How To Get Amex FHR Like Perks In Vegas Without The $700 Annual Fee

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Benefits Similar To Amex FHR

Benefits Similar To Amex FHR 

There are a couple of ways to get benefits similar to Amex FHR (Fine Hotels & Resorts) without the burden of a $695 Amex Plainum annual fee. Amazing perks like food and beverage or spa credits, free breakfast, and swanky upgrades.  Here’s a look at your options for benefits that match the Amex FHR program, in Las Vegas specifically, but don’t require the annual fee.

Before we get into this, you can read all about the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program here to understand the benefits. Okay, here we go.

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Virtuoso

The best, and cheapest, way to get the benefits similar to Amex FHR in Las Vegas is to book through a Virtuoso travel agent. I had a great experience with Toby at Ford B travel this past December when I stayed at the Andaz Abu Dhabi, and I would highly recommend him to anyone who is interested. I also found another site on Flyertalk called Classic Travel, which displays the room rates and participating properties in Las Vegas.

Upon checking, the properties that are available through Virtuoso in Las Vegas are:
  • Skylofts at MGM Grand
  • Four Seasons
  • Bellagio
  • Wynn
  • Encore
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Delano
  • Waldorf Astoria
  • Aria
  • Prestige at the Venetian. 

That is an impressive number of hotels. An important note about the Prestige at the Venetian is that it is located in the Palazzo. Also, the Venetian is only available through American Express The Hotel Collection. More on that later.

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The Waldorf Astoria, the Cosmopolitan, and the Four Seasons are also members of different programs that are individual to those properties in Vegas.

  • The Waldorf Astoria
    • It is also bookable through Hilton Impresario, which I will talk about later, and this gives you the same benefits but also offers higher upgrade priority.
  • The Cosmopolitan
  • The Four Seasons
    • It is also bookable with a travel agent through the Four Seasons Preferred Program, which doesn’t differ in benefits but does offer higher upgrade priority. 

I don’t expect that the Cosmo will be bookable through this program for much longer, due to the upcoming completion of the buyout of the property by MGM Resorts.  

Night time view of the Cosmopolitan and The Strip
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Here is a chart explaining the property benefits and policies when booking with Virtuoso:
PropertyNightly priceUpgradeBreakfastResort creditCheck-in / Check-out
Aria$189Based on availability$30 per room per stay, only for suites$100 food and beverage creditBased on availability
Aria SkySuites$7001 category upgrade, based on availability2x $30 credits per roomm per stay$50 spa credit, $50 food and beverage creditNoon check-in and 4pm check-out upon availability
Bellagio$159Based on availability2x $30 credits per room per stay, only for suites$100 per stayBased on availability
Cosmopolitan$140Upgrade upon availability to premium suitesWicked Spoon for two$100 food and beverage / spa creditN/A
Delano$153Based on availability$30 for 2 people daily$100 per stayBased on availability
Four Seasons$430Based on availability on arrivalDaily continental breakfast for two$100 food and beverage creditN/A
Prestige at Venetian$279Upgrade at time of bookingBreakfast at PrestigeAccess to spa facility included in resort feeN/A
Skylofts$1,536Strip view upon availability$100 per room per stay$100 per stayBased on availability
Waldorf Astoria$399Upgrade upon arrivalBreakfast for two at hotel restaurant$100 resort creditN/A
Wynn$263Upgrade upon arrival$30 breakfast credit for two people per day$100 spa credit Based on availability

I think the Cosmopolitan is by far the most rewarding hotel for benefits. The fact that they offer a guaranteed breakfast buffet is great, and I think it makes up for the lack of late check-out. Plus, they are the only hotel to offer a choice for your experience credits.

I think that the least rewarding hotel has to be the Venetian, as they don’t promise early check-in or late check-out.  There is also no experience credit. Instead, the hotel offers offer access to the Prestige Lounge, which is no better than an average Hilton or Hyatt executive lounge.

Benefits Similar To Amex FHR

Get Benefits Similar To Amex FHR With Hilton Impresario

The second program that offers you a way to get benefits similar to Amex FHR in Las Vegas is Hilton Impresario. There are three hotels available through this program: Crockfords, the Conrad Las Vegas, and the Waldorf Astoria. I would highly recommend booking the Waldorf Astoria through this program — rather than Virtuoso — as you receive double Hilton Honors points when booking this way. 

It looks like the Conrad is not bookable through Classic Travel, but it does appear on a list of Hilton Impresario hotels. The other benefits available through Virtuoso are available through this program.

American Express The Hotel Collection Offers Amex FHR Like Benefits

While this is a benefit shared with the Platinum Card, it is also possible to get benefits similar to FHR if you have an American Express Gold Card, which has an annual fee of less than half the price of the Platinum at just $250. The benefits of booking through Amex The Hotel Collection (THC) are that you can get a one category upgrade at check in as well as a $100 property credit per stay. While these benefits are not as good as FHR or Virtuoso, it is possible to get these benefits at a larger amount of properties than what is available through Virtuoso or FHR.

The properties in Vegas that are members of the Hotels Collection are:
  • Aria
  • Caesars Palace
  • Mandalay Bay
  • MGM Grand
  • Park MGM
  • The Mirage
  • The Nobu hotel
  • The Venetian
  • Virgin Hotels (Formerly Hard Rock)

Porte Cochere at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas

It is important to note that the Venetian is not a member of FHR or Virtuoso, while the Palazzo is. That doesn’t worry me much because I think the Venetian is inferior to Palazzo, as the rooms are a bit older, and the Palazzo is newer overall. It’s also interesting that Virgin is also a member of Amex THC. It is possible to get some very cheap rooms there, and due to its proximity to LAS it is actually a great airport hotel. The rooms are freshly remodeled there as well, so I think that the Virgin might be the best value. Another newer hotel with inexpensive rooms is the Park MGM, so be sure to check out the rates there as well if bargain hunting. There really isn’t a bad option when it comes to the benefits you receive.

The Park MGM, Virgin, Mandalay Bay, and the Nobu should all have updated rooms if you are looking for that. I recommend completely avoiding the MGM West Wing rooms, along with the Forum Tower rooms at Caesars, as both are very old, and the West Wing rooms couldn’t be smaller.

Chase Luxury Hotels and Resorts 

Until recently, the Chase Luxury Hotels and Resorts Collection program was the best along with Virtuoso and Hilton Impresario, however, in late November, the program underwent a massive devaluation. According to Flying High on Points, what used to be a $100 credit per stay for food and beverage is now a $40 food and beverage credit per day for up to 3 days. For breakfast, what used to be a $60 credit for two people is now a $30 credit for two people. This basically means that even though the food and beverage credit is $20 more than what it was before, it isn’t that helpful since the breakfast credit has been so devalued.

Property Credits When Booking Direct

Another not-so-well-known way to get the benefits similar to Amex FHR in Las Vegas is to book a room rate that includes food and beverage credit. The only resorts that offer this are MGM Resorts properties, Wynn and Encore. Right now, the Wynn and Encore have a rate called ‘Winter Escape,” which gives 30% off the flexible rate and also $30 per day in resort credit. 

Most people don’t know that it is possible to book a rate with MGM resorts that includes food and beverage. This is true even if you are not a MGM Rewards member. However, you will want to sign up and become a MGM Rewards member if you are not already. Booking when logged into your MGM Rewards account often gives you 20-30% off the standard rate.

The amount of property credit varies, but here is a comparison of the credits you can get at MGM properties:
PropertyCreditStandard PriceMGM Rewards RateDiscount (%)
Aria$75$245.10$20317.2%
Delano$60$108.30$8422.4%
Bellagio$75$169.10$13520.2%
Excalibur$30$35.15$22.9534.7%
Luxor$30$41.23$31.8822.7%
Mandalay Bay$50$77.90$5924.3%
MGM Grand$50$77.90$5924.3%
Mirage$50$106.40$8421.1%
Nomad$60$165.30$13518.3%
NYNY$30$130.15$109.6515.8%
Park MGM$50$82.65$6323.8%
Signature at MGM$30$101.45$84.1517.1%
Vdara$60$180.50$14917.5%

Regardless of the hotel, you are basically getting free money in the end. It is even better for MGM Rewards Gold or higher members with waived resort fees. There are some days of the week where it is possible to have a completely free stay at the Excalibur if the cost of the room is under $30, as long as you are up for it 😉. Another great option is the Delano (review here), as the cost will be $44 dollars for the room when the $60 food and beverage is included.

Benefits Similar To Amex FHR

Tips & Tricks When Getting Benefits Similar To Amex FHR 

When booking with a travel agency, it is important to add two registered guests. No one will know whether or not that is true, as the charges are removed, but this will help you maximize your property credits. That leads me to my next point, which is that it is important to check out with a human so they can verify all the charges are removed. Also remember to bill all your charges to the room, because you won’t be reimbursed if not.

As I stated previously, remember to book through Impresario for the Waldorf, Crockfords, and Conrad, to earn double Hilton points on your stay.

How To Avoid Resort Fees At MGM Resorts With World of Hyatt Status Match

Final Thoughts

I think that there are many ways to get extra benefits in Las Vegas, even if there isn’t a Platinum Card in your wallet. You can still get Amex FHR like benefits other ways. The best thing is that the price of these benefits are usually free, or very close to free. My favorite option listed is the Cosmo, as getting a free breakfast buffet is tough to beat.

What are your thoughts? Let me know down below!

John Ryanhttp://www.milestomemories.com/author/johnryan
John is fifteen years old and is addicted to the world of points and miles. He has been to forty-nine states, fourteen countries, and has flown 70,000 miles in 2021, which is the equivalent of flying from Vegas to Europe 14 times. He is also a Las Vegas fanatic and he has lived there his entire life. He loves figuring out ways for him and his parents to travel cheaper, even while he is in school. His goal is to go to all fifty states by age 16 and to hopefully be the youngest male to visit every country.

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11 COMMENTS

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11 COMMENTS

  1. […] How To Get FHR Benefits Without The FHR Price:  One of the awesome perks offered by the Amex Platinum is Fine Hotels & Resorts access.  This provides free breakfast, room upgrades, credits, late checkout and more, even if you don’t have status at the hotel.  What if you didn’t want to pay the hefty annual fee of the Amex Platinum though… […]

  2. John, I’m not certain how many people noticed your bio but kudos to you. Keep up the good work. Note that there will be inappropriate comments by some — ignore them and keep writing. Good luck.

    As your article illustrates, there are many alternatives for people. (And, there are even more alternatives not mentioned.) Making the community aware of those alternatives is the greatest service you can provide. Once aware, they will determine the *best* for their specific circumstances.

  3. Hey, tangential question, I know…but I figured if anyone knew or could find out why, M2M could…. I have been doing the Wyndham/Caesar’s Rewards dance for the past 3 years with no problem. I am still a Wyndham Diamond but when I try to status match to Caesar’s Rewards Diamond, I get the expected “Your account will be updated in 7 days” message, but the update never happens. Do you (or any of your readers) have any idea why this might be happening and/or who I might be able to contact to get the status match to happen?

    • I reached out, and they said it’s taking longer this year. Also did the status match with my husband in AC at Harrah’s via MGM Gold. Was able to email, and they upgraded us from the corporate side.

    • Yeah, what @momsinc said is definitely true. I’d recommend contacting corporate first, but if that doesn’t work, I think you might unfortunately have to wait. They are for some reason, just taking longer than usual, but fi you need it, Founderscard might be an option as well. I, (nor my parents,) have done the status match so I don’t have too much experience with it. Best of luck!

    • Some people have been getting it bit by bit but others have heard it could take up to 45 days this time around. I would just resubmit every 2 weeks. Not much else to do really. Calling in hasn’t been a help for anyone.

    • Yes and no. I am not sure if you could get away with going to two meals as I think most check in agents would not remove the credits twice per day at checkout. However, I do think that if you or someone else were to eat $60 worth of food, all of the costs would be removed at checkout. Hope it helps!

  4. I have also run across fivestaralliance.com online but have never used them. They offer Vegas hotels that FHR and Virtuoso don’t like the Park MGM and MGM Grand. Has anyone tried them out?

    • Upon doing a bit of research, I would advise you to avoid them. They do have 94% five star reviews on TrustPilot, but people have said they never recieved a confirmation email, which is a major red flag, and there was also an issue with someone being booked on the wrong date and they ended up being charged for being a no show. So I would say stay away. Hope it helps!

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