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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 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.

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

Last week we looked also 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. The offer ends on 25th October.

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 if you pay on departure

All FHR stays are fully qualifying for loyalty points and stay credit with one condition – you must choose to pay on departure.

A strange quirk of the scheme is that if you choose to pre-pay your room (there is no price difference for pre-paying, so I don’t know why you’d do it) the booking is treated as ‘third party’ and you won’t earn any points or elite status benefits. American Express does not make this clear but trust us – this is how it works.

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 25th October.

Comments (33)

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

  • NigelthePensioner says:

    A strange quirk of the scheme is that if you choose to pre-pay your room (there is no price difference for pre-paying, so I don’t know why you’d do it)

    Currently there is an “earn 5 x AmEx reward points if you pay now” , on my Cent Card booking page. AmEx reward points can then be transferred to multiple different programmes, making it a clear choice for me.

    • Damien says:

      So how’s it work then. When you check in, do you get them to add your hilton honors number (say in a conrad)? Then you get the points like normal?

  • Heinztein says:

    If you and other half both have plat and are away for two nights, can you book one night each and get x2 $100 benefit?

  • FCP says:

    Yes, it would

  • Alex says:

    Do you have to have an activated card upon arrival or can you book and pay for a trip in advance then cancel the card before the trip?

    • Ken says:

      You could pay in advance. However you don’t have to pay with Platinum at the hotel. Any Amex will do.

      In fact IME you seem to keep access to Fine Hotels for a few months (maybe end of calendar year, or membership year) after you cancel Plat.

  • Ken says:

    Yes , it stacks.

  • pureshtuyot says:

    I have recently taken out the International Dollar card. Annoyingly, no offers appear on the website, neither can you look into Fine Hotel Resorts etc. online

    • memesweeper says:

      It used to be inside the ICC portal. It’s gone, along with the links to Amex travel. It’s also no longer advertised as a benefit on the promotional pages — I wonder if it is intentionally withdrawn?

  • Brian says:

    Would be curious to know if anyone is aware of more FHR properties closer to the Park Hyatt Hamburg price point as opposed to the Four Seasons Hampshire.

    The thing I dislike the most about the offering is the inability to quickly browse the listings with an idea of price/availability.

    The difference in price between the top end properties and the lower end ones can be astronomical.

    • Rob says:

      In general you’re looking at the Las Vegas’s and Bangkok’s of this world – Hamburg is a bit of a freak in Europe, if only because Hamburg itself is bizarrely cheap for hotels despite being one of the richest European cities.

    • ken says:

      Germany in general for city breaks.
      Ritz Carlton & Waldorf Astoria Berlin usually in £240-£290 region.
      Both got fabulous bars to spend the $100

      Is the Andaz Liverpool Street, London on the list ?
      Some weekend rates around £300 which is great value especially if Hyatt do their £100 cash back on £250 spend again.

      Lydmar Stockholm around the £320 mark.

      I haven’t got Plat anymore but is Villa Copenhagen still on ?. That’s as low as £200 some off season nights.

    • Brian says:

      Thanks both, had a feeling Hamburg was a bit of an edge case. Will look at the others.

      Previously The Balmoral in Edinburgh had a real basic entry level room that was priced well below the rest but when combined with the FHR upgrade it made a stay incredibly good value.

      Seems like these European bargains are the exception rather than the rule.

      • Rob says:

        Only to the extent that ‘fine’ European hotels are generally going to be expensive in the first place! Not sure what they have in Lisbon but that was always one of the cheaper European cities.

        • Brian says:

          I get that the purpose of the FHR offering isn’t to provide cheap and cheerful European getaways. I was just curious given that under the “On one night stays, you’re laughing” section of the article the PH Hamburg for £175 is given as the example but this seems to be a real edge case. I was thinking there may be more similarly priced options nearby that I am unaware of.

          • Ken says:

            I like a decent breakfast , ideally in the hotel so I’m happy to give that a value of £40-50 for 2 people.
            If the hotel has a good bar, the $100 gets spent, so there’s another say £60 + of value.

            You make a fair point though – I doubt you’d get £175 very often at PH Hamburg.

            I think it’s a no brainer on single night stays less than £300.

            I’m never going to pay £500 a night on a hotel regardless of these benefits.

    • FCP says:

      You can search via Amex Travel for the hotels. put in dates and city and it will show all the FHR deals.

  • Stu says:

    How long do Amex bonus promotions normally run for? My 2 year application timer runs out at some point this month, so I was planning to apply for a new Amex in September.

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

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