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60,000 POINTS BONUS: Are the four free American Express Platinum hotel status cards worth having?

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As we covered yesterday, there is an exceptionally good 60,000 Membership Rewards points bonus running on The Platinum Card from American Express.

This converts into 60,000 Avios or other equally valuable rewards. Our article yesterday explains the bonus in more detail.

American Express Platinum also comes with FOUR hotel status cards.  I thought I would take a closer look at this benefit to help you decide if you should jump on the 60,000 Membership Rewards points bonus.

The Platinum Card appication page is here.

What hotel statuses come with The Platinum Card?

American Express Platinum offers the following hotel statuses automatically:

You will have four shiny cards in your wallet but ……

It is worth looking more closely at each of these statuses to see if they are actually worth anything.

Here is the ground rule for this article.  Because I am old and cynical, I do not trust anything unless it has the word ‘guaranteed’ in front of it.

I won’t move my business to a hotel because I may or may not receive a benefit ‘subject to availability’, which can mean anything.  The one thing you can be sure of is that ‘subject to availability’ does NOT mean is ‘as long as we can physically manage your request, you can definitely have it’.  That isn’t how it works.

As far as I’m concerned, if it’s not guaranteed, I assume I won’t be getting it and I value it at virtually nothing.

You also need to remember that you must book direct to obtain any of these benefits. Bookings via Expedia, Hotels.com etc will not count.

So, if you get yourself an American Express Platinum card primarily for the hotel benefits (although the 60,000 Amex Membership Rewards points – worth 60,000 Avios – you get for signing up come in handy too!) then what are you certain of getting on your next stay?

Hilton Gold benefits

Hilton Honors Gold – what is guaranteed?

This is the mid-tier Hilton status.  Hilton Honors is generally known for having the best mid-tier benefits in the hotel industry.  Gold does not carry a lot of weight in North America, where hotels are overrun with Gold members, but it does often carry respect in Europe and Asia.

The standard requirements for a Hilton Gold are either 20 stays, or 40 nights, or 75,000 Hilton Honors base points in a calendar year.

The key benefit here is free breakfast.

You will receive a free breakfast of some sort at all Hilton Honors brands, including Hilton, Conrad, Curio, Waldorf Astoria and DoubleTree hotels.  This is usually but not necessarily full breakfast – at the Conrad New York, for example, I was given a special Gold breakfast menu which allowed me to pick a couple of items from a short list or take a $20 credit off a cooked item. At Hilton Garden Inn you need to select breakfast as your ‘My Way’ benefit.

(Until 31st December 2021, free breakfast at hotels in the USA has been replaced by a cash credit which can be used against any food and beverage purchase.)

You should also receive some sort of space-available upgrade at most brands.  You shouldn’t expect too much, often just the best room in the category you booked.  You will also receive two free bottles of water per stay.

The other main benefits of Hilton Honors Gold are:

  • 80% bonus points – which soon adds up
  • late check-out (not guaranteed)
  • 2nd guest stays free (only useful in countries which tend to charge more for two people, eg Germany)

You will also qualify for the ‘book 5 nights and pay for 4’ Hilton Honors redemption benefit which is offered to all status members.

Overall, because of the sheer size of the Hilton chain and the guaranteed breakfast, and to a lesser extent the upgrade of some sort, this is the best of the free Amex Platinum hotel statuses.

You can see the official list of Hilton Honors Gold benefits here.

Marriott Bonvoy Gold – what is guaranteed?

Marriott Bonvoy is the loyalty scheme for Sheraton, St Regis, Le Meridien, Luxury Collection, Aloft, Westin, W, The Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, Marriott, AC Hotels, Delta, Protea, Renaissance, MOXY and various other brands.

Even though Gold Elite status usually requires 25 nights per year, the benefits are modest:

  • 25% bonus points on your stay
  • 2pm late check-out
  • Upgrade to an ‘enhanced’ room at check-in
  • Welcome gift of 250 or 500 bonus points, depending on brand

Breakfast is conspicuously missing from this list.

The upgrade benefit is unlikely to deliver you anything noticeable as a Gold member although the late check-out benefit is handy.  The bonus points are welcome but are not hugely valuable given my 0.5p per point valuation.

The full list of Marriott Bonvoy Gold benefits is here.

Innside exterior

MeliaRewards Gold – what is guaranteed?

Melia is a Spanish-based hotel group.  The key brands are Sol, Tryp, Melia, Gran Melia, Paradisius, ME and INNSIDE.

In the UK, they have a number of impressive but not very well known hotels which you may want to try with your new MeliaRewards Gold status including:

  • ME London, the Norman Foster designed hotel on the Strand which has a good reputation.  Think of a hotel like The Trafalgar nearby or a more sophisticated W.
  • Melia White House, a surprisingly pleasant art deco era hotel near Regents Park where we had our 2016 and 2017 HfP Christmas parties

INNSIDE Newcastle has just opened and INNSIDE Liverpool will open in mid-September.

MeliaRewards Gold offers the following benefits:

  • 30% bonus points
  • free breakfast for a companion (so basically 2-4-1)
  • free wi-fi
  • 3 x 20% off vouchers for room bookings
  • 4pm late check-out at city hotels, 2pm at resorts

Late check-out IS guaranteed as long as the hotel is not 100% full.  You will also receive free wi-fi.  There is no upgrade benefit.

(That said, my brother stayed at ME London on a reward stay booked from my Gold account this Summer and got a very good upgrade. It just isn’t an official benefit.)

Overall, there isn’t much here that is guaranteed to persuade me to move a stay to Melia EXCEPT for the ‘almost guaranteed’ 4pm check-out.  That could be important on a short break if you have a late flight back.  Even the ‘2-4-1’ breakfast has its limits – we were recently refused it on one room when I booked two rooms for the same evening, with one adult and child per room.

The full list of MeliaRewards status benefits is here.

Club Carlson Gold benefits

Radisson Rewards Gold – what is guaranteed?

Radisson Rewards is the loyalty scheme for Radisson Blu, Radisson Edwardian, Park Plaza and Park Inn plus a few smaller brands.

Gold is their middle tier which usually requires 30 nights or 20 stays.  It is worth noting that their top tier, Platinum, is hard to get (60 nights or 30 stays) compared to the size of the chain.  This is good news because it means that a Gold member may well be the highest status member in a hotel on a particular night.

Your Gold status will get you:

  • 15% off food and drink
  • room upgrade “when available”
  • 25% bonus on base points
  • two free bottles of water
  • early check-in and late check-out “on request”
  • welcome gift

Nothing is guaranteed except your free water, welcome gift and bonus points – and there is no free breakfast.  However, in my limited experience, you can do well as a Radisson Rewards Gold because there are often no Platinum members booked in who out-rank you.  The bottom line is that, whilst Gold is not technically their top tier, hotels take it more seriously than they take, say, Hilton Honors Gold.

Full details of Radisson Rewards status benefits are here.

American Express Amex Platinum card

Conclusion

You can get four mid-tier hotel status cards in your wallet or purse via The Platinum Card, although it doesn’t mean that your hotel stays are going to be transformed.

That said, if you are a regular guest at participating properties – although not regular enough to earn status in your own right – then you could do nicely.

Over the years I have done OK on Hilton and Radisson stays via my Amex Platinum status.

Marriott Bonvoy Gold status was only introduced in 2019 following the merger of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest and I was given a higher level of status at that point, so I have never had to rely on my free Gold so far. I don’t stay enough at Melia to give a fair opinion.

Don’t forget the sign-up bonus is currently an exceptional 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points which makes the £575 fee more palatable – and there are plenty of other benefits, including airport lounge access.

You will also retain the hotel status cards until their expiry date even if you cancel your Platinum Card for a pro-rata refund.

You can apply for the card here.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Comments (70)

  • Jonty says:

    Assuming not much travel this year, does it make sense to wait until 2022 to request the hotel statuses?

    • Cats are best says:

      Can’t see why, the status is a rolling benefit.

      Apply now and get the admin out of the way, then you are ready if/when you want to use a hotel.

  • MQ says:

    2 free bottles of water …..wow Raddison how generous of you

    • Sandgrounder says:

      I’ve had a very good record of upgrades as gold with Radisson across Scandinavia and the Baltics, almost every time given a business room with lounge access or free breakfast. It’s just a shame they dropped the 2-4-1 and 4-4-2 rates.

  • Mike says:

    The problem with status is alway the “if available”… When I was Hilton Gold (now diamond) I got upgraded most of the time, Marriott Gold every time so far, Radisson Gold none in the last couple of years (the last 2 times, in the last month, the front desk acknowledged my status with the words “I see you are a member”, not gold or we’ve upgraded you). The Marriott and Hilton have always stated my membership level at check-in, and in the case of Hilton apologised if they haven’t upgraded me due to lack of rooms or in the case of Hampton because they don’t have any upgrade room types. In the Marriott my room key also came with a card stated “Upgraded”. Obviously mileage will vary, but between the three, the Radisson has been the worst (for me). Also, I never ask to be upgraded, so people who push upgrades maybe more successful than I am.

    • Russ says:

      I think upgrades also depend on one’s frequency staying at that hotel and which room you initially booked. Also locality. Heavy footfall zones like airport hotels are going to be harder.

      Regarding the cards, not sure heavy users would see any real benefit from gifted middle hotel status when they’d probably have top tier from day-to-day bookings.

    • Harry T says:

      I only got pretended upgrades (better view) as Marriott Gold, so you must have been lucky!

  • JFSV says:

    Should the above be updated to refer to the fact that breakfast for Gold and Diamonds in the US has been removed for the remainder of 2021? Apologies if I missed it elsewhere in the article.

    • Rob says:

      No, because you’re not going until 2022 and you get the cash credit anyway.

      • JFSV says:

        I am actually headed there in a few weeks and I would imagine that others may do so as well before the end of the year, if they meet any of the exemptions allowing entry into US. Not a big deal for those who know anyway that Hilton Gold and Diamond does not entail free breakfast in the US by end of the year, but if it was me writing the article (your call, of course) I would have at least pointed this out.

        • Mike says:

          How are you managing to visit the us in the next few weeks ?

          • JFSV says:

            In my case, I am going there together with my daughter (there is an exception for entry from Schengen area for those who are parents of a U.S. citizen), but there are a few other exceptions, including seeking a NIE.

  • Ian says:

    Unfortunately this article is partially out of date.

    With Hilton you no longer get any free breakfast in any of their hotels in the USA unless it is included for everyone.

    Instead you get a rather pathetic credit which might by you a coffee in some hotels if you are lucky.

    You will get between $10 and $25 credit per person per night. Which sounds okay but isn’t going to buy you breakfast in most hotels. You will need to add to the figure plus tax etc.

    This is just part of the down valuing of Hilton status with many lounges here in the USA and the UK still closed (Hilton T4 & Ageas Bowl for starters) reducing the real benefits.

    Ironically you can book rooms in Hilton Ageas Bowl which say the lounge is included, but it is closed!

    • Russ says:

      Yes the cutback did appear rather ruthless. I was surprised Marriott didn’t follow suit but perhaps they’re saving that gem for another day.

    • Rob says:

      The Hilton change is US only to 31 December only. You’re not going to the US before 31 December.

      • Harry T says:

        I bet it’ll become permanent, though!

      • BagginsSurrey says:

        A little off subject. I have Amex companion tickets in F booked out 30/9 to Miami. I am expecting BA to cancel. If they issue me a FTV, when I want to rebook, as BA would have cancelled, do I have to find reward seats again if I book the same route? Although I’m not confident that F is still available now that the 747 is retired. Also, would they cancel my return flight at the same time (4 weeks later, J from Tampa) or would I be issued with another FTV at a later date? I understand from previous threads that if I cancel I will have to find reward seats but cannot find any clear info or details in FTV t&s regarding BA’s responsibility if it’s an Amex companion ticket that they have cancelled.
        If however the Miami flight is still scheduled to run to service USA travellers, do BA cancel UK travellers automatically? Also you seem confident there will be no travel to USA before end of year. Do you have a little bird telling you info? Thank you.

        • John says:

          The Miami flight is still flying every day – don’t believe it will be cancelled,

          • Stu N says:

            I’m in similar situation, BagginsSurrey.

            BA have been cancelling BA207 (1030ish departure, 777 with F) and running BA209 (1400ish departure, A350 with new CW but no F).

            We were in F on BA209 which was originally an A380, were downgraded to CW a couple of months ago when they swapped the A380 to A350. Now moved to F on BA207 and hoping that will be cancelled.

            If BA cancel any flight on your booking, they will book you onto any flight regardless of Avios availability within 12 months of your departure date – you will need to call and rearrange but you can use YouFirst so should be painless. Do not take a FTV – you’re entitled to rebooking or a refund.

            If the flight goes ahead onus is on you to cancel or rearrange. BA won’t cancel your flights as they have no way of knowing whether you’re eligible to travel or not. You can cancel for FTV online which will contain your 2-4-1, Avios and cash for taxes, fees and charges or pay £35pp cancelation and get everything else refunded. If you want to rebook for a future date, it will be subject to Avios availability though which is v. limited. on Miami. Hope this helps.

      • Gavin says:

        I’m meant to be going to Texas for my 40th; mid-October; catch the F1 in Austin while we’re out there. Booked Avios 355 days out.

        Figured the US (and Texas in particular) would be a great option given the politics around masks, covid, etc – but I can’t see where the move to reopen the borders comes from now (Democrat or Republican)… it’s not going to happen, is it?

        Any thoughts on the best strategy (ie FTV and cancel – or hold out and hope BA cancels the flights?)

  • Stu N says:

    I’ve done pretty well with hotel statuses.

    Hilton = free breakfast and decent welcome amenity, often a couple of drinks but rare upgrades.

    Marriot = 80% chance of upgrade and I’ve had some pretty spectacular ones, a suite in Alfonso XIII in Seville being a highlight.

    Melia almost always upgrade me too, i got a suite at the White House a couple of years ago and the hotel I stay at in Germany for work always puts me in a better room and supply a couple of drink vouchers.

    • Harry T says:

      May I ask what status you had when you were upgraded to a suite at the Alfonso? That’s frankly incredible if you were Gold!

      • Mr. AC says:

        I was upgraded to a Suite at The Langley. As a Silver. On a points booking.
        Granted we were there 1 week after it initially opened. No such luck the next time we stayed.

      • Stu N says:

        Just Gold – we were there in Feb/ early March so very off-peak, but it was a quality result.

    • BagginsSurrey says:

      Thank you for that info, we’re booked on BA207 so maybe it will be cancelled.

  • BuildBackBetter says:

    Some have mentioned it’s very easy to get Gold with Hilton. I’d like to know what are these ‘easy’ ways.
    Short of being eligible for US cards or doing a status match or challenge (one off?), are there any other ways?

    • TJones says:

      You can get Hilton status on stays, not nights. In theory you could alternate between the two sub-£20 Hilton Garden Inns which are a few yards apart in Kuala Lumpur.

      • Rob says:

        Or just get Amex Platinum for a month whilst your Gold application is processed and then cancel for the pro-rata fee refund ….

        • Harrier25 says:

          Luckily I’m still a very proud owner of the Barclaycard Hilton Honors credit card, not available to new applicants anymore, where earning Gold tier status is very easy to achieve on an annual basis with a £10,000 spend on the card. Long may it continue!

      • Steven says:

        Just out of interest, what would be the point of alternating between the two? I thought a “stay” is treated as the total number of consecutive nights spent at the same hotel. It sounds like you would therefore need to stay at the same hotel to hit the smaller threshold of stays vs nights.

        • Harrier25 says:

          Is alternating between the two really the question that needs asking here. How about, why Kuala Lumpur? It’s a long way to go just for mattress runs!

          • TJones says:

            If you needed 15 stays or 30 nights for diamond, the quickest way is to alternate each night between hotels for 15 nights. You have to check-out each day and then check-in to a different property. If you stayed 15 nights in the one hotel that would be only one stay. KL because (1) the two HGI properties are literally right next door to each other (less than 1 minute walk), and (2) they are possibly the cheapest Hiltons in the world (eg £17). I suppose you could take two bags and leave one in each property if you were mad enough to really do this.

  • Adam says:

    OT: Am I correct in thinking hotels.com pay at hotel could be successfully combined with the various Amex hotel card offers?

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