So what is the Fine Hotels and Resorts program and why is it so amazing?
In a nutshell, Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts is a booking channel for select luxury hotels around the world for which the cardholder is entitled to special benefits that vary by property. What’s important to know is Fine Hotels and Resorts rates are often the same as the published flexible rate at the hotel, or, in other words, it won’t cost you more than booking directly with the property. In some rare instances, Fine Hotels and Resorts can offer cheaper rates than the best available published rate, though this is certainly not the norm.
Benefits of all Fine Hotels and Resorts bookings include:
- Room upgrade, subject to availability
- Noon check-in, subject to availability
- Guaranteed 4pm late checkout
- Complimentary daily breakfast for two
- Special property amenity
The special property amenity varies by hotel, but is most often a $100 USD property credit. Some hotels will have no restrictions on use, while others will stipulate where it can be used, such as at the spa or for food and beverage only. I’ve also seen properties offer complimentary couples massages or dinner for two.
How to Book With American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts
American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts is only bookable by those with an American Express Platinum Card (personal or business) or Centurion Card. Bookings can be made by calling Platinum travel services or by searching through the American Express Travel website. When searching through the American Express Travel portal, it’s important to know the cardholder must be logged in with their Platinum Card credentials for Fine Hotels and Resorts Properties to display in the results. They will always be the first options available in the results list. Clicking on the property will expand room options, and display the benefits exclusive to that property.
Free Night Offers
Occasionally American Express has 3rd or 4th night free offers for bookings made through Fine Hotels and Resorts. This is often where I see substantial savings over booking directly with the hotel or through a discount travel website. The downside is these offers are not aggressively advertised and can be easy to miss.
The Bottom Line
Personally, I find American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts great for two kinds of bookings:
1. Single night stays where I receive maximum value in the added benefits and special property amenities (early check-in, late checkout and property credit).
(During my recent one night stay at The Fairmont Chateau Whistler I received early check-in, late checkout, a double upgrade and $100USD food and beverage credit plus breakfast for two. Breakfast and the property credit represent more than $200 in added value, and the early check-in and late checkout allowed us to spend almost two full days at the resort while only paying for one night, which has a great amount of value). The discounted rate was only 50 dollars less than the fully flexible rate offered through American Express so it was a very easy decision to book for the added benefits.
2. Longer stays where I can take advantage of a 3rd or 4th-night free offer, which can drastically reduce the cost of the overall stay and compete with hotels prepaid and nonrefundable rates.
The Fine Hotels and Resorts program has the potential to save a lot of dollars for those seeking luxury accommodation around the world. However, like anything, savvy travellers will need to do a bit of homework to decide if they are receiving the best deal.
It should be noted rooms booked through Fine Hotels and Resorts will often be similarly priced to the hotels best flexible rate. Hotels will often have discounted rates for early bookings paid in advance (and often non-refundable) which will usually be cheaper than Fine Hotels and Resorts rates. However, travellers should be confident their plans are definite or have good travel insurance before booking a non-refundable discounted rate.