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Two Free Nights With Chase Fairmont Visa Card

by on May 21, 2012 · 22 comments

in Chase, Credit Cards, Fairmont, Hotel Industry

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As one of the smaller hotel chains out there, I’ve never had the opportunity to stay at one of the 67 Fairmont hotels around the world. Though the limited footprint isn’t the key factor that has kept me from trying out the brand. Instead, the fact that they have historically not offered points – only airline miles – has been a major turnoff. That being said, the Fairmont President’s Club still has some great perks, like free WiFi for all members and significant discounts on spa and dining.

Fairmont recently teamed up with Chase to launch a new Visa Signature card that offers two free nights at any Fairmont after $1,000 spent within the first three months. The card also awards a new currency, Fairmont points, on all purchases and those points can be redeemed for free nights. This announcement makes me suspect that a point-earning structure will become central to the program and also at some point in the future Fairmont will become a transfer partner of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

Some of the key benefits of the new card are:

-Earn 2 free nights with free breakfast at any Fairmont in the world when you make $1,000 in purchases within 3 months of account opening.
-1 free night at any Fairmont every anniversary of cardmembership when you spend $12,000 on the card within the year.
-Existing Premier and Platinum members receive an Annual Fairmont Gold Room Upgrade.
-$95 annual fee waived the first year when you apply by July 31, 2012.
-Automatic Fairmont Premier elite status.
-Basic membership with Lounge Club (which I wrote about here) and 2 free lounge visit passes each year to over 350 airport lounges in 200 cities. Pay $27 per person per visit thereafter.
-Earn 5 Fairmont points per $1 spent at Fairmont.
-Earn 2 Fairmont points per $1 spent on airfare directly from airlines, at car rental agencies and on transit and commuting expenses.
-1 Fairmont point per $1 on all other purchases.
-No foreign transaction fees.
-Car rental collision damage waiver insurance, trip cancellation, travel accident coverage, travel and emergency assistance, purchase protection coverage and extended warranty protection.

Analysis
Overall, this is a great offer considering nights at some Fairmonts like the Plaza in NYC and the Fairmont Orchid on Hawaii can go for well over $500 each, so this sign-up bonus alone can be worth over $1,000. The two free room certificates are pretty flexible – they must be used within a year of issue date and they can be used in conjunction with Fairmont President’s Club Platinum Room or Suite Upgrade Certificates (but not with the Premier Complimentary Third Night certificate.) If you’re already a Fairmont President’s Club Platinum member, you can transfer those free nights to immediate family members. Fairmont has a number of honeymoon-worthy properties, so I could see this card being useful for people who want to plan a high-end trip on the cheap.

If you’re already a Fairmont President’s Club Premier or Platinum member, you also get a yearly Fairmont Gold Upgrade to a Fairmont Gold room (not a suite). One of these certificates is good for one stay up to five nights. If you apply for the card by July 31, you’ll also get a “Charter Member Offer” that includes two extra Fairmont Gold Floor upgrade certificates and an extra $150 in dining certificates.

Every year you make $7,500 in net purchases, you will receive 1 stay credit towards the next Fairmont President’s Club status level up to 2 stay credits per calendar year. Top tier Platinum status is achieved after only 10 stays/ 30 nights.

One of the other key benefits, Fairmont Premier status, also entitles you to a few extra perks that might make this card worth it to you including 750 bonus airline miles for each stay, credit for stays at Raffles and Swissotel hotels, the choice of four additional benefits such as a year $50 credit in dining or spa services, a complimentary third night on a three-night stay, and complimentary room and suite upgrades.

Additionally, the 1 free night every anniversary with $12,000 in annual spend easily negates the $95 annual membership and the free night is not limited to lower level category stays.

Finally, existing Premier President’s Club members get two $25 dining certificates and Platinum members get four, adding up to another $100 in value from this card.

Fairmont Rewards
One of the most interesting facets of this card from a points perspective at least is that it might change the entire structure of Fairmont’s loyalty program for cardholders. Right now, the President’s Club has no real points system to speak of, and only elite members earn a free night for every 10 paid nights they stay at Fairmont, and all members receive perks like free internet access.

However, with this card, Fairmont and Visa are implementing a new points-based system for earning free nights. You can find the Chase Fairmont Rewards homepage here.

Redemption rates look a bit high, with standard rooms at Collection A (lowest) properties like the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto or the Swissotel Kolkata in India starting at 25,000 points and ranging up to a huge 65,000 points at top-tier Collection D properties like the Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai and the Raffles Hotel Singapore. However, suite upgrades are in 5,000-point increments, so there’s potential value there if you value upgrades. You can go from a standard room to a Junior Suite for just 5,000 points more, and from a standard to a Fairmont Gold room or suite with 10,000 extra points – so I can see the potential for tremendous value – especially at some of those high-end Collection D hotels where suites can be prohibitively expensive. It’s nice to be able to confirm upgrades, especially when it matters for special events, like honeymoons.

Card Comparison
Now let’s just take a quick look at this card in comparison to Chase’s other top hotel card offer that offers two free nights (one I personally carry at the moment) the Hyatt Visa. Off the bat, the Hyatt Visa has no spend requirement and a $75 statement credit essentially making the first year free, so that’s better than the Fairmont card. (Note: If you’ve applied for the card without the $75 credit, send a secure message to ask for it and send a copy of the application link if needed). Update: The current offer for the Hyatt Visa is 2 free nights after $1,000 spend within the first 3 months.

The 1 free hotel night on the account anniversary with the Hyatt card also comes without a minimum spending requirement, but is only good at a Category 1-4 property (out of 6 categories), while the anniversary free night at Fairmont can be used at any property.  Plus, Platinum members who apply for the Hyatt Visa get two suite upgrade certificates each good to upgrade a standard room to a suite on paid stays of up to 7 nights each—probably the most valuable part of the whole deal. Diamond members get their two free nights in a suite.

The Fairmont card wins out with lounge access – the two free visits from The Loung Club are easily worth $50 (depending on how you value lounge access) and the Hyatt card doesn’t have a similar benefit.

On the redemption side of things, even Hyatt’s top-tier properties only require 22,000 points for a free night at properties like the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome, whereas Fairmont’s redemptions will start at 25,000 points per night and go up to 65,000 points for high-end hotels. So for instance, you’d only need 22,000 Gold Passport points to stay at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome, whereas it would take 65,000 Fairmont Rewards points to stay at the comparable Raffles Le Royal Monceau in Paris. Excluding bonus categories, that’s $22,000 in regular spend on the Hyatt card for a top tier night vs $65,000 on the Fairmont card.

Personally, I think the Hyatt card is a better deal overall because it’s much easier to qualify for those free nights (all you have to do is get accepted!), there are so many more Hyatt properties around the world where I get those points-earning bonuses and where I can use my free nights (even counting those Raffles and Swissotel properties that you can use Fairmont Rewards points at), and since I already had Diamond status my two free nights are in a suite.

However, since I already have the Hyatt card, it’s nice to have another option out there that lets me earn some free nights at fancy hotels without having to lay out a lot of cash. I have a couple more months to go before my next Chase applications (I recently got the Ink Bold and Freedom cards), but this card is definitely on my radar.

Are there any Fairmont TPG readers out there who can shed any light on their experiences or their thoughts on this credit card?

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Grant Thomas

    I can relate to the number of Chase cards you have, I have the ink bold card and 4 other personal cards, thats too many for me, no more applications for a while…

  • Lark

    As a Fairmont Platinum, this card has a great value proposition. Especially for ‘Charter Members’. I have never stayed on the Gold level, but am looking forward to it.

    I am about 1/2 way through meeting the spend requirement so far…

    The points earnings on this card are not that compelling, and certainly are not why I signed up for the card. It is all the other benefits that make it so attractive…

    You should try a Fairmont or two (there is great info and some people with a lot of Fairmont knowledge in the FT Fairmont forum). Very nice hotels in general.

  • PJ

    Don’t be shy; enjoy MORE goodies from the all mighty and generous Chase .

  • Raffles

    If the free night options include The Savoy in London and / or The Royal Pavilion in Barbados, then you are looking at a spectacular result, frankly. And Barbados is only a short hop from Miami for you!

  • Dhammer53

    We stayed at the Scottsdale Arizona property a few years ago and loved it.

    The best part of this deal is the following properties in the Canadian Rockies:

    Banff The Fairmont Banff Springs
    Jasper The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
    Lake Louise The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

    You won’t mind many other chains here to use your points.

  • Slomichael

    TPG forgot to mention the first year free Hyatt card link.
    http://www.hyatt.com/hyatt/chase/ICOffer.jsp

  • thepointsguy

    Didn’t realize that was still live- I updated the link and added in commentary on how to get it if you’ve applied for the card already. Thanks!

  • Julie

    I’m planning to apply for the Chase Hyatt card and the Ink Bold next go-around. I got the Freedom about a month and a half ago and also opened a Chase Checking for the Exclusives benefits.

    How long would you advise on waiting until my next application?

  • PJ

    you have waited for too long enough to get the Ink BOld. anybody pls correct me if I am wrong: INKBOLD is a business card decision on it has NOTHING to do with when was the last time you apply for your personal card. Moreover, I have also tested out: you can have back to back approvals on 2 cards : a few friends of mine get Sapphire Preferred and Freedom back to back, my daughter Freedom and followed with United my son in law Sapphire preferred and United. TPG has similar experience as written in his blog a few months ago” Debunking Chase Credit card approval Myths(?) ”

  • Willisentertainmentco

    I like it I love it I want some more goodies from my BFF CHASE

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  • StockShooterSoBe

    Possible Sunday topics (or any answers now appreciated):
    What to do when one already has numerous Chase cards & keeps subdividing a $50K total credit limit amongst cards?
    (want to keep many, even with annual fees, because of annual free night vouchers)
    How long to wait between downgrading or cancelling card & going after new or same bonuses still offered by very same card?
    (do banks indefinitely block repeats of same bonuses?)

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  • Al Efron

    Dhammer3, that’s exactly where I’m going and it’s only while wanting to stay at this ridiculously gorgeous Lake Louise hotel that I found this card as I started to look for deals for that hotel. The problem is that I only have a few weeks left before the vacation to Banff/Lake Louise (12/24 – 12/31 2012)

    Questions (Both; Dhammer3 and TPG, your prompt response to these would be of great help) [Please bear in mind that I have never redeemed points on hotels etc. and whenever I have on an airline it's always been very very sparingly, coz I never have enough points :(]:

    - If I apply for this card today, assuming I get approved, how long do you think it might take me to get the card? This is critical since I need to be able to put $1,000 on it to get the 2 free nights
    - After getting the card, and spending $1,000 how soon am I able to redeem those 2 free nights?
    - What are the consequences of me getting this card, paying the $95 annual fee, redeeming the 2 nights and then cancelling the card? Can I get the $95 back or are consequences far worse than just the $95 refund, e.g. they ask me to pay for those 2 nights and 2 free breakfasts, reflects poorly on my credit report etc?

    Will greatly appreciate your responses as time is of the essence :)

  • Travel Mom

    Yes, the Fairmont card requires too much spending to earn a night at higher-end hotel. They should reevaluate this. It is a teaser to say free nights begin at 25K miles when those are mostly the lower-end Canadian hotels.

  • Jtk5d

    I can’t find the answer anywhere… Can the 2 free night certs be used at Raffles or do those certs need to be used t Fairmont only? Eyeing the Raffles Praslin. Thanks!

  • hansmast

    Are those properties 25k properties?

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  • vikas

    Can the 2 free night certificates be used to book room for other people?

    also how do we book using certificate?

  • Ok

    I thought this card was pretty good. I got the card, spent the min spend and used the perks at the Southampton Princess in a Bermuda. Stayed five nights but only paid for two. (2 free nights and 3 nights for price of two) Was able to book a basic room and use the upgrade. Also used all the dining certificates for breakfast etc. all in all, 5 nights in bermuda, in June, in an ocean view suite for $800 total was quite a steal… Saved over $1500. And did it two years in a row when I got the card for my wife the next year. Hope to do it again – assuming two years purges the system – and use for the Fairmont in Maui!

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