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Fine Hotels & Resorts from Amex – Not just for the wealthy, often a bargain

by on Wed December 19, 2012 • No Comment

Platinum American Express

When we first got our hands on the Platinum Card from American Express the big reason was the access to airport lounges from Delta, American, and US Airways. That in itself was worth the $450 annual fee compared to buying membership on its own.

The Fine Hotels and Resorts benefit was something we ignored for a while, thinking it was only for uber expensive $500 per night hotels, rates we would rather not pay when our hotel points could get us nights at nice, but not so fancy hotels like the W, Hyatt, and Westin.

But when we tried poking around the Fine Hotels and Resorts site we came across some good deals.

First, the rates we see on the site often match the lowest available refundable rates offered on the hotels’ own website. Yes, the hotels will offer lower rates, but those usually require you to put up a nonrefundable deposit. While we always recommend double checking the hotel’s site directly to find the lowest rate, you’ll often find the American Express rate is often a fair trade price.

Second, the benefits are generous. Every Fine Hotels and Resorts reservation includes…

  • Continental breakfast for two *every* morning (a lot of hotels don’t care if it’s continental, and let you choose anything for breakfast)
  • Guaranteed early checkin and late 4pm checkout
  • An upgrade to a better room type at check-in if available
  • A separate amenity – usually a $100 one time credit for food / beverage or a spa treatment

Third, the hotels span a pretty wide range. It’s not just uber expensive St. Regis or Peninsula hotels. There are a number of good values we’ve seen, like…

  • The Bellagio in Las Vegas for $188 a night with a $100 spa services credit
  • Fairmont Whistler for $209 per night with $100 food / beverage credit and third night free
  • Ritz Carlton Cancun for $399 per night and a $100 credit for any on property charge
  • Four Seasons Bangkok for $255 per night and a complimentary lunch or dinner for two
  • The Nines hotel in Portland for $249 and a $100 food / beverage credit
  • Fairmont Olympic in Seattle for $229 and $100 spa services credit
  • US Grant in San Diego for $229 and $100 food / beverage credit

As you can imagine, the most lucrative way to exploit this is on romantic weekend stays, where the $100 credit gets applied over a stay of just one or two nights, and the breakfast every day can be worth $50 – $100 when you consider the price of breakfast served at hotels.

So chalk up the Fine Hotels and Resorts program as another reason why we’re keeping our Platinum Card for another year. Not to mention the $200 annual airline fee credit and lounge membership. It’s not for everyone, but if you travel several times a year and like to stay at higher end places, it can be a good money saving card.



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