I stayed at a hotel booked through AmEx's Fine Hotels and Resorts program to see if it is worth all the hype
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- If you have the Platinum Card® from American Express, you have access to a suite of travel benefits, including access to an exclusive hotel-booking program run by AmEx: the Fine Hotels and Resorts program.
- When you book through Fine Hotels and Resorts (or "FHR") - either through the AmEx Travel website, or by calling the number on your Platinum Card - you'll get things like free daily breakfast, room upgrades, late check-out, and more.
- As part of a press trip with AmEx, I recently stayed in a hotel in Paris booked through FHR, and participated in activities and meals arranged by AmEx Travel counsellors and specialists.
- Although I've had the Platinum Card for more than a year and a half, and travel often, I had never booked a hotel through the Fine Hotels and Resorts program before.
- Here's what it was like.
If you hold one of American Express' premium products - the Platinum Card or the invite-only Centurion "Black" card - you have access to a few specialty services above what's available for other cardholders.
In particular, the Fine Hotels and Resorts program (or "FHR") offers exclusive perks at a curated list of hotels and resorts around the world whenever an eligible card member books through the program. There are currently about 1,000 properties on the list, although it changes each year as new properties are added and dropped from the program.
The list of properties is meticulously curated, and every property is throughly vetted; AmEx even sends undercover employees and carries out surprise inspections to make sure they're up to par.
Perks include room upgrades, complimentary breakfasts, late check-outs, and more - you can learn more about the program's perks here.
Aside from the published perks, AmEx Platinum cardholders can expect the absolute best service the hotel can offer when they book through the program; being placed on the FHR list can be extremely lucrative for hotels, so naturally the property and its employees are eager to go the extra mile.
Complementing the FHR program, AmEx offers cardholders assistance with every aspect of planning a trip, and help should issues arise. Travel counselors can help with booking flights and hotels, lifestyle counselors can offer assistance with activities, and "Destination Managers," who are local, on-the-ground experts in certain markets, can provide detailed assistance and suggestions.
During a recent trip with American Express to the annual International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) conference in Cannes, France - where I had the chance to observe meetings between AmEx travel executives and representatives from properties that were applying to the FHR program - I had the opportunity to spend two nights in Paris at a FHR hotel, Le Bristol Paris.
This was my first time staying at a hotel as part of a reservation through FHR. Although I was traveling and meeting with AmEx Travel executives who arranged the entire trip, including the leisure activities and the meetings, I still had the opportunity to experience the hotel, the benefits of the program, and a short trip to Paris organized in conjunction with a local Destination Manager.
Here's what it was like.
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