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Last Chance For A Second Set Of Fairmont Certificates For Elite Members
Just a quick reminder, Fairmont elite members (Platinum and Premier) have until July 1, 2018 to get two qualifying stays to be eligible for a second set of Fairmont certificates, which will be issued on July 2, when Le Club AccorHotels replaces the Fairmont President’s Club.
For me, certificates were one of the main benefits that made the President’s Club unique. Being able to confirm suite upgrades at the time of booking or using free-night stays for some truly aspirational (and unaffordable) hotels had me coming back for more, year after year. With the new program, rewards will be earned based on how much you spend at the hotel, which can be redeemed towards free-nights (revenue based essentially).
As a bit of a parting gift, Fairmont announced earlier this year they would be offering a second set of Fairmont certificates to all elite members who have just two qualifying stays prior to July 1, 2018. These certificates will remain valid until February 28, 2019. A little bit of fine print on what constitutes a qualifying stay:
To receive a bonus set of e-certificates, two stays must be actualized between January 1 and July 1, 2018 on qualifying rates with Fairmont, Raffles, and/or Swissotel. Qualifying rates are determined by Fairmont in its sole discretion and can be deemed non-qualifying at any given time without prior notice. Travel-industry rates (including, but not limited to airline crew rates, travel agent rates and tour group escort rates) or other deeply discounted rates will not be considered qualifying rates toward member status. Complimentary or barter room stays or any stays booked through any third party online travel channel website (including, but not limited to: HotelTonight.com, Booking.com, Rocketmiles.com, Priceline.com, Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, Lastminute.com, Travelocity.com, Orbitz.com, Travelweb.com) are considered as not qualifying and will not be eligible for credit.
How To Save Money On Qualifying Stays For A Second Set Of Fairmont Certificates
I wouldn’t necessarily encourage anyone to spend $1,000 on two stays at random Fairmont properties (a term called mattress running) just to get a second set of certificates, but for anyone with immediate travel plans, this seems like a good reason to choose Fairmont over the competition. Also, there are some great ways to save money, or add value (particularly in Canada), if you do find yourself short but really want to pick up the second set of Fairmont certificates.
Most have probably heard of this trick before, but for those who haven’t, I wrote a detailed post on how to purchase these certificates online, which essentially nets 25% off any stay at Fairmont properties in Canada. Best of all, these certificates can be used towards non-refundable or promotional rates booked directly through the hotel. If your credit card is charged at the time of booking for a prepaid stay, the hotel will simply refund the difference and apply the certificates.
Keep in mind that (most) third party bookings are not eligible for certificate use, since the payment is usually collected by the online travel agency, and not the hotel (though I would avoid booking a discounted third-party rate as it likely will not qualify as a stay for the second set of Fairmont certificates).
American Express Fine Hotels And Resorts
While you generally won’t save money by booking through American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts (their rates are usually the same as the flexible rate offered through the hotel), you will certainly get some added value. Not all Fairmont properties are included, but the ones that are will offer:
- Daily breakfast for two people
- Complimentary WiFi
- Early check-in and a room upgrade, subject to availability
- Guaranteed late checkout
- Unique property amenity (usually $100USD property credit)
American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts is only available for Amex Platinum and Amex Business Platinum cardmembers, but if you don’t have one, consider applying today to take advantage of the huge sign-up bonuses currently being offered.
New Platinum® Cardmembers, earn Welcome Bonus points . Plus you’ll get a $200 travel credit upon activation, which can be used towards your Fairmont stay!
Apply for The American Express Business Platinum Card and earn Membership Reward points after spending in the first three months.
This is a program I hadn’t used until recently but operates much like American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts. Essentially, the price will be the same as the flexible rate offered through the hotel, but will include a bunch of extras similar to the FHR package (property specific).
The only catch is you need to know a Virtuoso travel agent to book one of these rates, and many aren’t interested in travel hackers looking to get the cheapest one-night stay possible (they like to book long, expensive trips for more commission). Great news though, there’s now an online travel agency affiliated with Virtuoso, allowing for easy reservations without talking to a travel agent.
The website is Classictravel.com, and although it seems a bit out of the ’90s, I assure you it works. We recently used it for our stay at the Pacific Rim in Vancouver and received almost $300 in food/beverage credits (breakfast and property credit), which really helped with the overall cost for our weekend away!
The BEST part about booking a Virtuoso rate is you can use Life Experiences gift certificates to pay for the stay, unlike American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts where you need to settle the entire bill with an Amex card. This presents an opportunity to get all of the added benefits AND save 25% off your entire stay!
You can bet that everyone at PointsWise took Fairmont up on this offer. It was relatively easy for Brad and I, as we just spent a couple of weekends in Vancouver during the off-season when rates were low, and took advantage of either saving money through Life Experiences or adding value through American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts.
While it probably cost us close to $800 out of pocket for four nights (not taking into account added benefits through our status or by booking through FHR), we are going to get much more returned when we redeem the certificates, plus we got a few great staycations!
Currently, we plan to use both free night certificates (in addition to one we have leftover from the last batch) at The Fairmont Grand Del Mar in San Diego. This is widely considered one of the finest resort hotels in North America, and paid rates are not cheap. We will also use our suite-upgrade certificate to confirm a Prado suite in advance, which comes in at a cool $1349USD/night.
The value of the two free nights combined with a suite-upgrade earned through the second set of Fairmont certificates is valued at just over $3900 in this scenario, which seems like a great return on our ‘investment’ by having two more qualifying stays each. Best of all though, our certificates will provide an experience we couldn’t otherwise afford, which really is the essence of travel hacking.
RIP Fairmont President’s Club. You will be missed.
Do you plan to get two qualifying stays before July 1, 2018 for the second set of Fairmont certificates?