How Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts can land you elite-like benefits at top hotels

Sep 15, 2019

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This summer, I had an opportunity to experience something truly special — the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, a few miles outside of Phoenix. There was only one catch: midday temperatures easily exceeded 110 degrees, making some quality pool time an absolute must.

Those peak-summer temperatures also made for significantly reduced demand, and the far more affordable hotel rates that often follow. So, while the Four Seasons might be out of reach during peak season — fall and winter rates can easily approach $500 (~£405) — I managed to score a base rate of $230 (~£186) per night.

Better yet, I used The Platinum Card from American Express UK to book my stay through the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts Program (FHR). Although Amex’s rates can sometimes be higher than what you’ll find when booking directly, or even through a third party, the perks often far outweigh the difference in price. In this case, though, the rates were identical, making FHR the obvious choice.

Ever since my 2017 stay at Amanjena in Marrakesh, Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts has changed the way I think about hotel stays in general — assuming I have enough time to make the most of a hotel and its amenities, it can make a lot of sense to spend more than I otherwise would to make the trip even more memorable, if only for a day.

The program is accessible to cardmembers with a Platinum- or Centurion-branded charge card, including The Platinum Card from American Express UK and The Business Platinum Card from American Express UK. If you pay with an Amex card and book directly through the program — either online or over the phone — you’ll be able to take advantage of the following benefits:

  • Room upgrade upon arrival, when available
  • Daily breakfast for two people
  • Guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout
  • Noon check-in, when available
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Unique amenity, such as a food and beverage credit or one-way private sedan transfer

In the case of the Four Seasons Scottsdale, the unique amenity is a $100 property credit, which covers anything from in-room dining to spa treatments (and even a haircut, which Amex treated me to the second day). Technically, it’s only available once per stay, but when I booked a second night after enjoying my first so much, the $100 credit was applied a second time, too.

I also scored an upgrade from a base “casita” room to one with a better view of the desert — it was pretty spectacular dining with a sunset backdrop both evenings, and dinner was free, thanks to the credit.

Amex FHR also got me a continental breakfast each morning at Proof, one of the Four Seasons’ on-site restaurants.

The breakfast amenity was applied as a flat $30 credit, so I could order whatever I wanted off the menu — I even went a hair over with a matcha bowl ($15) and juice trio ($14), after tax and tip, but the full amount was removed from my bill.

Going forward, I’m going to make a point of always checking the Amex FHR offerings, given how much value the program added with this stay. And while I’d prefer to stay put at one hotel during each stop, it could make sense to bounce around just to experience something extra special.

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.

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