The “bargain” version of Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts – open to everyone.

Using points to pay for hotel stays always makes me happy. It’s such a great feeling to be able to enjoy a night in a hotel for free.

However, snapping up a great deal on a hotel stay is also a wonderful thing. This is one of the reasons that I hold onto my Amex Platinum card; the benefits you get when you book a room through the Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts (FHR) program can add a huge amount of value to your reservation. While the hotels that participate in the program are expensive properties, you can occasionally find a very good deal. For example, the nightly rate at the Arizona Biltmore for many days last summer was only $99.

Depending on your perspective, the benefits offered for a stay booked with the FHR program could be worth more than the price of an inexpensive room. These benefits include:

  • Room upgrade upon arrival, when available
  • Daily continental breakfast for two
  • US $100 food and beverage (or spa) credit to be used during your stay
  • Noon early check-in, upon availability
  • 4:00 pm guaranteed late check-out

Value!

However, the Amex FHR program is only open to Amex Platinum and Centurion cardholders.

So, I was excited to see this email from TravelZoo: their new hotel booking feature offers a suite of benefits with each reservation. It’s the same idea as the Amex FHR program, but it is open to everyone. (Well, the email states that “access is restricted to TravelZoo VIPs,” but I think you can get access if you sign up for TravelZoo emails).

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What are the TravelZoo deals like?

One of the hotels listed is The Boulders in Phoenix. I’ve stayed at this hotel before and really liked it, so I was curious to see what kinds of deals I could get through TravelZoo.

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I plugged in a random date in July, and got a rate of $99/night.

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The extras offered through TravelZoo include:

  • $25 daily breakfast credit (per person)
  • $50 resort credit (per stay)
  • Room upgrade, when available
  • Early check-in & late checkout, when available

This is similar to last summer’s FHR deal at the Phoenix Biltmore!

Are the TravelZoo deals competitive with other sites?

I was curious, so I plugged the same July date into the Hilton site.

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Same price ($99/night), and in fact, Hilton is also offering a $50 “hotel reward” per paid night. However, the other perks offered through TravelZoo are not included.

But…

If you book through a third party such as TravelZoo, odds are good that you will not earn elite credit and hotel points for your reservation (some people manage to do it by calling the hotel after making a reservation to add a hotel loyalty program membership number., but it’s not a slam-dunk).

How can I make this deal even better?

If you are interested in creating the most value from these deals, you could book several one-night stays for the same vacation, stacking the nights back-to-back and alternating bookings on TravelZoo and direct with Hilton. That way, you would be able to get repeated $50 resort credits each day.

Bottom Line

The new hotel booking feature at TravelZoo is worth a look. The extra perks they’ve added to each reservation definitely add another layer of value, and depending on your booking, these benefits could really add up.

Have you looked at these deals on TravelZoo yet? What do you think? Did you see anything tempting?

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Comments

  1. When I went to the link (after signing up for their e-mails) it said:

    “It looks like you’re not yet a VIP. Be on the lookout for future VIP upgrade opportunities”

    Maybe there is a lag time of signing up for e-mails and when VIP goes into effect?

  2. Christopher says:

    Yep – I am subscribed to TravelZoo Newsletters and I got the same thing that Patrick did :-/

  3. Christopher says:

    I found this process – not sure how “dated” the information is though:

    Instructions:

    1 – Visit the Travelzoo site and check out how the program works.

    2 – Register as a VIP member by entering your email address, ZIP code and country where you reside. You will receive a free gift certificate by email, and you will be registered to receive deals right to your email address.

    3 – Decide whether or not you want the News Flash program added to your account. The News Flash program tailors specific information to your area and sends you updates on new deals where you live. They include shows and tickets, as well as flights.

    4 – Wait for the confirmation email to arrive, which may take up to 24 hours. Once it arrives, you’re officially a Travelzoo VIP member.

    5 – Contact vip@travelzoo.com if you have any questions or if your confirmation email doesn’t arrive. Wait at least a day before you send them an email. You can also contact them if you have any questions or concerns about the program.

  4. But WHERE is the page to register? I’m looking at the page that talks about the VIP program and there is nothing, not a link or anything, that would allow you to register. Just a phone number.

    • Points Pixie says:

      Patrick – I can’t find the secret link either! My suggestion is to contact vip@travelzoo.com

      I assumed that everyone who had signed up for emails from TravelZoo would automatically be enrolled, but it appears that is not the case.

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