Amex Eliminates FHR Resort Credit in Vegas? What’s the Solution?

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Select Las Vegas Fine Hotels and Resorts and Chase Luxury Hotels and Resorts are seen on the Las Vegas Strip. (Photo credit: ©iStock.com/d25higgins)

(Photo credit: ©iStock.com/d25higgins)

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

American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts is a benefit included with all flavors of American Express Platinum cards: i.e. personal (learn more) and business (learn more), Schwab, etc.

(Sorry. Platinum Delta Amex cards (read more) aren’t eligible. 🙁 )

FHR-participating properties offer Amex Platinum cardholders and their authorized users these perks:

Room service breakfast at Delano Las Vegas, which is included in Amex FHR breakfast credit.

Room service breakfast at Delano Las Vegas, which is included in Amex FHR breakfast credit.

  • $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
Delano Las Vegas' Fine Hotels & Resorts welcome letter.

Delano Las Vegas’ Fine Hotels & Resorts welcome letter.

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 cardmatched 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.

A Knob Creek bourbon whiskey drink is served at American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts and Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts partner Bellagio Las Vegas circle 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.)

The living room of a Delano Las Vegas suite.

The living room of a Delano Las Vegas king suite room.

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.

The Fountains of Bellagio as seen from a "lake view" room upgrade on an Amex FHR reservation.

The Fountains of Bellagio as seen from a “lake view” room upgrade on an Amex FHR reservation.

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:

Bedroom of a king suite at American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts and Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts property Delano Las Vegas.

Bedroom of a king suite at Delano Las Vegas.

and Day/Night 2 in a panoramic suite!

Panoramic suite at Delano Las Vegas, an Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts property and Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts property.

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.

Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts rates for Delano Las Vegas.

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!

Delano Las Vegas Chase Luxury Hotel & Resorts rates and benefits.

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

10 comments

  1. Still $923 for 2 nights? I dont think even with the $100 that’s a good deal. You can stay at any other hotel and still have over $500 to spend.

  2. Rene – I would imagine most folks like me value time and convenience above all…and don’t really care to finagle every angle/trick nor switch rooms (what a hassle!). I do appreciate a voucher for whatever but that $100 often gets me to spend more than on services I didn’t want in the first place. I’m hotel-independent but get Gold or equiv status via credit cards (which gives minor benefits, like free $5 internet or room “upgrades”), but really only look at the most lux yet convenient hotel, period. As for flying, I happen to be Delta Diamond but only because I purchase discounted first class mostly and happen to get the additional MQMs– even here, I really don’t see an added benefit of chasing airline elite status, as simply purchasing a discounted first class ticket gives everything I need (and I don’t count “soft” benefits like acknowledgements, niceties, or waiving trivial fees valuable)…all of these organizations are all about the money, all of the time. Loyalty programs are more for economy or budget travelers that, over time, do yield profits and value freebies (e.g., free upgrades) above freedom. Just my two cents about these freebies programs!

  3. Hang on. How do you get two $60 breakfast credits for the same room when you’re only staying one night?

  4. @Veejay: The breakfast credit is per day.

    So say we check in at 3:00 PM. We use that $60 for dinner.

    Next morning, that same reservation gets another $60 to use before checkout.

    So it’s $120 in meal credit — and that’s before the $100 resort credit.

    Make sense?

  5. @Chris – holy cow. I did not know it was per day. I always ASSUMED it was a single $60 credit for every paid night. Have you found this to be the case across FHR properties?

    Also I’m curious – how does the hotel system apportion the credit. So, if you end up spending, say $150 in meals, and $75 at the spa. Does it use the $120 “breakfast” credits first towards the meals, then kick in the $100 resort credit?

  6. @Veejay: < > Tested several times at Bellagio and Delano, all with the same results I blogged.

    Whatever you spend above the $60 per day is applied against the resort credit (assuming, you know, the property offers a resort credit not limited to spa)

  7. When I read this I had to laugh. We have used FHR at the Wynn, a couple times. I generally track the Vegas properties on FHR. It has been a long time since the Wynn $100 credit was anything but the spa. The breakfast credit used to be $80 per night, it is now $60. You never received 2 days of credits, ever! I don’t know you received 2 $60 credits. That has never happened to us at the Wynn. So yeah, somehow you were able to “game the system” , and now they stopped it. Hmm, it certainly seems that Amex got the word on this behavior.

  8. Taking away another perk and I have not gotten any notice from Amex plat yet!!?? They should come clean on this!

  9. @JohnB: Step-by-step, here’s how the hotel gave us the credits:

    We’d check into a hotel (Bellagio or Delano) we booked through FHR.

    The front desk staff handed us two breakfast vouchers for $30 each (or $60 total) or told us to charge up to $60 to our room. We used that $60 credit for lunch or dinner at one of the eligible restaurants or for room service.

    Because you track FHR properties, you know the breakfast vouchers are a daily benefit.

    So the next day, we used that day’s $60 credit.

    We simply use the published benefits. Not sure why Wynn didn’t give you daily breakfast credits. That’s a good question for them.

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