Using Amex FHR to Save Big on Luxury Hotels

Dec 18, 2014

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.

I’ve been an American Express Platinum cardholder for years. While the $450 annual fee is nothing to scoff at, I’m able to get way more than that in value every year. Off the bat, each calendar year you get $200 in airline reimbursements, and every 5 years you get a $100 rebate for Global Entry/TSA Pre-check. Plus, you get great perks like complimentary access to Delta SkyClubs and the new, swanky Centurion Lounges, which I love.

I'm a huge fan of the swanky news American Express Centurion lounges.
I’m a huge fan of the new Amex Centurion Lounges.

Another benefit that I find useful is the Fine Hotels and Resorts program (FHR). You can book high-end hotels around the world and get great perks like early check-in, spa credits, and upgrades, and the best part is that you still earn hotel points if you’re staying at a hotel that participates in a loyalty program.

Earning Hotel Loyalty Points AND Status With FHR
I’m an SPG Platinum and highly value the points and the perks I get at Starwood properties, so I’m able to double dip—I get valuable perks for booking through FHR, and the hotel recognizes my Platinum status for further upgrades and complimentary platinum breakfast. So, for my first trip to Bali, I decided to put my FHR benefits to the test. I wanted to try different areas in Bali, so I decided to spend the first four nights at the St. Regis is Nusa Dua, and the final 5 nights at the W Bali. The W Bali showed points availability at 25,000 Starpoints per night (on a $500+ per night room), and SPG gives the fifth award night free, so the redemption was 100,000 points total for five nights.

I decided to book the St. Regis using my Amex Business Platinum because FHR is currently offering a fourth night free promotion.

St Regis Bali Fourth Night Free
American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts was offering the fourth night free at the St. Regis Bali.

The nightly rate is $562, so for 4 nights I’d only have to pay  $1,686, so the actual out of pocket rate is $421.50 plus taxes. Not bad, since through FHR I’ll also get:

  • 12 pm check-in, if available (don’t need it, but nice to have otherwise)
  • Room upgrade upon arrival (actual value TBD based on the upgrade received, but potentially several hundred dollars)
  • Daily breakfast for two people ($50 a day for 4 days, so $200—I get the choice of continental breakfast through SPG, but I’d rather have full breakfast and choose the 500 point amenity or local gift instead)
  • 4 pm checkout (I also have this through SPG Platinum, but that’s based on availability, whereas the FHR late checkout is guaranteed)
  • Complimentary 50 minute massage for two people once during the stay (I checked the spa menu and a 60 minute massage is $100, so I value the two 50 minute massages at about $175 total).
St Regis Bali FHR
I decided to book a St. Regis King Suite.

So overall, booking this stay through FHR is getting me $925 in value ($550 free night, $175 in massages and $200 in breakfast.)

That alone is over two years of the annual fee without taking into account any of the other benefits. While there were some negative changes to Amex Platinum benefits earlier this year, Fine Hotels & Resorts is one of the reasons why I continue to keep it in my wallet year after year.

American Express recently asked me to participate in their “Platinum For a Year” program, where I’ll write about different aspects of the Platinum card that I love. Stay tuned for posts on using Platinum to get access to events from NY Fashion Week to the Kentucky Derby- and also advance access to the much awaited Miami Centurion Lounge that is opening in 2015. Amex is compensating me for my time (which is how I can run TPG as a free site), but all opinions of the Platinum card and events are my own. As always, follow along on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for details of my travels (including my Bali experience which starts this weekend!)

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.