American Express Hotel Collection vs. Fine Hotels & Resorts — Benefits & Perks Compared

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American Express Hotel Collection and Fine Hotels & Resorts may sound similar, but the benefits they offer are different.

What they both do is offer perks that are only available to cardholders of select American Express credit cards when booking travel through Amex.

I’ll show you what you need to know about each of these programs and how they could save you money!

What Is the American Express Hotel Collection?

First up is the American Express Hotel Collection, which is sort of like the little sister to Fine Hotels & Resorts.

Benefits of the Hotel Collection

The American Express Hotel Collection is a group of hotels that offer premium benefits on stays of at least 2 nights at select properties across the globe. You will receive:

  • $75 credit to spend on qualifying dining, spa, and resort activities
  • Room upgrade at check-in, if available

To be eligible to receive benefits at Hotel Collection locations, you need to hold one of the following credit cards:

Your reservation must be paid for with an American Express card, and the cardholder must travel on the booked itinerary to receive benefits.

A hotel credit will be awarded upon check out for each dollar of qualifying dining, spa, and resort activity, up to $75. Qualifying charges do not include taxes, gratuities, fees, or the cost of the room.

Hot Tip: Your hotel credit cannot be carried over to another stay or redeemed for cash — so make sure to use it!

You can only receive 1 credit per room, but you can book up to 3 rooms, making this an especially nice benefit if you are traveling with a group.

Earn 5x Points on Your Hotel Collection Reservation

If you prepay for your reservation using your Platinum Card® from American Express, you will be able to earn 5x points on your purchase!

In addition to earning 5x points on prepaid hotels and flights booked through Amex Travel, the Platinum Card® from American Express offers other great benefits like a $200 airline fee credit, Uber credits, travel insurance, and access to the Global Lounge Collection.

Drawbacks of The Hotel Collection

  • The properties in the Hotel Collection are generally high-end locations — you probably aren’t going to be able to combine the $75 credit with a budget hotel stay.
  • There are limited locations. I searched in many major cities and vacation destinations, and found no Hotel Collection properties available.

How to Book a Hotel Collection Property

  1. To book a Hotel Collection property, first log in to your American Express account. Click on Menu in the upper left corner then select Travel>Book a Trip. Or go directly to the Amex Travel website.

    How To book Amex Hotel Collection
    Image courtesy of American Express.
  2. Select Hotels and search as you normally would.

    How To book Amex Hotel Collection
    Image courtesy of American Express.
  3. If there are Hotel Collection properties available to book, you will be able to check the box at the left to filter your results. If there aren’t any Hotel Collection properties available, this box will be grayed out.

    How To book Amex Hotel Collection
    Image courtesy of American Express.
  4. Select the hotel you would like to book. If you are eligible for Hotel Collection benefits, they will be clearly displayed within the hotel listing.

    How To book Amex Hotel Collection
    Image courtesy of American Express.
  5. You can pay for your room using an Amex credit card or American Express Membership Rewards points to be eligible.

Hotel Collection Properties

This might be a fluke in the searching mechanism right now, or American Express could be in the process of updating their systems — but I could only find 1 Hotel Collection property listed!

Hotel NamePrice Booked Through Hotel CollectionPrice Booked Through Hotel’s Website (with similar cancellation policy)Best Price Available Through Hotel’s Website (usually a prepaid, nonrefundable price)
Kimpton Gray Hotel$1,455.77$1,447.54$1,289.52

If you value a flexible reservation with free cancellation, then booking this property through American Express might be a good idea. The $75 Amex credit far outweighs the hotels’ slightly higher price for a similarly flexible reservation.

But if you are just looking for the lowest price, booking a nonrefundable reservation through the hotel’s website would save you $166.25.

One more thing to consider is that this particular hotel is part of IHG. If you book it through American Express, you won’t earn IHG Rewards Club points, and any status you have might not be recognized.

What Is American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts

The American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) program is the big daddy of Amex’s hotel benefits programs. It offers select Amex cardholders elite benefits and perks at over 1,000 luxury hotels worldwide when booked through American Express.

Benefits of Fine Hotels & Resorts

The benefits of American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts are much more robust than those offers by the Amex Hotel Collection. When you book a FHR property, you will receive:

  • Room upgrade upon arrival (subject to availability)
  • Daily breakfast for 2 people
  • Guaranteed 4 pm late checkout
  • Noon check-in (subject to availability)
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • A unique property amenity valued at $100 (spa or food and beverage credit)

Hot Tip: Unlike The Hotel Collection, there is no minimum number of nights required to earn Fine Hotels & Resorts benefits. You will be able to get all of these benefits even on a 1-night stay!

These awesome benefits are available to cardholders of Amex’s most elite cards.

Hot Tip: The FHR benefits are limited to 1 “package” per room per stay, but each cardmember can book up to 3 rooms per stay.

Drawbacks of Fine Hotels & Resorts

  • Many properties aren’t available to book online. If you are anything like me, this can be a big deterrent to getting a vacation booked!
  • Hotel prices offered by American Express can sometimes be higher than booking the hotel directly. This price difference could negate any benefit you receive through FHR.
  • These are all high-end hotels. While that’s not necessarily a drawback, it does make this benefit out of reach for a lot of people.

How to Book an Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts Property

You can access Fine Hotel & Resorts properties in 2 ways: through your American Express account or through the Fine Hotels & Resorts website.

To access FHR through your American Express account, click on Menu in the upper left corner, then click on Travel>Fine Hotels & Resorts. Or you can go directly to americanexpressfhr.com.

How To Book Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts
Image courtesy of American Express.

Once you are on the Fine Hotels & Resorts homepage, follow these easy steps to book your stay.

  1. Input a hotel name or destination city, dates of travel, number of rooms, and number of travelers in the main search box and click Search.

    How To Search For Fine Hotels and Resorts
    Image courtesy of American Express.
  2. You might notice that some properties can’t be booked online. You will need to call 1-800-525-3355 to check availability and book those hotels. Otherwise, just click Select once you know which property you would like to book. In each results box, you will also be able to see which unique property amenity comes with your booking.

    How To Search For Fine Hotels and Resorts
    Image courtesy of American Express.
  3. Next you can scroll to the bottom of the page to see the rates for each room type available in both dollars and Amex Membership Rewards points. Be sure to check the cancellation policy for the hotel, as these can vary between properties. Click Book to continue.

    How To Search For Fine Hotels and Resorts
    Image courtesy of American Express.
  4. You can then choose to pay now or pay at the hotel. If you pay at the time of booking you’ll be able to use Membership Rewards points, or you can earn 5x points by using your Platinum Card® from American Express.

    How To Search For Fine Hotels and Resorts
    If you choose to prepay for your reservation, you can use Membership Rewards points or earn 5x points by using your Platinum Card® from American Express. Image courtesy of American Express.
  5. All you need to do to complete your booking is fill out the traveler and payment information. If you would like to pay with points, you can choose how many points you want to use — either enough to cover the whole bill or just a portion of it.

    How To Search For Fine Hotels and Resorts
    Image courtesy of American Express.

Hot Tip: You can use American Express Membership Rewards points to pay for prepaid Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings. If you don’t see the price in points, make sure you are logged in to your account! You can choose to pay for the entire stay or just a portion with your points.

Earn 5x Points on Your Fine Hotels & Resorts Reservation

Similar to using it with the Hotel Collection, you can prepay for your Fine Hotels & Resorts reservation using your Platinum Card® from American Express and earn 5x points on your purchase!

In addition to earning 5x points on prepaid hotels and flights booked through Amex Travel, the Platinum Card offers other benefits like a $200 airline fee credit, Uber credits, travel insurance, and access to the coveted Centurion Lounges!

How Do Fine Hotels & Resorts Prices Stack Up?

I wanted to check to see how the cost of a reservation booked through Amex stacked up to booking directly through the hotel’s website, so I priced out a week-long stay at a few different hotels to see how the prices matched up.

Here is what I found:

Hotel NamePrice Booked Through Amex FHRPrice Booked Through Hotel’s Website (with similar cancellation policy)Best Price Available Through Hotel’s Website (usually a prepaid, nonrefundable price or member rate)
The Mark New York$4,780.94$3,316.00N/A
Saint James Paris$3,201.57$3,166.89$2,850.20
Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort (Key West)$4,130.91$4,165.88$3,879.81

I am actually really surprised at these results! I was expecting the Fine Hotels & Resorts deals to be a slam dunk in every case — but they aren’t. These examples are all over the map.

  • The discrepancy in the prices for The Mark is a bit absurd, and in this case it would absolutely make no sense to book through Amex.
  • Booking the Saint James costs a bit more (about $34) through Amex, but the Fine Hotels & Resorts benefits could absolutely make up for the difference. But if you can handle a nonrefundable rate, the difference in price soars to about $351! However, this difference could be made up through the $100 credit and the price of daily breakfast for 2 (especially in an expensive city like Paris). In that case, you need to decide the value you’d get from a potential room upgrade, late checkout, and free Wi-Fi.
  • The Casa Marina hotel is another example where the answer depends on what you value. This hotel is part of the Hilton collection, and the member price is $251 lower than booking through Amex. Again, the free breakfast credit and $100 hotel credit could make up for that, so you need to decide how important the other benefits are to you.

Another thing to consider with any chain hotel is the loyalty program. When booking through Fine Hotels & Resorts, you may not earn any hotel loyalty points, and any elite status you have with the hotel chain might not be recognized. Based on crowdsourced data, most bookings for Hyatt and Hilton hotels earned loyalty points while most bookings at Marriott hotels did not.

For some people, those things might be more important than the benefits offered by Fine Hotels & Resorts.

Hot Tip: One thing to keep in mind when deciding to book directly or through Fine Hotels & Resorts is the duration of your stay. Since there is no minimum stay required to earn FHR benefits, shorter stays can often be the sweet spot of this program. You will get the same $100 credit whether you are booking 1 night or 7 nights!

Final Thoughts

While The Hotel Collection and Fine Hotels & Resorts sound similar, they offer different perks. The Hotel Collection is available to a larger group of American Express cardmembers but offers fewer perks than Fine Hotels & Resorts.

When booking properties through either program, be sure to compare your price and benefits to what you can get when booking directly. Sometimes it can be cheaper to book directly with the hotel, but the perks offered through these 2 programs could outweigh any increased price you might see when booking through American Express.


Featured Image Credit: The Dewberry Charleston/American Express

FAQ

What's the difference between the American Express Hotel Collection and Fine Hotels & Resorts?

The American Express Hotel Collection offers a $75 credit to spend on qualifying dining, spa, and resort activities plus a room upgrade (if available) to qualifying reservations booked through Amex. This benefit is only available to folks who have:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Business Platinum® Card from American Express
  • American Express® Gold Card
  • The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express
  • Centurion® Card from American Express

American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts comes with benefits like daily breakfast for 2 people, 4 pm late checkout, free Wi-Fi, and a unique property amenity valued at $100. This benefit is only available to holders of:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Business Platinum® Card from American Express
  • Centurion® Card from American Express

Where can I find a list of Fine Hotels & Resorts properties?

To find a full list of properties available through the Fine Hotels & Resorts program, you can check out the FHR Directory.

Can I pay for Hotel Collection or Fine Hotels & Resorts reservations with points?

Yes, if you are prepaying for your reservation you can use your Amex Membership Rewards points to pay for all or part of your bill. Otherwise, you will need to pay using an American Express credit card.

Katie Seemann

About Katie Seemann

Katie is an Ohio native who caught the travel bug after spending a semester in college in Nottingham, England. In addition to exploring England, she visited Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands during that time and loved every minute of it (everything except the hostel in Scotland - that's an experience she doesn't intend on repeating!). In late 2015, Katie discovered the world of points and miles, and it literally changed her life.

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13 comments

  1. JennUWinn · January 27, 2019 · Reply

    Hang tight – the AmEx Fine Hotels & Resorts properties are currently in the process of completing their 2019 contracts and are being added back to the website daily – the properties that partner with the FHR program are going to be available to book online earning 5X points (which was previously not an option for FHR).

    • Katie Seemann · January 31, 2019 · Reply

      Great news! We are looking forward to seeing what properties are now part of the FHR program.

  2. Is the FHR benefit applied to “per room” or “per reservation”? For example, if booking 3 rooms for the same night through FHR, will the amenity be $300 or $100? Thank you so much

    • Katie Seemann · April 20, 2019 · Reply

      Hi RuNic,

      The FHR benefits are limited to 1 “package” per room per stay, but each cardmember can book up to 3 rooms per stay. So, if you booked 3 rooms through FHR and the amenity was $100 credit per room, you would receive that for each room.

      • Thank you Katie! That’s good to know!
        That’s what I understand too from the benefit terms but the Amex travel customer service rep told me only one room of multiple rooms for the same night will get the package so I’m kinda confused.

        • Katie Seemann · April 22, 2019 · Reply

          Hi RuNic,
          Customer Service Reps can get info wrong sometimes! If you are having problems try calling back to talk to someone else, or pull up the terms and conditions so you can have them handy if the rep is misinformed.

  3. Joshua · April 27, 2019 · Reply

    Under the FHR section your hot tip says unlike other OTA these stays earn hotel loyalist points and benefits. However later in the same section you say in bold that FHR stays do not. Which is it?

    • Katie Seemann · April 29, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Joshua,
      Thanks for pointing this out — the post has been updated. When booking a property through Fine Hotels and Resorts, you may be able to earn hotel loyalty points. Based on crowdsourced data, Hyatt and Hilton usually let you earn points on FHR bookings, while Marriott does not. Hope that clears things up for you.

  4. Steve · June 5, 2019 · Reply

    A question: Suppose I want to stay 2 consecutive nights, but I book 2 1-night stays, will that work out for 2 $100 credit?

    • Christine Krzyszton · June 5, 2019 · Reply

      Hello Steve. No, unfortunately that won’t work. The terms and conditions state that: “back-to-back stays within a 24-hour period at the same property are considered one stay.”

  5. Steve · June 6, 2019 · Reply

    Thanks! That makes sense.

  6. Jonah · June 9, 2019 · Reply

    How does the daily breakfast work? Is it ordered via room service or do you go the hotel’s restaurant?

    • Christine Krzyszton · June 9, 2019 · Reply

      Hello Jonah. There are more than 1,000 properties in the Fine Hotels & Resorts group so how breakfast is handled will depend on the property. The actual terms and conditions state: “Breakfast amenity varies by property, but will be, at a minimum, a continental breakfast.” The Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco, for example, offers the following: “Room upgrade upon arrival, when available, Daily breakfast for two people, Complimentary Wi-Fi, Guaranteed 4pm late checkout, and US$100 Food and beverage credit to be used during your stay.” You could review the specific amenities offered by each property in which you’re interested (prior to booking) on the FHR website and then email the hotel to pose your question directly. https://www.americanexpressfhr.com/fhr/offers

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