I use Amex for booking hotels half the time; I find their competitiveness depends on the rate type you are booking.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).
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).
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.