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If you have The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees) or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees), you’ve probably poked around the benefits page and came across the Fine Hotels + Resorts program. 

Benefits page

The FHR program provides elite-like benefits at select properties for hotels booked through the program. In order to get all the benefits, you do need to book through the FHR program and not directly with the property. The rate might be higher than booking direct, so you’ll have to decide if all the perks are worth the higher price tag. This is not always the case, though, so always comparison shop before booking your stay. 

Let’s look at everything you need to know about the program. 

What is American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts?

When you book through the FHR program, you’ll get access to elite-like benefits at more than 1,100 properties worldwide. Access to the program is reserved for Centurion or Platinum cardmembers, including the Amex Platinum and the Amex Business Platinum.

The participating properties are a mix of brand name hotels and independent properties. All of the hotels bookable through the Amex FHR program are highly-rated luxury properties. Most cardholders primarily book through the program to get extra perks and benefits on their stay.

In the recent revamp of its Platinum card, Amex introduced a new benefit. Personal Platinum cardmembers now get $200 credit (enrollment required) toward a prepaid stay booked via FHR.

This is an annual benefit that resets on Jan. 1 of every year. If you’d like to take advantage of the new Amex Platinum benefit in 2021 but don’t have any travel plans for the rest of the year, you can book a stay for 2022 by Dec. 31, 2021 and still get the credit. 

You can search hotels by specific location, by country or even by member favorites.  

Perks and Benefits of Amex FHR

Booking through the FHR might not be the cheapest way to go. But considering all the perks and credits, including the new $200 credit toward a prepaid stay, it might still make sense. Always do the math to see if the FHR benefits justify the higher rate. 

These are the perks you’ll get with every Amex FHR booking, regardless of the length of your stay:

  • Room upgrade upon arrival, when available at check-in (Properties may exclude some room types and some may only give a room with a better view)
  • Daily breakfast for two people
  • Guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout
  • Noon check-in, when available
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi (if a property has a mandatory resort fee that includes Wi-Fi, you’ll receive a daily credit equal to the cost of Wi-Fi)
  • Experience credit varies by property and is valued at a minimum of US$100 and usually consists of a property, dining or spa credit

Sometimes hotels offer specific experience credits that are unique or worth more than $100, such as a dinner for two at the on-property restaurant or a massage. 

For example, the Peninsula Paris offers a $125 credit that can be used on any extra services the hotel offers, but the Peninsula Bangkok offers complimentary lunch or dinner.  

You might not value all of the amenities the same. I’d rather have the $100 food and beverage credit than a $100 spa credit. Food is food, but, because the hotel spas are notoriously overpriced, there might not even be a single spa treatment that costs $100. It’s important to take this into account when you are evaluating each property, especially if it costs more than a direct booking. 

How to Book Amex FHR Hotels 

To book a hotel with the FHR benefits, start on Amex Travel or on the FHR home page

FHR Home page

If you start with Amex Travel, you’ll be shown all the hotels in the area, not just the FHR properties. Not a big deal, but you’ll need to filter the search results. 

search results filter

Prepaid Amex FHR stays booked online earn 5x Membership Rewards points on the Amex Platinum or Amex Business Platinum card. You can use any Amex card in your name to pay for your reservation, you just won’t earn 5X.

Prepaid doesn’t necessarily mean nonrefundable, so check the terms carefully because each hotel has its own cancellation policy. It’s a good practice to check rates on your refundable hotel reservation, because if the price goes down, you can simply cancel and rebook.

The Platinum cardmember must be traveling on the itinerary booked but the cardholders can book up to three rooms per stay.

And watch out for special offers, like the current free night or property credit promotion. 

What you get as part of the promotion will depend on the property. Some will give a property credit that exceeds the usual $100 and some offer complimentary nights. 

hotels

If the hotel offers a complimentary night, the price you see will reflect the savings. 

Will I Earn Hotel Points on the FHR Stay

The short answer is it depends. Usually hotels don’t award elite nights and points on hotels booked through the third party, but it’s not as straightforward when it comes to FHR stays. So you might or might not get elite qualifying nights and earn points for your FHR stay. We’ve seen most people get their elite credits and points, but it’s not guaranteed and can change at any time. 

If earning elite nights is important to you, then book directly. However, the FHR perks might outweigh the benefits of earning elite status, and that’s something every traveler needs to decide for themselves. 

There are so many non-chain hotels offered through the FHR that it might not even be an important factor when deciding which FHR property to book. 

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.

LEARN MORE 

Can I Use Amex Points to Book an FHR Hotel?

Yes, you can use Amex Membership Rewards for FHR bookings. You’ll see the price in points and cash displayed at the same time. 

Hotel booking

However, you’ll only get a value of one cent per point when you redeem Membership Rewards points for FHR bookings. We don’t recommend you use Membership Rewards points for hotels, as you can get much better value using them for flights. 

Should I Book Through Amex FHR?  

An Amex FHR hotel booking comes with great benefits. However, Amex FHR rates are often more expensive than booking direct. If the elite-like benefits, such as daily breakfast, guaranteed 4 p.m. checkout, and the property credit are important to you, then it might still be a great deal. 

For example, if you are staying at a secluded resort and know that you’ll spend money at hotel restaurants anyway, if the breakfast benefit is important or you know you’ll need a late checkout, then yes, it might be better to book through FHR. This is money you were going to spend anyway and when you take into account all the money you’ll spend on property, you might just come out ahead. 

If you are booking a short stay, then it’ll make perfect sense to book an FHR property. The experience credit is worth at least $100, regardless of how long your stay is. Back to back stays within a 24 hour period  at the same property are considered one stay. But if you have more than one Amex Platinum cardholder in your traveling party, each one can book a shorter stay to take advantage of all the benefits. This way you can double up on the experience credits and if there’s a free night promotion going on, you will each earn a free night, which means two free nights for your entire stay. 

Boutique and non-chain hotels booked through FHR offer the same elite-like benefits the frequent travelers are used to. So if the price is right, booking a boutique hotel might save you a lot of money on food.

If you don’t have elite status with any hotel chain, or don’t care about one, you’ll get elite-like benefits, like a free breakfast, with FHR. A complimentary breakfast alone may justify booking through this program. From my experience, a full, scrumptious buffet breakfast at a nice hotel in Europe or Asia is a must do. 

The $200 prepaid hotel credit that personal Amex Platinum cardholders get make booking an FHR property extremely attractive. Unless you can save more than $200 on the same stay by booking through other avenues, you’ll still come out ahead. Add to this the free breakfast and the property credit and you get significant savings. 

Take Advantage of the Amex Offers

I love Amex offers and check them almost every day. In the past I’ve seen Amex offers for hotels booked through Amex Travel. If you find a hotel that you can book through FHR that also has an Amex offer, you’ll be able to save even more. 

Final Thoughts

With the introduction of the $200 Amex Platinum credit, FHR just became that much more attractive. Even when hotel prices are higher than booking through other channels, the $200 annual credit and all the added benefits make a hotel stay booked through FHR a very attractive proposition.  

You can stack the property credits, Amex Travel special offers, the Amex offers and the $200 annual credit and get some heavily discounted stays at some of the most beautiful properties in the world. But in any case, it’s very important to shop around and to compare the rates.   

Travel well,

Anna