On a similar note...
On a similar note...
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Those who hold Membership Rewards-earning American Express credit cards, and particularly owners of The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, have a few hotel-related benefits and an airfare discount coming their way.
Big spenders looking for hotel stays at Fine Hotels + Resorts properties will extract the most from these benefits, but even travelers who are more price-sensitive will receive some value given the new transfer bonuses to Marriott and Hilton. Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming new perks.
$150 statement credit on Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings over $800
AmEx's Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) program is a selection of more than 1,000 luxury hotels worldwide with which American Express has negotiated a set of special perks. Holders of The Platinum Card® from American Express who spend more than $800 on prepaid FHR reservations on AmexTravel.com will receive a one-time $150 statement credit on travel booked by Dec. 7, 2020. This offer has limited enrollment. Terms apply.
Although the credit will effectively reduce an $800 booking to $650, most of the FHR hotels are high-end properties, with many ranging in price between $300 and $1,000 a night. This is a benefit that will be useful to those who can afford stays at these pricey properties. To take advantage of the $150 statement credit, cardmembers will have to first add the offer to their eligible credit card. Terms apply.
If you’re considering a FHR stay, you’re in luck: In addition to the $150 statement credit, you will also receive the usual benefits that AmEx values at $550, such as daily breakfast for two, room upgrades, 4 p.m. guaranteed checkout, complimentary Wi-Fi and a unique amenity valued at $100. You will also earn 5x Membership Rewards points per $1 on all FHR bookings on AmexTravel.com, which can result in a sizable chunk of points given how expensive the hotels are.
Stays must be booked by Dec. 7, 2020, and AmEx has not disclosed when the reservation must be completed, so even bookings in 2021 are eligible. However, if your hotel stay is completed by Dec. 20, 2020, and is three consecutive nights or more, you can tack on another benefit...
» Learn more: Your guide to the AmEx Fine Hotels and Resorts Program
Complimentary night or property credit at FHR properties through Dec. 20, 2020
Holders of The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express will receive a complimentary night or hotel credit when reserving a stay at more than 200 participating FHR hotels through Dec. 20, 2020 (book by Dec. 7) and booking three or more consecutive nights. Terms apply.
This offer is repeatable, unlike the $150 one-time statement credit. The complimentary night can make a significant dent in the price of a hotel reservation at some of these pricey properties. For example, a four-night stay in November in Los Angeles results in the following nightly rates:
The first two properties offer a complimentary night, reducing the nightly cost by more than $75. The last hotel offers a $250 property credit. Using The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills as an example, the entire stay, inclusive of the fourth free night, costs $1,538.99.
You will also earn well over 7,000 Membership Rewards points on this booking with the 5x earn rate on FHR stays booked through AmExTravel (be sure you prepay on the AmEx website to be eligible for the 5x), an additional $100 food and beverage credit, daily breakfast and all the other perks mentioned above. Terms apply.
Though the price point is high, if you regularly stay at FHR hotels or have a special occasion coming up that fits within the eligibility dates of this promo, you could extract a decent value out of your stay in cash savings and points earned.
» Learn more: AmEx Membership Rewards: How to earn and use them
$75 statement credit at Marriott and 40% transfer bonus to Marriott and Hilton
In addition, AmEx is offering a $75 statement credit when you spend at least $250 at Marriott Bonvoy hotels by Dec. 31, 2020. As with all AmEx offers, you will first need to add the offer to your eligible U.S. Membership Rewards credit card. Terms apply.
The 40% transfer bonus and the $75 statement credit provide a good opportunity to book a hotel stay on points, especially when you consider that you can get the fifth night free when booking a four-night stay on points at Marriott properties. A fifth free night is also offered on Hilton bookings when you have Silver, Gold or Diamond Elite status — but given the $75 cash back credit at Marriott hotels, you’d extract more value from a Marriott booking.
If you’re flush with AmEx points, taking advantage of the transfer bonus could make sense, but as always with hotel point transfers, it will not yield the most value for your points. However, if you don’t plan on flying anytime soon (particularly in first or business class on points) and you're considering hotel stays, these Marriott and Hilton offers can be fruitful given the bonus.
The transfer bonus and the $75 cash-back credit at Marriott properties allow you to have a more affordable vacation than you would get at an FHR property. By offering the FHR perks along with the Marriott/Hilton perks, AmEx is addressing the needs of customers at different price points.
» Learn more: The 5 best AmEx transfer partners — and 8 to avoid
Discounts on flights booked on AmExTravel.com
On the airline side, AmEx is offering Platinum customers the opportunity to purchase domestic flights “up to 22% off the public fare” for bookings made before Dec. 31, 2020, and travel prior to March 31, 2021. Terms apply.
There are some big caveats here, however. The fine print indicates these discounts are only available on participating airlines and on select routes. We looked at 50 different domestic routes during the promotional period and found only two flights that returned the required “Recommend Flights” discount filter in the search results.
If you have your plans in mind, it may be worth a few minutes on AmEx Travel to try out your dates (and perhaps one or two days each way if you have flexible plans) to see if you happen to score one of the discounted flights, but based on our test results, don’t get your hopes up too high.
Road trip benefits
With road trips on the rise, AmEx will soon allow cardmembers to use the Membership Rewards Pay with Points option on prepaid card reservations through AmexTravel.com. In addition, eligible cardholders will receive targeted AmEx Offers on car rental services. Since the option to book car rentals using points is not yet available, it remains to be seen whether the redemption rate will be worthwhile here.
The bottom line
Although The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express come with a slew of travel-related perks and cash-back statement credits, many of these benefits haven’t been as useful due to COVID-related travel restrictions. AmEx has done a good job of continuing to offer additional benefits like streaming subscription credits and cell phone credits to aid consumers during the slow travel months and help offset the hefty annual fee.
The issuance of these additional benefits align with recent travel trends of taking domestic vacations and road trips. If you’re looking to stay at a higher-end FHR property or want to use your points at a Marriott or Hilton hotel, these new perks offered by AmEx are worth checking out.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card