Adding Throw-in Amenities and Savings for Your Luxury Hotel Stays

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@aheeger tweets,

American Express Platinum cardmembers (and Centurion ‘Black Card’ cardmembers) have access to the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program. This hotel booking service is great because when you make reservations at participating properties you get a whole bunch of ‘throw-ins’ with your reservation that are heavily value added.

(You don’t have to pay your hotel bill with a Platinum card, but the rules do say you need to pay with an American Express card.)

Cardmembers can search hotels, benefits, rates, and availability online.

Here are the benefits for booking through the Fine Hotels & Resorts program:

Rates are generally similar to the daily rate at each property, and while usually prepaid are also cancellable.

Participating hotels are luxury or near-luxury. For instance, there are 8 participating hotels in Las Vegas.

You’ll also find some hotels marked ‘special offer’ where you may receive third or fourth night free.

17 out of 22 participating New York City hotels currently have special free night offers through the program, from the W Times Square to the Trump properties, the Park Hyatt, Chatwal, Plaza, and Pierre.

The Park Hyatt, for instance, is offering 3rd night free and a $100 folio credit plus standard Fine Hotels & Resorts benefits (4pm checkout, noon check-in if available, breakfast, upgrade if available, and in-room wireless internet).

It’s like being a Hyatt Diamond, plus a $100 credit and a better rate. On the dates I pulled up in June, American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts had an $825 rate for a Park King Deluxe room — the same rate as the Hyatt Daily Rate for the room. That’s more than Hyatt’s prepaid rate (which saves 10%) but comes with third night free so represents real savings.

Other card companies and travel agency networks have similar programs. There’s the Chase Luxury Hotel Collection, Visa Signature Hotels, Virtuoso, and World Elite MasterCard’s Luxury Hotels & Resorts portfolio.

  • The only real advantage that Visa Signature’s hotel program offers is free valet parking.

  • Virtuoso benefits are generally similar to Amex benefits, and you don’t need a Platinum card for it, although with Virtuoso late checkout isn’t guaranteed. You book through an individual travel agent rather than online or by calling American Express. And the real value comes from the agent, some much better than others, they may have a relationship with the hotel you’re booking.

  • Chase’s program is similar as well but smaller, though open to many premium cardholders such as Chase Sapphire Preferred and United Explorer

The Citi Prestige Card offers 4th night free on hotel stays, as well.

When you’re paying for upper upscale and luxury hotels, it’s worth checking out the deals available through these programs rather than booking direct. You’ll earn stay and night credit and points for these agency bookings, get additional benefits, and possibly save.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. Do you still get hotel loyalty points with FHR? Is there a place to enter the hotel loyalty number ? Does it depend on the hotel brand? I would hate to give those points up….

  2. Does Visa Signature still offer the free valet parking? Last time I checked, I didn’t see it on their website.

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