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

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One of the most useful benefits of having an American Express Platinum charge card – and one which genuinely helps me justify the £575 fee – is the Fine Hotels & Resorts programme.

As a reminder, American Express Platinum comes with a generous sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points (= 30,000 Avios).  If you apply now, you get six months – instead of the usual three months – to spend the £4,000 required to earn the bonus.

The bonus criteria for Platinum is looser than other American Express cards.  You can have the bonus as long as you haven’t had a personal card earning Membership Rewards points in the past 24 months.  You WILL get the bonus if the only Amex cards you’ve had in the last 2 years were a British Airways Amex, Starwood / Marriott Amex, Nectar Amex, Platinum Cashback, Costco Amex or a Business Gold / Business Platinum.

Our full review of The Platinum Card is here.  You can apply here.

How does American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts work?

How does American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts work?

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 worth $100, usually a $100 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, pictured above, 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 comes into its own is on one night staysThe value here can be amazing.  Let’s imagine you’re paying £175 for a standard room at a city hotel via FHR, as I do sometimes at Park Hyatt Hamburg.  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.  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.)

Comments (59)

  • Zap says:

    Presumably, you actually need to pay for the stay using the AmEx Platimum card and will incur a 3% foreign exchange fee on non-UK hotels.

    • Darren says:

      That’s interesting, maybe you could present it at check in and switch at check out?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Yes they normally insist on an Amex and a few do insist on the Platinum.

      • Rob says:

        Rules are clear that it can be any Amex. Never hurts to try paying with another card, totally depends who is on the desk at the time.

  • Ken says:

    Had value for me for 1 night weekend stays at a hotel with a really good bar – last thing I want to do for leisure is eat in the hotel, but can always spend the $100 on a couple of drinks each.
    Never seen a FHR rate that wasn’t a bit more expensive than what was available online.
    Other than that Virtuoso does the trick.

  • onlysuites says:

    If you and your partner have a Platinum card is it possible to get a credit daily for two days?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      It’s per booking rather than per card holder.

      Could book one night each.

    • Rob says:

      Technically you could, but you’d need to fully check out and check in again. Doubt the hotel would look kindly on letting you keep the room straight through given that you’re only doing it to wangle $100 out of them.

    • Ken says:

      Ha – did think of doing this but just thought it was taking the piss really.

      Equally couldn’t be doing with the faff of staying in 2 hotels over a weekend.

  • n_g says:

    I’ve also booked via FHR at around the £200 rate and thought it was great value as there was a guaranteed upgrade for some reason and the next room up was £300+.

    Free breakfast and $100 credit make it even better. Have yet to do the two different nights at two different hotels in a weekend break as but the late checkout make this a viable option.

    One thing that did frustrate me was my key card stopped working after 1.00pm and someone actually knocked on our door at 2.00pm with the next guests luggage and didn’t really apologise for the mix up. It really felt like we were over staying our welcome.

  • Aston100 says:

    What is this madness of people paying over £30 for breakfast?

    • Rob says:

      I’m sure your partner will be delighted when you take them to McDonald’s on your honeymoon because you won’t pay for breakfast at the luxury resort you booked …