Guide to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) – Amex’s luxury hotel booking service for Platinum cardholders

GUIDE: Program Guide
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
TIME TO READ: 5 minutes
POSTED: May 25, 2018
UPDATED: July 31, 2018
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Program Summary

Access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) is one of the key benefits of holding a Platinum Charge or Centurion card.

In this guide, we’ll look at some of the resources available to help dig into FHR properties, key locations and some examples of the benefits – think $100 room credits, spa treatments and upgrades.

Given the current 80,000 point Membership Rewards bonus running on the Platinum Charge, I’m looking at a number of the benefits of the card in detail. FHR is one of the first benefits you’ll want to look at after you’ve received your membership pack.

To clarify, you have to be a Platinum or Centurion cardholder to access this benefit—no other Amex cards make the cut.

Be sure to compare the benefits and participating properties of this program to the separate The Hotel Collection program, which covers high-end properties rather than the super luxury hotels that FHR does.

Why book through Fine Hotels & Resorts?

FHR offers a number of benefits for hotel stays booked through the program, and for frequent travellers who like to stay at the kind of upscale hotels included in it, these extra wins are a key part of getting value from the $1200 annual fee on the card. You will get:

  • Guaranteed 4pm late check-out
  • Complimentary breakfast for two guests
  • An additional amenity: often a $100 USD hotel or spa credit
  • A room upgrade (subject to availability)
  • 12pm early check-in (subject to availability)
  • Complimentary wifi

The most valuable benefit is usually the additional amenity – if it’s a credit it is valid on single night stays as well, so conceivably, the out of pocket cost of a one night stay including room service or a hotel meal can be reduced significantly by booking through FHR.

Occasionally some FHR properties have some special offers running when booking through Amex Travel, such as a third or fourth night free.

Park Hyatt NYC FHR Special Offer

The other key win of booking through Fine Hotels & Resorts is that you will earn points and status with the hotel’s loyalty program. This is unlike most other online travel agents, which would usually preclude you from earning points or status with the likes of Starwood, Four Seasons or Hyatt.

Key locations

New Zealand

  • Auckland: Cordis
  • Christchurch: Otahuna Lodge
  • Glenorchy: Blanket Bay

Blanket Bay, Glenorchy

  • Matuari Bay: The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs
  • Queenstown: Eichardt’s Private Hotel, Matakauri Lodge

Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown

  • Taupo: Huka Lodge

Huka Lodge, Taupo

  • Te Awanga: The Farm at Cape Kidnappers

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Te Awanga

Popular leisure destinations in Asia-Pacific

  • Australia: 12 properties, in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Gold Coast, Cairns, Wolgan Valley, and Hamilton Island
  • Shangri-La, The Marina Cairns

  • Bali: 14 properties, including Bulgari Resort, COMO Shambhala Estate and The St. Regis

Bulgari Resort, Bali

  • Fiji: 2 properties, on Laucala and Yaukuve Levu Islands
  • Hawaii: 18 properties, including Fairmont Orchid, Four Seasons and Grand Hyatt
  • Hong Kong: 8 properties, including The Peninsula, The Ritz-Carlton and The Upper House
  • Singapore: 7 properties, including Mandarin Oriental, Raffles and The St. Regis

The St. Regis Singapore

Price comparison through FHR and Hotels.com

In this comparison, I’ll look at booking through FHR vs Hotels.com, as I’m a fan of the Hotels.com Member Rewards program.

Park Hyatt Melbourne

There are three FHR properties in Melbourne, including the Park Hyatt.

Through FHR:

Park Hyatt Melbourne FHR

Park Hyatt Melbourne FHR Pricing

Through Hotels.com:

Park Hyatt Melbourne Hotels.com Pricing

FHR had the nightly rate for the selected date at $285 for the base King Room, along with the standard FHR benefits which would have you hopefully upgraded into a better room, with late checkout. You’d also have a $100 USD hotel credit to spend on food and drink.

Hotels.com has the same room at the same rate, with an equivalent rebate of 10% of the cost ($28.50) by using Member Rewards for a future stay in another hotel.

Shangri-La Sydney

This one isn’t as much of an obvious win for FHR as the example above.

Through FHR:

Shangri La Sydney FHR

Shangri La Sydney FHR Pricing

Through Hotels.com:

Shangri La Sydney Hotels.com

Hotels.com has the room for sale around $30 cheaper than FHR, plus the 10% credit worth $25 via Hotels.com Member Rewards. FHR would once again offer breakfast, $100 in hotel credit, plus possible room upgrade and late checkout.

In this case, if you weren’t planning on spending much time in the hotel then I’d consider booking through Hotels.com for the savings, otherwise for the better room and hotel credit via FHR.

General comparisons

Of course, if you’re not limiting yourself to FHR properties you can spread your hotel net a lot more widely. But then you wouldn’t be able to take advantage of the upgrades, credits and other benefits of FHR either, so there’s not really a clear comparison that can be made.

Each city and hotel stay will have to be decided on a case by case basis as to whether there is a FHR hotel that meets your needs, and whether that deal is worth compromising on a broader choice.

Researching Fine Hotels & Resorts benefits without access to a Platinum Charge card

If you’re considering a Platinum Charge card, then understanding how much use you might get out of FHR is definitely part of the decision making process. That said, it’s hard to access FHR rates without being a cardholder.

It is possible to see which properties are included, and the benefits they offer though, by using the Fine Hotels & Resorts Digital Directory.

Fine Hotels Resorts Directory Website

If you’re interested in understanding which hotel brands in detail are likely to be included in FHR, then the brand directory section of the Digital Directory is very useful.

Finally, there is the US version of the Amex Travel site, which is more modern than the New Zealand version, listing all the current FHR offers.

None of these options will provide FHR room rates, but you’ll be able to research the properties that are in the program, the specific benefits they offer, and whether they are running any other special offers.

How to research & book FHR properties as a Platinum Charge cardholder

There are three ways you can book FHR properties though American Express as a Charge cardholder – on the phone or by email with a consultant, or online through Amex Travel.

Online through Amex Travel

Once logged into your account on the American Express website, click through to Travel, then ’Book Fine Hotels & Resorts’.

Amex Travel Book FHR Menu

From there you can start inputting your search criteria.

Amex Travel Search Input

Enquire by email or phone with the Platinum Travel team

Amex really like you to call them as a Platinum Charge cardholder. If you know what you want and can make a decision on the spot that can work well – if so, you need to call 0800 377 421, then select option 1 for travel services.

Otherwise you can email the Platinum Travel team at this email address – [email protected] – just outline your requirements to them in writing, ask them to do the research, and they will often be able to help without you needing to jump on the phone.

Summing up – Fine Hotels & Resorts

Fine Hotels & Resorts is a program that elite American Express cardholders globally can access and, as a result, Amex have thrown a fair bit of weight behind ensuring that their premium members are given bespoke treatment at each property.

How well that is executed is, of course, completely up to each hotel on a stay-by-stay basis but the benefits of booking through FHR are generally pretty consistent.

Have you had any great Fine Hotels & Resorts wins? Let us know in the comments!

Supplementary images courtesy American Express and select hotels.

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Guide to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) – Amex’s luxury hotel booking service for Platinum cardholders was last modified: July 31st, 2018 by Keith