We used a Las Vegas trip to experience both Amex’s Fine Hotels + Resorts and Chase’s Luxury Hotel & Resorts programs. We stayed at Delano Las Vegas.
Our first night was booked as the FHR stay, for which I used my The Platinum Card® from American Express.
The second night was the LHR stay. We paid with my Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
The benefits are nearly identical. Though our experience reveals one of the programs has a definite edge when it comes to billing — and saving you time at checkout.
FHR and LHR Benefits
Fine Hotels + Resorts and Luxury Hotel & Resorts offer fairly similar benefits.
It’s only fitting seeing as how their names are darn near mirror images of each other. Like, couldn’t one of them have picked “(Adjective) Resorts (and) Hotels”? 🙂
Here are the welcome letters we received for each stay:
Again, nearly the same.
$100 Resort Credit
This might vary according to property — and if there’s a pandemic going on.
I wrote a couple of years ago that FHR’s $100 resort credit seemingly applied only to spa purchases during Vegas stays. But during our stay, it was valid only for food and beverage. Probably because the pandemic, you know, forced the spa to close for a while.
Make sure to read the terms and see which restaurants and bars are eligible. And keep in mind that gratuities and some service charges do not count toward your $100 credit. For example, if you charge $75 of food and beverage to your room and tip $25, you’ll only receive credit for the $75.
Also: this is per stay. Not per night.
We were able to “double-up” on the credit because we were there two nights — divided up into two stays.
So You Got $200 in Credit Because You Did a Back-to-Back Stay?
It involved physically leaving night one’s room and then staying in your “new” room on the second night.
But it’s actually kind of fun.
Depending on the upgrade situation, it’s like having two vacations within your vacation.
We took advantage of the 12 PM check-in on the second stay. It worked great.
We were upgraded to Delano Stay Well Suites for both stays.
In the past, we’ve received upgrades to the panoramic suites — which we much prefer.
The MGM Resorts WiFi worked great. There was enough speed for me to watch MLB.TV on my laptop while my daughter watched Disney+ on the Roku stick we bring along on travels and plug into televisions.
We absolutely love this benefit. It really gives you a chance to squeeze an extra afternoon into your stay.
Maybe you have an evening flight and want to relax in the hotel room. Or perhaps your kids want to enjoy the pool for a couple of hours. Want to do some early afternoon sightseeing and take a quick shower before heading out? This really is a tremendous perk
We used this for our first stay — when way wife checked out at about noon.
Trigger Warning: The Breakfast Credits!
It seems as though breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.
Based on people’s responses to my issue with getting credit for breakfast during the first stay (detailed in my review of the Delano Stay Well Suite), it’s sure a touchy issue 🙂 .
Breakfast Credits: Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts
Here’s the thing: In the past, I was explicitly told at check-in during past Delano visits that the FHR breakfast benefit applied to the first/arrival day of a stay — not just the day(s) after staying overnight. Great perk, right? It made the FHR benefit even more valuable.
So I was a little taken aback when a rep refused to discount $60 from our first day’s room service bill. I spoke with a manager who graciously took that off our bill.
Wow. My complaint about the breakfast benefit not being honored on the arrival day sure triggered a few readers.
Again: we were offered the benefit on the arrival several times in the past. I made that clear in the post.
Reader “ptahcha” politely asked if I was told at check-in that the breakfast benefit would be included on the arrival day and added, “Past experience does not guarantee future benefit delivery.”
I didn’t inquire at check-in as were a little rushed. (I had a squirrely daughter who was hungry and wanted to hit the wonderful Mandalay Beach!). And ptahcha is quite correct: something honored in the past might not be honored in the future.
Breakfast Credits: Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts
My wife checked in for our Luxury Hotels & Resorts stay while I was at an event in downtown Las Vegas. She forgot to ask about the breakfast credit.
We ordered room service that night. The next day, the arrival day’s breakfast was on the bill.
So of course I went down to the front desk to ask about it. (I can already hear some readers’ teeth grinding!)
Guess what happened?
The front desk rep knocked off the charge (just food and beverage, not the tip or service charge, which is 100% fair).
Why would she do that?! you might ask.
Well, she said she understood “per day” to mean just that: per day. Regardless of whether or not the charge was made on the arrival day.
In fact, she was surprised there was no $60 credit for the arrival day’s breakfast.
So it seems like the breakfast-credit-on-day-of-arrival may be a your-mileage-may-vary sort of thing. Or in this case, your breakfast benefits may vary 🙂 .
I have another FHR stay (no, not at Delano 🙂 ) coming up. I’ll explicitly ask at check-in if the breakfast credit applies to the arrival day and let you know what happens.
$100 Dining Credit
Here’s where we saw a huge difference.
At Delano, we’ve always had to either call guest services or go to the front desk to get our $100 dining credits applied when staying on a Fine Hotels + Resorts booking. Every. Single. Time.
They showed up on the folio — and no discount was given. I understand that the welcome letter says, “Please sign all charges to your guest room for credits to be applied upon check-out.”
We did that once. And none of the credits were taken off at check-out.
So before we checked out of this Fine Hotels + Resorts stay, I checked the bill on my phone.
Sure enough, nothing had been credited. I called guest services, spent a while on hold, then dealt with someone who wasn’t quite sure how to handle the situation. That was a waste of 30 minutes. Then I went to the front desk where I spent another 40 minutes in line and dealing with the situation, which was ultimately remedied.
Everything (except the arrival day’s breakfast — but we covered that) on the Luxury Hotels & Resorts stay was immediately credited.
So I spent 70 minutes of my working vacation dealing with a billing issue that shouldn’t even be a problem during my FHR stay. But my LHR billing concerns were handled in about five mintues.
Billing — at least, in our experience — is so much simpler with LHR.
We’ll stick to Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts if everything else is equal (resort credit benefits, room rate, etc). Or if we’re not redeeming the annual $200 Fine Hotels & Resorts statement credit on The Platinum Card® from American Express.
What have your experiences been with both programs?
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