Earlier this year I added the American Express Platinum Card to my wallet because it’s the most rewarding card on the market for travellers – and, this year, I’m doing a hell of a lot of travelling.

One of the Platinum Card perks I was most looking forward to trying was booking accommodation through Amex’s Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) program, which promises benefits at over 1,000 five-star properties worldwide like daily breakfast for two people, a property amenity valued at US$100 (usually a dining credit), guaranteed 4pm late checkout, complimentary room upgrades when available, and more – with a purported average value of over $700 for a two-night stay.

FHR properties are quite high-end and most are outside my budget right now, but earlier this month one of the hotels I wanted to stay at was on the list, so I decided to put FHR to the test to see how it stacked up in practice.

At the start of August, I stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel in Vienna with my partner and mother. I chose this hotel because of the amenities, price, location and easy access to a car park.

At the time of booking, the price through FHR was the same as via the hotel’s website and online travel agents (175 Euro per night for a base-level room). While I could effectively get 10% back by booking through my favourite online travel agent, Hotels.com, I expected to get more value by going via FHR instead.

I booked two rooms – one for me and my partner and the other for my mother – noting that the program T&Cs state that both rooms would be eligible for FHR benefits.

Upon arriving at the hotel to check in, it was clear straight away things would go well: the hotel manager came out to personally greet us and explain all the benefits we could enjoy. He confirmed that both rooms had been upgraded from a ‘classic’ to a more spacious ‘deluxe’ room, and that we could check in early (it was around 11 am) and had a guaranteed 4pm checkout on the day of departure.

The hotel manager also confirmed that we had complimentary breakfasts – which turned out to be a fantastic buffet, not some limited continental selection –  and we also received two 85 Euro credits for the hotel cafe and restaurant, which we used for lunches and snacks.

Given the cost of the rooms, this was an amazing deal.

In summary: we paid 175 Euros per room per night (total 700 Euros), and received:

  • two 85 Euro food and beverage credits – total 170 Euros
  • complimentary breakfasts valued at 28 Euros per person – total of 168 Euros
  • room upgrades valued at 40 Euros per room per night – total of 160 Euros
  • early and late checkout, which I’ll subjectively value at 20% of the total price, so about 140 Euros.

So, I paid 700 Euros for the rooms and received a whopping 638 Euros in extra benefits. What a great deal!

Now, I do have to point out that most FHR properties are more expensive than this one, and I couldn’t find hotels in this price range in other cities I recently visited, like Paris and Rome. Similar deals can probably be found though – it would just take some looking around.

With a higher budget, of course, you’d be spoiled for choice.

The FHR program is only available to holders of Amex’s top-level Platinum and Centurion cards (the latter being invite-only). If you’re interested to know more, check out my full review of the Platinum Card and access a huge 120,000 bonus points offer until 30 August, here.

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