I’m excited today to share my experience using the Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts Program for the Encore Hotel in Las Vegas. If you happen to have read my previous blog post, you would know that we stayed at the Venetian Hotel on Friday and Saturday nights. We actually weren’t planning on staying Sunday night except our flight got canceled so we opted to fly out the next day for a nice $200 flight credit voucher (Thanks American Airlines!).
Now that our vacation has been extended an extra day, we had to book another hotel night. We could have stayed at the Venetian and not bother moving, but we wanted a change of scenery so we decided to move to the Encore (about three hotels down). This is my favorite hotel in all of Vegas. Before COVID, it was the place to be with pool parties at Encore Beach Club, fine dining restaurants, and nightclubbing at XS. Post-COVID is quite a different story. It’s now a lot more time gambling and laying out by the regular pool. But hey, at least there are a lot fewer hangovers!
DEAL: ENCORE HOTEL WITH AMEX FINE HOTELS AND RESORTS
There are a handful of travel credit cards floating out there that offer hotel deals on certain properties. I specifically chose the Amex Platinum Card’s Fine Hotel and Resorts Program for the Encore Hotel mainly due to the early check-in and room upgrade possibility. Amex actually has two different programs, both with similar benefits, so make sure you know which one you’re using. The other program is called The Hotel Collection and it requires you to book at least two nights. The Fine Hotel and Resorts Program allows you to book for one night. The benefits of the Amex Platinum Fine Hotels and Resorts Program includes:
WHAT DID WE GET:
- Daily Breakfast for Two: The daily breakfast was pretty generous. We got $40/person for two people so $80 total to spend at select locations at either the Encore or Wynn. Even in-room dining was included, which is what we ended up spending it on even though we didn’t get the most bang for our buck. As a tip, it takes about $56 dollars in room service to get you to that $80 limit. There’s a $9 delivery charge, 18% gratuity, and 8.38% sales tax. We spent $55 ($42 for the Japanese breakfast and $13 for two pastries) and that got us right under $80.
- Room Upgrade: We ended up booking an Encore Resort Two Queens room since there were four of us. We did get upgraded to a panoramic view, but the room still pretty much looked the same.
- Noon Check-In: Before I even mentioned that I booked through Amex Fine Hotels, the lady at check-in quite rudely told me that I was too early and check-in wasn’t until 3:00 p.m. I told her I booked through Amex and was wondering if a noon check-in was possible. She responded by saying that “it’s not guaranteed and we were sold out last night so I have to check.” Well, once she finally did check, magically they had a room available for us. We ended up being able to check-in by 11:30 a.m.
- 4:00 p.m. Check-Out: Unfortunately, we did not use it since our flight was at 11:15 a.m.
- Complimentary Wifi: I’ve always found this perk odd since all wifi is pretty much included in the resort fee that you always have to pay. Surprisingly, this time around, they gave us a $5 credit for the wifi. Not sure if this is a new perk with Amex or if it was just for this hotel, but I’ll definitely update once I find out.
- Unique Amenity ($100 spa credit): The spa at the Encore is open, but none of the amenity spaces are. So you can’t use the lockers, jacuzzis, sauna, spa, lounges, etc. You only come to get your massage and then you leave. I ended up booking a 50-min custom massage, which was $170. I asked if there was a discount since none of the amenities were open. They responded that the $170 was the discounted price and the original was $180. I think we can all agree that a $10 discount does not equate to not being able to use the spa facilities. Regardless, I had $100 credit I needed to use and this was the most affordable massage. The massage was great even though I clocked it at 48 mins instead of the full 50 mins. Also, due to COVID, once they ask you to flip over onto your back, they require you to put your face mask back on. They do add on an automatic 20% gratuity so, in the end, my massage cost me $104. Not bad for a 5-star hotel massage.
SAVINGS (IS IT WORTH BOOKING THROUGH AMEX):
At a certain point, I had to decide if it was really worth booking the Encore Hotel through the Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts Program or not. I’ve noticed that the prices on Amex are usually a little bit higher than what you can get by maybe just booking directly through the hotel website especially if you prepay. Or if you’re a hotel loyalty member or AAA member, you might get anywhere from a 10% to 15% discount. Let’s break out that good old cost-benefit analysis shall we?
Cost (Including all Taxes and Resort Fees)
Book Directly Through Hotel’s Website Cost: $204.09
Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts Room Cost: $227.28
Breakfast for Two: $80
Noon Check-In: $50
Late Check-Out: $100
Unique Amenity Credit: $100
Wifi Credit: $5
Room Upgrade: ~$16
Total: $351 Value
For an extra $23.19, you can get $351 worth of perks. This was totally worth it in my book. With that being said, I only booked one night which would give me the most return. If I were to book multiple nights, there will come a point where the perks don’t add up to the savings you would get by just booking a regular rate directly through the hotel. In conclusion, if you have the chance to stay at the Encore Hotel and have the Amex Platinum Card, I highly suggest booking through the Fine Hotels and Resorts Program.