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Benefiting from Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts at Park Hyatt Hamburg

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One of the key benefits of the American Express Platinum charge card – apart from the 30,000 points (=30,000 Avios) you get for signing up – is the Fine Hotels & Resorts programme.

As I booked a stay via this programme last week, I thought it was worth running over the key benefits again.  I will also explain how you can get similar benefits without a Platinum card via our hotel booking partner, Bon Vivant.

FHR, as it is known, is a collection of 600 luxury hotels worldwide which commit to offering special benefits to American Express Platinum cardholders when you book via Amex Travel.  FHR bookings can be made online via the Amex Travel website (you must be logged in as a Platinum cardholder to see pricing) or by calling.  Bon Vivant can also book them for you – this is a little unnecessary, admittedly, as you can do it yourself online but you could always ask Bon Vivant if they have any better deals via Virtuoso or a ‘preferred partner’ agreement and if not to book FHR for you anyway.

Park Hyatt Hamburg

The 2017 directory of FHR properties is here. This site is aimed at US Amex customers but the deals are the same globally.

The special FHR benefits are:

Noon check-in when available (I value this at nothing!  I want it guaranteed or it is useless.)

Room upgrade on arrival when available (can be very good but not guaranteed)

Free breakfast for two people (very valuable at expensive hotels)

GUARANTEED 4pm check-out (very valuable on some trips)

Free in-room wi-fi (can be valuable, some luxury hotels still like to charge)

An additional benefit, usual $100 of food and beverage credit per stay

FHR

Where FHR really works for me is the guaranteed 4pm check-out.  If you are on a short break with an evening flight home, you really don’t want to be checking out of your hotel at 11am or noon.  Yes, the hotel will store your bag for you, but it isn’t the same as having full access to your room.

On my trip last week, my flight out of Hamburg was 17.10.  Being able to keep the room and work until 3pm was a real benefit.

The big downside of Fine Hotels & Resorts is pricing.  Rates seem to be fixed in advance for the year so it is possible that, if the hotel starts discounting, the FHR rate may be higher than the highest flexible rate on the hotel website.  That said, on a shorter stay the $100 food and drink credit usually offsets that and you still have the benefit of free breakfast, late check-out and potential upgrade.  As it turned out, pricing was identical on my stay last week.

It is worth noting that Fine Hotels & Resorts rates DO quality for points and status credit if you stay at a chain hotel.

Park Hyatt Hamburg

I used Fine Hotels & Resorts to book a room at the Park Hyatt in Hamburg last Thursday.  This has been my ‘go to’ hotel in Hamburg for years, partly because it is 1 minute from the railway station and partly because it is very well run and maintained.   I even remembered my swimming trunks this time.

The Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts rate was €245 – the same as the flexible rate on the Hyatt website.

The first time I stayed on an FHR package I was given a huge junior suite.  This time, like last year, I was upgraded to the executive floor, which meant I got access to the club lounge for free.  If I’m honest, this doesn’t add much because the other FHR food and drink benefits are so good.

For one night stays, the rebate you get on a Fine Hotels & Resorts booking is substantial.  I got:

free breakfast (I could have had it in the lounge as I was upgraded but I went to the restaurant as this was part of the FHR deal – and the Park Hyatt does a great breakfast.  This would have been valid for two people if my wife had come too.)

€85 of food and beverage credit, which I used in the casual dining area – it would also have been valid for the main restaurant, but not via room service.  This is equivalent to 30% of what I paid for my room.

additional evening snacks and drinks from the club lounge, due to my executive floor upgrade

check-out to 3pm (I could have had 4pm) for my 5pm flight

I also got a half-bottle of wine in my room (which I had to leave behind as I was only on hand baggage) and a bag of chocolates.  I don’t know if this was due to FHR, my previous stays at the hotel or my World of Hyatt membership – albeit I have no Hyatt status.

Based on previous experience, the stay will post to my World Of Hyatt account in the next couple of days.  FHR bookings do earn points, unlike most third party website bookings.

No Amex Platinum?  No problem

If you don’t have an American Express Platinum card, you can access similar benefits at luxury hotels via Emyr Thomas at Bon Vivant, who is the HfP hotel booking partner. 

Emyr is an affiliate of SmartFlyer, a Virtuoso agency, which means that booking through him can get you access to similar benefits including upgrades, free breakfast, early check-in / late check-out and $100 hotel credits (or similar) at every Virtuoso member hotel.

To be fair, Park Hyatt Hamburg is not in Virtuoso, so it wouldn’t have helped here.  The Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten and soon-to-open The Fontenay Hamburg (built on the site on the now-demolished InterContinental Hamburg) are, however.

You can read more about our hotel booking service here, and more about Amex Platinum in my card review here.


World of Hyatt update – October 2022:

Get bonus points: You will receive double World of Hyatt points on all stays of 2+ nights between 15th September and 20th December. You must register by 15th November by clicking here. You can read our article on the promotion here.

New to World of Hyatt?  Read our overview of World of Hyatt here and our article on points expiry rules here. Our article on what we think World of Hyatt points are worth is here.

Buy points: If you need additional World of Hyatt points, you can buy them here.

Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from Hyatt and the other major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Comments (40)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • C77 says:

    I was under the impression that with a Platinum card, FHR rates can only be booked via Amex / on their website in order to qualify for the rate and exclusive benefits. How can Bon Vivant book these?

    • barnaby100 says:

      They are a Virtuoso agent- a scheme which has similar benefits to FHR.

    • Rob says:

      Not sure of the process, but all luxury agents can access them – you still need to have a Plat card though.

  • barnaby100 says:

    The FHR rate typically bears no resemblance to any rate on the hotel website (it is more expensive) whilst so far the Bon Vivant rate has been the same as a published rate.

    • Rob says:

      That is the key difference between FHR (which can vary) and Virtuoso / Bon Vivant.

      We ‘overpay’ via FHR occasionally to guarantee the 4pm checkout though, or when we will use the food credit.

  • Adey says:

    There are also offers such as ‘3 nights for the price of 2’ and ‘4 nights for the price of 3’ with the FHR programme.

  • Kevin says:

    I am a massive fan of booking via the FHR programme. I’ve used it in Barcelona, New York, Bali, and a few other cities. I’ve been upgraded every single time – sometimes to rooms / suites 2/3 categories above what I’ve booked. I’ve basically received every benefit listed, every single time.

    This has incredible benefit when considering that sometimes a room’s rate may be £250 per night, and the upgraded room may be £850 per night (this happened at the EDITION hotel in NYC). Throw in the “pay for 2, stay for 3” deal and it becomes a no-brainer.

    One note of correction: the rates are definitely not fixed. When in Bali, we initially booked The Ritz at around £320 per night, and then a week later the rate dropped to £240. A simple call to the concierge and they were able to cancel the booking so that I could rebook it at the lower rate (they can’t rebook for you as it’s churning).

    Overall, I can certainly recommend FHR! It’s the reason I’m renewing my platinum card.

    • Genghis says:

      What was your opinion on the RC Bali?

      • Kevin says:

        The hotel itself is really good. We were upgraded from a ‘Lagoon access suite’ to a ‘Ritz Carlton Lagoon Access Suite’, which was around 130sqm, or something ridiculous. The bed is probably 2.5m x 2.5m, there’s a massive bathroom and a guest loo, plenty fruit supplied, a daybed, etc etc. The suite was truly impressive!

        The hotel is very large, and you need buggies to get around (readily available). The pool area is quite good, but the beach is not that good. Overall, the service was very good, but I did not find the food to be all that impressive.

        The location is not great. Nusa Dua is full of resorts, so you are very far removed from any sort of Bali vibe. We had a great time at the hotel, but only stayed 4 nights and decided not to extend. After that, we spent a night in Canggu, and then two nights at the Marriott Courtyard in Seminyak – where the gold status also helped – early checkin, late checkout, discount on food etc. Unfortunately no upgrade there as the hotel was 100% full.

        • Genghis says:

          We stayed only one night in April and by the sounds of it we got the same room as you. The room itself very impressive, one of the best I’ve stayed in, and grounds very impressive, pool nice. The service was a right shocker, however. As such, I only gave it a 3* TA review. On check out I explained everything that had gone wrong to the duty manager so hopefully such feedback is taken onboard to make this a really fantastic hotel. We much preferred our remaining time at the Conrad up the road.

          • PAL says:

            You guys think Bali has lost its appeal now?

          • the real harry1 says:

            I was very unimpressed with Denpasar as far back as the year 2000 – not my scene at all – that’s where 80% of tourists stay and I would advise against, it’s pretty awful

            however the rest of the island is great

          • Genghis says:

            We stayed just outside Ubud for 4 nights then to the RC for one night and the Conrad for seven. Highly recommended. We avoided Kuta area completely. I went in 2009 and it wasn’t my scene then so not at all now I’m in my early 30s.

    • Darren says:

      Maybe it’s down to frequency of use, I have only used FHR once in the Pen in BKK, didn’t receive the upgrade but found the benefits of breakfast and late check out very useful. The dining credit was a little restrictive, but handy nonetheless.

      I use SLH Club all the time, mainly because I prefer smaller hotels rather than chains, which gives free breakfast, upgrade if available which I have been quite fortunate with. But, the scheme is changing to a more ‘focussed’ experience.

  • Butzi says:

    I have heard a lot of negative things about the Club and the breakfast/restaurant, since it must be very crowded!?

    • Rob says:

      I have been here at a weekend and found it busy. Pretty dead at 9am on a Friday. Club was always very empty.

  • PAL says:

    Hey Rob, any reason you keep going to this rather than Kempinski or Grand Elysée?

    • Rob says:

      Force of habit; unwillingness to risk a surprise on a 1 night stay; convenience for S-Bahn to airport

  • Simon says:

    The misconception that Amex is expensive is not true. FHR rates (and virtuoso) are what a hotel website would have under “best available rate” – it is a flexible rate
    It is true that hotels sometimes offer a 5-10% discount directly but these rates are pre paid and non refundable. Amex tells fhr guest that they benefits are consider to a value of prox 500usd.

    • Rob says:

      Not true for Amex, true for Virtuoso.

    • barnaby100 says:

      Not true for Amex. Some hotels have a totally different FHR rate. Four seasons would be a typical example. RC in Singapore is another that I can think of (better booking directly with the hotel and negotiating for extras in my experience)

  • BLT says:

    OT but related to Amex platinum. I was caught up in the BA IT fiasco and my MAN – NCE flight was cancelled. BA paid EU compensation and hotel but refused to cover consequential loss of F1 Monaco GP tickets. Sent claim to Amex platinum (AXA) which has been refused on the grounds that as I made my own way to NCE 48 hours later I’m only covered for the inconvenience insurance. They have a huge exclusion on any consequential loss to not include cancellation of a flight by the airline. So beware Amex platinum insurance is not comprehensive.

    • Jonathan Martin says:

      Hi BLT – can you confirm that BA paid your wasted hotel nights?

      I missed out on 2 nights in Venice and, apart from paying Eu261 & some incidentals, BA are refusing to pay the lost hotels (inc 1 night at Stucky Molino!).

      Thx,

      Jolly.

      • BLT says:

        Not the wasted hotel nights. They reimbursed hotel at MAN airport we had to book due to cancelled flight. Seems like between BA and Amex/ AXA you are screwed for consequential loss.

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