Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) program is one of the key benefits of being a Platinum Charge, Business Platinum Charge or Centurion Card Member. You’ll get great deals on room rates at premium properties, that also comes bundled with perks such as upgrades and more.
In this guide, we look at some of the resources available to help dig into the 1,000 or so FHR properties scattered around the globe, plus their key locations and package perks.
Be sure to later 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.
What is the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program?
FHR is an exclusive hotel booking platform that offers quite a few benefits for hotel stays booked through the program. Within Australia, it’s only available to Platinum Charge, Business Platinum Charge and Centurion Card Members.
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 hefty (A$1,450+) annual fee on those cards. You will get:
- Guaranteed 4pm late check-out
- Complimentary breakfast for two guests
- An ‘additional amenity’: often a US$100 property, F&B or spa credit
- Room upgrade (subject to availability)
- 12pm early check-in (subject to availability)
- Complimentary WiFi
The most valuable benefit is usually the ‘additional amenity’. If that’s a credit of some sort, it’s valid on single-night stays as well. Conceivably, you could extract a lot of value from a one-night stay 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.
The other key win of booking through Fine Hotels & Resorts is that you will earn points and status with the hotel’s loyalty program as if you were booking directly with that chain.
Where are the key locations of FHR properties?
- Gold Coast: Palazzo Versace
- Hamilton Island: Qualia Great Barrier Reef
- Cairns: Shangri-La The Marina
- Melbourne: Crown Towers, Park Hyatt and The Langham
- Perth: COMO The Treasury
- Sydney: Four Seasons, Park Hyatt, Shangri-La and The Langham
- Wolgan Valley: Emirates One&Only
Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra and Hobart are notably missing, unfortunately.
- Bali: 14 properties, including Bulgari Resort, COMO Shambhala Estate and The St. Regis
- 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
- New Zealand: 2 in Queenstown and 1 each in Auckland, Christchurch, Glenorchy, Matauri Bay, Taupo and Te Awanga
- Singapore: 7 properties, including Mandarin Oriental, Raffles and The St. Regis
How do FHR rates compare to other hotel platforms?
1. Park Hyatt Melbourne
Through the FHR program, one night at the Park Hyatt Melbourne was going for A$285, including a US$100 F&B credit, room upgrade, free breakfast and more.
Through Hotels.com, the same room also came to A$285 for the night, but notably without any of the FHR perks, or breakfast at all. However, a future rebate worth 10% of the cost (A$28.50) in ‘Stamps’ would be available through Member Rewards for a future stay in another hotel.
2. Shangri-La Sydney
This one isn’t as much of an obvious win for FHR as the example above, but you could still come out ahead.
Through FHR, a night was A$280 including the usual gifts of a US$100 F&B credit, daily breakfast, room upgrade and more.
Through Hotels.com, the rate is a bit cheaper at A$252 for the same night, with a ‘Stamps’ credit of A$25.20 going towards a future stay. However, note that this is a non-refundable rate that does not include breakfast or other FHR benefits.
So even though Hotels.com has the room for sale around $30 cheaper and with an extra $25 credit for later, you might still be better off going through FHR to take advantage of the luxury perks such as early check-in, a room upgrade, and plenty of cash to splash on hotel dining.
However, if you wouldn’t be able to take advantage of FHR perks (such as while you’re on a busy business trip), then it could be worth booking through Hotels.com for the savings instead.
How do I research Fine Hotels & Resorts benefits without access?
If you are considering a Platinum Charge or similar eligible card, then understanding how much use you might get out of FHR should definitely part of the decision-making process. That said, it’s practically impossible to access FHR rates without being a cardholder.
What you can do is see which properties are included and the benefits offered, by using the Fine Hotels & Resorts Digital Directory.
Alternatively, try the US version of the Amex Travel site, which is more modern than the Australian version.
None of these options will provide you with FHR room rates. But, you will be able to research the properties that are in the program, the specific benefits offered, and whether there are any other special deals.
How do I book FHR properties as an eligible Card Member?
There are three ways you can book FHR properties as an American Express Platinum Charge or Centurion cardholder. In order of speed and convenience, that’s online, over the phone or by email.
1. Online through Amex Travel
The quickest way to book is online. Here are the steps:
- Log in to your account on the American Express website
- Click through ‘Platinum Travel’ then ‘Book a Trip’
- Search for your desired dates and destinations
- Review the FHR options at the top and book
2. Call the Platinum Travel Team
Want to talk to someone about your travel plans? Call 1800 673 760 and press ‘1’ for travel services. American Express prioritises calls from Platinum Charge and Centurion cardholders.
3. Enquire online
You can email the Platinum Travel team at this unpublicised email address — [email protected]. Just outline your requirements to them in writing, ask them to do the research and they will probably need to give you a call back to confirm and book.
Alternatively, you can also submit a hotel enquiry through this link (when logged in), which is under Platinum Service > Concierge. You will then get an enquiry form from which you can submit a hotel booking request.
Fine Hotels & Resorts is a program that elite American Express cardholders globally can access. Amex has ensured 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 in general, the benefits of booking through FHR are generally pretty consistent. The ‘additional amenity’ is usually valued at US$100, which is a great treat for shorter stays.
Of course, if you’re not limiting yourself to just 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 is 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 an FHR hotel that meets your needs, and whether that deal is worth it for you, compared to the wider range of hotels outside of FHR.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, booking through the FHR program still allows you to earn hotel loyalty points and elite nights.
Generally, no. The FHR rate isn’t designed to be the cheapest available, as it includes many premium perks such as room upgrades, early check-in, late check-out, breakfast, and an amenity worth US$100.
No. Travel Credits offered by American Express with certain cards can’t be used on FHR bookings as those are usually not prepaid — you pay upon checking out of the hotel.
Supplementary images courtesy American Express. The article was originally written by Keith Mason.