Premium cards can make your hotel stays more luxurious

Don’t have elite hotel status with a chain, but want access to some of the perks that come with it? Certain credit cards offer nice-to-have freebies and comforts at certain partner hotels. Starwood's W Hotel in Hollywood, CA

If you’re unsure whether your card offers this benefit, search your terms for mention of a program that contains some combination of the following words: Fine, Luxury, Hotel, Resort and Collection. For example, American Express (a CreditCardForum advertising partner) calls its program “Fine Hotels & Resorts” and Visa calls its program the “Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection.” MasterCard has one called “Luxury Hotels and Resorts,” and Chase has one (for certain cardholders) called the “Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection.” (See the chart below).

If you book a property within your card’s luxury/fine portfolio, you’ll get perks like early check-in, late check-out, free breakfast, food/beverage credits, spa credits, gift baskets and more (if available). Some programs even tack a fourth or fifth free night on to your stay.

Luxury hotel perks aren’t just for cards with high annual fees. Visa’s and MasterCard’s programs are accessible through eligible World MasterCard, World Elite MasterCard and Visa Signature cards, which span a variety of price points.

As with all credit card benefits, there are some hoops to jump through:

  • You have to book through the program: That means booking through the program’s website, or calling the phone number provided. You don’t have the option of bargain-hunting on travel websites, and your desired hotel may not be in your card’s portfolio. If you’re on a budget, that could restrict you, as these programs are resort-heavy. However, there are some lower-cost options, if you’re flexible about location and timing. Visa’s program has some hotels for under $100 a night:visa Luxury Hotels and Resorts
  • You have to pay with the designated card: You have to book with a card tied to the program. For AmEx’s program, for example, you’ll need to need to book with your Platinum card, even though it doesn’t give extra points on travel. Suffice it to say, these programs aren’t always conducive to maximizing rewards.

The perks that come from cards’ hotel portfolios won’t necessarily save you money, and you may end up spending a little more to take advantage of them. But if it’s a special occasion or a rigorous business trip, that may be worth it.

Cards' luxury hotel benefits
Program nameCards participatingPerksTerms
American ExpressFine Hotels & Resorts-American Express Platinum card and Business Platinum ($450 annual fee)

-Centurion card
-Noon check-in

-Room upgrade

-Daily breakfast for two

-4 p.m. late checkout (guaranteed)

-In-room Wi-Fi

-Unique property benefits, including one complimentary night, spa credit, gift basket (varies by property)
-Benefits received only when and where available.

-Must book through AmEx 's travel service

-Certain categories not available for upgrade

-Payment must be made with eligible AmEx card

-Cardmember must travel on the itinerary
ChaseLuxury Hotel & Resort CollectionUnited MileagePlus Explorer card ($95 annual fee, waived for the first year), MileagePlus Club card ($450 annual fee)-Early check-in

-Late check-out

-Room upgrade

-Unique property benefits, including spa credits, food & beverage credits and more
-Perks subject to availability

-Reservations must be made through Luxury Hotel & Resorts (by phone or online)

-Not available on all rates
VisaVisa Signature Luxury Hotel CollectionEligible Visa Signature cards-Room upgrade
-Complimentary in-room Wi-Fi

-Complimentary continental breakfast

-$25 food/beverage credit

-3 p.m. checkout

-Lower-rate guarantee (within 24 hours of booking)
- Perks subject to availability.

-Room must be booked via Visa concierge or the Collection's website and paid for with a Visa Signature card.
MasterCardLuxury Hotels & ResortsVarious World and World Elite MasterCards-Room upgrades
-Complimentary breakfast for two daily

-Unique property benefits, such as wine, fruit platter, airport transfers and more.
-Room must be booked via MasterCard Travel Services with eligible World or World Elite MasterCard.
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