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How to Get Big Travel With Small Money Using the AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts Program

How to Get Big Travel With Small Money Using the AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts Program

Million Mile SecretsHow to Get Big Travel With Small Money Using the AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts ProgramMillion Mile Secrets Team

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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 The Platinum Card from American Express.  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!

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money Using The AMEX Fine Hotels Resorts Program
The AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts Program Is Your Ticket to Big Savings at ~800 Hotels All Over the World!

I’ll show you how the program works.  And how much you might save!

What’s the Fine Hotels & Resorts Program?

Link:   The Platinum Card® from American Express

Link:   The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN

Link:   The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz

To access the AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts program, you’ll need to have an eligible AMEX Platinum Card (the regular, small business, or Mercedes-Benz versions all work).

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money Using The AMEX Fine Hotels Resorts Program
Get Extras When You Book Through Fine Hotels & Resorts, Like Free Breakfast, Room Upgrades, and Guaranteed 4:00 pm Late Checkout

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

The AMEX Platinum Card and AMEX Platinum small business card have a $450 annual fee.  And the AMEX Platinum Mercedes-Benz card has a $475 annual fee.  It’s NOT waived the 1st year.

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money Using The AMEX Fine Hotels Resorts Program
You’ll Also Get Lounge Access With the AMEX Platinum Cards, Including AMEX Centurion Lounges

I’ve written about the perks you get when you sign-up for 1 of these cards, including:

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?

Link:   FHRNews

Some of the perks, like the $100 meal credit or a free 3rd or 4th night, have a defined value.

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money Using The AMEX Fine Hotels Resorts Program
Get a Free 3rd or 4th Night Free at Hotels in Places Like Australia, Puerto Rico, the Maldives, or New Orleans

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.

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money Using The AMEX Fine Hotels Resorts Program
Room Rates on the Fine Hotels & Resorts Website Were $294 per Night at Le Meridien New Orleans

This hotel has a promotion to get the 4th night free on a paid stay.

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money Using The AMEX Fine Hotels Resorts Program
Always Be Sure to Review the Terms and Conditions, To Make Sure to Get Your Free Night!

I made sure my test booking was eligible for the 4th night free promotion.

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money Using The AMEX Fine Hotels Resorts Program
Compare the Rate With the Hotel’s Website

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!

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money Using The AMEX Fine Hotels Resorts Program
All These Perks Are Icing on the Cake!

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)
How To Get Big Travel With Small Money Using The AMEX Fine Hotels Resorts Program
I Estimate You’ll Save $1,000+ Dollars on Your Stay in The Big Easy When You Book Through AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts!

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.

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money Using The AMEX Fine Hotels Resorts Program
I Found a Hotel in Phoenix for ~$179 a Night, With a $100 Food and Beverage Credit!

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. 

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money Using The AMEX Fine Hotels Resorts Program
You Can Check Taxes on the Hotel’s Website to Get a Better Idea of What to Expect. And Your Free Night Is Credited at Checkout

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.

Remember, you’ll get Hilton HHonors Gold elite status and Starwood Gold elite status when you have an AMEX Platinum Card (regular, small business, or Mercedes-Benz card).

So you’ll earn bonus points if you book a room at Hilton or Starwood hotels through Fine Hotels & Resorts!

Bottom Line

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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Thanks for this article. I actually am trying to figure out my next card or two, and the AMEX platinum is on my list to consider. The airline partners don't work for me for points transfer, but the "Fine" program is an extremely intriguing benefit that I had not fully understood.

I guess I understand the other commentators who are complaining about the price point. But for me, I would never stay in New Orleans without being walking distance from the French Quarter. The resulting hotel rates may not be 'small money' to some. But it is what this particular reader is interested in.

What I don't understand about the people complaining about the prices in this review is why they even started to read a post that includes "American Express Platinum" as a focus in very large type. Did you expect a review of the AMEX Platinum to include strategies for maximizing its use at Motel 6?? Get a clue!

The title says "How to Get Big Travel With Small Money". The blog states it costs $1017 for 4 nights in New Orleans. It must be nice to have so much money that you now consider over $1000 for 4 nights to be small money! Maybe you have lost touch with some of your poorer readers.

Thanks for the mention of FHRNews!

As some commenters have mentioned, there are always cheaper options available, but if you like staying in nicer hotels, using FHR is a great way to get good value and these higher priced hotels.

And, as with the Arizona Biltmore, breakfast is probably $60 for 2, add in the $100 credit, the total cost of the room for a single night is under $20 (plus taxes etc), which is a steal!

What you won't do to get a credit card sign-up referral commission...

Well, to begin with, did you check other properties for the fictional stay in New Orleans to see if there was an acceptably nice property for which you could pay a LOT less per night? Did you check an aggregator site, such as kayak, to see if lower prices were available for rooms in the same hotel for the same length of stay? Your valuations for early chek in and late check outseem way too inflated and the value you place on a POSSIBLE upgrade is dubious. Do you even WANT dinner in the hotel restaurant in a city such as New Orleans where great food is abundant outside of the hotel?

These cards are not inexpensive. I happen to be a cardholder and like the card, having renewed it. I can extract things of value to me for being a cardholder. I find this card "benefit" of dubious value, however.

If your readers are booking $300 per night hotels then this is a great advice.

Could it be that the reason they are giving you all these perks because the prices are inflated?