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Holding elite hotel status is a surefire way to enhance your hotel stays. Perks like welcome amenities, bonus points, early check-in and late checkout, free breakfast, and complimentary room upgrades improve the hotel experience at no additional cost.

But, if you don’t travel regularly for business or pleasure, it can be hard collecting enough nights within one hotel program to reach elite status, let alone across multiple programs. There is also the issue that chain hotels have a limited footprint, restricting the number of destinations where you can enjoy the benefits of elite status.

Elite status welcome gift
Unique property amenities are just one of the perks you can get when using these programs.

One possible solution is using luxury hotel collections offered by American Express, Chase, Visa, and Mastercard. While the perks only apply to paid stays, you can access luxury hotels all over the globe at competitive rates and receive complimentary elite benefits similar to what you’d receive as a mid or top-tier elite member within the hotel’s loyalty program.

To access these benefits, you must hold an eligible credit card within the program, and book your stay through the provider’s travel service, for example, American Express Travel or Chase’s Luxury Hotels & Resorts Collection.

The four programs covered are:

All four are worth a look. An important point to keep in mind, if you're deciding to book through one of these programs or direct with a hotel is that it is highly likely that you'll be booked on a points/elite night eligible rate, which means if you're chasing elite status, these nights may count towards your required annual total.

American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts

Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts are only available to Amex Platinum Charge Card Members and Centurion® Members. Valid cards include (but are not limited to):

You must book through the Platinum Travel Service, Business Platinum Travel Service, Centurion Travel Service, americanexpress.com/fhr, any American Express Travel offices or the Agency Services Desk for the perks to apply.

Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts Benefits

American-Express-Fine-Hotels-Resorts

Four of the six Amex benefits are guaranteed, including the guaranteed 4 pm check-out which is exclusive to Amex and a highlight of the listed benefits.

  • Daily breakfast for two people
  • Guaranteed 4 pm late check-out
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Unique property amenities, such as a spa or food and beverage credit valued at a minimum US$100
  • Room upgrade upon arrival, when available
  • Noon check-in, when available

It’s worth noting the free breakfast, and $100 unique property amenity is applied even if the daily hotel rate falls under $100. Not a situation likely to happen often with hotels of this caliber, but a steal if you nail down a cheap overnight stay.

Amex Hotel Selection

American-Express-Fine-Hotels-Resorts-World-Map

Amex lists over 975 hotels in its Fine Hotels & Resorts collection, which you can view as a list categorized by region, bundled together by brand, or as an interactive world map on the dedicated FH&R directory website.

Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection

Chase-Luxury-Hotel-Collection

The Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection (LHRC) is available to select Chase cardholders. Although a confirmed benefit of the Sapphire Reserve, Chase doesn’t publish a list of cards that include access to LHRC. Instead, you input the first six digits of your Chase credit card into the popup during the booking process, and it will confirm if your card is eligible.

Chase-Luxury-Hotel-Verify-Card

From reader reports, valid cards include:

Again, this information is crowdsourced from the AwardWallet community so do your own research to confirm your card is eligible for the perks. You must book through Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection using an eligible Chase card to qualify for the benefits listed below.

Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection Benefits

Unlike the majority of Amex’s perks, the bulk of Chase benefits are left up to the discretion of the participating hotel. You’ll receive daily breakfast for two, and the unique property perk which can include lunch or dinner for two, a spa treatment, golf green fee waivers, welcome gift, or airport transfers, but the early check-in/late check-out and room upgrades are all ‘only if available.’ Listed benefits include:

  • Daily breakfast for two
  • A special benefit unique to each property
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Room upgrade, if available
  • Early check-in, if possible
  • Late check-out, if available

Hotel Selection

Chase-Luxury-Hotel-Searchbox

Chase doesn’t list participating hotels in a directory, and there is no interactive map allowing you to search by region, you have to search each location manually via the search box on the homepage. Chase advertises over 900 properties participating in the program, and the hotel selection covers every popular destination we entered, although cities in off the beaten path regions such as New Zealand or Morocco offered fairly slim pickings.

Visa Luxury Hotel Collection

Visa-Infinite-Luxury-Hotels

The Visa Luxury Hotel Collection offers over 900 properties around the globe, catering to both Visa Signature and Visa Infinite cardholders. The benefits are similar, but in addition to the seven perks listed for Visa Signature cardmembers, those holding Visa Infinite cards receive the eighth benefit at over 200 hotels across the collection. Daily breakfast for two, food and beverage credits, and the extra Visa Infinite amenity are the only guaranteed perks, the rest being ‘when available.’ Reservations must be booked either on a Visa Luxury Hotel Collection website or through Visa Concierge for benefits to apply.

The first seven benefits listed below are available to all U.S. issued Visa Signature, Signature Preferred, and Signature Business credit cards, which includes cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. To qualify for the last benefit, you must hold one of four Visa Infinite rewards cards offered by U.S. providers.

Visa Luxury Hotel Collection Benefits

Benefits differ between Signature and Infinite cards, with the latter receiving an extra benefit worth up to $100 per stay. Perks from Visa include:

  • Best available rate guarantee
  • Room upgrade upon arrival, when available
  • Complimentary in-room Wi-Fi, when available
  • Complimentary continental breakfast for 2
  • $25 food or beverage credit
  • VIP Guest status
  • 3 PM check-out upon request, when available

The final benefit is only offered to Visa Infinite cardholders at roughly 200 hotels in the Visa Luxury Collection. Some of the benefits offered include:

  • An additional $75 Food & Beverage credit, on top of the existing $25 Food & Beverage credit
  • $100 spa credit
  • $100 golf credit
  • $100 room rate credit

Restricting the Visa Infinite benefit to just 25% of the Visa Luxury Hotel Collection puts it at a distinct disadvantage to Chase and Amex’s offerings, which both offer the amenity across all properties.

Visa-Infinite-8th-Benefit

Hotel Selection

You can access the property list for Visa’s hotel collection via VisaSignatureHotels.com, and Visa offers the ability to refine your search by region, rating, style, and brand, or you can click on the interactive map at the top of the page for a visual approach. To see the Visa Infinite properties, you need to enter your card details on the Visa Infinite website.

Visa-Infinite-Luxry-Hotels-Authenticate-Your-Card

Mastercard® Luxury Hotel & Resorts Portfolio

Mastercard-luxury-hotel-resort-portfolio-hero

Mastercard offers up a different program to Amex, Chase, and Visa, with over 2,000 properties in its portfolio plus a concierge-style helpline and best price guarantee. The program covers all World Elite Mastercard® products, an extensive list of cards that includes:

Note that this benefit is not restricted to premium cards, and you can receive these perks holding mid-tier World Elite cards like the Arrival Plus and ThankYou Premier. To reserve a hotel in the Mastercard Luxury Portfolio, book online via travel.mastercard.com or call 1-855-802-1387.

Mastercard® Luxury Portfolio Benefits

The benefits section is where Mastercard’s offering gets interesting. In addition to complimentary daily breakfast and ‘when available’ check-in, check-out, and room upgrades, you receive one customised benefit. The bonus perk’s range from $25/50/100 (USD) hotel credits to guaranteed late check-out, or even a private wine tasting experience. The listed benefits include:

  • Complimentary daily breakfast
  • Complimentary room upgrade, subject to availability at check-in
  • Early check-in, subject to availability
  • Late check-out, subject to availability
  • Additional bonus benefit

Mastercard-luxury-hotel-resort-portfolio

Mastercard includes two more benefits as standard when you book a hotel in the Luxury Portfolio and pay with a World Elite Mastercard.

  • Hotel Stay Guarantee – If your 3-star or higher rated hotel is not working out, a Lifestyle Manager will work to make it right.
  • Mastercard Lowest Hotel Rate Guarantee – If you find the same exact prepaid hotel stay for less, we will refund the difference.

A common complaint we hear from members attempting to book hotels through these portals is they can find the same room cheaper elsewhere, so the low-price guarantee is a nice touch to ensure you get the best deal.

Hotel Selection

Mastercard doesn’t supply a directory or list of properties that participate in the Luxury Portfolio, but on the World Elite card benefits page refers to “preferred amenities at more than 2000+ properties around the globe.” The hotel selection at Mastercard offers more variety and more locations than any of its rivals, and the search facility allows you to isolate by region, country, and city making searches a breeze.

Mastercard-luxury-hotel-resort-portfolio-search

Do Prices Differ Between Collections?

Yes, they do. Most of the time you'll see similar pricing between the three collections, but we have seen occasions where the price differs by $100 or more per night for the same room. The only advice we can give is to do your own research for each room, based on the cards you hold as perks and price can vary across programs for the same room. The collections crossover in most cities we visited, so you may qualify with multiple cards if you hold more than one eligible rewards card.

Final Thoughts

Elite benefits such as complimentary breakfast and late check-out can make a significant difference to the quality of your hotel stay. Getting those perks as a credit card benefit rather than via the required head-on-pillow stays adds another layer of value to cards like the Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Platinum.

As for the best program? Assuming room rates were the similar (any significant difference and it’s a no-brainer to choose the least expensive), we give an edge here to Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts for the guaranteed 4 pm late check-out, something none of the other programs offer as standard.

How to Receive Elite Hotel Benefits Without Elite Status
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Comments

  • As you pointed out – the Signature is only issued in the United States?

  • I’m from Canada, so many of these perks can not apply to me… i might have to try to get a USA card at some point. It might help with less foreign exchange fees when i travel as well. I will have to strategize and do more research.

  • I find it interesting that the Ink Cash has access to this benefit but the Ink Business Preferred doesnt.

    • Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card in this article should be Ink Plus is my guess.

      All of the Chase cards listed have 0% foreign exchange fee except the Ink Cash which is 3%.

      Unless they’re saying its included because its a Visa Signature but so is Freedom and Freedom Unlimited (both also 3% foreign fee) and they aren’t on the list.

      • I’ve confirmed it works with the Cash, but don’t have a Plus to test it with. If you’ve got one and can verify that please let us know. Freedom and Freedom Unlimited also work. Just added them both.

  • In this day and age, a true card user and traveler definitely should be able to take advantage of status at a good chunk of locales. Thanks for the article.

  • Thank you for the information, I tend to avoid luxury properties so my dollars go farther.

  • AmEx’s FHR program has decent hotels with decent prices.
    Pretty good program IMHO.

  • “…if you’re deciding to book through one of these programs or direct with a hotel is that it is highly likely that you’ll be booked on a points/elite night eligible rate, which means if you’re chasing elite status, these nights may count towards your required annual total.”

    Is there any way to know for sure if points/elite night would or would not be awarded?

    • You can confirm at the time of booking. Typically if you’re redeeming points, you won’t receive credit. With Amex FHR I’m batting 1.000 with earning credit and my current elite status being recognized.

    • I found this quite interesting. I had always assumed you wouldn’t get points or nights towards elite status unless you booked direct.

  • Credit Cards seem to be the answer to everything 🙂

  • awesome details! thank you for the info!

  • Aspirational for me. I tend to travel more practical. But there may come a day. Appreciate reading, learning, and dreaming.

  • Wow, this is awesome! I imagine they would only be for pretty popular destinations, but it looks like a great way to live in luxury if you’re going to a bigger city.

  • This is very, very useful. Sometimes I wonder how you gathered and distilled so much information in each article. Thanks.

  • Great ways to maximize hotel value. Thank you for the info. I need to check some of these out.

  • I love the tips about Chase! I never knew that!

  • The Amex Platinum card has a lot of perks but the $550 annual fee is a bit much for me.

  • Amex has worked out very good for me. I have always received points and status perks.

  • It’s good to know, although I’ll probably never make it, as I look for the best value. which spreads me around and often to independent places that aren’t part of any of these programs.

  • Bookmarked. This is a great resource for programs that, although eligible for, I’ve generally overlooked. thiese are definitely going to become part my trip-planning going forward.

  • Thanks for the information. Ill have to remember this for my next trip.

  • I am definitely planning to use this on my trip to TCI this summer. CSR keeps on giving.

  • So wonderful to have late check out bennies. I seem to often need that mostly due to departure flight schedules.

  • This is a perk of the Platinum Card that I haven’t even considered using. Partially because I always thought that no points would be earned. Now that I know this is a possibility, I’ll definitely take a closer look.

  • I really got into this blog post because it was intriguing, however, it was a VERY nice surprise that I could two of the links! I will definitely see if I can enjoy this for my 40th birthday in Hawaii :o) Thank you! Is this something that it on Chases website and I just missed it?! Clearly I’m not exploring Chases website enough!

  • Checked Visa Luxury Hotel Collection before, didn’t seem very attractive

  • It becomes more and more complicated check the prices on different sites and see the different advantages.
    As you say in the article the price can differ a lot.
    In my opinion for short stays it’s better not to worry and only do more checks for long stays.

  • Too rich for me. It can be a good deal though.

  • While I’ve long known about Amex’s FHR program I never knew there was a similar benefit offered by other cards, namely MasterCard. I will definitely turn to this compilation next time I’m booking a hotel!

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