Much has been written about the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase’s new premium credit card that comes with plenty of benefits along with a $450 fee that isn’t waived. I won’t go over all the details again because plenty of others have already done so. This post is affiliate link free, by the way, so don’t worry about any potential conflict of interest in this post.
I haven’t applied for the card just yet because I’ve had 5 applications in the last 2 years, but that 5th one will drop off at the end of this month so I definitely plan on applying then (I’m referring to Chase’s infamous 5/24 rule for applications). But I was still very curious about some of the benefits that are less publicized, so I did some exploring.
This card is a direct competitor to American Express’ Platinum card, a card that I’ve maintained (in some form or other) for the last few years. One of my favorite benefits of that card is the Fine Hotels and Resorts program – a website you can book luxury hotels with a slew of benefits including breakfast for 2, early check-in, late check-out, and usually a food/spa/resort credit of about $100. As a Southern California native, I’ve found use for these offers quite often on trips to Las Vegas. Rates there can fluctuate on the low end between $90-$150, and in the slow years even fell as low as $60…but still came with the same benefits including the $100 credit.
Additionally, nightly rates for Fine Hotels and Resorts hotels were often about the same price as it would be booking directly with the hotel without all the extra benefits (i.e. for just the hotel room). You also get elite night credit on hotel loyalty programs, so you can keep working towards status on SPG, Hyatt, Hilton, and others. It’s been a great program for certain cheap cities around the world.
So naturally I wanted to see what the Chase Sapphire Reserve had to offer in place of the FHR program. The official benefits page lists The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection with the following benefits:
- Complimentary room upgrades
- Complimentary meals for you and a guest
- Early check-in and late check-out
- Special discounts and credits
- Extra amenities, gifts and more
This amounts to essentially the same benefits as the Amex Platinum FHR program. Unfortunately when I click on the “Learn More” link for this benefit, I get a “page not found” error. Thankfully Google exists and I was able to find the correct link to the website.
Anyone can search any city they want and view the hotels and some of the associated benefits, but in order to see any prices and the full benefits list the website asks for the first 6 digits of your eligible Chase card. I don’t have my Chase Sapphire Reserve yet so I figured I’d just have to wait, but then I thought I might as well try my Sapphire Preferred number to see if that works…and it did. From the Sapphire Preferred cards I’ve seen, the first 6 digits are all the same so feel free to try yours as well.
Comparison of Amex Platinum’s Fine Hotels & Resorts to Chase Sapphire Reserve’s The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
The comparison I’ll do is for my own personal most-used location of Las Vegas. For my comparison I picked a week that I know is always cheap: Thanksgiving week. Below is a quick price chart for a Monday-Thursday stay. And yes, this is a very specific example of a city for one set of dates, so of course it’s subject to change, but I’m looking for what the big differences are.
There are a few interesting items to note here:
- There were 6 properties that were on both lists. Every one of these 6 properties were cheaper (sometimes significantly so) on Amex FHR rather than Chase LHRC.
- There were 13 properties on Chase LHRC and only 8 on Amex FHR. I’ll discuss this more below.
- Chase LHRC had the cheapest properties (two at $90 and one at $95 per night). Two of them also included credits of $100.
- The Chase LHRC breakfast is limited by dollar amount (varies per hotel). The Amex FHR breakfast benefit generally does not have a dollar amount limitation listed.
- Chase LHRC has some interesting other benefits, usually in place of the $100 credit. For example, the Trump hotel provides a welcome amenity of wine, water, and fruit. The Venetian/Palazzo provides two Gondola rides per stay. Caesars Palace’s early check-in time is 9AM, which could be extremely useful. The Delano and Aria also provide a $5 “Wifi credit” in addition to the $100 credit.
I did similar comparisons in a few other cities, and things vary wildly. In most cities I checked, and contrary to #2 above, Amex FHR actually had more hotel options in nearly every city compared to Chase LHRC. That makes it even harder to pick which program is better, if any. For Vegas, which seems to be an anomaly of a city for this comparison, Chase LHRC seemed to have the edge with the cheaper properties. For other cities, Amex FHR seemed to have more options and cheaper prices, but Chase still had some unique properties and benefits.
Clearly this isn’t so black and white as to which program is better. Amex FHR is cheaper almost every time when the hotels are listed on both programs, and that’s usually the most important consideration for people like us when selecting a hotel. Amex FHR also generally has more hotel options, with my Las Vegas example above coincidentally being an exception. On the other hand, Chase LHRC gives similar benefits on different properties, including some potentially cheaper options. Chase LHRC also provides unique benefits that could be desirable depending on your specific situation (like 9AM check-in – the first time I’ve seen something that early).
If I had to pick one, I’d still pick Amex FHR because of the breadth of options around the world. Chase’s Luxury Hotel & Resorts Collection is almost a direct replacement if not for the higher cost, but could still be better depending on what you’re looking for on your particular stay.