I used one of my favourite credit card perks to stay in a Las Vegas luxury hotel and come out $20 ahead

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Normally, I gamble and subsequently stay at low roller joints in Las Vegas. Lower-tier properties may lack the amenities and polish of their luxurious neighbours, but they are more likely to give low rollers like me comped rooms for minimal action in their casinos.

Despite my thrifty proclivities, I do like to treat myself to at least one night in one of Vegas’ more opulent digs. Because I don’t gamble enough to warrant any freebies at a high-end establishment, I turn to one of my favourite premium credit card perks: access to discounted luxury resorts.

One of the more popular programs is American Express’ Fine Hotels and Resorts, and I recently used it to essentially get paid to stay in a Vegas luxury hotel.

American Express’ Fine Hotels and Resorts

American Express Platinum cardholders, both business and personal, and Centurion cardholders have access to “FHR.” Benefits of booking through FHR include a room upgrade when available, daily breakfast for two, guaranteed 4 p.m. late check-out, early 12 p.m. check-in when available, free wifi, and a property amenity credit, which is usually a general hotel, spa, or food and beverage credit worth a minimum of $US100.

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On a recent visit to Vegas, I had my usual comped rooms for two nights, with the final night of my trip, a weekday, unplanned and unbooked. I had heard of some outsized value at a south Strip resort, Delano, which is an all-suite hotel attached to the Mandalay Bay Casino and Resort.

Much to my excitement, I found a room rate through FHR of only $US79. After including taxes and the resort fee, for which Vegas is infamous, my total for the night was just shy of $US140. Staying at a resort as nice as Delano for less than $US150 is a great deal outright, but when the benefits granted by FHR are included, it becomes a steal.

It’s difficult to apply a dollar value to early check-in and late check-out. However, I knew I would get the full value out of both the breakfast credits and food and beverage allowance. In this instance, the breakfast came in the form of two $US30 credits to Delano’s upscale cafe, Della’s Kitchen. The credits could also have been used via room service.

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While Delano is lacking in dining facilities, guests are allowed to apply the food and beverage allowance at Mandalay Bay’s restaurants. I used the $US100 food and beverage credit at one of my favourite restaurants in Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay’s Libertine Social. I easily spent all of my $US160 amenity credits. Subtract the $US140 cost of the room, and it was like Delano was paying me $US20 to stay at their beautiful hotel.

It’s important to note that the property amenity credit category can change periodically. People value these categories differently, so be sure to note this before booking a stay. One way to potentially navigate around a suboptimal amenity credit is to check a comparable program: Chase’s Luxury Hotel and Resorts Collection.

Delano las vegas
The Delano, a luxury hotel in Las Vegas. Dreamsgate Pictures / Shutterstock.com

Chase’s Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection

Like American Express’ FHR, Chase’s LHRC is a network of partner hotels that, when booked through the program, offer special privileges during the stay. Chase’s Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection can also only be accessed by select Chase cardholders. According to The Points Guy contributor Nick Ewen, eligible cards include:

Most of the perks granted through FHR are mirrored when booking through Chase’s LHRC, with the exception being the unique property amenity. While FHR guarantees a $US100 minimum credit in a variety of categories, LHRC’s granted amenity can vary quite a bit depending on the resort. Some are similar.

For instance, currently, when booking Delano through LHRC, guests are granted a $US100 food and beverage credit. This is much more useful to me than the spa credit currently offered through FHR, which I would struggle to use and, knowing spa prices, would cause me to spend much more at the resort than I’d like.

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However, some resort amenity credits, when booked through LHRC, are not as generous. I have seen offers as low as a $US50 credit for food or a spa treatment, and things as simple a wine or fruit amenity basket upon check-in. If you have access to both programs, it’s absolutely worth shopping around before booking to see which amenity is more valuable to you.

Book midweek for the best value in Vegas

Both FHR and LHRC partner with properties all over the world. However, Las Vegas, and Delano specifically, is a sweet spot for these programs. Many high-end resorts are represented on the Las Vegas Strip and midweek rates are consistently reasonable. To get the most value out of any stay, regardless of your destination, the best option is to book a single night midweek, because the resort amenity allowance is allocated per stay, not per night.

So, if you book a two-night stay, you would still only be allocated one $US100 property amenity credit. Breakfast credits, however, are allocated per day. I’ve used this strategy multiple times to get steep discounts on some amazing hotels. On a rare occasion, like in the case of my Delano stay, the benefits are worth more than the cost of the room.

All told, access to FHR and LHRC alone may not be worth springing for a new credit card, but it’s worth taking the time to examine the full breadth of your current travel credit card perks. You may find some hidden value as I did. As it turns out, with the right card, you may not need to be an influencer to have a hotel pay you to stay.

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