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60,000 BONUS POINTS: Why Fine Hotels & Resorts is one of the best Amex Platinum benefits

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American Express is currently running an ‘as good as it gets’ limited time bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points when you take out The Platinum Card.

This would convert into 60,000 Avios or lots of other great travel rewards.

Our main article on the Platinum 60,000 points offer is here. Last week we looked at:

Today I want to look at why the Fine Hotels & Resorts booking scheme is one of the best American Express Platinum benefits.

You can apply for The Platinum Card here.

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

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.

How does American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts work?

FHR, as it is known, is a collection of 1,200 luxury hotels worldwide which commit to offering special benefits to American Express Platinum cardholders when you book via Amex Travel.

FHR bookings can be made online so you don’t need to spend any unnecessary time on the phone.

How does American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts work?

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 at the admittedly few luxury hotels which 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. This website is a little confusing because it talks about 1,800 hotels. This includes 600 in ‘The Hotel Collection’ which is a different, less generous plan for both Platinum and Gold cardholders.

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

The key, for me, is the guaranteed 4pm check-out

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. When we just go for the weekend, getting a 4pm Sunday check-out is invaluable.

On one night stays, you’re laughing

Another situation where FHR comes into its own is on one night stays.  The 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.

You also earn your usual loyalty points and elite night credits

All FHR stays are fully qualifying for loyalty points and stay credit.

All hotel loyalty schemes refuse to give points or benefits if you book via third parties such as Expedia or Hotels.com, but it is a condition of being included in FHR that the hotel gives you the same points and benefits as if you booked direct.

Check the pricing though

One downside of Fine Hotels & Resorts is pricing.  It is not necessarily linked to the Best Available Rate, although it usually is. This means that you can often get surprises, both on the upside and the downside.  That said, on a short stay the $100 food and drink credit will offset any higher headline price and you still have the benefit of free breakfast, late check-out and potential upgrade.

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 want to learn more about the 60,000 points bonus on The Platinum Card, our core article on the deal is here. You can apply here. The offer ends on 1st June.

Comments (30)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Tim says:

    FHR has been my goto service when booking hotels I’m paying for.

    Every time I’ve used the service I’ve been able to check in at noon (sometimes even earlier), received suite upgrades and check out @ 4pm. Even without the $100 credit only a few stays justifies the Plat!

    Mileage may vary as I rarely book peak times at popular tourist destinations (Raffles Warsaw is my most frequented hotel via FHR).

  • Doug says:

    I am not sure why you would regard 4pm check out as being ‘very valuable’? I do not think it is something I have, or would ever, taken advantage of.

    • Rob says:

      You’ve never taken a 9pm flight back from the US to the UK, or gone away for a weekend break?

      • Doug says:

        yep, to both. Usually, find hotels happy to look after luggage after check-out while I make a day of visiting before a flight but I can see now how you’d utilise the late checkout time.

    • JohnG says:

      It’s not a big deal for me, but it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to appreciate where it could be beneficial or why others would appreciate it (the obvious ones being if you’re at resort style locations so have somewhere to change etc or have a late flight/train and like having a room to use before heading off.

  • pauline says:

    If you book 2 rooms via FHR do they both get the benefits ie 2 x $100 credit? Or can the supplementary cardholder book 1 room and main cardholder the other

  • AndyS says:

    Presumably if you book through FHR rather than direct you lose all your other hotel membership benefits and don’t collect any points? So this has to be factored in.

    • MD says:

      Incorrect. It’s well known that another benefit of FHR is that the hotels WILL recognise your status and any benefits from that are in addition to those of FHR. Plus you’ll get all the points etc. I’ve personally done this for quite a few Hilton and Marriott hotels, never had a problem. You can get double upgrades (or more). Rob, you should add this point to the article.

      If you book through any other travel website the hotels almost certainly won’t recognise your status (can never say never though, it depends on the hotel).

    • Rob says:

      No, totally wrong.

      It’s an Amex rule that FHR bookings have to trigger full loyalty benefits and points. You don’t lose anything.

      • KevinC says:

        Does this also apply to The Hotel Collection where you need to pay Amex in advance?

        • Rob says:

          Is advance payment now compulsory? It is optional for FHR (and I’ve no idea what happens if you agree). No-one has ever said it is an issue but …

          • KevinC says:

            Seems to be. I booked the Fairmont in Montreal today for a summer stay because it has a 3 for 2 offer. I had to pay in advance but it is cancellable. The hotel is Hotel Collection rather than FHR although it’s also Virtuoso I think. The request box on the form had a note basically telling you not to bother putting in your loyalty number because it won’t count.

      • AndyS says:

        Well that’s amazing, should have said in the article. This does indeed add value, personally so far I’ve only ever used the priority pass/Eurostar lounge features and wasn’t sure about the increase from 480 to 575 a year or so back.

  • Martin says:

    I think booking through luxury travel agent Emyr Thomas, Bon Vivant, as mentioned in previous HfP article, and which is free to all, also gives you all these benefits, so does that cancel out somewhat the benefits of the FHR service?

    • Rob says:

      There is a lot of crossover, yes, where hotels offer deals via Emyr. What you don’t get is 4pm checkout, guaranteed. If this is important to you, Amex FHR is the only way of getting it.

    • JohnG says:

      I know Rob gets some snide comment every time Emyr is mentioned so I didn’t say but yes I think that’s basically the case. It’s possible FHR and Virtuoso etc may have different properties in them but I’d expect a lot of overlap. We just had a great stay in Porto via Emyr which was much better value, not cheaper, than booking direct.

      Being able to check and book FHR online if you want is a small plus.

  • MSCHANEL says:

    Rob can I ask is the $100 credit equivalent to £100 or 100 currency in what ever country you book in?

  • Lauren says:

    I am confused by this, because as a platinum card holder myself, their website states:

    “When you stay two or more consecutive nights, receive these elevated benefits at more than 600 hotels.”

    Therefore your argument of using FHR for a 1 night is incorrect?

    • Kevin C says:

      You get FHR benefits on stays of one night.

      For Hotel Collection properties you need to stay for two or more nights to get the benefits.

  • PAL says:

    Don’t forget the virtuoso agents for “2 night stays”. Handy in Vegas this…

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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