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

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American Express launched a new promotion this week 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 at upper midscale hotels (Platinum cardholders can also book it) although the benefits are not as impressive. You need to book a minimum of two nights to take advantage whilst Fine Hotels & Resorts has no minimum stay.

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 Hotel 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 18th May and 30th June at
  • 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 Hotel Collection stay, do not pre pay until we have more evidence.

Amex ran this offer last year, so I’m sure that someone will pop up in the comments and let us know what happened when they booked it at a chain hotel.

EDIT: Feedback from our comments is that you will NOT earn hotel loyalty points or receive status benefits if you book a pre-paid rate. You will if you pay on departure.

Apart from that, this is an impressive offer – especially as FHR and The Luxury Collection packages are usually good value anyway. You can’t beat booking a Fine Hotels & Resorts hotel for one night and picking up free breakfast, a $100 food and drink credit, a potential upgrade and a guaranteed 4pm check out!

Hotel offers update – June 2022:

Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Want to buy hotel points? There is:

  • a 80% to 100% bonus when you buy Hilton Honors points by 19th July 2022 (buy here)
  • a mystery 40% to 55% bonus when you buy Marriott Bonvoy points by 15th July (buy here)
  • a 30% bonus when you buy 5,000+ World of Hyatt points by 1st August (buy here)

Comments (41)

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

  • YC says:

    Will pre-paying also forgo any Amex cb offers?

    • John says:

      It looks like you would be paying Amex travel so yes

      • Arun Kundi says:

        Agreed. Your transaction will appear as “American Express Travel” – if there are cash back offers for American Express Travel then those will be triggered. But hotel specific offers will not be valid.

      • meta says:

        If you spend extra on incidentals and pay that directly at the hotel you can get cb.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Yes unless it was an Amex travel one.

  • Pete M says:

    The US premium cards have offered prepayment via AmEx Travel for a while, with 5MR points as standard, and I’ve always had points and nights credited, at least at IHG properties. Having said that, we are at the Kamp in Helsinki this weekend and they said “as this booking was reserved through American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts, the booking is ineligible for Leaders Club points.” So it may be a bit of a mixed bag?

    • JDB says:

      Leaders Club is different to hotel loyalty schemes. It is effectively a rival booking agent / marketing system to Amex, so not surprising you can’t get benefits from both.

    • HPN-HRL says:

      Also in the US, FHR bookings (even prepaid) earn elite night credit and points for incidental spend with Hyatt – see Flyertalk for the internal Hyatt FHR memo that specifically addresses these issues. In general (at least in the US), FHR bookings should also earn in the program of the hotel you are staying at. The Hotel Collection, on the other hand, does not have any known guarantee with respect to earning hotel points or status nights.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Yes was going to mention lots of reference points on flyertalk.

        Hyatt still rewards pre paid FHR it seems the rest default to no but may slip through depending on property.

  • Arun Kundi says:

    Very recently in the U.K. I decided to pay online for an FHR booking – it was an IHG property in Portugal. I was ‘not’ given the IHG points following my stay. I asked the hotel why and it’s because American Express process pre-paid FHR bookings through Expedia.

    I rang American Express about this and they confirmed that Expedia is their supplier for FHR bookings where you pre-pay. Hence, because you’re going through a third-party supplier, hotel loyalty programmes are not upheld.

    But of course, if you book an FHR hotel and pay at the property, your hotel loyalty programme is honoured.

    • Alan says:

      I’d ask them for MR points to the equivalent value of the IHG points you were due by way of compensation for them not making this clear.

  • BA-Flyer says:

    Be aware that Amex Travel are very difficult to get hold of in case of problems. Yesterday, wait times were over 2 hours.

    • meta says:

      I always get through to them no matter what time. Just call Platinum Concierge and they’ll put you through. Sometimes they’ll take care of enquiry and call you back.

  • Nick says:

    I have one booked under the offer and have added the reservation to the Marriott app – it clearly says ‘non-commissionable’ in the terms. This has always meant no points/night credits in the past, but I’ll check again after the stay.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Non commisionable normally just means not eligible for ca$h back / agent commission in my experience.

      Always earning nights/points if booked direct.

      • Nick says:

        Interesting, thanks TG. For me it always means no points either. I have a Marriott corporate rate that specifically disallows points collection (we’ve agreed it with them as it’s a big upfront discount) and it always shows the same comment. Will be interested to see if this is different based on your explanation.

        • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

          TGL’s definition of non-commissionable is the one I know; and such rates have never stopped me earning hotel scheme points

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Likely your rate is both non commissionable and ineligible due to your special discount.

    • Harry T says:

      I’ve booked loads of non-commissionable Bonvoy rates and received points and elite night credits. TG is right.

  • memesweeper says:

    I can’t search — “we’re having difficulties communicating with our suppliers” for The Hotel Collection on UK Gold.

    ICC plat FHR programme doesn’t seem to give the option to search with dates and prices? Just a “call to book”.

    • Lilly says:

      Also trying to seach and its not letting me!

    • CamFlyer says:

      I have never been able to book travel online through Amex with my ICC card, and anything over the phone is billed in £ (if prepaid, eg, flights), for a product that is only issued in € and $. Very annoying.

  • Saddle Point says:

    I will be in Dubai next April for a few nights, and am thinking of hotel hopping to take advantage of this, 4 different hotels over 4 days. I can’t see what problems I might run into here?! Does anyone have similar experience?

    • Alex says:

      apart from then hassle of checking-in and checking-out 4 times, no

    • Paul T says:

      Other than “stay by Dec 31st”?

    • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

      The problem may be the cost. Granted April is getting into shoulder season in Dubai, but I’ve never found much value in the FHR hotels on offer there. Ruiniously expensive during European winter; not cheap enough in summer to justify many of their inland/set in a business campus locations.

      • Rob says:

        Compared to cash rates, though, you are still winning.

        There are Vegas hotels on FHR where the freebies can exceed the cost of the room (especially at brands where you have status and resort fees get waived). I did one at Park Hyatt Hamburg for €245 once for one night – it got silly, since I had free breakfast, got upgraded to a club room with lounge access and still had to find a way to blow the €85 food credit, plus took the guaranteed late check-out.

    • Ken says:

      Most of April 23 is in Ramadan so hotels at their cheapest.

  • Alex says:

    Platinum holder and it doesn’t work for me – website just says “we’re having difficulties communicating with our suppliers” every time I try and run a search! Ridiculous

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