Fine Hotels & Resorts
Fine Hotels & Resorts is a collection of resorts and benefits available only to Platinum Card members. There are over 1,000 properties worldwide that participate in this program. When making reservations with Fine Hotels & Resorts for one night or more, you’ll receive the following benefits:
Noon check-in .
Room upgrade upon arrival .
Daily breakfast for two.
Guaranteed 4 pm late checkout.
Complimentary in-room WiFi.
Unique property benefit valued at least $100.
These benefits rival those that many travelers receive when booking directly with hotels to obtain elite status perks. Some locations also offer a last-night free benefit, depending upon when you make your reservation. Terms apply.
Plan Your Next Packaged Offers Experience With These Preferred Partners
American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., when acting solely as a sales agent for travel suppliers, is not responsible for the actions or inactions of such suppliers. We want you to be aware that certain suppliers pay us commissions and other incentives for reaching sales targets or other goals, and may also provide incentives to our travel counselors. For more information please visit americanexpress.com/travelterms. California CST#1022318, Washington UBI#600-469-694, Iowa TA#669.
Amex Travel: Everything You Need To Know
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American Express has a very robust travel portal. Not only can you book different types of travel, but you can also take advantage of a lot of additional perks and benefits depending on the type of cards you have.
But you need to know the ins and outs of how everything works in order to squeeze out all the value you can.
In this article, Ill break down everything you need to know about Amex Travel.
Ill start by explaining the bonus points you can earn and how to use your points to book travel. Ill then cover some of the special perks you can get through the program like 5X earnings.
And Ill show you the results from my research I did to see if Amex Travel is cheaper or more expensive than booking directly .
Finally, Ill show you how to efficiently use Amex Travel to book your travels.
- Business Gold Card
- Business Green Rewards Card
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Top Travel Benefits Of American Express Platinum Credit Cards
Platinum American Express card members earn the highest rewards 5x points on most travel purchases including airline tickets, hotel stays and car rentals booked through American Express Travel. There are no blackout dates and Platinum cardholders also avoid the standard booking fees of $6.99 on domestic and $10.99 on international flights.
Platinum members can also book stays at over 1000 premium properties through the exclusive Fine Hotels and Resorts program. Added perks here include free breakfast for two and other complementary services, along with credits toward property amenities and free room upgrades when available.
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Frequent Delta Flyers And People Whose Home Airport Has A Centurion Lounge
If you fly a lot, it might help to think about the cards annual fee as an airport lounge membership charge. Only instead of a single airlines clubs, you get access to locations all over the world thanks to Priority Pass Select membership, access to Amexs global Centurion Lounges and entry into Delta Sky Clubs among others.
Amex currently operates swanky Centurion lounges in 14 airports with more coming. If theres a Centurion Lounge at your home airport that you can visit on a regular basis, the benefit alone might be worth carrying the card.
However, there are also over 1,200 Priority Pass locations worldwide, and many of Deltas Sky Clubs are surprisingly nice for domestic lounges, especially in airports such as Atlanta and Minneapolis where there arent great Priority Pass options. If you fly to or through places where these lounge networks have facilities, and will actually use them before or between flights, then you might get a lot of value from this benefit. If youre happy with an airport sandwich and a bottle of water, though, this might not be a big selling point.
Should You Use Your Membership Rewards
Even though your Membership Rewards can be transferred out to valuable travel partners for optimal value, sometimes it could make sense to use a travel portal.
One of the biggest reasons is that using something like Amex Travel is simpler.
You dont have to deal with black out dates, award inventory, or figuring out how to do transfers and booking with partners.
However, if you do decide to transfer your points to American Express travel partners, here is a breakdown of the partners you can transfer to:
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Booking Through Amex Travel During Covid
The novel coronavirus has affected how many travelers book trips online, so Amex Travel has a dedicated page to answer questions.
If your reservation is affected by the pandemic and you need to change or cancel, you can log in and visit My Trips. There will be options to cancel your flight or hotel within the reservation details. This may be helpful, especially during the current pilot shortage affecting American Airlines.
Amex honored its airline, hotel, cruise, and car partners travel policies and waived the American Express Travel fees on flight modifications or bookings made before Sept. 30, 2020. However as travel resumes, they no longer offer such a policy. However, if you did have a flight canceled, you likely have travel credit waiting for you on the homepage of Amex Travel.
This Card Is Best For
- Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categoriesRewards Strategist
- Travels outside of U.S. on occasion or frequentlyInternational Traveler
This card is best suited for frequent travelers who spend a lot and want to travel in style with a host of luxury perks. The rewards rate of 5 points per dollar spent on airlines and hotels is one of the highest rewards rates of any travel card. And the breadth of its travel extras really help this card to stand out from competing premium cards.
Yet generous rewards are necessary for this card to pay off, since its $695 annual fee is also among the highest on the market. A number of spending combinations will allow you to recoup that expense, but none of them involve modest spending. For example, if you spend $10,000 per year on flights, you would earn 50,000 points, or the equivalent of $500 if the points were redeemed for flight purchases through American Express Travel. Spending an additional $6,000 a year on hotels would net you 30,000 points, which would yield $210 if spent on hotel purchases through American Express Travel.
However, study the fine print on perks. For example, the airline fee credit cannot be used to pay for seat upgrades and the cardholders companions may be charged to enter the loungesand these fees can be hefty. The Uber credit is awarded monthly, and doesnt carry over to the next month if it isnt used.
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How To Book Travel In The Portal
While you can book travel over the phone with an agent, it is often quicker and more convenient to make your reservations through the AmEx Travel portal.
Here’s how to book travel in the American Express travel portal:
Log in with your username and password.
Select flights, hotels, flight + hotel, cars, or cruises.
Enter your travel dates, cities and other relevant information.
Choose options based on your trip.
Pay with your American Express credit card, points, or a combination.
The Amex Platinum Compared To Other Similar Cards
You might prefer these other travel credit cards that offer a different suite of benefits and can have a friendlier annual fee.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®:
The Chase Sapphire Reserve has several premium travel and dining benefits. Some of the best include:
- $300 annual travel credit
- Priority Pass Select airport lounge access
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
Some of the unique 1:1 transfer partners include United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and IHG Rewards Club.
This card also has a valuable set of complimentary travel insurance benefits.
The annual fee is $550 for the primary card plus $75 per authorized user.
See our complete Amex Platinum Card vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve comparison article.
American Express® Gold Card:
The Amex Gold Card is a semi-premium card that also earns Membership Rewards. Its best for dining and flights with benefits including:
- 4x on dining at restaurants worldwide
- 4x at U.S. supermarkets
- 3x on flights booked directly from airlines or on Amex Travel
- Up to $120 in annual Uber cash for Uber Eats and rides in the U.S. Enrollment required.
- Up to $120 per year dining statement credits to select restaurants. Enrollment required.
- Special on-site benefits at The Hotel Collection
- 1:1 point transfers
Your point redemption options are similar to the Platinum Card but you get a different set of card benefits. In addition, the annual fee is only $250.
See our complete Amex Gold Card vs. Amex Platinum Card comparison article.
The Vacationer Tip
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$200 Airline Fee Credit
Amex will reimburse up to $200 in incidental travel fees for one airline of choice each calendar year. Some of the qualifying expenses include:
- Checked bags
- Lounge visits
- Mileage multipliers
This benefit doesnt reimburse plane ticket purchases like other premium credit card travel credits. As a result, it can be harder to redeem if youre not one to make incidental purchases with an airline and tend to spend your dollars in the airport terminal instead.
The qualifying airlines include the legacy domestic carriers and many discount airlines such as Alaska, Southwest, JetBlue, and Frontier.
Book Award Travel Through Amextravelcom
One of the most valuable redemption options is booking award flights through AmexTravel.com as each point is worth 1 cent.
One cent is the highest standard redemption value for Amex Membership Rewards.
Its also possible to book these award travel itineraries but the redemption value is usually lower:
- Flight upgrades: 1 cent
Some of the transfer partners have a different transfer ratio. But, in most cases, 1,000 Membership Rewards are worth 1,000 miles in your linked loyalty account.
Most point transfers are instant and free. Unfortunately, there is a $0.0006 federal excise tax when transferring points to domestic frequent flyer programs like Delta, JetBlue, and Hawaiian.
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American Express Card Travel Benefits
MEMBERSHIP REWARDS® PAY WITH POINTS*
- Available for Card Members:
- You can use Membership Rewards® points for all or part of your flight, vacation or cruise booking and for hotels booked and paid in advance when booking through American Express Travel. When you book your flight with us, there are no blackout dates or seat restrictions, and you can still earn rewards with your airline or hotel loyalty programs.
FINE HOTELS & RESORTS*
- Available for Card Members:
- Receive complimentary benefits including noon check-in upon arrival when available, a room upgrade upon arrival when available, daily breakfast for two people, complimentary Wi-Fi, 4pm late checkout, and a special amenity that varies by property such as a $100 food and beverage credit or a massage for two. Certain room categories are not eligible for upgrade and special amenity varies by property.
CRUISE PRIVILEGES PROGRAM*
- Available for Card Members:
- Set sail with benefits. Platinum Card and Centurion Members receive valuable amenities on sailings of five nights or more with your American Express Card.
- $100-$300 per stateroom onboard credit.
- Additional exclusive amenities unique to each cruise line.
- Receive one extra Membership Rewards® point on each dollar you spend per booking with American Express Travel.
PLATINUM DESTINATIONS® VACATIONS*
THE HOTEL COLLECTION*
How To Book Hotels Through The American Express Travel Portal
As with flights, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your MR points redemption. Consider transferring them to one of Amex’s three hotel partners Hilton Honors at a 1:2 ratio, Marriott Bonvoy at a 1:1 ratio, or Choice Privileges at a 1:1 ratio, though there’s a special promotion now through October 31, 2021, that bumps up Hilton and Marriott transfers by 30 percent.
Note that with most Amex Travel Portal bookings your MR points will only be worth .7 cent each towards hotel stays. So if you were booking a $100 hotel you’d need to redeem about 14,300 points to cover the cost. However, if you book a stay through Amex’s Fine Hotels & Resorts program your points will be worth a little more, at 1 cent apiece.
Unlike MR points redemptions for flights, hotels booked through the portal are viewed as third-party reservations, so you won’t be able to earn hotel points or enjoy status-related perks you’d have by booking directly through the hotel.
Begin your search by plugging in your travel dates and destination. Then, filter results by hotel or brand, star rating, price per night, neighborhood, amenities or accessibility, and sort by name, price, star rating or Amex recommendation.
For the following example, we searched for a seven-night stay booked November 512, 2021, with the Amex Platinum Card. The Renaissance Paris Arc De Triomphe Hotel, a Marriott Bonvoy property, was one of the best options, with rates from $306 or 43,723 MR points per night.
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Using Amex Travel For Flight And Hotel Packages
Next up, lets take a look at flight and hotel packages. Just like other online travel sites, you can book flight and hotel packages through Amex Travel. Besides the incredible service, you can often receive exclusive perks, discounts, and special promotions as well.
The rates youll see in the results field will show a total per person, which is inclusive of all taxes and fees with the cheapest flight option appearing first. Once you select a hotel, you can choose a specific flight, and the price will adjust accordingly.
Ive found that sometimes you can save a few hundred dollars by booking flights and hotels separately, but it takes a little patience and time to compare pricing and options. You also tend to have a bit less flexibility if you book a package deal instead of booking separately, so be sure to read the fine print and consider the limitations before booking a package deal.
How To Book Flights Using Amex Travel
Booking a flight is simple: Plug in the places you plan to travel from and to, as well as your desired dates. You can also filter by class, time of day and stops. Once done, the portal will show you flight options in both cash and points.
Per Department of Transportation guidelines, you always have 24 hours to cancel a flight free of charge. In the wake of the pandemic, major U.S. airlines have also adjusted their change-fee policies to let customers change their flights without charge, although there are differences among carriers.
If you want to upgrade your flight, you can do so using the portal, as well. Its not as straightforward as paying for your flight outright, though. Instead, youll have to bid to secure an upgrade via the PlusGrade program, as shown in the bottom widget in the screenshot below.
The program is available on more than 20 different international airlines, many of which serve the U.S., including Air Canada, Virgin Atlantic, Japan Airlines and TAP Air Portugal. Major U.S. airlines, except Hawaiian, do not participate in the program, so this is geared more towards international flights but you can still get upgraded on many international flights from and to the U.S.
You can pay for an upgrade with cash, Membership Rewards points or a combination of both.
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The Platinum Card From American Express Review
Our editors independently research and recommend the best products and services. You can learn more about our independent review process and partners in our advertiser disclosure. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
The Platinum Card® from American Express is a premium travel card that offers benefits commensurate with its $550 fee, at least for frequent travelers. It offers an exceptional 5 points per dollar spent on hotels/airfare when booked through Amex travel on eligible flights and hotel purchases and an outstanding one-time offer of 100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
Fine Hotels And Resorts
Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts, also known as FHR, is a luxury hotel program that offers special elite-like perks at over 975 world-class properties all around the world.
There are also special hotels within this program known as Preferred Hotels & Resorts which represents one of the worlds finest and most diverse portfolios of independent hotels.
These hotel networks are only available to cardmembers of Platinum Cards and Centurion Cards.
Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts offers an entire suite of benefits which include:
- Noon check-in, when available
- Room upgrade upon arrival, when available
- Daily breakfast for two people
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Special amenity unique to each property
As mentioned above, you can earn 5X with the Platinum Card on prepaid bookings through FHR. Something else that stands out is that you can still receive your elite benefits and elite credits when going through this portal.
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