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

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American Express is currently running a ‘best ever’ sign-up bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points plus a £200 Amex Travel credit when you take out The Platinum Card.

This would convert into 60,000 Avios or lots of other great travel rewards. The £200 of Amex Travel credit would also come in handy. Even better, you qualify for the bonus even if you have a British Airways American Express card as long as you meet the other criteria.

Our introductory article on the ‘60,000 Membership Rewards points plus £200’ offer is here. You need to apply by 25th October – The Platinum Card application page is here.

American Express Platinum 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 sign-up bonus.

American Express Platinum hotel benefits

What hotel statuses come with The Platinum Card?

American Express Platinum offers the following hotel statuses:

You will have four shiny cards in your pocket 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 – plus £200 of travel credit that 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 Hilton Gold status 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 – on my last visit to 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 2022, free breakfast at hotels in the USA has been replaced by a cash credit which can be used against any food and beverage purchase. It is possible that this becomes a permanent change. The downside is that the credit rarely covers the full cost of breakfast, but the upside is that it can be used against any food and beverage spend.)

You should also receive some sort of space-available upgrade at most brands as Hilton Gold.  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 Bonvoy 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. These include:

  • 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

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 last 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.

However, it is fair to say (and the comments below confirm this) that the 20% discount vouchers can be hugely valuable. In some cases – let’s say you were planning a £3,000 stay at a Melia beach resort in Spain – the 20% discount would cover your entire Amex Platinum membership fee for the year. It is possible that I underestimate this benefit because I have never personally used it.

The full list of MeliaRewards status benefits is here.

Radisson Rewards Gold status with American Express Platinum

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. I have always had a higher Marriott Bonvoy status than Gold due to my own travel. I don’t stay enough with Melia to give a fair opinion.

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

You can apply for the card here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

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

Comments (48)

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

  • Rob says:

    No status benefits via Hotels.com.

    Rates should be higher than the logged in ‘Member Rates’ offered by the chains.

    • Gordon says:

      I booked 2 nights at a holiday inn Singapore (only stayed 1 night As had late flight) in June and Booking.com were slightly cheaper when I booked via my IHG account….

      • Gordon says:

        “Should be” being the operative word.

      • Rob says:

        You could have emailed IHG, had it price matched to Booking.com and still got your points and status benefits.

        • Gordon says:

          It was at the end of a 3 week trip, I just wanted a room before the flight 🥵

        • JohnG says:

          I know that prior to Covid hotel price guarantee were widely seen as useless. If the booking via hotels.com has a slightly different deadline for refunds it wouldn’t be valid, and it just so happens that differences like this are incredibly common…

          If you’re booking in advance and don’t mind checking first it can be worth a try, but if you book then try to claim you need to be prepared to get rejected.

      • buchanan101 says:

        Booking.com now has “Genius” plus some mobile only prices (the mobile only prices don’t appear if linked by a portal). Always worth a check – considerably cheaper bookings in Selva Val Gardena and Ellmau next year through Booking.com than direct with hotels.

    • buchanan101 says:

      Gold at Hotels.com does give quite a lot of hotels with (supposedly) special rates…

    • buchanan101 says:

      I did try a Radisson hotel as a member (no gold, just basic) in London and it was a couple of PENCE cheaper direct than Hotels.com.

      When I’ve booked (independent) hotels in ski resorts the direct price has always been the same as Hotels.com. I obviously book through Hotels.com for the 1/10 free nights and extra Avios (or whatever) from where I link to Hotels.com.

      Obviously now I have 4 x gold memberships I will try what you say. Prices would have to be cheaper not using Hotels.com given that the Hotels.com rewards system is a lot more flexible .

  • Harry T says:

    It’s worth noting that the 2pm checkout for Marriott Bonvoy Gold is NOT guaranteed, where’s the 4pm checkout benefit for Bonvoy Platinum and above IS guaranteed. I would personally value Bonvoy Gold at nothing, if I was starting from scratch and appraising the Platinum card.

    As stated in the article, Hilton Gold is essentially worthless in the USA, where everyone is Diamond from credit cards and you can’t even get free breakfast any more.

    • Harry T says:

      For clarity, I’ve held every Marriott Bonvoy status from Gold to Ambassador and the worst two statuses to have in Marriott Bonvoy are Gold, as you get nothing, and Ambassador, as you get nothing a Titanium wouldn’t apart from extra disappointment.

  • sayling says:

    Are ANY benefits offered in the four schemes if rooms are not booked directly?

    We’ve used the American Road Trip Company a couple of times to outline a route and book hotels that sometimes have included one or two of the four listed schemes amongst many independent and boutique hotels.

    • Gordon says:

      @Sayling, The American road trip company is based in the UK, we have booked a 2-4-1 CW flight to Lax for November to drive part of the Route 66, So May look at approaching them re itinerary, You have used them a couple of times so I guess price point and CS are ok….

    • Reney says:

      pretty sure none, as they discourage third party bookings but it depends on the arrangement between the company and the hotel chain, for example using Emyr allows status benefits too I think. You’ll need to ask them. Thanks for the tip re this company, love a road trip!

      • Gordon says:

        Correct, You get all the benefits with Emyr as if you had booked the hotel directly on a cancellable rate….

        • Harry T says:

          Can also confirm you receive all elite benefits if booking via Emyr, plus the additional perks associated with his bookings. Just had the pleasure of booking a hotel in San Francisco with Emyr last minute, and we even got a special STARS rate discount.

  • Chas says:

    I stayed at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge as a Gold earlier this year. They refused to upgrade me despite the next level being available for cash. In the end we negotiated a reduced cash upgrade fee, but they weren’t upgrading me without that.

    Conversely though, Radisson Blu at Stansted upgraded me last week.

    • aseftel says:

      In my experience, Radisson Rewards on Twitter are pretty hot at service recovery if you haven’t received the elite benefits you’re entitled to.

  • Robert Thompson says:

    Are these benefits for just the main cardholder or can get the supplementary card holder also claim these statuses?

    • Reney says:

      the new card only allows on SUP holder and they do get the hotel benefit.

    • Rob says:

      The Platinum supplementary member gets them – if you’ve got the old charge card version, Gold supps don’t.

  • lauren says:

    When I stayed at the Waldorf Astoria in Bangkok (which was great btw), we also received 20% off drinks as we were gold members. Does anyone know if that’s across all Hilton properties? The bar there was one of the best i’ve ever been to, and the cocktails were fantastic, so the 20% off was very much appreciated

  • pandora says:

    Can i still get free breakfast where available if I don’t personally pay for the room?
    Example:
    If the room is booked direct by company I work for: eg. Hilton ,and i phone hotel & put my new Hilton gold number?

    Thank you in advance for answering and helping me

    • Rob says:

      Your company travel booker should be added your loyalty number for you – not sure what weird company you work for! This is all part of what you are paying them to do. Without your number in your booking, how do you do online check-in etc?

      Yes, basically. The only exception is if your travel booker is using 3rd party booking sites (Expedia, Egencia, Booking.com, Hotels.com etc) instead of booking ‘properly’ via the usual channels. The former don’t earn points or get any benefits, whether you’re travelling for work or leisure. Anyone using a ‘standard’ corporate travel agent like CWT will be fine.

      • pandora says:

        Thanks ROB: I work as a tour guide and the company books all the hotels for me and the group for the duration of the tours, with stays of 1-3 nights.
        several hotels in the past have let me add my number to the booking even though I don’t benefit from any points earned (that goes to the company): I have received a few perks but never needed free breakfasts until now.
        I will do some upcoming tours in ćanada for a company who does not include breakfasts and we will stay in several Hilton hotels during the tours and best western, Marriott etc and I could do with not paying breakfasts if I upgrade/get to amex platinum card.

        Thank you

        • Rob says:

          There is no such thing as ‘the points go to the company’. This is simply not possible. None of the hotel schemes allow corporates to have accounts – indeed, they have separate corporate schemes, eg IHG Business Rewards.

          However, if a tour operator books your hotel then it is obviously highly likely that the operator is paying a highly discounted industry rate and that would ban you from points and elite benefits.

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

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