Luxury hotel booking programs from Amex, Capital One, Visa, and more can get you free elite benefits like room upgrades and on-property credits — here’s how

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Le Bristol Hotel Paris
The Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program gets you room upgrades and other benefits at properties like the Hotel Le Bristol in Paris.

  • Many travel rewards cards offer elite-like hotel benefits when you book with their online portals. 
  • Amex, Chase, Capital One, Mastercard, and Visa all field hotel-booking portals with varying benefits.
  • The prices through credit card travel portals are often on par with booking directly through hotels.
  • Read Insider’s guide to the best travel rewards credit cards.

Top-tier hotel credit cards like the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card can offer members hundreds of dollars in value each year from automatic elite status and statement credits.

However, you don’t need to carry a specific hotel program’s co-branded card to enjoy such benefits. Depending on the issuer and type of credit card you carry, you might have access to special online booking portals where reservations include these sorts of freebies, too.

American Express offers both The Hotel Collection and the Fine Hotels & Resorts program for select cardholders. For its part, Chase has a Luxury Hotel & Resorts Collection, and Capital One will soon launch its upscale Premier Collection. Depending on your credit card, you might be eligible to book through either the Visa Signature Hotels or Visa Infinite Hotels sites, and World Mastercard and World Elite Mastercard holders can access their own specialized portal.

Here are the details on these hotel programs and what you can expect when you book through each.

We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

American Express Hotel Collection and Fine Hotels & Resorts

Amex provides not one, but two, online hotel booking portals for certain cardholders. The first is called The Hotel Collection and is available to those with Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, the American Express® Gold Card, the American Express® Business Gold Card, and the Centurion Card.

With the various versions of the Amex Platinum card, you’ll earn 5 points per dollar on prepaid bookings made through these portals.

The Hotel Collection

With The Hotel Collection, cardholders who book a stay of two consecutive nights (either paid or using Pay With Points) receive the following benefits:

  • A $100 hotel credit to spend on qualifying dining, spa, and other resort activities (but not room rates, taxes, gratuities, or fees)
  • A room upgrade at check-in, if available

Given that room rates through The Hotel Collection are generally the same as you’ll find through pretty much any other channel, adding an extra $100 in value to your stay and a good shot at an upgrade are reason enough to book through here instead. Although you won’t earn hotel points or credit toward elite status by booking through this portal, the $100 credit will likely make up for it. Plus, many of the hotels that participate are not in the major chains, so you won’t really be missing out.

You can book these hotels through American Express Travel online or by phone at 800-297-2977. The collection of partner properties includes over 600 hotels worldwide, and is a mix of luxury hotels, chain hotels, and smaller boutique properties. A few examples include the Soho Grand Hotel in New York City, the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, Atlantis The Palm in Dubai, and the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel in Hawaii.

Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts

Fine Hotels & Resorts is a program exclusively for cardholders with Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express— who earn 5x points per dollar on prepaid bookings — and the invite-only Centurion card.

The program comprises over 2,000 ultra-luxurious properties globally, including stunners like Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris, Alila Seminyak in Bali, and the Palacio Duhau-Park Hyatt Buenos Aires.

Cardholder benefits are much more comprehensive, and include:

  • A room upgrade at check-in, if available
  • Noon check-in, if available
  • 4 p.m. guaranteed late check-out
  • Occasional third- or fourth-night-free rates
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Daily breakfast for two
  • A unique amenity valued at $100 that varies by property

Given the caliber of hotels that can be found within Fine Hotels & Resorts, a third or fourth free night can be worth north of $1,000. Breakfast for two, likewise, can be a benefit worth over $100 per day. Although many hotels offer free Wi-Fi, you’ll also find some that charge $20 per day for it, adding even more value. Finally, if you do plan to eat at the hotel, enjoy drinks at the bar, or partake in an activity or spa session, the $100 amenity might come in handy, too.

American Express estimates the average value per stay to be $550 — enough to offset much of these cards’ annual fees.

Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts Collection

In a similar vein, and with many properties that overlap with Amex FHR, Chase offers its own Luxury Hotels & Resorts Collection.

Chase does not publish a list of cards that are eligible for bookings made through it. However, online evidence suggests that it’s open to cardholders of the following products:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Chase Freedom Flex℠
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
  • Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
  • United℠ Explorer Card
  • New United Quest℠ Card

The program now includes over 1,000 participating hotels and resorts around the world, including the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London, the St. Regis San Francisco, and the Rosewood Phuket in Thailand.

By booking through the Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts Collection, cardmembers receive the following benefits:

  • A room upgrade at check-in, if available
  • Early check-in and late check-out
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Daily breakfast for two
  • A special benefit unique to each property such as a meal, afternoon tea, complimentary spa services, or on-property credits that range up to around $100

While some hotels do offer a straightforward $100 on-property credit to be used during the stay, others substitute location-specific experiences like a dinner for two in the hotel’s restaurant or a particular spa treatment. Before booking, be sure to double-check what the extra services entail and whether you will actually use them.

Capital One Premier Collection

Capital One now will offer its own luxury hotel program, the Premier Collection, starting in late 2022. You’ll get perks such as room upgrades and on-property credits at hundreds of hotels and resorts around the world. However, it’s only available to Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card and Capital One Spark Travel Elite cardholders. 

The collection gets eligible cardholders perks similar to other hotel programs (e.g. Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts, and Chase Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection), including:

  • A $100 experience credit towards dining, spa, and other hotel activities
  • Daily breakfast for two
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Early check-in and late checkout when available 
  • Room upgrades when available 

The Premier Collections features hundreds of handpicked hotels, resorts, and properties, including 1 Hotels, Six Senses, Proper Hotels, and more. If you’re interested in booking, you’ll be able to do so through Capital One Travel and with the search interface just like with regular hotels. 

Visa Signature Hotels and Visa Infinite Hotels

Visa has two hotel booking portals through which you can expect to reap hundreds of dollars of value per reservation. What’s more, you are probably already carrying a card that entitles you to use them without even knowing it.

The first and largest is Visa Signature Hotels. It’s open to cardholders of various Visa Signature products including the:

  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
  • The World Of Hyatt Credit Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
  • United℠ Explorer Card
  • Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card, among many other cards

It, too, counts nearly 1,000 properties worldwide, such as the Peninsula Shanghai and the Belmond Copa Cabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro. When you make a reservation through Visa Signature Hotels, you’re automatically entitled to the following:

  • Room upgrade upon arrival, when available
  • Free in-room Wi-Fi
  • Late check-out upon request, when available
  • Complimentary breakfast for two
  • A $25 food or beverage credit

While not quite as wide-ranging as Amex or Chase’s luxury offerings, the perks still do provide quite a bit of value, especially that breakfast benefit. When you consider that many of the cards that are eligible for this benefit have annual fees of $95 or less, you can make up that value in a single stay.

The one disadvantage to be aware of is that bookings made through Visa Signature Hotels will not earn hotel points or elite credits, so if you are gunning for status with a particular chain, you are better off booking direct.

Visa Infinite cardholders — such as those with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, United Club℠ Infinite Card, or U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card — have access to an even more specialized booking portal called Visa Infinite Hotels.

The perks are mostly the same as those offered by Visa Signature Hotels, though guests receive an additional property amenity, usually in the form of on-site credits.

World Mastercard and World Elite Mastercard Hotels

There are over a dozen World and World Elite Mastercard products that are eligible for bookings made through Mastercard’s hotel collection. They include the:

  • Citi Premier® Card
  • Chase Freedom Flex℠
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
  • IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
  • JetBlue Plus Card

The collection includes thousands of hotels around the world, such as the Delano South Beach and the Mandarin Oriental New York. Like the other booking portals, this one bestows benefits like early check-in, late check-out, upgrades based on availability, daily breakfast, and on-property credits of around $50 to $100 depending on the hotel.

Bottom line

You might not have a premium hotel credit card or elite status with one of the major loyalty programs. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of credit card booking portals to enjoy perks like room upgrades, free breakfast, and on-property credits. Before booking anything, double-check which portals you might be eligible to use, and which one will give you the benefits that best suit your needs.

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