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Good Amex hotel promo for FHR and The Hotel Collection – but is there a catch?

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American Express launched a new promotion yesterday for:

Amex is offering you a big points bonus for booking, but is there a snag?

American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts now prepaid bonus points

Why we like Fine Hotels & Resorts

We are big fans of Fine Hotels & Resorts, and I personally use it a lot. This HfP article explains how Fine Hotels & Resorts works.

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, especially on short breaks)
  • 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.

The Hotel Collection is a similar scheme for Gold cardholders although the benefits are not as impressive.

American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts now prepaid bonus points

What has changed with FHR?

FHR bookings had one other feature – you always paid at the hotel.

A 2nd feature was you would always earn loyalty points and elite night credit if the hotel was part of a loyalty scheme.

The first point has now changed. We’re not sure about the second one.

Amex has launched a new promotion based on pre-paid FHR and The Hotel Collection rates. When you try to book a FHR hotel, this is what you now see:

American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts now prepaid bonus points

American Express is offering 5 bonus Membership Rewards points with every PRE-PAID Fine Hotels & Resorts and The Luxury Collection booking.

This is on top of the standard 1 bonus point per £1 that Platinum cardholders receive for pre-paid Amex Travel bookings, and 2 bonus points per £1 that Preferred Rewards Gold cardholders receive.

This means that a Preferred Rewards Gold cardholder would earn 7 bonus Membership Rewards points per £1. A Platinum cardholder would earn 6 bonus Membership Rewards points per £1.

The rules are:

  • book between 1st June and 30th June at americanexpress.co.uk/travel
  • stay by 31st December
  • pre-paid rooms can be cancelled and refunded on request

Will you still earn hotel points on pre-paid bookings?

This is the question. It is possible that you will not earn hotel points and elite status nights if you pre-pay your room.

This is because American Express is taking your money, not the hotel directly, and in many cases this would disqualify you from hotel points.

We simply don’t know, at this stage, if this is the case. I am only flagging it up as a warning – if you need the hotel points or status night credits from your FHR or The Luxury Collection stay, do not pre pay until we have more evidence.

Apart from that, this is an impressive offer – especially as FHR and The Luxury Collection packages are usually good value anyway.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – June 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our June 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the other top current deals:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending 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.

Amex American Express Business Gold card

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

Comments (22)

  • Justin says:

    There might be a catch. In the US many FHR bookings are processed via Expedia, and no status benefits apply.

    • Ian says:

      Not good even for pay at the hotel

    • Tom says:

      Yep, this also now happens in the U.K. :(. Had a fairly lengthy discussion with Amex customer support about this last week, albeit they were themselves still new to the bookings being via Expedia in many cases.

  • Jonathan says:

    Isn’t it possible just to ask Amex and a popular hotel chain. Call their press departments.

    • Ian says:

      Far too simple 🙂

    • John says:

      How would they know? It’s not like they ever stay in hotels on these rates themselves

    • Rob says:

      Are you mad?! Do you think these people know anything? 🙂

      I mean … the whole reason there is a 2nd BAPP article today is that the Amex press office didn’t bother telling us about the I-class thing.

      There is a 3rd BAPP article tomorrow where we look into the new ‘no voucher merging’ rule which the press office purposely avoid telling us about.

  • JRich says:

    Morning Rob. T&Cs on the landing page say the Business Plat or the Regular Plat are available for 5x points, but are silent on the Gold Card. I have the Business Gold, and would definitely book all my summer hotels for 7 points / pound. Do you have a link for the Gold card promo? Thank you.

    • Rob says:

      No link but the rules clearly say The Hotel Collection is included ….

  • YC says:

    Are prepaid processed in GBP? Thus also saving 3% FX?

    • JRich says:

      Yes they are…

    • Bagoly says:

      Are you referring to UK hotels – do FHR bill those in USD?
      If for foreign hotels, they may add the 3% on their internal calculation? Or not?

  • KBuffett says:

    I can’t believe that AmEx Gold card is better for earning than Platinum Charge.

  • MT says:

    The other issue with this is often I stay at FHR hotels that have a spend £300/£400 get £100 back. This only works at checkout so you would almost certainly loose that saving so worth bearing in mind, especially if you stack cards on a single stay.

    • Travel Strong says:

      But on the other hand, you often also get “Spend XXX get XXX back at Amex Travel” offers – and now these can be used on FHR when they could not before.

  • Stu N says:

    It’s not an entirely new thing – we had a prepaid FHR rate at the RC Vienna in Aug 2019. We got our status benefits, elite night credits and earned Bonvoy points on whole thing. I think the hotel billed us anyway and in € but don’t have the CC statements so not 100% sure on that.

    It’s the only time an FHR has even been prepaid but was substantially cheaper than the pay-on-checkout rates so was worthwhile regardless.

  • pauline says:

    I assume that if you also have an intercontinental offer this will not stack

    • Rob says:

      It would stack with, say, ‘5k for a stay’ or a bonus points offer IF the stay is treated as a qualfying stay (which it definitely is if you don’t pre pay). It won’t stack with an Ambassador free night voucher or a credit card free night voucher.

      • Pauline says:

        Sorry I was not clear in y query. I have an intercontinental offer on platinum amex and assume there is no way to make this stack

        • Rob says:

          No, you either need to pay at the hotel OR spend so much in the hotel on meals, spa etc that the cashback triggers on non-room spend.

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