American Express’ The 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.
We’ll show you what you need to know about each of these programs and how they could save you money!
What Is American Express’ The Hotel Collection?
First up is American Express’ The Hotel Collection, which is sort of like the little sister to Fine Hotels & Resorts.
Benefits of The Hotel Collection
American Express’ The 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:
- $100 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. Those who hold the Amex Platinum card will receive a $200 credit each year towards their hotel booking when booking with The Hotel Collection.
A hotel credit will be awarded upon check out for each dollar of qualifying dining, spa, and resort activity, up to $100. 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 Amex Platinum card, 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 Amex Platinum card 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 $100 credit with a budget hotel stay.
How to Book a Hotel Collection Property
- 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.
- Select Hotels and search as you normally would.
- 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.
- 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.
- You can pay for your room using an Amex credit card or American Express Membership Rewards points to be eligible.
Hotel Collection Properties
Let’s take a look at how the Hotel Collection’s pricing stands up to booking directly with the hotel.
In the example below, you’ll see price breakdown for 3 Hotel Collection properties in Chicago — we’ve looked at refundable and nonrefundable rates from the hotels as well as the price when booked through the Hotel Collection. Each of these is for a 4-night stay.
|Hotel Name||Price Booked Through Hotel Collection||Price Booked Through Hotel’s Website (With Similar Cancellation Policy)||Best Price Available Through Hotel’s Website (Usually a Prepaid, Nonrefundable Price)|
|Kimpton Gray Hotel||$1,357.17||$1,357.14||$1,088.30|
|Park Hyatt Chicago||$1,761.04||$1,761.00||$1,584.90|
If you value a flexible reservation with free cancellation, then booking these properties through American Express might be a good idea. The hotels are almost the same price across the board, so the $100 Amex credit can be a valuable perk.
But if you are just looking for the lowest price, booking a nonrefundable reservation through the hotel’s website is universally a cheaper option. In fact, for our search, we would have saved $269 by booking the Kimpton Gray at a non-refundable rate directly through the hotel.
One more thing to consider is that these particular hotels are each a part of a major hotel loyalty program. If you book your stay at these hotels through American Express, you won’t earn hotel points, and any status you have may 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 p.m. 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.
We mentioned above that those who hold the Amex Platinum Card receive a $200 annual credit towards their stays with The Hotel Collection; this benefit also applies to Fine Hotels 7 Resorts bookings.
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.
Once you are on the Fine Hotels & Resorts homepage, follow these easy steps to book your stay.
- 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.
- You might notice that some properties can’t be booked online. You will need to call 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.
- 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.
- 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 Amex Platinum card.
- 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.
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 Amex Platinum Card and earn 5x points on your purchase!
In addition to earning 5x points on prepaid hotels and flights booked through Amex Travel, the Amex 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 Name||Price Booked Through Amex FHR||Price Booked Through Hotel’s Website (With Similar Cancellation Policy)||Best Price Available Through Hotel’s Website (Usually a Prepaid, Nonrefundable Price)|
|The Mark New York||$4,780.94||$3,316.00||N/A|
|Saint James Paris||$3,201.57||$3,166.89||$2,850.20|
|Casa Marina Key West, Curio Collection by Hilton||$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 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! Need some inspiration? Check out these 26 Fine Hotels & Resorts properties that offer max value.
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.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.