Are you considering a luxurious hotel stay soon? Your credit card can give you access to some of the best luxury travel booking programs. Valuable perks and benefits include free bonus points, complimentary breakfast and hotel credits making your hotel experience much more luxurious at a lower cost.
But where do you start?
This article will compare the best luxury travel booking platforms and how you can book your next getaway in style. The booking programs we will feature include:
American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts Program
Also known as Amex FHR or Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, it is one of two booking platforms offered to American Express cardholders that provides exclusive benefits at over 1,200+ luxury hotels worldwide. This includes everything from branded locations like the Park Hyatt collection and Waldorf Astoria, to independent locations.
The Amex FHR program is only offered to some American Express cardholders. In Canada, if you have either the The Platinum Card® or Business Platinum Card® from American Express, you will have access to this incredible platform. For most cardholders, the appeal of this program is the additional perks and benefits that come with booking. In some cases, it can offset luxury hotels’ high price points.
Let’s take a look at some of the obvious benefits.
Benefits of Booking through Fine Resorts + Hotels
Some of the standard benefits you get when you book through the FHR program include the following:
- Daily breakfast for two
- Late check-out at 4 p.m.
- Obtaining a superior category room, subject to availability
- Wi-Fi access in the room, subject to certain exclusions
- $100 complimentary experience credit
According to Amex, this suite of benefits offers an average of $600 for a two-night stay! This can certainly change as only some benefits will be used, and the credits depend on the property you book through.
How to Book Through Amex FHR
Booking through Amex FHR is pretty straightforward. The site is incredibly user-friendly, so you shouldn’t have much issue once you log in.
You must use the American Express Travel site to book through the program. Before you do that, however, we recommend you start on the Fine Resorts + Hotels landing page to check out your options.
From there, you could search for a specific hotel or broaden your search by region or city.
Once you have thoroughly reviewed your hotel of choice, you can select check availability, which will take you to the American Express Travel page to complete your booking.
How to Have the Best Experience With Amex FHR
1. Membership Rewards Points
Through your Platinum or Business Platinum Card, you can receive 1 additional Membership rewards points for each dollar spent on eligible travel purchases made on American Express Travel. Eligible travel purchases include scheduled flights, prepaid hotel purchases (including hotels and flight+hotel packages), minus returns and other credits. To discover more, visit the American Express website.
2. Book with a brand you have elite status with
This one is hit or miss, but if you have elite status (preferred customer status as part of a hotel rewards program) with a brand, you may be able to book your reservation through Amex FHR and receive additional benefits. This means that your elite status can offer added benefits on top of the benefits and perks the Amex FHR program provides. This varies from user to user, as some brands do not recognize loyalty status if you book through a third-party booking system like Amex FHR. It doesn’t hurt to check with a brand with which you have elite status.
3. Amex Platinum $200 Hotel Credit
When you book exclusively through American Express Travel with your Platinum card, you become eligible for savings of $200 in statement credits. You can receive this credit even if you pay with points!
The Challenge With Amex FHR
One notable downside to the FHR program is that some of the prices shown on the American Express Travel site can sometimes be more than booking directly with the hotel. Depending on the timing, this could hurt your ability to leverage the benefits.
Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection
Let’s take a look at Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection. This hotel booking program grants eligible cardholders elite-like status with seven amenities to over 900+ visa hotel partners worldwide. Visa states that eligible Visa Premium cards, which include the Visa Infinite Card & Visa Infinite Privilege Card in good standing, can book through the Luxury Hotel Collection. Some examples include:
Benefits of Visa’s Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection
There is a standard collection of 7 benefits eligible cardholders can receive when they book through Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection. This includes:
- Best Available rate guarantee
- Automatic room upgrade upon arrival
- Complimentary in-room wifi, when available
- Complimentary Continental Breakfast Daily
- $25 USD Food or Beverage Credit
- VIP Guest status
- Late check-out upon request, when available
In addition to these 7 standard benefits, an 8th complimentary benefit can be redeemed but only at more than 200 Visa Luxury Hotel Collection properties. The benefit may vary but can be a credit to everything from spas to other food and beverage credit. The downside is that it is only available to Visa infinite holders. To learn more about this additional benefit, click here.
How to Book Through the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection
Like the FHR program, you must book through Visa’s Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection website to receive the benefits of this program. Once you hit the website, you will have a chance to research the hotels available before you look to book. What is great about this website is that you can see detailed reviews and rankings on properties you are interested in.
You can refine your search with prompts on your region of choice, brand, and booking date. From there, you will receive rates and be prompted to log in to your account once you are ready to finalize your booking.
How to Have the Best Experience With Visa’s Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection
To get the maximum value from the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection, you can look at the special limited time offers on the main page. In addition to the 7 standard benefits, you may be eligible for premium offers and discounts like:
- Every 3rd Night free
- Every 4th night free
- 20% off rooms
- $25 USD Food or Beverage credit
Obviously, this would depend heavily on the hotel, but the benefits can be worth it. Imagine getting a free night after your 4th day at a high-end hotel. It seems like a win on top of the benefits you receive.
Challenge With Visa’s Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection
While the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection has many incredible benefits, a downside to the program is the 8 benefits that you would receive with the Visa Infinite card are only subject to 200 hotels. This can diminish the experience as you experience fewer options than you would with the Amex FHR program.
Some honorable mentions for credit-card hotel booking programs include the following:
- Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection (US Credit cardholders)
- Mastercard Luxury Hotels & Resorts
Can we agree that all of these programs are similar ? Even the names are slight variations of one another. It may seem complicated to compare the two, but hopefully, this guide will help :
Amex FHR: American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts is ideal for someone looking for a short stay at a top-of-the-line hotel. This will give you much better savings and help you use the credit the program offers.
Visa Infinite Luxury Hotels & Collection: On the other hand, the Visa program is ideal for longer stays as you have a number of options that make the visit well worth it. The daily breakfast and potential free night are among two of the benefits suited for a long stay.
That is our two cents! Any thoughts on this? Please let us know if you will look into hotel booking programs with your credit cards soon!