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Experience booking hotels through Amex?

Fatcat

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2011
Messages
36
Does anyone book personal travel through Amex?

I've looked at booking things a few times on the Amex travel website (looking to use travel credits). I've always found their prices to be significantly more than booking direct, and the only reason I've still booked, is to use up travel credits, using the theory "well it's still $xxx saved since its not out of pocket".

An example from a search today. I need to book one night at the Crown Plaza Changi due to overnight layover. I looked at the most basic room, a Deluxe King Room Non-Smoking (no views, no breakfast, just the room).
Amex= $436
Direct on IHG = $326

Yes, both in AUD.
Yes, same room type.
Both are non-refundable. Amex because you can't get a refund when you use travel credits. IHG because its an advanced purchase rate. Even the full flex rate was $363, so still $70 less than Amex).
I use Amex for booking hotels half the time; I find their competitiveness depends on the rate type you are booking.

If you are after a flexible rate, or are willing to pay a higher rate for more benefits, Amex FHR can offer significantly better value than any other site, even booking direct. Hotel collection isnt too bad either.
But if you are after the lowest pre-paid rate, it will almost never be the best option.
I'd say in general, the higher the rate-bucket you are booking into, the better the value offered by Amex.
 
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SeaWolf

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Wonder what the case would be if you didn't book the HC or FH version, but still through Amex Travel.
No, those ones don't. The arrangement with FHR&HC rates is special.
 

MR61

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I only use the Amex travel website when I need to redeem my $700 travel credit, and then only for airfare or experiences. My understanding, which may be mistaken, is that although the Amex platinum charge card hotel benefits include higher status recognition at select hotels, by booking through the Amex travel portal, you actually forfeit earning hotel points, as opposed to booking directly (for example, I booked directly with Shangri-la Hotels to earn Golden Circle points, which otherwise would not have been earned if I'd booked through the Amex website. In this instance, I earned enough GC points to redeem a US$150 dining voucher). It does seem oddly ironic.
 

cjd600

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I think you can find some quirks on the hotel pricing.
Also have managed to match QF domestic best flight price (QF direct price, not ota)
 

pangwen

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As mentioned before, my main gripe is that the room description on the Amex travel site is terrible. I try to search on the hotel website to get more details, but sometimes the Amex website shows room types that don't correspond to anything on the hotel's page!

For example, take a look at Sofitel Brisbane (random date in January). Room types from cheapest to most expensive are Standard King, Standard King (with Breakfast), Luxury Double, and...... "Standard" (with the last option being over 50% more in price compared to Luxury Double). With the exception of the Luxury Double room, the others aren't listed on the Sofitel site (they have Superior, Luxury and Junior Suite).

Same with Hilton Surfers Paradise, which shows Guest Room, Deluxe King, and "Standard". Again, Standard is the most expensive option. You can match up the Guest Room and Deluxe King, but "Standard" isn't a Hilton room type.... I've been tempted to book it on the assumption that it refers to the suite (as it is the most expensive option at both hotels), but I've held off on the chance that it's just a very overpriced base room.
 

muppet

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I only use the Amex travel website when I need to redeem my $700 travel credit, and then only for airfare or experiences. My understanding, which may be mistaken, is that although the Amex platinum charge card hotel benefits include higher status recognition at select hotels, by booking through the Amex travel portal, you actually forfeit earning hotel points, as opposed to booking directly (for example, I booked directly with Shangri-la Hotels to earn Golden Circle points, which otherwise would not have been earned if I'd booked through the Amex website. In this instance, I earned enough GC points to redeem a US$150 dining voucher). It does seem oddly ironic.
You're mistaken.

Fine Hotels and Resorts and Hotel Collection both earn points in the hotels program, Amex benefits and you pay on check-out.
 

MR61

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You're mistaken.

Fine Hotels and Resorts and Hotel Collection both earn points in the hotels program, Amex benefits and you pay on check-out.
Thanks for clarifying, and good to know for certain.
 

gizzard

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Joined
Feb 2, 2006
Messages
697
This week I booked a hotel at a good rate using Amex credits. The total price was more than the credits so used the Amex to pay for the additional amount. There's now a small fee pending on the card that I hope will disappear otherwise it will be a call to Amex to complain.
 

SeaWolf

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There's now a small fee pending on the card that I hope will disappear otherwise it will be a call to Amex to complain.
I had that as well when I booked some flights the other week, it'll drop off after a few days. Not sure what it's for or why they run it, some sort of back end thing.
 

Daver6

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Ugh, I've found using the $450 credit for Amex QF platinum card can only be used on the most expensive QF flights you can find. It doesn't feel like a good deal if you have to use it on a flight that you could get at half the price through the QF site on a red e-deal :(
This should NOT be the case. Call up and complain.
 

Bazzi

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I booked the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago through Amex/Hotel Collection. The rate was slightly better than on Hilton as a HH member and there was a USD $100 credit to use on food and beverage. I did input my HH number and points were credited for our 2 night stay.

I also booked the Lotus Honolulu through Amex using my TC booking a specific room category and bedding configuration. When we entered the room, the bedding configuration was not what I had booked, back to reception and was told that it was not guaranteed but would be provided if available. I’ve emailed some feedback to Amex Travel about this. It wasn’t a major issue as I was travelling with my partner but it would have been unacceptable had I been travelling with my niece/nephew.
 

robtemt

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I just tried to look at Crown Plaza rates for 5 March 2020. American Express had NO results.

I think when we get back from our March trip to Costa Rica/California/Hawaii, we are going to cancel all of our Amex issued cards. The benefits just don't aren't there anymore.

Screen Shot 2019-09-23 at 8.05.10 pm.png
 

Cruiser Elite

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robtemt if Hotel doesn’t appear just call AMEX as they can usually locate prices for hotels that don’t appear on their site
 

robtemt

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robtemt if Hotel doesn’t appear just call AMEX as they can usually locate prices for hotels that don’t appear on their site
Thanks CE.

But you can't use your travel credits when booking on the phone. It's always a catch with Amex. No fine hotels & resorts, no phone bookings, etc. We went round and round last year trying various ways.

I'll be ok booking Aerotel to be honest, gives me more TPR time for champagne and lobster, not having to go through immigration and security.
 

gizzard

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Feb 2, 2006
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I had that as well when I booked some flights the other week, it'll drop off after a few days. Not sure what it's for or why they run it, some sort of back end thing.
You were right, SeaWolf, the charge has now dropped off.
 

joyjoy22

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Sep 6, 2019
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Lately, I prefer using AirBnB for my accommodation since the price is way cheaper compared when booking a hotel.
 

twiningb

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Sep 2, 2015
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I just tried to look at Crown Plaza rates for 5 March 2020. American Express had NO results.

I think when we get back from our March trip to Costa Rica/California/Hawaii, we are going to cancel all of our Amex issued cards. The benefits just don't aren't there anymore.

View attachment 189701
Is it possible this is just a typo issue? The Crowne Plaza brand has an e at the end of the first word.
 

Cruiser Elite

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robtemt tks for the reminder with your above post - I too have $450 / $400 TCs to use - I am taking the Ette to SIN for her bday to stay at refurbed Raffles 1st week Dec. I have been searching and searching for a way to get a price trim from the published rates on their web site but to no avail.

I searched AMEX Travel a few weeks back and it did not display Raffles as a bookable hotel at all. I called AMEX Travel and they did find a rate for me but at $150/nt above what I could find on hotels.com so declined them. By this time Raffles say they have no base rate room available for our dates to book direct and only Courtyard rooms at $150 nt above hotels.com quoted rate (same room type and rate that AMEX quoted me)

I then booked 3nts through hotels.com @ A$1.250/nt - cheapest I could find anywhere - bfast included. After reading your post above I re-checked AMEX site and lo and behold Raffles now does appear and at promo rate with bfast included @ $1,150 for 1st nt I want less $450 TC = $750 net. Very happy with that. Tried the other 2 nts I want and prices a tad higher so I will just wait a day or 2 before pulling trigger again.

Original hotels.com booking amended as back up. I know it is PITA but I guess in this case just need keep re-checking if time is on your side - I like you had pretty well given up hope of securing any type of ‘Value’ booking through AMEX but this does have me sitting up and taking notice.
 
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