Fairmont Credit Card
While on a point to point basis I value airline miles much higher than hotel points, with the recent United & Delta devaluations, I think it is important to take another look at hotel credit cards.
While everyone and their mother are aware of the Hyatt card & the Citi Hilton Reserve cards, which both are great and come with 2 free nights each as a sign up bonus, one of the most underrated and overlooked hotel credit cards is from Fairmont.
I got the Fairmont card last year and redeemed the 2 free nights at the Fairmont Mission Inn in Napa (my review can be found here).
Although the Fairmont card has an annual fee of $95 (currently waived for the first year!) and a minimum spend requirement of $1,000, both are extremely reasonable for the perks that this card provides.
By signing up for the Fairmont card and spending $1,000 in 3 months, you will receive the following:
- 2 Free Night Certificates for any Fairmont worldwide
- 4 $25 Breakfast Vouchers
- Premier Status
Overlooked Premier Status Benefits
When I first signed up for the Fairmont card last year, to be honest, I was really only concerned about the 2 free nights and free breakfast that came with the card.
Since Fairmont properties are on the pricer side, I didn’t think I’d ever stay with Fairmont for a paid stay so the card’s additional benefits like Premier Status didn’t really resonate with me.
Many of the other credit cards like Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, etc also give you “Elite Status” with their loyalty program BUT it is typically the lowest rung and doesn’t have any real benefits. So I was conditioned to be skeptical of Fairmont’s Premier Status and believed it to be like all the other credit card statuses out there. Little did I know…
By sheer coincidence, before my trip last year, an FFU reader named James tipped me off about his experience at Fairmont and said that he was able to get an upgrade on an award stay using his Fairmont Premier Status.
Following his instructions, I logged into my Fairmont account and clicked on “My Certificates” and noticed that not only were my 2 free night certificates and 4 $25 breakfast vouchers from the Fairmont credit card in there, but also as a Premier Member in Fairmont’s President’s Club, there was also a $50 dining certificate, 3rd night free voucher, complimentary room upgrade, and complimentary suite upgrade!
Unbeknownst to me, Fairmont Premier Status (which comes with the Fairmont credit card), has a whole host of extremely valuable benefits!
And It Gets Better…
Although I was happy to get $50 in additional dining credit, I didn’t think much of the upgrade certificates.
Perhaps I am just a bit jaded by hotel loyalty programs over the years but I just naturally assumed that the complimentary room upgrade and suite upgrade could not be used on award stays.
However to my surprise, James said it could be used on awards…
Although I hoped he was right, I was still a bit skeptical, so I ended up calling Fairmont and asked to redeem my suite upgrade for my award stay at Fairmont Mission Inn. To my shock, they said that wasn’t a problem!
We ended up getting upgraded to a Wine Country Junior Suite!!!
Unfortunately you are not allowed to stack your suite upgrade certificate with the room upgrade certificate. However if you would like a bigger suite, you can pay a small upgrade fee (we were quoted $50 – $100 extra per a night depending on the suite).
Other Examples Of Fairmont Suites
While the Fairmont Mission Inn was on the “cheaper side” of redemption value, there are many other properties where getting the Fairmont card would save you some serious cash!
A full list of Fairmont Hotels worldwide can be found here.
From what I am told, there are capacity controls on using the free night awards earned from the Fairmont credit card.
Unfortunately, you can’t search for award inventory online, so the only way to check to see if you can use your free nights is to call into Fairmont. This is not a huge deal but I just wish you could search online!
The Plaza Hotel – New York City
With your 2 free nights, you could redeem them for 2 nights at The Plaza Hotel in New York City.
A normal room at The Plaza is $625 a night, while a suite is $1,455 a night!
The Savoy – London
If The Plaza doesn’t impress you, perhaps 2 nights at The Savoy in London might.
Basic rooms there start at the cheap rate of 606 GBP ($995 USD) a night, while Junior Suites start at 996 GBP ($1,636 USD) a night.
If you redeemed your 2 free nights here in a Suite, you would be getting a return of $3,272!
My Parents got the Fairmont Card last year and redeemed their 2 free nights at the Fairmont Singapore this past November.
Thanks to the free suite upgrade voucher, they were upgraded to the $1,800 USD a night Penthouse Suite!
Put This Offer In Perspective
If you still aren‘t impressed at the potential “value” of these 2 free Fairmont nights, let me try to put it in perspective.
In my case, in addition to the 2 free Fairmont nights, I also had 2 free Hyatt nights in a suite that I received from the Hyatt credit card.
By paying $999 to go on the SMD4 in 2012, Hyatt gave all participants Diamond Status for 4 months. Because I had Diamond Status when I applied for the Hyatt card, I received 2 free nights in a suite, as opposed to the normal offer of 2 free nights in a basic room.
While Hyatt is similar to Fairmont in that if you sign up for their credit card, they will give you Elite Status. Even at Hyatt’s top Elite tier (Diamond) where they give you 4 free suite upgrades annually, those upgrades CAN ONLY BE USED ON PAID STAYS!
So not only is Fairmont giving anyone who applies for their card 2 free nights but because you also receive Fairmont’s Premier Elite Status with the card, those 2 free nights basically turn into 2 FREE NIGHTS IN A SUITE!
The ability to redeem a suite upgrade on an award stay is something that Hyatt doesn’t even provide to their top tier Diamond Elites who have to stay 50 nights a year but Fairmont is willing to give that benefit to ANYONE who applies for their credit card!
There really isn’t anything more you could ask for from a hotel credit card since you are getting the following:
- $95 Annual Fee Waived For First Year
- 2 Free Nights
- A Suite Upgrade
- $100 in Breakfast Credits
- $50 in Dining / Spa Credits
While the Fairmont Card was a good card to begin with due to the 2 free nights, I think the revelation that the 2 FREE NIGHTS CAN ACTUALLY BE USED IN A SUITE is a real game changer!
There is no other hotel card out there that offers this large of a benefit to ANYONE that signs up!
HUGE thanks again to FFU reader James for pointing this out!
Not only are the 2 free nights in a suite fairly amazing but I think the $100 in free breakfast and $50 in dining / spa credits is a nice touch. Not to mention that all members enrolled in Fairmont’s loyalty program automatically get free internet!
That being said, there isn’t an affiliate link for this card so it is hard to say if it gets promoted as much as the other hotel cards.
As I have said in earlier posts about the Fairmont Card and perhaps the reason why many people overlook Fairmont to begin with, is that while Fairmont doesn’t have the large international presence as Hyatt, Marriott, or Starwood, what they lack in quantity, they certainly make up in quality properties like The Savoy, The Plaza Hotel, etc.
As usual, if you and your travel partner were to both sign up for the Fairmont Card, depending on where you redeem your 4 free nights, you could easily get $3,500 value or more from this credit card!
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