Amex travel booking "deal"

Old Jan 29, 13, 2:03 pm
  #1  
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Amex travel booking "deal"

Sorry, I know this is long but "it's complicated". I just got a Plat card and wanted to see if any FHR options for our 4 nights in Waikiki. Went to the AMEX link to "book online with Fine Hotels and Resorts". Put in our dates and a laundry list of available hotels comes up. Not FHR, just regular hotels (?).

I assumed that there are no FHR available on Waikiki beach for our dates but there is a "Lowest Rate Guaranteed" link that says AMEX travel will match lowest rate on hotels' websites. Standard room @ the Outrigger Waikiki OTB is $298/night. We want an oceanfront room which AMEX site says we can upgrade to for +$161/night (298+161=459). The "best available" public rate is $409 per the hotel website BUT, on the AMEX site there is an ad next to the OF room that says "Buy 3 nights, get 1 FREE". $459X3 < $409X4 or is it?

I do a dummy booking and can't figure out where they are getting the final pre tax price of $1768. It is not $459 X 3 (or X4) so I call online travel CSR. I explain my confusion and ask her to walk me through it.

The "buy 3 get 1 free" is being calculated at a per night rate of $589. For a room that is $409 on the hotels website! That works out to $441/night. She blames the hotel and says they do not set the prices, they get them from the hotel. I ask about lowest rate guarantee and am told that I would need to book the package then submit a claim for the other rate with a different department - she could not help me with that. At this point I give up.

What a waste of my time. Sorry for the rant but very aggravated with the bait and switch pricing and the passing the buck from the CSR.

Anyway - ended up booking the AAA rate direct with the hotel for $359/night. Will not be wasting my time with AMEX travel booking again.
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Old Jan 29, 13, 2:16 pm
  #2  
mia
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There is confusion. Assuming your card is issued in the USA it sounds as if you searched at this site:

americanexpress.com/travel

...rather than at...

americanexpress.com/fhr

There is one FHR property "Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk".
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Old Jan 29, 13, 2:31 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
There is confusion. Assuming your card is issued in the USA it sounds as if you searched at this site:

americanexpress.com/travel

...rather than at...

americanexpress.com/fhr

There is one FHR property "Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk".
I went through the card benefits website under the FHR tab and the link that said "book online with Fine Hotels and Resorts" but yes, somehow, it took me to the regular travel website. Doesn't explain the bait and switch on the standard travel website though...

I'll check out the /fhr link - thanks!
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Old Jan 29, 13, 6:47 pm
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by SquarePeg View Post
The "best available" public rate is $409 per the hotel website BUT, on the AMEX site there is an ad next to the OF room that says "Buy 3 nights, get 1 FREE". $459X3 < $409X4 or is it?

I do a dummy booking and can't figure out where they are getting the final pre tax price of $1768. It is not $459 X 3 (or X4) so I call online travel CSR. I explain my confusion and ask her to walk me through it.

The "buy 3 get 1 free" is being calculated at a per night rate of $589. For a room that is $409 on the hotels website! That works out to $441/night. She blames the hotel and says they do not set the prices, they get them from the hotel. I ask about lowest rate guarantee and am told that I would need to book the package then submit a claim for the other rate with a different department - she could not help me with that. At this point I give up.

What a waste of my time. Sorry for the rant but very aggravated with the bait and switch pricing and the passing the buck from the CSR.

Anyway - ended up booking the AAA rate direct with the hotel for $359/night. Will not be wasting my time with AMEX travel booking again.
This is normal. The Buy x Get x Free are based on standard rates. The $359 or $409 is typically a different discounted rate.

As an example, with Starwood Hotels, they often have 30% discounts or other such promotions. Their Buy x Get x Free rates are based on their standard non-discounted rate. Sometimes it works out cheaper sometimes not.

Bottom line is this is the same across nearly all hotel chains. AMEX is probably just offering the hotels promotion.
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