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For folks with The Platinum Card® from American Express or the The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, just one minute of your time could be worth hundreds of dollars in savings or benefits. These are some of the best American Express cards — simply searching and booking your next paid hotel stay through their exclusive Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program could get you valuable perks, like room upgrades, free breakfast, and dining or spa credits.
MMS member Sara booked a stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise last year and positively gushed about the experience. The room rate through Amex FHR was similar to booking directly through the hotel. And she a received:
- Room upgrade to a lake view
- Daily breakfast for two people
- $100 food and beverage credit
- Noon check-in
- Guaranteed 4:00 pm late check-out
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- A bowl of fresh fruit and chocolates delivered to the room
- Free self-parking (a $30 per day value)
If you’re all about saving money, it would seem natural to shy away from dabbling in Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts. After all, isn’t it only useful if you plan to drop tons of money on an outrageously expensive luxury hotels? Nope — it’s entirely possible to find moderately priced hotels, too.
Why consider Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts?
Don’t get me wrong — if you’re a big spender or looking to splurge on a once-in-a-lifetime experience, Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts is a must. but the program isn’t just for the wealthy.
Folks planning a special getaway, like a honeymoon, might find the potential room upgrade perk especially valuable. It depending on your upgrade, you could easily be moved to a room which sells for hundreds of dollars more per night. Additionally, it can be extra rare to receive a room upgrade at independent hotel chains that don’t have a loyalty program — booking through Amex Fine Hotels can drastically increase your chances of staying in a better room or suite type, which is ideal if you’re celebrating a special occasion.
When you book through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, you’ll get bonuses like:
- Early check-in (if available)
- 4:00 pm guaranteed late check-out
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- A benefit unique to your hotel, like a $100 dining credit, free meal, or spa service
- Free daily breakfast for 2
- Room upgrade (if available)
- third or fourth night free at certain hotels
How much can you save with Amex FHR?
Some of the perks, like a $100 meal credit or a free third or fourth night, have a defined value.
But other perks, like room upgrades or early check-in, are harder to assign with a dollar value.
I made a test booking at the Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre to see if the prices were similar. My rate was eligible for the fourth night free. Here’s what those dates cost per night when booking directly with Hilton:
And here’s what it cost when booking through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, with a complimentary fourth night:
As you can see, I’m saving $78 per night thanks to the fourth night free over booking with Hilton. That means I’m saving a total of $312 for this stay. However, without the fourth night free, Amex FHR charges $360 per night.
But don’t forget about all the extras. At this hotel, you’ll get a free $100 food and beverage credit, daily breakfast for two, guaranteed late checkout, room upgrade when available, and more.
Here are the savings, tallied Again, it’s not easy to put a value on some of the perks. But here’s a rough estimate of what you’ll save:
- $312 thanks to the the fourth night free
- $280 on breakfast (assuming breakfast is $35 for two people for four days)
- $100 property credit
- $50 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 ~$1,142 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 you have to skip breakfast one 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 one example, and there’s no way to put an exact dollar amount on all the perks.
It’s even possible to combine an Amex Fine Hotels reservation with other deals, like Amex Offers. For example, there’s previously been an Amex Offer for 7,500 bonus Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $500 at an MGM brand hotel. You can add those offers to your card and earn them, as well.
How to use Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts
To access the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program, you must have an eligible Amex Platinum Card or Amex Business Platinum card. You must use one of these to book your stay, though you can pay with whatever card you want at checkout.
There are more than 1,000 hotels that participate in the FHR program. The Amex Platinum Card has a $550 annual fee (see rates and fees), and Amex Business Platinum has a $595 annual fee (see rates and fees). But as you can see, booking through Amex FHR just once each year can do wonders to offset the annual fee, leaving you to enjoy the myriad other card benefits guilt-free.
We’ve written about the benefits you get with these cards, including:
- Up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for airline incidentals with your selected airline (luggage fees, in-flight food & drink, etc)
- The most comprehensive airport lounge access of any card, including American Express Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass, Delta (when you have a same-day Delta boarding pass), and more
- Statement credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
- Free Hilton Gold status and Marriott Gold elite status
- Terms & Limitations Apply
Keep these in mind when booking Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts
Free night stays don’t include taxes & fees: An important thing to note is that third, fourth, or fifth night free is credited when you check out of the hotel. And taxes aren’t included in the estimated price, so you won’t get a full 25% off that four-night stay.
And keep in mind, some hotels may have resort fees, especially if they’re in touristy beach areas like Hawaii. Always check for taxes and fees so you know what to expect when you check out.
You’ll still earn elite status perks: Another spectacular aspect of booking through Amex FHR is that you can make use of your elite status when you do stay at a chain hotel. For example, I have Platinum status with Marriott. If I book a stay at one of these chains through Amex FHR, I’ll still earn valuable bonus points. It’s just as if you booked direct with the hotel, except you get a bunch of extras.
Depending on the hotel and your travel dates, you can find room rates similar to what you’d get booking directly. But you’ll also automatically get to enjoy valuable perks, like dining or resort credits, free breakfast, room upgrades, and guaranteed 4:00 pm late check-out. Plus, it’s possible to combine your Amex Fine Hotels reservation with other deals, like Amex Offers.
Let me know your experience with Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts. And subscribe to our newsletter for more tips and tricks to upgrade your travel for cheap.