American Express makes it easy to find unique luxury hotels around the world through the curated travel site Fine Hotels and Resorts (FHR).
The collection of real estate is only available to American Express Platinum members – though it’s easy to miss given all of the other travel-related benefits that come with Platinum-level travel cards.
When you book your next hotel stay through Amex FHR, you benefit from several advantages. In this guide, we’ll go through the details of the FHR program, show you how to make a reservation, and answer some of the most important questions about Fine Hotels and Resorts.
What are American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts?
American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts is a luxury travel portal reserved for Amex Premium Reward members. The program connects eligible members with over 1,000 properties around the world, including a mix of unique independent properties and well-known luxury brands such as Fairmont, Four Seasons, InterContinental and Ritz-Carlton.
While you can book rooms in these hotels directly through the hotel website, FHR offers additional perks that are not available to the average customer. American Express is very selective about the features included in Amex FHR and equally selective about who has access to the program.
The program is currently reserved for American Express Platinum members. You need either the American Express Platinum Card® or the American Express Business Platinum Card® to qualify.
The best benefits of the FHR program
Amex FHR offers some great perks that will make your stay in one of its luxury properties even more enjoyable. Here’s what you can expect from a stay at Fine Hotels and Resorts:
- Free breakfast for two every day
- Guaranteed 4 p.m. checkout
- Free room upgrade upon check-in (if available)
- Free WiFi
- Early check-in if available
- A special $ 100 gift that is unique to any property
Overall, American Express estimates these perks averaging $ 550, motivating you to book your stay through Fine Hotels and Resorts.
Use of the Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts portal
American Express FHR provides a relatively straightforward experience to find and book nights at a participating property. You must first navigate to the Fine Hotels and Resorts portal.
From there, you can either search for the property you want or where you want to go. Enter your check-in and check-out dates, the number of rooms required and the number of accompanying persons. Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to search.
On the next page you will see a list of the results. In this example, we searched for properties in New York City that returned 26 options. You can simply scroll through the options and see the hotel’s unique features for each hotel and take that into account when making your decision.
Once you’ve found a property that meets your needs, you’ll be directed to a property-specific page where you can select a room configuration – this one for The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue. You can also review photos, amenities, location, and other guest reviews.
After selecting your room, log into your American Express travel account (if you haven’t already) and finalize your reservation. Earn a total of five Membership Rewards points for every dollar you spend on your reservation when you use your Platinum Card or Business Platinum Card to make a reservation.
Can you use Amex points to book FHR rooms?
Yes, you can use the Pay With Points feature on your American Express card to cover part or all of your stay. You must first reserve the hotel room with your Platinum or Business Platinum card and then arrange for a transfer with points.
The point value will appear as a credit on your bank statement to cover the cost of your hotel. If you do not have enough Membership Rewards points to cover the full costs, simply pay the remaining amount on your next Amex card statement. Membership Rewards points are worth $ 10 per 1,000 points.
Is it worth booking through Amex FHR?
Booking your hotel stay through American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts may be very important to you, but it will vary depending on the property type and how much you appreciate the elite perks you receive for booking through FHR.
For example, consider the example above at The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue. At the time of writing, the price of a Superior American Room booked through American Express FHR was $ 665 per night. However, when we searched the same room directly from the hotel for the same dates from October 30th to November 1st, 2020, the price was $ 598.50 per night.
A comparison of other properties shows the same trend that FHR is more expensive per night than booking direct from the property, but the value of the benefits of FHR can often overcome the deficit as long as you actually use them.
Back to the Langham for example, the hotel offers a bed and breakfast package that includes breakfast for two each morning, late check-out at 1:00 p.m., and free Wi-Fi access – similar to the benefits of Fine Hotels and Resorts. However, the price of this package for the same room and nights we looked at before was $ 715 per night which is $ 50 more than the FHR price with fewer benefits.
Are you still earning points or status for the hotel rewards program?
When you book through FHR with your Platinum Card or Business Platinum Card, you will receive 5X points for every dollar – but do you also receive hotel-specific rewards?
Neither American Express nor major loyalty programs like Hilton, Hyatt or Marriott make it clear whether you can earn points and status upgrades through the property’s rewards program. If you are working towards elite status with any of these hotel programs, don’t rely on an FHR reservation to get there.
It is best to rate your reservation as if you were not receiving any hotel-specific benefits. If you choose FHR, you can contact the hotel and inquire directly. If they say yes, you will be able to enjoy FHR’s elite benefits, as well as points and status upgrades through the hotel loyalty program.
American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts offer some great perks for people who like to stay in unique and luxurious hotels around the world. If you don’t already have high elite status in a hotel, this can be a great way to enjoy the same benefits.
Of course, you need to compare prices between FHR and booking directly with the hotel to determine which makes the most sense for you. However, the benefits of FHR can often overcome price differences by enjoying the free breakfast for two.
While access to Fine Hotels and Resorts probably isn’t high on your list of reasons why you should get the Platinum Card or Business Platinum Card (due to their high annual fees), it’s a great – and often overlooked – bonus to sign up with to pair with the other travel perks that come with the cards.