American Express appears to have eliminated a key perk of Fine Hotels & Resorts in Las Vegas: no more $100 resort credit. But a much cheaper credit card is here to save us!
Quick Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) Primer
(Sorry. Platinum Delta Amex cards (read more) aren’t eligible. 🙁 )
FHR-participating properties offer Amex Platinum cardholders and their authorized users these perks:
- $100 resort credit per stay to be used on select food, beverage, and spa purchases
- Breakfast for two ($60 total per room) each day. In my experience, this is not limited to traditional breakfast times and usually includes room service all day long.
- Suite upgrade, when available
- Early check-in
- Guaranteed 4 PM check-out
How My Wife and I Have Used FHR in Vegas
Las Vegas offers several FHR options — which is great because the Vegas Strip is expensive.
Resorts now charge for parking — including self-parking. (Hyatt status — even earned through the World of Hyatt credit card — matched to M Life staus easily gets you free parking.) Fewer casinos offer complimentary cocktails to gamblers.
This very carefully measured 1.25 oz. Knob Creek bourbon cost $14.50 at Bellagio’s casino bar.
Room rates, food, and beverage on the Strip seem to creep higher and higher.
We frequently visit close family friends in Las Vegas or sometimes hit Sin City for a quick getaway. We love taking advantage of Amex FHR so we can save money. (Delano Las Vegas and Bellagio Las Vegas are favorite spots.)
My wife is an authorized user on my Platinum Card from American Express (learn more), so we usually break a two-night trip into two separate stays: I book a reservation for just Day/Night 1; she books one for Day/Night 2.
We check in Day/Night 1 and receive my FHR credits. Even when arriving in the afternoon or evening, our $60/room breakfast credit is still valid for room service or certain restaurant. So we use that for lunch or dinner. Plus, we have the $100 resort credit to use for another meal, drinks, or spa purchase.
The next morning, we use the new day’s breakfast credit. What’s left of the $100 resort credit we’ll use for food and beverage at the pool. Because FHR guarantees 4 PM checkout, there’s no hurry to vacate our first room.
Before 4 PM, we check into my wife’s room. We use her $60 breakfast credit for lunch. Plus, we have a new $100 resort credit to use for dinner or cocktails. And because FHR guarantees 4 PM checkout, there’s no hurry to vacate our first room.
(Fun tip: you can apply the $100 resort credit for anything above and beyond the $60 room service voucher. Comes in very handy when inviting friends over dinner!)
This might require moving rooms — but that can work out in your favor. Day/Night 1 may find you in a standard king suite at Delano:
and Day/Night 2 in a panoramic suite!
Next morning, we use that stay’s breakfast credit before checking out. (We’ve utilized this method for three consecutive one-night stays. And saved even more money.)
The ultimate price also counts toward our World of Hyatt accounts because we linked Hyatt with M Life.
Our Next Vegas Trip: No More FHR?!
A Las Vegan friend’s child is soon celebrating his first birthday. So we checked Amex Travel to book an FHR weekend for his party.
Here’s what we found:
No more $100 resort credit. It’s replaced with a $100 credit for only spa purchases. Food and beverage credit are gone at all properties — including our ole standby, Delano.
Yes, this can be an excuse to get yourself a massage or other spa treatment. But a 50-minute massage at Delano costs $150. And that’s the “discounted” price valid Monday through Thursday. It’s $165 on weekends.
But FHR isn’t the only game in town (or globe).
Chase to the Rescue!
Fear not! Chase’s Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection mirrors most FHR benefits.
And here’s the best part: the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card — whose annual fee is nearly $500 cheaper than the Platinum Card from American Express (learn more) qualifies for the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection!
So I visited Chase’s Luxury Hotel & Resorts page — where food and beverage credit is alive and well for just fifty cents more!
My wife has a Chase Sapphire Preferred® card (annual fee: $95). She booked Day/Night one.
I’m an authorized user and booked Day/Night 2.
So we’re set for a Vegas weekend.
Chase doesn’t publish which cards quality for Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection. “Select Chase credit cards” is the closest you’ll get to answer. FWIW, my father-in-law’s Chase Sapphire Reserve card was also valid the dates we searched. My World of Hyatt card was not.
Not a Chain Thing
This seems to be just an Amex issue as a whole. None of the Vegas FHR hotels offer the resort credit. In other words, it’s not like Wynn opted of FHR and the MGM properties still participate. No FHR hotels offer the general resort credit.
Before You Comment…
If you’re excited to blast “travel bloggers ruined another trick!” or “gamers wreck everything!” or “this is why airlines (or credit cards or hotels) remove perks!” the check-in-then-check-out-during-multiple-stays-practice is nothing new. It was published on Flyertalk a while ago.
Anyone reading terms and conditions can figure it out, too.
Plus, for every one Amex or Chase cardholder who uses these tips to save money, there are probably 100 or more who have no idea Fine Hotels & Resorts or Luxury Hotels & Resorts exist — or just don’t care.
What Do You Think?
Is Amex intentionally alienating some of their customers? Does this give you a reason to cancel a high-end Amex card and stick with a Chase card? Tell us below! — Chris