It is always a good idea to book directly with a hotel chain (or via an approved luxury travel agent) when there is a proper loyalty program in place. I have previously written about the Fine Hotels & Resorts program that American Express Centurion and Platinum members can take advantage of - you typically get at least USD 100 worth of Spa or F&B credit that you can make use of during your stay on top of other FHR benefits. While searching for hotels this morning, I noticed the option to sign-up for a Four Seasons profile and upon doing so, it appears that 'members' are now able to receive USD 100 (or equivalent in local currency) Food & Beverage Credit with each stay.
Obviously, this USD 100 F&B Credit benefit gives you the most value when you stay for a single night and at the time of writing, the luxury hotel chain still does not have a publicised loyalty program that one can take advantage of but the F&B Credit is definitely an interesting one to look out for. The biggest advantage that this has over Virtuoso or FHR rates is that fact that you can actually combine it with advance purchase rates or whatever promotional rates that Four Seasons offers from time to time.
As you can see in the image above, the Four Seasons Hotel Singapore runs a Weekend Getaway package which is at 18% off the BAR and this can be combined with the USD 100 F&B Credit that you get for booking direct. On the other hand, if you were to book the FHR rate, you will have to book the BAR but you will get other perks associated with that rate plan - complimentary breakfast, guaranteed 4:00PM late check-out, chance of upgrades and other perks. This is definitely a nice change to the program and one that I hope will stay since the new Four Seasons properties are stunning and I would love to check them out more next year by combining some of these benefits to get more bang for my buck.