Travel Tuesday: 3 Reasons Why Vegas is Perfect for Your Amex FHR Credit
When American Express revamped its Platinum card in 2021, one of the additions was a $200 annual credit that could be used for Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts or Hotel Collections bookings. Personally, I found this to be one of the best credit offerings, but I was surprised to see some who disagreed. Perhaps my perception of FHR was colored by the fact that I’ve mostly used it for stays in Las Vegas, which is uniquely perfect for the program. But why is that? Well, on the heels of this year’s CES, let’s look at three reasons why Sin City is a great destination for using your Platinum card’s FHR credit.
Using Your Fine Hotels & Resorts Credit in Vegas
Options are affordable
As it turns out, the people who argued that the FHR was hard to use without spending significantly were pointing to ultra-pricey properties. That’s not so much the case in Vegas where I’ve found a number of reasonably-priced stays. In fact, I’ve not only come across bookings that would be mostly covered by the Platinum’s annual FHR credit but also found stays where the property credit (more on that later) exceeded the room rate.
Incidentally, a great example is Crockford’s at Resorts World, where I happened to use my credit during my previous cardholder year. Our one-night stay came to $237 plus a $51.02 resort fee, which means we ended up paying $88.02 out of pocket for what was a very enjoyable and luxurious room. Similarly, we’ve also stayed at Bellagio for a total of $228 and at Delano (located at Mandalay Bay) for around $150. If you prefer to stay at a non-gaming property, we also stayed at the Waldorf Astoria and paid a total of $270. Plus, all of these are before the Amex credit or property credit are factored in. On the other hand, if you do want to get super fancy, the Skylofts at MGM Grand are pretty amazing — especially the dedicated elevator — but come at a cost.
Basically, if you aim to visit during the week and when there’s not a big event in town, you can almost assuredly find some good rates that will help you make the most of your credit.
Plenty of dining options for your property credit
If you don’t know, one of the major perks of Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings is that you receive a property credit of $100 (or more) as well as daily free breakfast for up to two people. At some hotels, the venue options you have for using these credits may be limited. Yet, in Vegas, you’ll likely have a wide variety of places to pick from.
Going back to Crockford’s, we actually had a $125 dining credit, which we were even able to use at the unique Famous Foods food court. Meanwhile, at Bellagio and Delano, we were provided a letter with a long list of locations where we could use our $100 dining credit. Granted, the daily breakfast credit was far more limited in each case — with only one or two options — but that was far from a dealbreaker.
With that said, there is one thing you need to be careful of when booking FHR and banking on a dining credit. While the program does guarantee a “property credit,” this doesn’t always mean dining. In some cases, hotels may offer a spa credit or something similar instead. That may be a good thing for you… but I’d rather take the food. In my experience, a few Strip properties actually switched from spa to dining credits during the pandemic (Delano being one of them), so that’s a win for me. But be sure to read the booking page carefully to make sure that you’ll be getting the type of credit you want during your stay.
You can easily “chain” your stays
One small catch when it comes to these property credits is that they are per booking and not per night (although the free breakfast is daily). Thus, the value you get from this benefit declines with longer stays. However, FHR — as opposed to Hotel Collection bookings, which require a minimum of two nights — can be made for just a single night. What’s more, thanks to the guaranteed 4 p.m. late check-out and noon early check-in when available, it’s quite possible to take a tour of the Strip and maximize your dining credits along the way.
Admittedly, this could get pretty tiring as you’d have to continually be packing up and moving rooms, but booking the right itinerary could help. For example, you could conceivably start at Resorts World before proceeding to Wynn and then Palazzo (Venetian) — both of which are featured FHR properties. There are plenty of other FHR and Hotel Collection options as you make your way south as well, such as Nobu (Caesar’s Palace), the aforementioned Bellagio and Waldorf Astoria, NoMad (Park MGM), and more.
As someone who’s often stayed at three or four hotels during one week in Las Vegas, I can say there are definitely pros and cons. But, if you’re up for it, you could very well cash in your Amex FHR credit and make the most of your dining credits at each place you stay.
While the American Express Platinum Card’s annual Fine Hotels & Resorts credit can be great, the program itself can be hit or miss. Despite that, in Las Vegas, cardholders don’t really have to push their luck in order to score themselves a good deal. Thanks to the availability of affordable rooms, the vast number of dining options, and the ability to move from property to property, Vegas could very well be the perfect place to use your Plat’s FHR credit and have a great stay.