Cheap Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts
Merely broaching the topic of “cheap Fine Hotels & Resorts” probably sounds ridiculous to some of you. The Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program justifies their high rates by including significant perks. Meanwhile, bargain hunters, including this writer, are incentivized to find low rates to maximize their annual $200 Amex Platinum Fine Hotels & Resorts credit. Regardless, many have no interest in this credit. Cardholders get enough value from the Platinum already, lack of interest, coupon fatigue, you name it. The biggest challenge for some, though, is the dearth of reasonably-priced options. I’m not a fan of credit card benefits creating unnecessary spending, and this Platinum benefit can send some off the deep end there. But it is possible to minimize or even find cheap Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts rates. Here are just a few strategies to help.
First off, be open to a variety of travel destinations and timeframes. The FHR portfolio only holds about 1,100 properties, so you’ll probably need to look beyond some of your most convenient destinations. Also, consider traveling during low seasons when rates run cheaper. Even changing up the time of week you visit can make a huge difference. For instance, I’ve found cheap Fine Hotels & Resorts rates in Vegas on Monday and Tuesday nights. Meanwhile, many big cities, such as Washington, DC, New York, and Chicago, are cheaper on weekends.
The Buddy System
Consider taking a friend on an FHR stay and splitting anything over the $200 credit evenly. To many casual travelers, spending, say, a $100 (or more) to share a nice room, full breakfast, property credit, and other benefits is a no-brainer. You may even pick up a new Amex cardholder in the process (hello, referral bonus).
Change Your Mindset
Some may consider this one a mental trick, but I consider it a key realization with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Assign a value to each of the benefits you would receive on a prospective Fine Hotels & Resorts stay – what you would pay out of pocket for them. If that total amount is higher than the cost of the stay over $200 (covered by the Platinum credit) and you’re actually interested in the destination, it’s a net win.
It’s easy to get too caught up in doing things for as close to free as possible, FHR or otherwise. Open yourself to a bit of reasonable spending to experience something new and fulfilling. This leads me to my next point.
Alternatives Aren’t Free
This may seem similar, but I feel it warrants unique attention. Let’s say you decide to stay at a downtown Marriott full service hotel on points instead of a Fine Hotels & Resorts property. If you want breakfast, at the hotel or an unrelated restaurant, you’re paying for it. The same goes for lunch, dinner, and maybe even early check-in or late checkout that you need.
Simply thinking of a points stay as free and a Fine Hotels & Resorts stay as expensive may be expedient, but it’s also shortsighted. When calculating the overall cost of living for that day and a half, the two are actually closer together.
Cheap Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts – Conclusion
I still search for cheap Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts rates, but we’ve also gradually loosened up the purse strings for FHR stays. While some FHR stays have been more superior than others, we’ve found something we’ve enjoyed about each one. Our hobby can create a very special, extreme kind of cheapskate, one who may think going out of pocket is misguided. I’m fully aware that I fit into this niche from time to time. But with FHR, as with many other parts of life, I’m now more of an “all in moderation” type. What’s your overall Fine Hotels & Resorts strategy?
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I booked a stay for October in Copenhagen for about $100 over the credit. However, I’ll likely not renew the Platinum card, so I’ll be without the card for check-in. Is that a problem?
I recently booked the Thompson Savannah for $213 ttl & already got my $200 credit. I booked it on the tail end of a Hyatt points stay with Globalist benefits/SUA so likely won’t need to change rooms.
Well done, Pam!
@Benjy – Agree and definitely a personal decision. If I’m somewhere one night and can get a free or heavily discounted room using the Fine Hotels properties I do it but often will be somewhere more than 1 night and the Hotel Collection works well since it requires a 2 night stay to get the $200 credit. Remember you also get a $100 property credit for the stay as well. Personally I don’t mind going “out of pocket” for travel. I’m not so cheap I need everything for free. I worked hard and retired in great position so can afford any travel I want (and spend heavily on it). I look more for value than “free” and prefer nicer properties. I’d rather pay a net $200-$250 a night for a very nice hotel in a great location than have a free one that doesn’t meet my requirements. I realize many won’t make that choice but I do. Granted when I can get a “free” room with additional benefits like my upcoming Las Vegas stay that is great (I figure net $15 for the room and free breakfast in LV is probably $40 (before the tip) so net $25 gained there and a $100 comp (which is about 4 drinks at casino prices but I would buy those anyway) but that is just one factor in my decision making and often price doesn’t factor in at all.
More power to you, AC!
I’ve learned that if you click the sorts (and are signed in) a couple times it gives you the sort by Membership Rewards option. You can search by country on top of that.
We decided to see Portland for the first time over MDW for around $300/night on two-player mode.
I go to Las Vegas 2 or 3 times a year and found the rates there Sun-Thurs to be very good under this program. It is often possible to find a property for under $200 a night all in (so basically free) or right at that amount.
For example, I’m going in June for the World Series of Poker and staying 6 nights at a Caesars property comped due to my player status. The last night I’m going to the NoMad (more upscale hotel, paired with Park MGM, at what used to be the Monte Carlo). Rate for a Sunday night was $215 with tax and I got the $200 credit so net $15 then I get free breakfast and a $100 property credit against any food or beverages expenses. Well worth changing hotels for the last night to get probably $125 for so net benefit from the breakfast and property credit after deducting the $15 net I paid. One caveat – there is a $45-$50 resort fee but I don’t pay that since I’m Gold in MGM Rewards but otherwise you need to factor that and things like parking (again comped for me) into the equation.
I would also suggest looking at the Hotel Collection properties for the credit. You have to book 2 nights at one to get the $200 credit with Platinum Card but often the rate at these properties is much lower than the Fine Hotels so you end up with a nicer hotel at a much lower rate – agree you need to be flexible on property, days of week and season to best benefit from the credit.
Given the two night requirement and incongruent perks, it’s very possible one goes out of pocket more for Hotel Collection and receives fewer benefits in comparison to FHR. But solid options definitely exist with Hotel Collection, especially if one is looking for two nights, anyway.
Does the Gold waiver of resort fees apply for FHR bookings?
Yes – casinos don’t care how the room was booked they focus on the individual’s relationship with the company. Also the booking on Amex travel asked for my MGM Rewards number so it could be included in the reservation. I’ll still confirm and present my card when I check in