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American Express offers a number of ways to go about hotel bookings including programs like Amex Travel and Fine Hotels and Resorts. But a lot of people overlook the Amex Hotel Collection.
In this article, I’ll cover all of the benefits you can receive with the program and also will show you if booking through the Amex Hotel Collection is cheaper than booking directly with the hotels.
What is the Amex Hotel Collection?
The Amex Hotel Collection is a program available to select American Express cards that allows you to receive a $100 credit and other benefits at certain hotels when you book a minimum two night stay.
Many of the properties will be high-end properties that are part of a major hotel chain and others might be upscale boutique hotels. However, you can find some properties at lower rates around $200 per night.
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Only select American Express cards will give you access to the Amex Hotel Collection. These are more “premium” cards with higher annual fees and the eligible cards include:
- Amex Business Gold Card (full review)
- Amex Gold Card
- Business Platinum Card
- Centurion Card
- Platinum Card (full review)
Note: Since the Gold Card does not have access to FHR (discussed more below), the Amex Hotel Collection really feels like more of a stand out benefit for that card.
How to use the Amex Hotel Collection
It’s very easy to use the Amex Hotel Collection. Simply go to the main website and then input the search criteria for your hotel. Remember, you must stay a minimum two nights to use this benefit.
You can search without logging in but if you would like to book you will be prompted to login. (Sometimes, you may be prompted to login before beginning your search.)
All of the common hotel search filters will be available to use such as filtering by price, map, star rating, neighborhoods, etc. So you can play around with all of those to narrow down your top choices.
Just make sure that when you are searching, that you check the checkbox for the Hotel Collection on the left sidebar. Otherwise, you will see hotels that are not part of the program.
Amex Hotel Collection Benefits
- $100 property credit
- Room upgrade at check-in if available
- Gold Card members receive 2X (on prepaid stays)
- Platinum Card members receive 5X (on prepaid stays)
- Ability to pay with points
$100 property credit
I would argue that the main benefit of this program is that you can receive a $100 property credit. This credit can be used on qualifying dining, spa, and other resort purchases.
The exact type of credit that you will receive just depends on the type of property that you booked.
My bit of advice would be to make reservations if you plan on utilizing this credit for things like dining and spa treatments.
If you don’t book far enough in advance and inquire about reservations, it’s possible that you could arrive at the property with no way to utilize your property credit.
And if that happens, you may not be given any kind of a refund or credit.
By booking through the Hotel Collection, you will also be entitled to a room upgrade if there is availability.
Typically, I would probably expect a room upgrade one class above what you booked. So this could mean your standard room getting upgraded to a larger room or perhaps a room with a better view or on a higher floor.
Benefits for prepaid bookings
While it is possible to book flexible cancellation rates, if you make a prepaid booking, you can actually get a little bit more value out of this program.
If you are using your Gold Card, you can earn 2X Membership Rewards on the booking.
But things are much more lucrative if you have a Platinum Card. With the Platinum, you can earn a whopping 5X Membership Rewards on your prepaid bookings.
If you value Membership Rewards at around two cents per point, that’s like getting 10% back on your hotel spend which is extremely competitive and better than even some of the best hotel credit cards.
For example, the Hilton Aspire earns 14X at Hilton properties and at a valuation of .52 cents per point, that comes out to 7.28% back. So the Platinum could earn you almost 3% more back on a Hilton stay.
As explained more below, just remember that you will likely be missing out on credits toward elite status and points on your stay which set back your earnings quite a bit.
And finally, if you are booking a prepaid stay you can also use your points to pay for the booking. You’ll have to redeem a minimum of 5,000 points and you only get .7 cents in value per point. This is not good value for your points and so I would only use it as an absolute last resort.
Many people wonder if you can still receive elite benefits when booking through the Amex Hotel Collection.
Unfortunately, I was not able to find a clear-cut answer but there are a few things to note.
Elite status benefits
When it comes to receiving your elite status benefits tied to your specific level of elite status such as a free breakfast, there’s always a possibility you can receive them when booking through an online travel agency.
A lot of times it depends on the brand but I have booked stays in the last two years and received my elite status benefits with major hotel programs including Marriott, Hyatt, and Hilton.
I received these benefits at both cheaper properties and even top luxury brands like the St. Regis. (I’ve even received the benefits on prepaid stays.)
I usually call up the hotel a few hours after booking and ensure that my elite status number is attached to my reservation. Sometimes the hotel automatically adds it and other times I have to get them to add it.
Also, at check-in I usually inquire about potential upgrades based on my elite status.
I’ll ask something like, “So does my Platinum status get me an upgrade on this stay?” If they say yes, then that’s generally an indication that I’ll receive all of my elite status benefits like free breakfast, lounge access, etc.
Elite status credits
Receiving credit towards elite status for your stay is a much different matter. It’s extremely rare in my experience to receive credits for status for your stay when booking through an online travel agency.
Your best odds probably occur when you avoid prepaid bookings. But even then I would not say it is guaranteed at all.
Hotel Collection vs Fine Hotels and Resorts
If you’re wondering how these programs compare to each other, the American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts is a much more robust program.
That program will offer you the following benefits:
- Noon check-in, when available
- Guaranteed 4pm late check-out
- Room upgrade upon arrival, when available
- Daily breakfast for two people
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Special amenity unique to each property
So FHR offers a much more complete set of hotel perks. Also, many people report receiving elite credits when staying at an FHR property which is another key difference.
Of course, the other big difference is that you must have a Platinum Card in order to access the FHR program. But if you are looking to receive an “elite-like” experience during your hotel stay, the FHR is definitely the way to go.
The big question that people usually ask is whether or not the Amex Hotel Collection is cheaper than booking directly with the hotel.
Well, we were highly curious about this question and so we researched 15 different properties and found the exact same room types with the same (or very similar) type of cancellation policy.
And what we found was that the prices on Amex Hotel Collection were usually 10% more expensive per night. The average increase in price was about $25 per night.
That is no surprise considering that you receive additional benefits when you book through the Amex Hotel Collection.
When you factor in those perks like the $100 hotel credit and potentially room upgrades then all of a sudden the value proposition is a little bit different.
In that circumstance, paying something like $25 more to receive a $100 credit can make sense if you already had plans on spending what that credit can cover such as a meal at the hotel.
Of course, you also have to factor in the elite benefits you might be losing by booking through Amex Hotel Collection.
If the prices were the same between booking directly with the hotel and the Amex Hotel Collection, it’s possible that you could still get more value by booking directly with the hotel when you factor in benefits like free breakfast, points earned, and elite credits. This is especially true on longer stays.
If you are curious about the data points that we found, I’ve included all of the research below so you can check it out yourself.
|Hotel||Hotel Collection||Direct||% Difference|
|Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston, Autograph Collection||$443||$384||15.36%|
|Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa At Gainey Ranch||$299||$291||2.75%|
|C. Baldwin, Curio Collection by Hilton||$199||$191||4.19%|
|InterContinental New York Times Square||$299||$278||7.55%|
|Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort And Spa||$269||$243||10.70%|
|The Charter Hotel Seattle, Curio Collection by Hilton||$259||$248||4.44%|
|InterContinental San Diego||$279||$259||7.72%|
|W Fort Lauderdale||$319||$303||5.28%|
|Renaissance Paris Vendome Hotel||$550||$489||12.47%|
|InterContinental London Park Lane||$495||$478||3.56%|
|InterContinental Sydney Double Bay||$302||$208||45.19%|
|Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht||$551||$593||-7.08%|
Hotel Collection FAQ
It may be possible to receive your elite status benefits as long as you add your elite status number to your reservation. However, receiving elite credits is probably much more unlikely.
$100 property credit
Room upgrade at check-in if available
Gold Card members receive 2X (on prepaid stays)
Platinum Card members receive 5X (on prepaid stays)
Ability to pay with points
The Hotel Collection contains many luxury properties, which means that these will typically be more expensive properties. Prices will generally be $300 per night or more, although you may find some for around $200 per night.
Yes, based on our research looking at various hotels we found that the Amex Hotel Collection is approximately 10% more expensive on average.
Amex Business Gold Card
Amex Gold Card
Business Platinum Card
Yes, if you book a prepaid stay with the Platinum Card you will earn 5X.
Unfortunately, no free breakfast is not a benefit.
As you can see, this can be a great way to receive some perks on a stay of at least two nights — perfect for a weekend getaway.
You just need to be careful about the difference in price which sometimes can be quite high and always remember to do a value analysis on the perks you may or may not be receiving.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.