Hilton or Starwood hotels because you’ll get Hilton HHonors Gold elite status and Starwood Gold elite status when you have an AMEX Platinum Card.
This is an excellent benefit that can easily cover the card’s annual fee if you book a lot of paid hotel stays. And if you make the most of the other perks of the AMEX Platinum Cards, you can come out ahead!
Let me know if you’ve had an experience with Fine Hotels & Resorts!
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