The ultimate guide to the Visa Luxury Hotel Collection
There exist scores of various credit card-powered hotel portals that claim they'll grant you VIP treatment at select hotels around the world. You've probably heard of:
- American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts.
- The Hotel Collection by American Express.
- Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection.
- Mastercard Luxury Hotels & Resorts.
The redundancy of it all. Are there any distinguishable differences among these programs? Actually, yes -- Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts is widely considered to be the most surefire portal to upgrade your hotel experience in a meaningful way.
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But there's another program you may not have heard of, and it offers benefits quite similar to Fine Hotels + Resorts: the Visa Luxury Hotel Collection. Here's what you need to know.
What is the Visa Luxury Hotel Collection?
The Visa Luxury Hotel Collection is a service that grants you elite status-type benefits just for booking through its site. It's meant exclusively for Visa Signature and Visa Infinite cardholders. Examples of Visa Signature cards are:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.
- United Explorer Card.
Examples of Visa Infinite cards are:
The information for the Ritz-Carlton Credit Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
The amenities it offers are pretty standard among similar sites, such as:
- Best available rate guarantee (currently unavailable).
- Automatic room upgrade upon arrival, when available.
- $25 food and beverage credit.
- VIP guest status.
- Late checkout upon request, when available.
- Complimentary breakfast for two.
- Complimentary in-room Wi-Fi, when available.
Over 900 hotels participate in this collection. Depending on the hotel you choose, you could quite easily save hundreds of dollars on your stay, particularly if there's a special deal attached to your hotel and dates. For example, the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome currently offers a "3rd night free" deal, which could save nearly $1,000 on a stay -- not to mention the free breakfast, room upgrade, etc.
Related: Can't qualify for elite status? Get similar perks from these cards instead
How to use the Visa Luxury Hotel Collection
When you visit the site, you're immediately prompted to select the region of the world in which you desire to travel. You'll then select whether you're a Visa Signature or Visa Infinite cardholder.
There are two different portals on the site. The Visa Infinite portal is a tier above the Signature portal. If you've got a Visa Infinite, you'll have to enter your card number to access your portal.
What's so great about the Visa Infinite portal? It offers all the same benefits as the less exclusive Visa Signature portal. However, Infinite cardholders get one extra perk (worth $100) at select hotels. This can be amenities such as:
- Spa credits.
- Food credits.
- Room rate credit.
- Golf credit.
- "Services" credit.
This is very similar to what you'll find on the lauded Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts portal. However, there are only 200 properties that participate in these extra Visa Luxury Collection benefits. Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts provides 1,100 hotels to choose from.
The search results page looks nearly identical whether you're on the Visa Signature page or the Visa Infinite page. The big difference is in the filters on the left side of the page. Visa Infinite cardholders will see an "8th Visa Infinite Benefit" filter to help you more easily find hotels that come with that extra perk.
The Visa Luxury Hotel Collection has very competitive prices — sort of.
Let's say you want to stay at the Armani Hotel Dubai (which is inside the stunning Burj Khalifa, by the way). The price is the same on each site. If you don't enter a travel date, the site will generate a random (perhaps lowest?) estimated price for you.
Here's the Visa Signature price.
And here's the Visa Infinite price -- though note that this rate also comes with a dining benefit worth $100.
These rates have flexible cancellation. There isn't an option to book a nonrefundable rate.
Prices on the Visa site exactly match the price for the same flexible room rate on the Armani Hotel Dubai website. However, going straight to the hotel website could save you a lot of money simply because you can book nonrefundable rates for much cheaper. Here's the price for a deluxe room with flexible cancellation on the Visa Luxury Hotel Collection site (the same price you'll get when booking directly with the Armani Hotel Dubai).
That's 3,308 United Arab Emirates dirham, which translates to $900.
However, a cheaper rate is available, which you'll only find when booking direct: The Early Bird Rate for $720. It's completely nonrefundable, so you'd better know for absolute certain that you can make the trip if you book this price. You'll save 662 AED ($180) per night.
The Visa Luxury Hotel Collection offers elite-esque benefits at many hotels around the world. It's got two tiers of benefits:
- Visa Signature cardholders: Seven elite benefits offered at over 900 hotels.
- Visa Infinite cardholders: Eight elite benefits offered at 200 hotels.
Visa Infinite cardholders appear to get a very Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts type of experience. But the fact that these benefits are restricted to 200 hotels makes it far less valuable. TPG staff have been using Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts for years because of its high success rate in dramatically enhancing hotel stays in over 1,800 luxury hotels around the world.