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100,000 POINTS BONUS: Are the four Amex Platinum hotel status cards worth having?

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American Express is currently running a ‘best ever’ sign-up bonus of 100,000 Membership Rewards points when you take out The Platinum Card.

This would convert into 100,000 Avios (!) or lots of other great travel rewards. 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 ‘100,000 bonus Membership Rewards points’ offer is here. Remember that you can still get a pro-rata refund on the annual fee as long as you cancel by the end of February 2024. 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 100,000 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 100,000 Amex Membership Rewards points – worth 100,000 Avios – 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.

Note that free breakfast at hotels in the USA has been replaced by a cash credit which can be used against any food and beverage purchase. 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 Honors 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 American Express Platinum hotel statuses.

You can see the official list of Hilton Honors Gold benefits here.

Remember that the special current sign-up bonus of 100,000 American Express Membership Rewards points would convert into 200,000 Hilton Honors points.

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, but ‘subject to availability’
  • 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. The late check-out benefit is handy but not guaranteed.  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.

Remember that the special current sign-up bonus of 100,000 American Express Membership Rewards points would convert into 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.

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 Premium status with American Express Platinum

Radisson Rewards Premium – what is guaranteed?

Radisson Rewards is the loyalty scheme for Radisson Blu, Radisson Edwardian, Park Plaza and Park Inn plus a few smaller brands.

Premium is laughably easy to earn, requiring just five nights or three stays in a calendar year.  It’s not hard to earn and therefore there will be a lot of them in any Radisson hotel on any particular night.

Your Premium status will get you:

  • 27 Radisson Rewards points per $1 spent – a huge increase on the 8 points per $1 earned by base level members
  • 10% off food and drink
  • room upgrade “when available”
  • access to ‘Discount Booster’

‘Discount Booster’ is actually the key benefit. In return for earning a lower level of points on your stay, your member discount is increased to up to 20%. Having booked a few stays at a Radisson last Autumn, I can confirm that this is a genuine saving which goes well beyond other discounts on the Radisson website.

I certainly wouldn’t put any value on the room upgrade, given how many Premium members are competing with you, but ‘Discount Booster’ puts genuine cash back into your pocket.

Full details of Radisson Rewards status benefits are here.

Remember that the special current sign-up bonus of 100,000 American Express Membership Rewards points would convert into 300,000 Radisson Rewards points.

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 American Express Platinum status, although this was before Radisson made their status laughably easy to get. 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 except to note my brother’s stunning ME London upgrade last year.

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 special offer of 100,000 Membership Rewards points is now on.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Comments (52)

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

  • Andy says:

    The article says “ 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.”. I’m about to book a BAH 5-night trip to Bucharest staying at the Hilton Garden Inn, so does this mean I won’t (using my Amex Plat acquired Hilton Gold) get free breakfast then ?

    I do tend to get it with company booked travel but wondered what your experience is ?

    • daveinitalia says:

      If you point out your status at check in (also ask them to add the details to your booking to earn points on incidental spend) some hotels will give you the status benefits but they don’t have to so it’s best to not expect it

  • BJ says:

    Uou should not get breakfast booking via third parties but there is a small chance you may get lucky. It’s up to the hotel, tve vast majority play by the rules in this respect. This shod be no surprise given they hope you’ll pay for breakfast.

    • Andy says:

      Thanks BJ and also daveinitalia, I’ll bear in mind and funnily enough (separately) I booked Raffles through Emyr recently and tried to add my Accor number at check in to be told I couldn’t as I didn’t book direct etc. after the stay the points posted normally as I expected it would.

  • Caro! says:

    My travelling days are over, other than my driving. I spend roughly £450pm on fuel.
    Would it be beneficial to have one of these cards, convert to Nectar points and enjoy some free fuel.

    • Rob says:

      If you can spend £10k before end Feb (deadline to cancel for a pro-rata refund) then it’s an easy £500 of Nectar points (plus the free meals and HNicks credit) for not much spent.

      Otherwise no. Get the Amex Nectar card instead.

    • Freddy says:

      High petrol cost for someone who doesn’t travel

  • Matt says:

    I use the 3x 20% off Melia vouchers every year and it more than covers the cost of my Amex. Plus I get some great room upgrades – like you say, not an official benefit and it’s not every time, but I’ve had some great ones. For me Melia status is the most valuable benefit of the card.

    I would usually be staying at their hotels anyway, which wouldn’t be the case for everyone, so it’s each to their own.

    • iEimis says:

      Sadly, I only discovered the 20% vouchers yesterday and trying to get Amex to apply the Gold status rapidly for a booking I want to make for a stay next week. Are the 20% vouchers transferable or are they account specific, do you know?

  • James says:

    Like others, I use the 3 x Melia 20% vouchers every year and it saves a lot of money – great perk

  • Mikel says:

    Upgraded from king deluxe to king executive at Hilton in London last week. The breakfast is great. Hilton Gold is def the sweet spot. Platinum card is expensive but we’re happy with it when you take into account all the benefits that come with it. We’ve already used the 9,000 rewards points offer for £200 spend (same trip) £150 meal credit and two Harvey Nics visits this year. We’re in Barcelona in 2 weeks and will use the £150 dining credit whist there. We also used the £200 travel credit for our hotels. Just waiting on the £75 cash back for £200 Amex travel spend to post, albeit I’ve received the email confirming it. So far, so good.

  • Vit says:

    I was late to the party with Radisson. I accrued a good nearly 100k points from work but then it was devalued overnight. Then I was hoping to use them up in S. America, again Radisson America and Europe split up!

  • Errol says:

    I got a very nice upgrade at the Marriott in Santa Marta, Colombia, on both my stays there as a Gold via Amex Plat. On both occasions I was upgraded from a basic double room to a suite and had breakfast chucked in too. Never received much at any other Marriott hotel though.

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