The American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) program is one of those benefits that their cardholders find either incredibly valuable or an incredible waste of marketing materials. The benefits are certainly tangible but the cost to get there can be quite high. Paying extra to be in a fancy hotel just to get the free breakfast doesn’t always make sense, especially when one wouldn’t otherwise be in that level of hotel.
Still, the annual update of the properties in the program is a much anticipated event by many as the changes can change booking habits for a number of customers. In previous years the property list came as a huge glossy book with tons of photos and detailed descriptions of each property. This year the update was a matte post card with only the new properties listed. Indeed, budget cuts are deep, even in the luxury travel sector.
So, what are the new properties this year? There are over 60 new hotels joining the program, about half of which are Four Seasons properties. In addition to the 30ish Four Seasons properties there are a number of Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency locations joining the program (Tokyo, Goa, Shanghai and Aruba) as well as a couple Mandarin Oriental properties added (Barcelona, Las Vegas and Jakarta). There are a number of non-affiliated hotels as well such as The Pierre, Montage Beverly Hills, The Resort at Pelican Hill, Lizard Island and La Momounia Marrakech.
This year’s new additions look like a solid group of properties and represent good growth in the FHR program. Too bad that I’ll still likely not use it this year.
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