Over the past couple years, several new hotel reward cards have made their way onto the market, including the first-ever credit card for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. Is it better or worse than the competition?
Chase knows how to do hotels
Without a doubt the dominant player in this niche is Chase. They’re the issuer behind the cards for Marriott, Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Priority Club, and Disney (the last of which is more of a hybrid card). The latest versions for each have received rave reviews from consumers.
On the other hand, the Fairmont Visa Signature Card is still quite new and I have yet to hear directly from anyone who has it. But being that it’s Chase, it appears they hit another homerun with this one. Here are 5 reasons why I say that:
Reason #1: Free night each anniversary year
Just for having the Fairmont credit card you get an enticing freebie which obviously outweighs the $95 annual fee:
1 free night each year – You receive a certificate good for one free night on the account anniversary, as long as you made at least $12,000 in purchases using the card during the preceding 12 months.
As you see the fine print says at “any Fairmont hotel or resort” worldwide. Too bad I didn’t have that when I stayed at The Fairmont Orchid on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Although the $12k spending requirement is quite low, that and the other requirements are still more restrictive than the nights you can earn each year with the Marriott Rewards Premier and Hyatt Visa card.
Reason #2: Good rewards program
- 5x points at Fairmont properties
- 2x points for airline tickets (purchased directly from an airline), car rental agencies, and on local transit/commuting
- 1x on other spending
How do the rewards measure up? Well obviously the 5x points at Fairmont can’t be beat. So if you frequently stay at their properties, then that may be reason enough to apply.
Meanwhile the 2x point categories, to be honest I’m a bit disappointed. Why? Because they’re not very competitive when you compare to the Premier Rewards Gold Card and Sapphire Preferred. So if you’re going to apply for the Fairmont Visa card, do it for the 5x points at their properties, not the 2x categories.
Reason #3: Automatic Premier loyalty status
Normally to qualify for the Fairmont President’s Club, you must have either 5 stays or 10 room nights in a given calendar year. The nice thing about the credit card is that you will always maintain this status as long as your account is open.
The membership benefits for the Premier level include 2 for 1 golf privileges, in-room internet, dining/spa certificates, and numerous other perks.
Reason #4: No foreign transaction fees
Most higher-end Chase credit cards offer this, including the Fairmont Visa.
Reason #5: Lounge club access (with a catch)
Before you jump for joy, let me explain because this benefit may not be quite what you were expecting.
Yes, you do get airport lounge access, but it’s NOT Priority Pass, nor is it access to specific airline lounges.
Rather, what you’re getting with the Fairmont Hotels card is participation in The Lounge Club. In the US they have less than 20 locations. Also you only get 2 free visits per year and after that it’s $27 a pop. But considering that the card’s annual fee is only $95 this benefit is certainly nothing to sneeze at. However if you want the best lounge access program out there then check out the Platinum Card offer.
What’s the final verdict?
If Fairmont is your hotel of choice, then thee $95 fee could be worth it.
But would I say the Chase Fairmont card is the best hotel deal around? Not quite. Compare all hotel reward cards on this page.
Written or last updated in 2013