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An introduction to Amex’s The Hotel Collection program and comparison to FHR

This program could be useful when your or your company’s budget does not allow for the expense of staying at a super luxury hotel but when you still want to get a $75 USD hotel credit and complimentary room upgrade (on stays of two nights or more).

In this guide, we explore the benefits of The Hotel Collection (THC) program, how to search for participating properties, a comparison with the FHR program, how to make a booking and key terms to be aware of.

The benefits

Stay two or more consecutive nights and you’ll receive the following two benefits:

  • a $75 USD hotel credit to spend on dining, spa and resort activities
  • a complimentary room upgrade at check-in (subject to availability)

How to search for hotel locations

There are three ways to search for hotel locations on the THC website:

  • hotel directory
  • brand directory
  • world map

Comparing The Hotel Collection and Fine Hotels & Resorts

In short, Amex’s The Hotel Collection is the poorer cousin of the Fine Hotels & Resorts program.

So why do the two programs exist? It’s because FHR is only accessible to Platinum, Business Platinum and Centurion cardholders and in American Express’ home market, the US, there are a number of ‘Gold’ cards that they wanted to give special hotel deals to too, so they created this separate program for them (plus the elite cards).

However, in Australia, we don’t have these Gold cards, so both programs are available to the same set of customers.

So, if you hold one of these cards, when would you choose THC over FHR?

First of all, they have completely separate participating hotels. THC is focussed on more economical high-end hotels, including chain hotels, whereas FHR is targeted at much more expensive ultra high-end hotels.

You’ll only find the ultra high-end St. Regis Florence through the FHR program

If you’re travelling on business, you may not be able to justify a quite expensive stay at an FHR property, so a THC booking may be a better choice. You’ll receive that $75 USD room credit plus a room upgrade if available. Note that you won’t earn hotel loyalty program points on bookings with THC.

If you do have a bit more cash to splash, then we’d recommend skewing towards an FHR property to enjoy a higher quality hotel and more benefits, including an increased $100 USD room credit, free breakfast, and early check-in and late check-out. You will earn points on bookings through FHR.

Bookings through FHR are eligible for benefits for stays of one night or more, whereas you need to stay at least two nights with THC.

Whilst both THC and FHR have 12 properties in Australia (with no overlap), as an indication of the extent of the programs in the rest of the world, FHR has more than three times the listings that THC does in the Asia-Pacific region.

A comparison of pricing through Amex Travel and booking directly with the hotel

I researched booking a standard room at five different hotels in New York with a flexible cancellation policy for a two-night stay over the Friday and Saturday nights of Easter weekend in April 2017. All quotes are in US dollars.

You’ll see that there is very little difference (if any) between booking through Amex or online:

PropertyAmex Travel priceBook direct price
Hyatt Centric Times Square$1358$1336
InterContinental Times Square$1004$1003
JW Marriott Essex House$1037$1037
The Roxy Hotel Tribeca$1063$1063

On the surface, you can save $22 by booking directly through Hyatt…

…but you’ll come out on top once you factor in the $75 USD credit you’ll get by booking through Amex Travel

If you’re not worried about hotel status, then booking through Amex Travel makes sense in all cases examined as the $75 USD credit makes up for any price saving from booking direct.

If hotel status is important to you, then you may want to consider how much you value that in choosing your booking channel.

As always, it pays to do your research!

How to make a booking

You can make a booking at a THC property:

  • online at Amex Travel (the easiest method)
  • by calling the Platinum Travel Service on 1800 673 760 (press 1 for travel services)
  • by emailing the Platinum Travel Service at [email protected]

Amex Travel specialists and hotel staff are generally more familiar with the FHR program, so if you run into any difficulties in getting THC benefits you are entitled to, perhaps direct them to this The Hotel Collection training video produced by American Express.

Key terms and conditions

  • Payment must be made in full with an American Express Card in the cardholder’s name
  • There is a three-room limit per cardholder per stay
  • The cardholder must be staying in the room/one of the rooms

Summing up

The Hotel Collection program benefits business travellers whose companies may not allow for stays at super luxury Fine Hotels & Resorts properties.

The $75 USD credit is handy for use on dining services for which you are already being reimbursed or spa and resort services that your company usually does not allow you to spend money on.

Having said that, if your hotel elite status is important to you, you may prefer to book directly with the hotel as your status and associated benefits may not be recognised for bookings made through The Hotel Collection.

Supplementary images courtesy American Express.

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This post first appeared on Point Hacks - The Best Frequent Flyer Deals & Offers In Australia., please read the originial post: here

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An introduction to Amex’s The Hotel Collection program and comparison to FHR


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