One of the key benefits to help offset the annual fee of The Platinum Card® from American Express is its $200 annual credit for hotel bookings. However, not just any hotel booking will suffice. Here’s how to use this perk each year and the benefits you can expect to receive when you actually visit the hotel.
Amex $200 Prepaid Hotel Credit
In July 2021, we saw changes to the perks and annual fee on the the Amex Platinum. Along with changing the annual fee to $695 (Rates & Fees), we saw the addition of new annual credits and other perks.
One of the new benefits added to the Amex Platinum card is the prepaid hotel perk we’re discussing today. This perk offers up to $200 in statement credits per year without the need to enroll in advance. Here’s a look at how to use the hotel credits, plus the benefits you receive during your stay.
How to Use the Perk
To use this perk, you need to make a booking through AmexTravel.com for a hotel that participates in either Fine Hotels & Resorts or The Hotel Collection, and you must prepay the stay. Luckily, filtering for these two hotel collections is really simple.
First, head to AmexTravel.com and search for a hotel like you normally would. In this example, we are going to Jerusalem.
Once you receive the results of your search, scroll down and look for this filter on the left-hand side.
You must stay at hotels in either FHR or THC to be eligible for the Amex Platinum hotel credits, so that’s why we are filtering for only these properties. With the dates and location that I searched for, there are no options for The Hotel Collection. However, I can filter for only Fine Hotels & Resorts properties. Once I do that and sort by the cheapest location, I see this.
Though I can get $200 hotel credit per year on my Amex Platinum card, the cheapest eligible property here is $617 per night. To me, that’s not a great option.
What if I search for a hotel in Las Vegas, instead? Following the same process, I see my cheapest option is the Park MGM Las Vegas.
This property is in The Hotel Collection and costs $79 per night. Note that these prices are before taxes and fees.
Since you may be trying to find a hotel that prices at exactly $200, you should be aware that you’ll see a higher number on the next page of the booking process. The original results are pre-tax, while the final cost will include taxes and any fees like resort fees, mandatory parking fees, etc.
My final price for the two nights is $269.62 after taxes and fees. If this is my first stay in the year eligible for the $200 in hotel credits, then I would get that amount refunded to my Amex Platinum Card, as long as I use that card to pay. Thus, my out-of-pocket cost would be $69.62.
Completing the Booking, Ensuring You Get Credit
The rest of the booking process functions like normal. You’ll fill out the guest information, select a room, etc. just as you normally would.
It’s important that you select “pay now” and not “pay at the hotel”. In order to receive the statement credit from Amex, you must pay through AmexTravel.com. Paying directly at the hotel won’t qualify for the statement credit, and you’ll lose out on $200.
When Do You Receive the Statement Credit?
So, how long does it take to get the statement credit? For me, it’s been quick every time I’ve used it. Others report the same.
I can’t promise that it will always post before the charge itself, but I will say that it’s never taken more than a few days for me to receive the credit. As long as you book through AmexTravel.com, select a hotel in Fine Hotels & Resorts or The Hotel Collection, and pay in advance, you should get the credit automatically. Again, no signing up or registering in advance is required. And the longest I’ve ever waited to receive my hotel credit was 4 days.
What if I Cancel My Booking?
Change and cancellation policies will vary. Let’s assume your rate is refundable, and you cancel after you got the $200 in statement credits from American Express.
If you cancel and make a new booking right away, the statement credit often remains on the account, and you will just pay the cost of the new hotel. You already got the credits, so you come out even.
If you cancel and don’t make a new booking, expect that American Express will take back the $200 in credits you received. Then, if you make a new booking later on, the process will work like normal, and you’ll receive the credit on your new booking later. If you don’t get the credit on this new booking, reach out to American Express to have them correct this.
Differences Between Fine Hotels & Resorts and The Hotel Collection
While you can use your Amex Platinum card hotel benefits at either Fine Hotels & Resorts or The Hotel Collection hotels, there are some important differences in benefits to understand.
Fine Hotels & Resorts
The Fine Hotels & Resorts program offers luxury hotels with elite benefits. You’ll get free breakfast every day, room upgrades, late checkout, and other elite perks. There are more than 1,100 properties in FHR.
The Hotel Collection
With The Hotel Collection, you’ll get room upgrades when available, plus up to a $100 hotel credit to spend on things like dining, spa, and resort activities. Charge these things to your room to use the $100 credit that comes with your booking.
It’s also important to note that THC bookings require a booking of at least 2 nights. FHR bookings do not have this requirement.
Similarities and Differences to Note
It’s possible that you will get free breakfast included at THC bookings, though this isn’t guaranteed. It’s not in the list of included perks. I also had an FHR property give me $100 in property credit (at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi). Perks you enjoy can vary by property, but the items mentioned above are the standards you should expect to enjoy at any property when using your prepaid hotel credit.
What About Hotel Loyalty Programs and Elite Status?
Since you are not booking directly with the hotel or its loyalty program, hotels are not required to honor your elite status.
That being said, during the booking process, there is a space to put in your loyalty number. If you are booking a property that belongs to Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, or any loyalty program you participate in, it doesn’t hurt to put in your loyalty number. Understand that the hotels are not required to recognize your status and are not required to give you stay credits/points earning when booking your hotel through AmexTravel.com.
That being said, I am 3 for 3 on hotels recognizing my status, giving the due perks, and also crediting the stay to my loyalty account. Here is my stay at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, where I got stay credit with Marriott Bonvoy and bonus points from my Titanium Elite status with Marriott.
My most recent stay using the hotel credits from the Amex Platinum was in November last year. I got stay credit and earned points with Hilton Honors, despite booking via AmexTravel.com.
It’s nice that this happens, but it’s not a guarantee. Assume it won’t happen, and then be pleasantly surprised if it does.
I enjoy this perk. Personally, the Amex Platinum card hotel credits and perks are among the best that American Express added to the card recently.
You get up to $200 in statement credits for stays at FHR and THC properties each year. You don’t need to sign up in advance, unlike most Amex benefits. If you make a booking that is less than $200, you can avail of the credit across multiple bookings, which is another great part. I personally think the $200 hotel credits and the perks that come with them are really nice. Even better, using the benefits hasn’t been very difficult.
For those wondering, authorized users don’t get their own, separate $200 prepaid hotel credit.