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Old Jun 18, 07, 3:18 pm   #1
 
Join Date: May 2007
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Canadian Amex Platinum FHR program: 2nd attempt at making a booking is disappointing

I just got my platinum Amex last week and my first FHR booking (Vegas) went well.

Today I tried to book the Four Seasons on Lanai through FHR. On the Four Seasons website there is a "fourth night free" promotion. On the U.S. FHR website the "fourth night free" is also listed and it can be combined with the FHR benefits.

The Canadian Amex platinum travel service can't or won't book this for me. I either get the 4th night free, or the FHR benefits, not both.

It is a little frustrating when it is the same company, the same hotels and the same high annual card fee.

Has anyone had any luck when booking through the property directly to get the FHR benefits with an advertised promotional rate?
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Old Jun 18, 07, 5:11 pm   #2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trilinearmipmap View Post
I just got my platinum Amex last week and my first FHR booking (Vegas) went well.

Today I tried to book the Four Seasons on Lanai through FHR. On the Four Seasons website there is a "fourth night free" promotion. On the U.S. FHR website the "fourth night free" is also listed and it can be combined with the FHR benefits.

The Canadian Amex platinum travel service can't or won't book this for me. I either get the 4th night free, or the FHR benefits, not both.

It is a little frustrating when it is the same company, the same hotels and the same high annual card fee.

Has anyone had any luck when booking through the property directly to get the FHR benefits with an advertised promotional rate?
I always get frustrated when I hear for the differences between the different national programs. I just called US PTS and they confirmed that the booking is possible through them. I would make the booking through Lanai, and then when you call PTS to cancel, explain to them why you are doing this and give them the opportunity to fix your reservation. This worked for me once and AMEX met the hotel offer. Another time they simply stated they could not meet the offer and canceled their own booking. Point out to them that it is in the FHR web posting.
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Old Jun 18, 07, 6:38 pm   #3
 
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I called Four Seasons reservations and they say I have to book it through Amex and they won't match any FHR benefits.

If I book the FHR rate through Amex I lose the 4th night free, this amounts to $800.00 over an eight night stay. I won't stay there knowing that the person in the next room is paying $800.00 less than I am, just because I am the wrong nationality.

So far I have gone from being quite happy with this card after my Las Vegas hotel booking, to being pretty well disgusted about the Lanai booking problem. It remains to be seen how long I keep this card.
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Old Jun 18, 07, 7:47 pm   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trilinearmipmap View Post
I called Four Seasons reservations and they say I have to book it through Amex and they won't match any FHR benefits.

If I book the FHR rate through Amex I lose the 4th night free, this amounts to $800.00 over an eight night stay. I won't stay there knowing that the person in the next room is paying $800.00 less than I am, just because I am the wrong nationality.

So far I have gone from being quite happy with this card after my Las Vegas hotel booking, to being pretty well disgusted about the Lanai booking problem. It remains to be seen how long I keep this card.
Book your stay through Lanai with the 4th night free. Then call AMEX. See if they will match for you and offer the Amenity.
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Old Jun 18, 07, 10:12 pm   #5
 
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Originally Posted by Paolo01 View Post
Book your stay through Lanai with the 4th night free. Then call AMEX. See if they will match for you and offer the Amenity.
Do you mean call the hotel directly or book through the Four Seasons central reservations number? Does it make a difference?
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Old Jun 19, 07, 5:34 am   #6
 
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Originally Posted by trilinearmipmap View Post
Do you mean call the hotel directly or book through the Four Seasons central reservations number? Does it make a difference?
Whichever one is offering the rate that interests you with the 4th night free. Just make sure that it is refundable in case AMEX matches.

Again, AMEX may simply say thank you for trying to use FHR, but once, they matched a hotel rate for me which I had already made an FHR booking for and then tried to cancel. I have fallen on both sides of this issue.
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Old Jun 19, 07, 5:56 am   #7
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Originally Posted by trilinearmipmap View Post
Has anyone had any luck when booking through the property directly to get the FHR benefits with an advertised promotional rate?
That is simply not how FHR works. It makes no difference whether or not you are a US or Canadian cardholder in my experience.

Amex negotiates these rates directly with each property, in the same way that your employer will negotiate special rates with hotels that your employees use heavily. They are based on discounts off the rack rate and do not adjust themselves in line with any promotional deal.

If you look back 3 years on FT, you will see that everyone hated FHR and thought it was cr*p. That is because, post 9/11, hotels were discounting heavily for a couple of years and it was rare that you would find the FHR rate (which always beats rack rate) was better than whatever special was currently being offered to fill rooms.

Today, the tide has turned. The hotel industry is booming. Special offers are rarer, especially at peak times. Today, the FHR rate is normally a better deal than the hotels own rate, because the hotel is only selling at rack rate.

In your case, the Four Seasons promo rate beats FHR. You should be grateful for the promo rate, book it and move on. You forget to mention that if you were only staying in that resort for 1-3 nights, FHR would still beat the hotels own rates.
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Old Jun 19, 07, 7:09 am   #8
 
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I have used the same FHR promotion to book a stay at the Setai in Miami in August (4th night free) with all FHR amenities and I do not hold a US card (A French one actually). If French agents can use this promotion I don't see why Canadians wouldn't be able to do so... Maybe you should try to talk to another PTS agent...
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Old Jun 19, 07, 8:21 am   #9
 
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Originally Posted by fredsxb View Post
I have used the same FHR promotion to book a stay at the Setai in Miami in August (4th night free) with all FHR amenities and I do not hold a US card (A French one actually). If French agents can use this promotion I don't see why Canadians wouldn't be able to do so... Maybe you should try to talk to another PTS agent...
National PTS consistency is anything but. One of the frustrating things about AMEX PTS really. I would absolutely not be surprised if PTS Canada could not book this rate, but EVERYBODY else could.
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Old Jun 19, 07, 11:34 am   #10
 
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When I called to book the hotel, they did not know about the promotion and I think they called the US CTS. They called me back a week afterwards to let me know I could benefit from this promotion...
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Old Jun 19, 07, 6:52 pm   #11
 
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OK I have booked this hotel today through Virtuoso. I got all the amenities and the 4th night free. And instead of the long periods of time I spent on the phone to Amex and e-mailing Amex, I had a pleasant five minute phone conversation with the Virtuoso travel agent and had written confirmation of the booking shortly after that.

I wonder about the economics of this. The travel agent who booked this for me makes his commission. By refusing me the FHR deal, Amex lost the commission, but more importantly, next time I book travel I will look to my Virtuoso travel agent first as he got me the good deal without any hassle.

So far this Amex card is batting 50% for me, I will see how things play out over the next year before it is time to renew the card.
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