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These Credit Cards Offer Special Savings on Your Next Hotel Stay

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RewardExpert is dedicated to helping you earn free travel with airline miles and points, which can be earned more easily using certain credit cards. But did you know that these same cards sometimes provide special discounts and promotions when you book a hotel?

This can provide an even better reason to apply for your next travel rewards credit card. Besides, you’ll need a place to stay when you reach your destination.

We’ve taken the time to review four of the most rewarding hotel reservation portals to show you which ones deliver the most value. Keep these in mind the next time you need to apply for a new credit card. You may already have a participating card in your wallet!

American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts

Fine Hotels & Resorts is among the best and longest running programs to offer special benefits to select credit card customers who book hotels. Operated by American Express, it is available only to Platinum and Centurion cardholders who pay annual fees of $450 or more. They generally provide good access to luxury hotel properties across the world with a standard suite of benefits:

  • Noon check-in (subject to availability)
  • 4 PM late check-out guaranteed
  • Room upgrade (subject to availability)
  • Daily breakfast for two people
  • Additional special amenity unique to each property, usually with $100 value (e.g., food and beverage credit, airport transfer, or spa treatment)

Although some of these perks are replicated by top-tier hotel elite status, Fine Hotels & Resorts offers unusually rich rewards compared to the other programs discussed in this post. They also have more reliable access to properties that typically don’t have formal loyalty programs such as Four Seasons and Aman. The ability to get a unique property benefit, even on short one-night stays, can make the difference between choosing these hotels over less expensive competitors.

FHR benefits
See more FHR benefits at their site

Reviewing the options for a hypothetical stay in Maui, Hawaii, we found examples such as the Andaz Maui at Wailea, The Ritz-Carlton, and the Montage at Kapalua Bay. Several hotels were promoting complimentary free nights or an additional resort credit for longer stays, in addition to the unique property amenity already offered for all stays.

 Great hotels in Maui, Hawaii
Great hotels in Maui, Hawaii

The major drawback of Fine Hotels & Resorts is that you must pay for the stay with an American Express Platinum or Centurion card. These cards offer only one point per dollar, which may not compare well with other cards that offer two points or more. Also check competing rates elsewhere. Fine Hotels & Resorts does not have a low-rate guarantee, and sometimes rates are higher than on other channels. Only you can decide if the extra benefits are worthwhile.

Luxury Hotel Collection

The Luxury Hotel Collection is an online reservations portal available only to Visa Signature and Visa Infinite cardholders. You can determine your availability by looking at the logo on your credit card. In many ways it is similar to Fine Hotels & Resorts, but there are many fewer benefits overall:

  • Best available rate guarantee
  • Room upgrade (subject to availability)
  • Complimentary in-room internet
  • Complimentary continental breakfast
  • 3 PM late check-out (subject to availability)
  • “VIP Guest” status
  • $25 food or beverage credit

Notice that although the late check-out offer includes a specific time, it is still subject to the hotel’s discretion. The dining credit is also much less, and only continental breakfast is offered. However, Luxury Hotel Collection deserves credit for promising a best rate guarantee, which is not the case for Fine Hotels & Resorts.

Chase hotel benefits
Luxury Hotel Collection with Chase benefits

A search for Luxury Hotel Collection properties in Maui produced only six results, all good quality with five-star reviews but admittedly not the cream of the crop on this island. For example, the Andaz Maui and Grand Wailea were both options, but the Four Seasons and Montage hotels in the more exclusive Kapalua area on the western shore were missing. The upscale Westin and Hyatt Regency chains are also available.

In general, the Luxury Hotel Collection is worth considering if you have no other leverage, but it should not be your first choice when booking a hotel.

Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection

This program has a very similar name to the previous one for Visa cardholders. However, the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection is only available to Chase cardmembers. Its benefits are more similar to those of the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program:

  • Daily breakfast for two people
  • Room upgrade (subject to availability)
  • Early check-in (subject to availability)
  • Late check-out (subject to availability)
  • Unique property benefit

Searching for possible hotels in Maui revealed a wide selection of price points. Examples include the condo-style Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas in Ka’anapali, the remote Travaasa Hana spa and resort, the more modern Andaz Maui in Wailea, and the ritzy Montage Kapalua Bay. Resort benefits were similarly diverse and tended to match the quality of the hotel. Montage, for example, offered a full breakfast credit and $150 spa credit. Contrast that with a continental breakfast and $50 dining credit at the less expensive Wailea Beach Villas.

kapalua bay
Enjoy your holiday at Montage Kapalua Bay resort

Citi Prestige 4th Night Free

Although this credit card does not include any benefits, it does offer a significant value on hotel stays by issuing a statement credit for the fourth night when you book through their reservations team. It is particularly valuable to people who have reimbursable travel expenses since the credit is returned to the cardholder and does not appear on the hotel folio. However, anyone can see the value in paying 25% less for a hotel stay, which may make it worthwhile to pay for breakfast and other perks separately.

Citi currently issues a credit for the actual charges incurred during the fourth night of your stay (be aware that rates may vary during a stay). Next year the program will be revised to issue a credit for the average cost of the first four nights, excluding taxes.

Reservations using the Citi Prestige benefit must be made by phone, and in many cases the agent can still use a rate, such as a AAA discount, that you are normally able to book directly through the hotel. But it can be useful to review participating hotels before you call in order to better compare options with the other programs discussed here. Carlson Wagonlit Travel administers the program. Visit their website to review your options, but remember that you must call to make the reservation even though you can search for hotels online.

Review your optiond at Carlson Wagonlit Travel website
Review your optiond at Carlson Wagonlit Travel website

In a sample search, the Carlson Wagonlit website displayed the most results of any program, with 30 hotels to choose from. These ranged from five-star accommodations at the Four Seasons to more budget-oriented one- and two-star motels. However, the results are not comprehensive (some luxury hotels like the Montage Kapalua were not presented), and the website does not always display all options in large resort areas like Maui since the search radius is limited at 50 miles. Update the results using different cities if this becomes an issue.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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