Does your travel credit card qualify you for rate discounts, complimentary amenities, and booking flexibility at luxury hotels and resorts? For many travel cardholders, the answer is yes, but certain American Express cardholders are treated to even more. This bank is known for having prestigious credit cards and being particularly travel-friendly, and it continues to set itself apart with its elite travel program.
The American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts program is an exclusive platform that allows members to book discounted travel and earn more rewards per stay than they would if they purchased travel elsewhere. Find out what this program is all about and who is eligible to join in this article.
What is The Fine Hotels & Resorts Program by American Express
The Fine Hotels and Resorts program is a Platinum Travel Service available to elite cardmembers through American Express.
The platform includes more than 1,200 luxury properties with discounted room rates and complimentary amenities available exclusively to Fine Hotels and Resorts guests. The benefits of this program are estimated to be worth $550 in total for every member based on average rates for properties.
To become a part of this program, you have to have a premium American Express card. We’ll cover which travel cards qualify later on. And if you do have one of these cards, you’re automatically enrolled in the Fine Hotels and Resorts program and all you have to do is create a free account. This program does not cost anything to join and you’ll stay enrolled as long as your qualifying card remains in good standing.
You can book travel through the platform for yourself and members of your family as long as you are one of the guests traveling.
To start off, every booking made through the Fine Hotels and Resorts Program is backed by a Lowest Hotel Rates Guarantee. This means that if you find the same room at the same property available at a lower rate through a different booking site, American Express will refund you the difference in price when you book through the Fine Hotels platform.
Please Note: You must submit the lower rate you found with another site here.
Besides rate discounts, the Fine Hotels and Resorts Program includes six different travel benefits that are available for most bookings.
- Noon check-in, when available
- Room upgrade upon arrival, when available
- Daily complimentary breakfast for two people
- Guaranteed 4pm late check-out
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Experience credit
These benefits show up on your bookings when you go to check out. A property’s experience credit must be valued at a minimum of $100 but could be as high as $300. This could be for anything from spa treatments to dining experiences to private tours, but often, it’s a general food and beverage voucher. You will need to check with each hotel or resort about what their experience credit includes.
Some benefits such as early check-in and room upgrades are subject to availability and others such as late check-out and breakfast are guaranteed.
This program also features special offers for select properties. These hotels and resorts may include complimentary nights or increased points-earning potential—it just depends on the property.
The Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort and Club in Dana Point, California, for example, is offering members a complimentary third night on bookings made and completed between now and the end of January 2022.
The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne in Miami, Florida, is including a complimentary $250 property credit on every member booking of four consecutive nights or more made and completed between now and December 2021.
Terms and Conditions
Some hotels or resorts may not offer early check-in on certain room types or cannot guarantee the type of room you prefer. If you have any questions about what benefits will be available for a particular destination, you can call Platinum Travel services at +44 (0) 1273 576 454 for help with a booking.
Note that you can’t may not be able to combine these offers with other offers or promotions and you can’t redeem these benefits for cash. Some locations may have their own rules about how to redeem these benefits, so it’s always a good idea to check before staying.
Only one benefits package can be applied to a single booking and cardmembers are limited to booking only three rooms at a time with these perks. The cardmember who makes and pays for a booking must stay at the hotel or resort to be eligible to receive these exclusive benefits. Also, the stay must be paid for in full with the qualifying American Express credit card. Back-to-back stays within a 24-hour period are considered one stay.
You might not be eligible for the Lowest Hotel Rates Guarantee if you are comparing American Express prices to promotional prices elsewhere, trying to use coupons or loyalty points to reduce the price of the comparable offer, or trying to access an offer not available to the general public.
Fine Hotels & Resorts VS The Hotel Collection
The Hotel Collection is a separate travel program offered by American Express that offers similar but different benefits and its own set of hotels to choose from. You may be eligible to become a member of both programs, though.
Earn Amex Points booking with Fine Hotels & Resorts
Yes, you can absolutely earn Amex points when booking through Fine Hotels and Resorts. In fact, you might be eligible to earn up to 5x Membership Rewards points on 5-star hotel bookings, depending on your card. You can use points to pay for bookings as well.
Participating Hotels and Resorts
There are 68 luxury hotel brands featured in the Fine Hotels and Resorts platform. These include:
- Autograph Collection Hotels
- Baglioni Hotels and Resorts
- Conrad Hotels and Resorts
- Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
- Gran Melia Hotels and Resorts
- Grand Hyatt
- Hilton Hotels and Resorts
- Hyatt Regency
- Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts
- JW Marriott
- The Leading Hotels of the World
- The Luxury Collection
- MGM Resorts International
- Omni Hotels and Resorts
- Park Hyatt
- Regent Hotels and Resorts
- Ritz-Carlton Reserve
- The Ritz-Carlton
- Six Senses
- Steigenberger Hotels and Resorts
- The Unbound Collection by Hyatt
- W Hotels Worldwide
- Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts
This is not a comprehensive list, but you should see some of your favorite luxury brands here. To see all hotel brands, go here.
When you click on a property, you will be taken to a page that describes unique features of that property. You’ll see a description of the hotel, Insider Tips, dining suggestions, relaxation suggestions, and leisure suggestions.
For example, the famous La Reserve Paris Hotel and Spa features a view of the Eiffel Tower and is home to the Michelin-starred Le Gabriel French restaurant. You will also find La Reserve Spa here, which includes three treatment rooms, hammam, an indoor pool, and a fitness center. Guests are encouraged to visit the nearby Passages of Paris or take a private river ride on the Seine River.
How Prices Compare
After doing some comparisons, we can say that American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts doesn’t actually have the best prices. You can often save a bit of money booking directly through a property or with another travel site. The Special Offers category, however, often has some of the best deals when you factor in the complimentary nights and credits.
The benefits you get booking with American Express, including an experience credit worth at least $100 and late check-out, often surpass price differences in value as well. Plus, you’ll earn Amex Membership Rewards points on your bookings. So really, Fine Hotels bookings aren’t always cheaper up front, but they could save you money.
Let’s take a look at an example to give you an idea of what you’ll spend.
You’re booking a stay at the Half Moon in Montego Bay, Jamaica, a five-star property. You choose a Garden View room at Founders Cove.
Through the Fine Hotels and Resorts platform, prices start at $442 a night. Booking direct with the Half Moon, prices start at $431 a night. Neither price includes tax or fees, but the Amex booking comes with complimentary benefits and the Half Moon booking comes with only standard amenities (e.g. no experience credit, standard check-in and check-out, etc.).
Pros and Cons
There is a lot to love about this exclusive program, but there are also a lot of stipulations that come with it. Here are the top advantages and disadvantages.
Obviously one of the top benefits is that you can save money. If you can manage to get a complimentary night with a Special Offer, you can instantly save hundreds. And on top of that, you’ll get an experience credit worth at least $100. It’s a good idea, though, to search for better credits if you can. The average total value of this program is estimated to be around $550, but some members save considerably more.
Another advantage is the $200 Hotel Credit. American Express Platinum card members also earn a $200 annual statement credit when they prepay for Fine Hotels and Resorts bookings with their qualifying card or American Express points. A booking paid in full at the time of reservation is considered to be prepaid and may qualify you for this credit (you will be able to see for sure when checking out). There is no minimum required payment to qualify. You’ll receive this credit automatically and it renews each year, so make sure you spend it while you have it because it won’t roll over to the next year.
The platform is also just generally easy to use and navigate. It’s possible to find and book a hotel in just a few minutes (unless you like to shop around and compare your options), and you can always call the dedicated Platinum Travel services line for help.
One of the biggest disadvantages is that you can’t use hotel loyalty points to book travel through this platform. Say you’re a devoted member of World of Hyatt, for example, and you’ve managed to stash away enough points for a booking. If you want to get the benefits of the Fine Hotels and Resorts program, you must use your American Express card or your American Express points to book. You can’t use your hotel loyalty points and there’s a chance you won’t receive points on your stay either (every hotel is different—some let you earn loyalty points on Fine Hotels bookings and others do not).
This program is also fairly limited. With less than 1,200 locations, you’ll run into problems finding hotels from time to time and may need to choose a type of room you normally wouldn’t. On top of this, some benefits are not guaranteed, and you may not want to have to call every hotel or resort beforehand to see exactly which benefits you qualify for.
You can’t book travel for other people either unless you’re on the itinerary.
Overall, we definitely recommend using this program if you have access to it. Amex Platinum cards aren’t cheap, so you can try to make some of your annual fees back this way. However, always do your research before booking a stay to make sure you’re getting the absolute best prices and perks available. Also, always filter results on the Fine Hotels platform for the best credits and discounts when you have the traveling flexibility to do so, and remember to browse the Special Offers section for promotions.
How to Find a Hotel
There are a few ways you can start your search when preparing to book a stay.
One option is to explore by location using the Hotel Finder tool, which shows you hotels that check all of your boxes. Using this tool, you can select a region—United States, Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, or Asia Pacific—and then select for the following factors: Ambiance, Environment, Guest Experience, and Features and Activities. Here are the choices for each of those categories.
- Environmental Certifications
- Private Stays
Features and Activities
- Spa On-Site
- Fitness Center On-Site
- Restaurant and/or Bar
- Ski Destination
- Safari Excursions
- Pool On-Site
- Casino On-Site
- Golf Course
- Culinary Classes
- Guided Adventures
You can select for as many of these interests as you want then click to see how many hotels match your search.
You can also search Platinum Card Member Favorites or browse within the Get Inspired category. The Get Inspired category includes articles and travel guides to help you plan the perfect getaway.
If you prefer to keep things simple, you can just use the hotel search tool on the Fine Hotels and Resorts platform. This asks for the name of a hotel or destination, the dates you’ll be traveling, and the number of travelers. You can search by hotel brand if you’re partial to one, but this will limit your location options.
Many people choose to filter their search by which properties offer the best, highest-value experience credits; which properties offer free nights for longer stays; or which properties are the most highly-rated.
How to Book
Log in to your American Express account and navigate to the Travel section.
Then, choose a hotel.
Once you’ve decided on a property by following the guidance in the section above, enter your travel dates and number of travelers if you haven’t already.
Then click View Rates or scroll down to see your room options.
The featured room, the one shown at the top of the list, is often the least expensive option, with larger and more inclusive rooms shown at the bottom. Note the prices, shown in dollars and points, and view the cancellation policy before selecting “Book.” On the next page, you will see all of the benefits included with your chosen room and be able to make special requests. Pay in full when booking to qualify for the $200 Hotel Credit or opt to pay a portion of the price now and the rest when you check in.
You can pay using your American Express premium credit card or you can actually use Amex Membership Rewards to book as well. Every booking will show the price in both dollars and points, and members are often able to save money by using points to pay some or all of the price. Generally, 50,000 points are equal to roughly $500.
Amex Credit Cards That Qualify
An American Express premium card is your ticket to the Fine Hotels and Resorts program. There are four that qualify you for Fine Hotels: the Amex Platinum card, the Amex Business Platinum card, the Amex Corporate Platinum card, and the Amex Centurion Card.
All of the following credit cards also qualify you for a $200 Hotel Credit on Fine Hotels and Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings.
- Amex Platinum
American Express Platinum credit card offers a $300 Equinox Credit, good for any type of club membership or Equinox+ purchases; a $200 Airline Fee Credit for incidental fees you incur flying any airline; and access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection. Plus, earn 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels when you book directly with an airline or through American Express Travel. The annual fee for this card is $695.
New members can earn up to 100,000 Membership Rewards points and 10x points on dining when they use their card to spend $6,000 in the first 6 months of opening. Restaurant and small business purchases qualify for the 10x points.
- Amex Business Platinum
The American Express Business Platinum credit card offers a $200 statement credit for purchases made from Dell Technologies, 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel, 1.5x points on eligible purchases worth $5,000 or more, and $200 Airline Fee Credit. The annual fee for this card is $595.
New members can earn up to 120,000 Membership Rewards points when they use their card to spend $15,000 in the first 3 months of opening. Qualifying purchases include those made by the card holders or an employee for goods and services.
- Amex Corporate Platinum
The American Express Corporate Platinum credit card offers a variety of travel benefits including Uber Perks (2x points on rides and 3x points on Uber Eats orders), Trip Delay Insurance (reimbursement up to $500 for covered trips delayed more than 6 hours), up to $179 per year in CLEAR statement credits, complimentary Hilton Honors Gold Status, a $200 Airline Fee Credit, and a $100 statement credit for Global Entry fees or $85 credit for TSA Pre-check fees. The annual fee for this card is $550.
- Amex Centurion Card
The American Express Centurion credit card, often referred to as the black card, can only be obtained by invitation (your chances are higher if you’re already an Amex member and you have a high net-worth). Complimentary Platinum Medallion status with the Delta Air Lines loyalty program, private lounge access, and hefty travel fee credits are just a few of the benefits offered to members. There is a $10,000 initiation fee for this card and a $5,000 annual fee.
Delta SkyMiles Amex Platinum cardholders: sorry, but this card doesn’t make you eligible for the Fine Hotels and Resorts program.
Every Platinum card holder is offered the same travel benefits through the Fine Hotels and Resorts program.
Considering that the American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts program is completely free to use (unless you count the annual fee of having a Platinum credit card) and full of opportunities for members to save on luxury travel bookings, we’d say it’s well worth using. This platform gives you access to premium hotels and resorts across the world with exclusive complimentary benefits and amenities, and lucky Platinum Amex cardholders that qualify to use it are saving hundreds every year.