Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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 have until 13th June to apply.

American Express Fine Hotels Resorts

Last week we looked at:

…. and we will cover some other features this week.

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

How does American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts work?

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.

FHR, as it is known, is a collection of 1,300 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 2,000 hotels. This includes 700 in ‘The Hotel Collection’ which is a different, less generous plan for both Platinum and Gold cardholders.

American Express Fine Hotels Resorts

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 used to do a lot at at Park Hyatt Hamburg on my way to/from my in-laws. (This hotel is now sadly closed for refurbishment and will become Conrad Hamburg next year.)

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.

Of course, as you receive £200 of Amex Travel credit as part of the current sign-up offer, you may want to choose a ‘pay in advance’ rate to use your credit.

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 – 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 13th June.

Comments (22)

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

  • Froggee says:

    So – if a hotel has a choice of Virtuoso, IHG Luxury Collection or Amex FHR, what d’ya go for?

    It seems the difference is the former two need to be booked through a travel agent whereas FHR is online and the “late check out”, in order as per above is “subject to availability”, 2pm “guaranteed”, and 4pm “guaranteed”. Otherwise the same. I think?

    My inclination is to go for IHG’s own scheme as it sounds like Emyr has more success in attempting to get connecting rooms (important for family Froggee) from a prior Rob review than just asking the hotel yourself. And 2pm is plenty.

    • Rob says:

      IHG Luxury & Lifestyle is a direct hotel booking, yes, so arguably easier for Emyr to arrange special requests. Only some InterCon’s are part of Virtuoso BUT I would recommend it for Paris and London because of the free lounge access that all bookings get.

      4pm check-out is the key reason to use FHR, remembering that even IHG Diamond Elite doesn’t guarantee late check-out.

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      If you’re Ambassador and it’s an Intercontinental, your Amb benefits would only be guaranteed on a LuxLife booking. In my experience, you do get a double upgrade.

    • Froggee says:

      It’s for Estoril so I’m not overly bothered about the upgrade as a premium room is nice enough. I’m more bothered about connecting rooms but it’s not a disaster any more if we don’t get them. I need to get round to filling in Emyr’s form before there isn’t a twin room left.

  • Kevin C says:

    Hotels have to take FHR benefits seriously. I have usually been given a letter laying them out and it’s common to get a feedback form at checkout. I get the sense they have to upgrade you unless the hotel is full.

    That is not to say Emyr isn’t often a better option. He’s great!

  • chelseafifi says:

    I’ve booked IC Lyon for 3 nights this summer, the first two nights I’ve booked directly with IHG using the Ambassador 241 weekend and the 3rd night via FHR, I’m Ambassador Diamond status, does anyone have experience how this will work, in particular with regards to the stay credit. Used FHR several times but first time using Ambassador. Many thanks

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.