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A Complete Guide to American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts

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Every hotel chain has its luxury properties. With Marriott you'll generally find the highest-end hotels under the St. Regis and Ritz-Carlton names, with Hilton it's the Waldorf Astoria and Conrad properties you're looking for, and at Hyatt, you'll typically find the best of the best with a Park Hyatt or Grand Hyatt moniker on the building.

But where should you search for a luxury hotel if you want to see all the best properties in one place? That's where American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts comes in.

Fine Hotels + Resorts (FHR) is an exclusive collection of luxury hotels within Amex Travel, restricted to those with the bank's ultra-premium *amex platinum* or the business version, *biz platinum* and anyone with the invitation-only Centurion Card, commonly known as the Amex Black Card.

Not only does Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts get you access to some of the best, most luxurious hotels around the world – but these bookings also come with added perks like room upgrades, late checkout, free breakfast, and an on-property credit to use during your stay. It's like being a hotel elite guest, without even needing status.

Here's everything you need to know about booking a hotel stay with Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts.

Related reading: A Full Review of The Platinum Card from American Express


What is Fine Hotels + Resorts?

Amex Travel is a booking platform that allows cardmembers to search for flights, hotels, rental cars, and even cruises. Within Amex Travel you'll find a couple of premium hotel programs that are only available to select Amex cardholders, such as Fine Hotels + Resorts and The Hotel Collection.

If you carry the bank's $695 annual fee Amex Platinum Card (see rates & fees), or the business version, you'll be able to access the Fine Hotels + Resorts program for exclusive access to high-end hotels from all the major hotel chains, as well as some other lesser-known luxury hotels brands like The Leading Hotels of the World, Ennismore, and Four Seasons. While you can also book these properties directly, or through other travel search engines, FHR bookings come with added elite-like perks and benefits that can make your stay even better – and help you save.

Here's a look at the stated FHR benefits:

  • Room upgrade on arrival, when available
  • Early noon check-in, when available
  • Daily breakfast for two people
  • Experience credit, such as a spa or food and beverage credit
  • Guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi (if Wi-Fi costs are included in a mandatory property fee, a daily credit for that amount will be applied at check-out.)

That's a pretty impressive list of perks that makes booking through the FHR program a nice option for anyone considering a stay at one of these properties. Some properties even include perks outside of what's guaranteed by the program, like complimentary valet parking at the Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok.


Property credit and valet parking with Amex FHR


One of the other perks to booking through Amex Travel is that *amex platinum* comes with an annual statement credit of up to $200 for FHR bookings. This is an easy way for cardholders to save on their stay and it's just another one of the many benefits that help justify paying the card's high annual fee.

One thing that's worth noting with these FHR bookings is that some (but not all) hotels will allow you to attach your loyalty number to the reservation and earn elite qualifying nights, as well as award you any elite benefits that you might be eligible for, in addition to those that come with the Fine Hotels + Resorts program. If you're booking a stay at a chain where getting elite credit is important to you, it's best to book a refundable “pay later” rate and then contact the hotel directly to see how they will handle your reservation.

Read our full review of The Platinum Card from American Express!


Full FHR Benefits Breakdown

Daily Breakfast for Two

One of the best perks of these Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts bookings is getting daily free breakfast for two. Exactly what you'll get for breakfast varies from property to property but the terms state that breakfast is valued at a minimum of $60 per day.

While $30 per person would be more than enough at most restaurants, some hotel breakfasts can be ridiculously expensive, especially at luxury properties. Still, this perk should be enough to start your day without going hungry.


Experience Credit

If breakfast isn't your thing, the hotel experience credit might be just what you're looking for. This credit is a minimum of $100 and can typically be used on food and beverage, spa treatments, or other activities during your stay.


Amex FHR Benefits at St Regis Maldives


Again, exactly what you get with this credit will vary depending on where you're staying but most properties will let you use it on food and drinks, in addition to other options. Some properties, like the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli even up the credit to $200 – much needed at this remote island resort.


Room Upgrade

While it's never a sure thing, getting a complimentary room upgrade on arrival is a pretty sweet perk. Whether you get bumped into a suite or just a bigger room, getting an upgrade is always a welcome surprise.


Waldorf Asotira Amsterdam room


At some of these hotels, the price difference between a base-level room and the next category up can be drastic, making this perk quite valuable if you'd otherwise consider paying for a better room.


Early Check-In and Late Checkout

Just like room upgrades, early check-in isn't a guaranteed benefit, but it is something hotels try to accommodate with these FHR bookings. What you do get promised is a late checkout, though. Being able to stay in your room until 4 p.m. can be key for anyone with an evening flight or business meeting late in the day. Having the option to return to your hotel room to regroup after being out sightseeing – or even just having a secure place to store your luggage


$200 Hotel Credit

Each year, Amex Platinum cardholders get up to a $200 credit to use on hotels through the Amex Travel booking portal. This credit only applies to Fine Hotels + Resorts® (FHR) or Hotel Collection properties. Notably, Hotel Collection properties require a minimum stay of two consecutive nights.


waldorf astoria dubai palm


Unlike some of the other Amex Platinum benefits, you don't need to enroll for the credit before you use it. All you need to do is log in at Amextravel.com, search for a participating property, pay with your Platinum Card, and that $200 credit will kick in automatically.

This Amex hotel credit resets each calendar year, but since it's a prepaid credit, you only need to book before the end of the year. You'll still be able to use it even if your stay is far into the following year so long as the charge posts to your account on or before Dec. 31 each year.

Check out our full guide on using the Amex Platinum hotel credit!


How to Book

Booking these Fine Hotels + Resorts properties is quite easy … so long as you've got the right card. If you're logged into your Amex account, you can navigate to the “Rewards & Benefits” tab and then select “Book Travel” to get to the main Amex Travel page and begin your search.


How to access Amex Travel screenshot


Alternatively, if you're not already logged into your Amex account, you can go straight to Amex Travel and sign in there. You can search for Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts without being logged in but to complete a booking and see the full price with taxes and fees, you'll need to verify first that you're eligible for the FHR program.

Once you get to Amex Travel, you'll begin your hotel search just like you would anywhere else: Enter your destination, the dates of your stay, and the number of travelers in your party. From there, you'll see the search results for your given destination. Fine Hotels + Resorts properties are always prioritized and should be the first options you see in the search results but you can also filter to only include FHR hotels by checking the box on the left side.


FHR search results for Play del Carmen


Depending on your destination, you may see several FHR properties in the search results…or zero. Generally speaking the more popular the destination, the more likely you'll be able to book one of these luxury properties through Amex Travel and get all the FHR benefits that come with it.

Once you find a property you like, you can choose whether to pre-pay for the the entire reservation, use points, or pay at the hotel. From there it's as simple as entering your personal information and selecting book – your Platinum Card information should pre-populate for the reservation because you're logged into your account.


Amex FHR Payment Options


If you haven't already used your Platinum Card's annual $200 Fine Hotels + Resorts credit, you'll be automatically reimbursed with either the “Pay now” or “Pay at Hotel” options. If you opt for “Pay at hotel” the required deposit will also trigger your card's annual credit but depending on how much the deposit is, you might not get the full credit until you actually complete your stay. In addition to getting a statement credit, you'll also earn 5x Membership Rewards points for these bookings when paying with your Platinum Card.


Are Amex FHR Bookings a Good Deal?

To be clear: Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts are almost always going to be expensive. These are luxury properties, after all. But just because they're expensive, doesn't mean you're getting a bad deal. Let's take a look at a few examples.

Say you want to get away for a quick trip down to Mexico, the Viceroy Riviera Maya looks like an excellent place to stay. Four nights at this hotel, complete with your own private plunge pool and complimentary spirit tasting, would cost you a little over $2,600 when booked through Fine Hotels + Resorts.

Amex FHR Bookin at Viceroy Riviera Maya

If you instead opted to book direct through the hotel's website, you'd be looking at an all in cost of just north of $2,900. That's $300 more by booking direct and you don't get the guaranteed 4 p.m. checkout, daily breakfast for two, $100 property credit, or space available upgrade. In this case, it really pays to book with Amex.


Viceroy Riviera Maya direct booking


Maybe a weekend getaway to the Windy City for some shopping and dining out is more your thing. You'd be hard pressed to find nicer accommodations than the Four Seasons Chicago. A City View room booked here through Amex FHR goes for $515 per night.


Four Season Chicago Amex FHR booking


Booking directly through the Four Seasons, you'd be on the hook for an identical $515 per night. The same cancellation policy, the same room type … but without the added perks. Once again this makes Fine Hotels + Resorts the obvious choice.


Four Seasons Chicago direct booking


Lowest Hotel Rates Guarantee

Even though most properties bookable through Fine Hotels + Resorts provide a fair rate, you'll sometimes find a hotel that's higher priced through Amex. This is just the name of the game with all the different travel portals and booking platforms. But when you do, Amex will refund you the difference as part of its “Lowest Hotel Rates Guarantee” policy.

American Express cardholders who book a qualifying hotel rate on amextravel.com and then find the same hotel room, for the same dates and number of travelers, at a lower price online (before taxes and fees) are eligible for a refund of the price difference. And this isn't exclusive to pre-paid rates: For “pay later” hotel bookings, you must submit a claim within 30 days after you've completed the hotel stay.

This policy only applies to rates available online to the general public – meaning you can't apply a AAA or Military discount to get a refund. Still, that's a pretty great policy for a program that already provides so much extra value for cardholders.


Bottom Line

Fine Hotels + Resorts is a luxury hotel program, exclusively available to Amex Platinum, Business Platinum, and invite-only Centurion cardholders. This hotel program provides access to a curated collection of more than one thousand high-end hotels worldwide and provides Amex cardholders with elite-like perks and benefits such as daily free breakfast for two, room upgrades (when available), $100 experience credit, and late checkout.

Additionally, Amex Platinum cardholders get an annual statement credit of up to $200 when making a Fine Hotels + Resorts booking. This program and the annual credit are just one of the many reasons that it makes sense for many travelers to carry a Platinum Card.


Featured image courtesy of Marriott Hotels

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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