If you have an American Express Platinum card then you should know about the Fine Hotels & Resorts hotel booking programme. This is a grouping of 5-star hotels which offers special benefits to Platinum cardholders when they book via American Express Travel.
Regular readers of Head for Points will know that I place £0 value on hotel benefits if they do not have the word ‘guaranteed’ in front of them. Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings use the word ‘guaranteed’ a lot which I like.
The point of this article is to show how you can use the use the guaranteed 4pm check-out to your advantage and how the $100 hotel credit is maximised on a one-night stay.
The same principles apply whenever your trip involves a late night arrival and / or a late night or early morning flight out.
Here’s an example of Fine Hotels & Resorts in action
A good example of when Fine Hotels & Resorts can really pay off was on a short HfP trip to Dubai a couple of years ago.
I was arriving very late at night (my flight arrived at 9.30pm on a Tuesday) and leaving very early (7.45am on Friday). This meant I was looking at three nights in an expensive hotel – as I wanted to be on a beach – for only two full days on the ground.
This is where two Fine Hotels & Resorts benefits kicked in:
- noon check-in if available
- 4pm guaranteed late check-out
I booked myself into a cheap Hyatt Place hotel for the Tuesday night. I arrived very late, woke up at 10am and was gone an hour later.
I headed down to the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, booked via American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts.
I had only booked for one night.
I had booked a standard room to maximise the chance of it being available on arrival around noon (remember I had a ‘noon check-in’ benefit). It was.
My check-out was guaranteed for 4pm the next day. I left at 4pm, heading to a budget hotel near the airport, went to bed and woke at 5am the next morning for my return flight.
I had got a 28 hour stay at the Waldorf Astoria for the cost of just one night. This compares to 21 hours for a standard one-day stay, checking in at 3pm and leaving at noon. I didn’t lose much by downgrading to the Hyatt Place because the only time I spent there was asleep.
Let’s turn to cash
Sometimes Fine Hotels & Resorts rates are a little more expensive than the Best Flexible Rate offered by the hotel. Surprisingly this one was cheaper, in fact it was cheaper than any other rate the Waldorf Astoria was offering.
The FHR package comes with:
- Free breakfast for two
- $100 hotel credit
The $100 hotel credit is key. This is per stay, not per night. You are maximising the value when you only stay for one night. Given that breakfast was also free, I covered my entire food bill for the stay – two one-course lunches, one one-course dinner – with the $100.
I turned what would have been a 3pm check-in / noon check-out stay into a noon check-in / 4pm check-out stay and got free breakfast and a $100 food, beverage or spa credit too.
(If we are being fussy, you can argue that – as a Hilton Diamond – I should have been able to negotiate a slightly later check-out had I booked a normal rate. This is true but it would not have been guaranteed and may not have been until 4pm. Note that Fine Hotels & Resorts rates earn loyalty points as usual.)
Because the 4pm check-out is GUARANTEED, Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings work particularly well if:
you have a late flight home or
you have a very early flight home and are happy to check-out at 4pm and transfer to an airport hotel for the last night, or
you want a weekend break (check-in at noon on Saturday, leave at 4pm on Sunday) whilst just paying for one night
Either way, you can get good value. I got three hotel nights at peak season in Dubai for under £500 (and offset by the $100 food credit and free breakfast at the Waldorf). I still managed to spend almost all my daylight hours in a five-star beach resort selling for over £300 per night.
The key issue is the Fine Hotels & Resorts price you are quoted, which can be more than the standard Best Flexible Rate (wasn’t in my case) or higher than any highly discounted Advanced Purchase rates on offer.
Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings can be made online via the Amex Travel website, although you need to be logged in with your American Express Platinum details for the pricing to show.
Book a couple of Fine Hotels & Resorts stays each year and it helps to justify the annual fee for The Platinum Card.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – June 2022 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards.
Until 18th July 2022 there is an astonishing special offer on these cards. You get 50,000 Avios on the Avios Plus Mastercard and 10,000 Avios on the free Avios Mastercard. You can apply here. We strongly recommend getting the Avios Plus card whilst this offer is running.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.
SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review
For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.