When I needed a one-night stay at the Park Hyatt Saigon, my first place to look was the Hyatt website. Since the Park Hyatt is only a category 4 (soon to be a category 5 property), I booked a free night using 15,000 World of Hyatt points.
It wasn’t until the end of the year that I realized I could book through the AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts website and redeem the $200 yearly travel rebate. I canceled my points reservation and rebooked through FH&R, paying $339 for the one-night stay.
After subtracting the $200 rebate, which was scheduled to expire in a few days, I paid $139 out of pocket, which is better than paying 15,000 Hyatt points.
What’d I think of my first AMEX Fine Hotels and Resorts stay?
First of all, I’m not a big fan of having to prepay for hotel stays. While I had to pay for the room two months in advance, I had until three days before the stay to cancel and get a full refund.
Reminder: Whenever booking a hotel, look at the cancellation policies. The more expensive the room, the more important it is to know what you’re responsible for if you cancel or no-show.
We were blown away when we entered the lobby. This isn’t the first Park Hyatt we’ve seen but the Saigon hotel was on another level.
We arrived at the hotel around 1 PM. I had pre-arranged for us to be in the same room for our entire three-night stay, as the next 2 nights would be as part of our tour group.
When we checked in, the agent welcomed us to the hotel and went over the benefits we’d receive by booking through AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts.
We were already taking advantage of the early check-in as our room was ready when we arrived. I wasn’t looking for a room upgrade as I was more concerned about staying in the same room for our entire stay (after our first night, the room would paid for as part of the group tour we were on). Besides, honestly, would you complain about getting this room?
We’d be leaving early so we didn’t need a late checkout.
We did take advantage of the breakfast benefit at Opera, which was amazing.
We also used the $100 property credit to pay for dinner the day we arrived. We were jetlagged and didn’t feel like leaving the hotel. Our Italian dinner was excellent and it didn’t even use up the entire credit.
I did learn some things during our stay.
When checking in, the front desk agent said that I needed to leave my Platinum AMEX card on the account to pay any incidental charges. When checking out, a different person allowed me to charge the bill to my World of Hyatt Visa.
He said that the room needs to be paid for with the AMEX Platinum Card but since our room was prepaid, we could use any card we wanted to pay for the additional room charges.
The FH&R night qualified for World of Hyatt benefits, including marking Park Hyatt off my Brand Explorer list.
In addition, my World of Hyatt Discoverist status provided us with additional perks, not limited to two welcome cocktails at the hotel bar.
This benefit wasn’t just for beer or wine but was a selection from the specialty cocktail list. This is the best thing I’ve ever received for having Hyatt Discoverist status.
Does booking through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts make sense?
It most definitely does if you were going to pay for your room anyway. Since we still had a $200 credit to spend, it was a no-brainer to use FH&R. We paid $133 for the room, received a $100 property credit and a free breakfast costing $30 per person.
If you’re able to use the $200 benefit every year, it makes having an AMEX Platinum Card even more valuable.
However, there are also other ways to get the same benefits without having an AMEX Platinum card. And that story is for another post. 🙂
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Is the “not limited to” a typo? I’m trying to figure out what the amenity was as I am headed there soon. Great article and sounds like a great hotel.
Not the best wording on my part. I meant to say that on top of the FH&R perks, we also received two free drinks at the bar for being a Discoverist.
I have stayed here a handful of times with all three statuses : discoverist, explorist and globalist. I have never been offer or advise that one of the perks are welcome drinks at the hotel’s bar. Where or how did you come across this perk? I have a few additional stays here this year as an explorist. Thanks.
We received a card at check-in thanking us for being World of Hyatt Discoverist members. It said we could bring the card to 2 Lam Son for welcome drinks.
One thing to be aware of when using AmEx FH& R is that while they do say if you have to cancel within a few days of your stay, you will get a refund, the “refund” offered is not really a refund in the traditional sense. It is simply a credit to your AmEx account. I had booked one of their listed hotels last summer for several nights in Vancouver, prepaid the $2000+ For the room, but then had to cancel well within the timeframe of their cancellation policy. Well, while some might consider a $2000+ credit to their credit card account a refund, I do not. Some might be able to use that credit quickly, however, I am not one of those people — and using the word “refund” is misleading at best. It is most assuredly NOT a refund if you don’t get the funds back.
Did you call AMEX to see if they could send you a check for the balance? I’ve had a bank do this before when I had a large credit on a card I no longer used.