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Why Fine Hotels & Resorts is one of the best Amex Platinum benefits

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One of the most useful benefits of having an American Express Platinum card – and one which genuinely helps me justify the £450 fee – is the Fine Hotels & Resorts programme.

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.

These special benefits vary in their usefulness, to be honest, but do add up.  They 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)

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

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

You can check out the full list of participating hotels in FHR at this special Amex website.

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 noon.  Yes, the hotel will store your bag for you, but it isn’t the same as having full access to your room.

On our occasional trips to Four Seasons Hampshire, for example, using FHR allows us to stay one night less and save a significant sum.  With young kids in tow, you don’t get much done in the evenings anyway so leaving at 4pm the day before doesn’t make a lot of difference compared to leaving the next morning.

Another situation where FHR really comes into its own is on one night stays.  Let’s imagine you’re paying £150 for a standard room at a city hotel via FHR.  You will get free breakfast AND $100 of food and beverage credit AND a guaranteed 4pm check-out AND a potential upgrade.  Your upgrade chances are improved on a one-night stay too as the hotel doesn’t need to have a better room available for multiple nights.  You can clearly see how you can get real value here.

The big downside of Fine Hotels & Resorts is pricing.  Rates seem to be fixed in advance 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.  I have also had occasions where the FHR rate has been lower than the online rate though.

UK Platinum members should book via travel.americanexpress.co.uk – make sure you are logged in or the FHR rates do not appear.

If you don’t have an Amex Platinum card, you can get similar benefits on luxury hotel stays by using a member of the Virtuoso group of luxury travel agents to make your booking.  Emyr Thomas, our hotel booking partner, can access these deals – you can read more about Emyr’s services here.  The key differential is late check-out – Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts guarantees this, whilst Virtuoso does not – and pricing, as Virtuoso guarantees that you pay no more than the Best Flexible Rate shown on the hotels’s own website.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. Andrew S says:

    Recently had a 3 night stay at Hotel Danieli in Venice booked via FHR. Booked the basic deluxe double room (€460/night) and got upgraded to the lagoon view room (€1k/night). Some of that may have been thanks to gold SPG Status. Since the view is amazing, totally made our stay, which is what it is all about.
    Received the $100 credit (spent wisely on a variety of cocktails at Bar Danieli!).
    Daily buffet breakfast for the two of us (definitely worth it!).
    Receptionist clearly explained the benefits, even asked whether I’d need the 4pm check-out (didn’t require due to travel onwards to Ljubljana).
    Also given a bottle of local red wine and some biscotti as welcome gift.
    Was also provided with a survey form to return to Amex, probably to ensure I received the benefits as stated.

    • Hi Andrew, I’m thinking of booking this same trip to Ljubljana – how do you recommend travelling across? Did you hire a car?

      Thanks!

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  3. Brian S says:

    Done well by me the only time I’ve used it. Top quality hotel (Shangri-La Toronto) with a 3 catergory upgrade, 5 nights for price of 4, superb breakfast, champagne and gifts in room and late checkout.

  4. I’ve never used FHR but I have booked with Emyr. He did a great job, securing all the benefits at the Betsy Hotel in Miami:
    – Free early check in (lthough traffic meant we only arrived at 3pm)
    – Free upgrade
    – $100 spend
    – Free breakfast
    – Late checkout

    Emyr also gave the hotel a heads up that it was our honemyoon and we received a free bottle of Prosecco and Chocolates on arrival.

    If you’ve not given either of the schemes a go I can vouch for Emyr’s good work and its really easy to contact him.

  5. If I booked a hotel (Cosmo in Vegas) through Amex travel on my gold, but when I arrive next week I will have plat, is there a chance we could blag the FHR benefits?

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