AMEX FHR vs. Hotels.com via cash back portal

Old Jul 22, 19, 10:14 pm
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AMEX FHR vs. Hotels.com via cash back portal

I wanted to get the community's advice on whether to book my hotels via Fine Resorts & Hotels vs. through Hotels.com via cash back portal.

I have 3 upcoming work trips to NYC. Each stay will be roughly 3 nights each with the hotels being about $1,000 a night for a total of say $9,000 across all 3 trips.

1. If I book through Fine Resorts & Hotels on my AMEX Business Platinum card, it will get me $9,000 * 5 = 45,000 MR points on the bookings. MR points are valued at 1.5 cpp? Which would give the points a value of $675 (45,000 * 1.5/100).

2. However, right now on a cash back portal I use, they are offering 10% cash back at hotels.com. It's normally only 4%, so it's currently elevated, and it will stack on top of the regular hotels.com rewards (which is basically also 10% back - stay 10 nights, they give you an 11th night free that is the average value of the first 10 nights). So with the cash back portal + the reward night, I'm basically getting 20% back, or $9,000 * 20% = $1800.


So the no-brainer here is to book the hotels through hotels.com, right? All the ones I'm looking at in NYC are independent hotels (Peninsula, Langham, etc.) and not run through Marriott/Hilton where I have status, so booking through the 3rd party OTA doesn't matter to me.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 10:21 pm
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Originally Posted by idkmybffjill View Post
I wanted to get the community's advice on whether to book my hotels via Fine Resorts & Hotels vs. through Hotels.com via cash back portal.

I have 3 upcoming work trips to NYC. Each stay will be roughly 3 nights each with the hotels being about $1,000 a night for a total of say $9,000 across all 3 trips.

1. If I book through Fine Resorts & Hotels on my AMEX Business Platinum card, it will get me $9,000 * 5 = 45,000 MR points on the bookings. MR points are valued at 1.5 cpp? Which would give the points a value of $675 (45,000 * 1.5/100).

2. However, right now on a cash back portal I use, they are offering 10% cash back at hotels.com. It's normally only 4%, so it's currently elevated, and it will stack on top of the regular hotels.com rewards (which is basically also 10% back - stay 10 nights, they give you an 11th night free that is the average value of the first 10 nights). So with the cash back portal + the reward night, I'm basically getting 20% back, or $9,000 * 20% = $1800.


So the no-brainer here is to book the hotels through hotels.com, right? All the ones I'm looking at in NYC are independent hotels (Peninsula, Langham, etc.) and not run through Marriott/Hilton where I have status, so booking through the 3rd party OTA doesn't matter to me.
$1800 seems a clear winner, if you’re sure the hotel deals are stackable. Wouldn’t you also get Marriott points for the hotels.com booking if you use their credit card?
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Old Jul 22, 19, 10:28 pm
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Originally Posted by Jaimito Cartero View Post

$1800 seems a clear winner, if you’re sure the hotel deals are stackable. Wouldn’t you also get Marriott points for the hotels.com booking if you use their credit card?
Yessir, it says the 10% cash back is for both rewards and non rewards members. It only lasts for 6 more days, so I'm trying to book all 3 hotel stays (2 of which are in September and 1 in October) before then lol.

Just wanted to make sure my math was right. I guess it hinges on the 1.5cpp valuation for AMEX MR points.

Which card are you referring to? The Marriott AMEX/Chase cards?

I need to put it on the AMEX Business Platinum card because I'm working on the 100K/$10K signup offer for it.
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Old Jul 23, 19, 5:25 am
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what cash back portal are you using?
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Old Jul 23, 19, 9:49 am
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Originally Posted by zack14 View Post
what cash back portal are you using?
Topcashback
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Old Jul 23, 19, 11:43 am
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You're forgetting the potential value of FHR benefits, such as guaranteed 4 pm checkout, room upgrade if available, and a special amenity which might be a $100 F&B credit. Also, FHR tends to book into deluxe rooms (not base level, and not single rooms even for one person) for the lowest rate offered, so check room categories carefully.
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Old Jul 23, 19, 3:08 pm
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You're probably going to get a much better room booking through FHR. That would be worth at least $50 night to me, possibly more depending on the upgrade. For example, at the Langham (great hotel btw), I was upgraded to Jr. Suite on FHR rate.

Also I think your points vs. cashback calculation is off. You earn MR on full spend, including taxes and fees. You will not get cash back on taxes and fees. In NYC, that's at least 14.75% of room rate. I would also value MR at 1.8 to 2 cpp, not 1.5. YMMV.
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Old Jul 24, 19, 12:20 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
You're probably going to get a much better room booking through FHR. That would be worth at least $50 night to me, possibly more depending on the upgrade. For example, at the Langham (great hotel btw), I was upgraded to Jr. Suite on FHR rate.

Also I think your points vs. cashback calculation is off. You earn MR on full spend, including taxes and fees. You will not get cash back on taxes and fees. In NYC, that's at least 14.75% of room rate. I would also value MR at 1.8 to 2 cpp, not 1.5. YMMV.
Out of curiosity, which room did you book at the langham originally that got you the junior suite upgrade?

and even with the MR at 1.8 to 2 cpp, the value from hotels.com is still over 2x.

Last edited by idkmybffjill; Jul 24, 19 at 12:25 pm
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Old Jul 24, 19, 12:24 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
You're forgetting the potential value of FHR benefits, such as guaranteed 4 pm checkout, room upgrade if available, and a special amenity which might be a $100 F&B credit. Also, FHR tends to book into deluxe rooms (not base level, and not single rooms even for one person) for the lowest rate offered, so check room categories carefully.
Yes, but I wouldn’t otherwise eat breakfast (lol), and I sadly almost never get to use the 4pm checkout for work trips. Flying out of NYC on a weekday evening sounds like a nightmare 😂.

FHR options at the Langham were not a good deal unfortunately for my 9/9-9/12 NYC stay. If they offered the 3rd night free like they do sometimes, that would’ve made a big difference I feel.

i still have 2 additional trips, so I have another chance to possibly use FHR.
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Old Jul 25, 19, 9:47 am
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
You're probably going to get a much better room booking through FHR. That would be worth at least $50 night to me, possibly more depending on the upgrade. For example, at the Langham (great hotel btw), I was upgraded to Jr. Suite on FHR rate.

Also I think your points vs. cashback calculation is off. You earn MR on full spend, including taxes and fees. You will not get cash back on taxes and fees. In NYC, that's at least 14.75% of room rate. I would also value MR at 1.8 to 2 cpp, not 1.5. YMMV.
just realized the whole calculation is busted because the Business Platinum does not offer 5x per dollar on FHR spend. Only the Personal Platinum does. Glad I didn’t make an FHR booking...
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Old Jul 25, 19, 10:06 am
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Originally Posted by idkmybffjill View Post
....Business Platinum does not offer 5x per dollar on FHR spend. Only the Personal Platinum does.....
Where do you see this?

I see Get 5X Membership Rewards points on 5-Star hotel bookings with a pointer to footnote 1. Here is the text of the footnote:

1. 5X Membership Rewards Points: You will get one point for each dollar charged for an eligible purchase on your Platinum Card® or Business Platinum Card® from American Express. You will get 4 additional points (for a total of 5 points) for each dollar spent on eligible travel purchases made on amextravel.com. Eligible travel purchases include the following purchases made on amextravel.com: scheduled flights, prepaid hotel purchases (including hotels and flight+hotel packages), minus returns and other credits. Eligible travel purchases do NOT include non-prepaid hotel bookings, car rentals and cruise, hotel group reservations or events, ticketing service, cancellation or other fees, interest charges, purchases of travelers checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, or purchases of other cash equivalents. To be eligible for the 5x Membership Rewards® points, you must both reserve and charge the travel purchase with the same eligible Platinum Card® or Business Platinum Card®. To modify a reservation you must cancel and rebook your reservation. You can cancel and rebook your reservation on amextravel.com or by calling a representative of amextravel.com at 1-800-297-2977. Cancellations are subject to hotel cancellation penalty policies. If hotel reservations are made or modified directly with the hotel provider, the reservation will not be eligible for this 5X Membership Rewards® point benefit. For Business Platinum Card Members, extra points for air, prepaid hotel, and travel packages will be credited to the Membership Rewards account 10-12 weeks after final payment is made. Bonuses you may receive with your Card on other purchase categories or in connection with promotions or offers from American Express may not be combined with this benefit. Merchants are assigned codes based on what they primarily sell. A purchase will not qualify for additional points if the merchant's code is not eligible. The benefits associated with the Additional Card(s) you choose may be different than the benefits associated with your basic Card. See membershiprewards.com/terms for the Membership Rewards program terms and conditions or to learn the benefits associated with the Additional Card(s) you choose, please call the number on the back of your Card. American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., when acting solely as a sales agent for travel suppliers, is not responsible for the actions or inactions or such suppliers.
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Last edited by mia; Jul 25, 19 at 10:16 am
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Old Jul 25, 19, 10:28 am
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
Where do you see this?
I saw it on several comparison site s online, but looks like it’s changed, and FHR does get 5x. But airline tickets have to be bought through AMEX for 5x unfortunately.
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