If you are one of the lucky ones to have gotten a brand new Platinum Card from American Express (yes, I am referring to the metal ones!) then you should definitely consider using your S$400 Lodging Credit in conjunction with a Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) booking since this maximises the value out of that lodging credit (especially when you combine it with a third night free offer).
1. What are Fine Hotels & Resorts?
American Express Platinum Charge Card and Centurion members are able to book Fine Hotels & Resorts (essentially selected luxury hotels around the world) at the Best Flexible Rate and get a number of benefits in return - they are often inclusive of the following:
Room upgrade upon arrival, when available
Daily breakfast for two
Guaranteed 4:00PM late check-out
Noon check-in, when available
Unique amenity valued at US$100 (e.g. spa, F&B or property credit)
The most beautiful thing about FHR is that it stacks on the elite status that you may already have in that property. For example, if a Platinum Elite member in the Marriott Rewards program books The St. Regis Singapore, he or she will already have a 4:00PM guaranteed late check-out time as well as a potential upgrade but having complimentary breakfast with FHR means being able to choose 1,000 Marriott Rewards Points as the welcome amenity (instead of exchanging it for breakfast). Additionally, the member will also get USD 100 (approximately SGD 130) in F&B credit for that stay.
2. When Should I use Fine Hotels & Resorts Rates?
Since FHR rates only apply to selected properties (click HERE to check out FHR properties in Singapore), you should only consider using it if you already have plans to stay in one of these properties. Obviously, you will be able to get the most value out of the FHR rates if you complete a short stay. If you are planning to stay for more than one or two days, it is definitely worth comparing the Advance Purchase Rate (which you will then have to book direct with the property or via an OTA) with the Best Available (Flex) Rate to see which one is more worth it.
High-end properties typically do not offer too much discount with the Advance Purchase Rate. For example, in the case of The St. Regis Singapore, the Advance Purchase Rate (which is non-refundable) is usually 10% cheaper than the Best Available Rate. Therefore, if the BAR is S$390++, you are essentially saving only S$39++ with the AP Rate - I would pay an additional S$39++ for the flexibility of cancelling, USD 100 of F&B credits and and 1,000 Marriott Rewards Points (since I already have breakfast included in the FHR rate).
3. What is Third Night Free?
This is probably one of the best ways to get the most value out of FHR rates - from time to time, properties run a third (fourth, or fifth) night free offer. While Platinum members in Singapore are unable to book the FHR rates online (you will either have to call The Platinum Concierge or email them), you can check them online to get an indicative rate for your desired property. The best way to check on these exclusive offers is to check out this page.
As you can see in the image above, the Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore is going for just S$266++ (instead of S$426++) per night for a 3-night stay. With this reservation, you will continue to enjoy the perks of being a Jade member in the Golden Circle loyalty program (one of the perks of being a Platinum member) as well as the FHR benefits! Additionally, you will also get to earn Golden Circle points which offer great value for dining!
4. How do I book the Fine Hotels & Resorts Rates?
As I have mentioned earlier, Platinum members in Singapore can check the FHR Rates online but they will have to call The Platinum Concierge or email them in order to get a quotation. If you wish to use your S$400 Lodging Credit (which you get as part of your benefits), just make sure you let The Platinum Concierge know. Once the reservation is confirmed, you will receive a booking confirmation and you can then manage the reservation (e.g. cancel) on your own if it is linked to your membership:
5. Should I Pay using my American Express Platinum Card?
Technically yes but it appears that some hotels are taking American Express cards (that are not The Platinum Card) unofficially.