One of the best perks of the AMEX Platinum Charge card is the welcome gift of a two night stay at selected Banyan Tree or Mandarin Oriental Properties. If you’d prefer to do a staycation, you can opt for a one night stay at the Mandarin Oriental Singapore or Capella Singapore.
I recently received and booked my free hotel stay, so here’s a run down on the terms and conditions, how to make your booking and which property is the most “worth it”.
When will I get my voucher?
The complimentary stay voucher is not included in the AMEX Platinum Charge’s welcome pack. Instead, it’s snail mailed to you about 4-6 weeks after you pay the $1,712 annual fee in your first statement.
In contrast to the grandeur of the welcome pack, the complimentary stay voucher actually comes in a very nondescript plain white envelope. Be sure to keep it in a safe place because you’ll need to present the original copy when making your stay.
Where can you stay?
There are a total of 34 hotels where you can use your voucher- 27 Banyan Tree & Resorts, 6 Mandarin Orientals and the Capella Singapore.
What are the T&C governing the free stay?
On the overleaf of the redemption voucher, you’ll find the T&C. Some key points include:
- You need to stay by 22 May 2019 (apparently the date varies depending on when the letter is sent to you, so in my case I had 6 months to use mine)
- Your reservation must be made at least 1 month prior to your stay
- You can cancel your free stay and rebook without penalty, provided you do so at least 3 working days prior to arrival (the confirmation email I received said 3 days, so you may want to check the exact verbiage with your travel adviser)
Each hotel also has its own blackout dates where the free stay voucher can’t be used.
How do you book your stay?
Unfortunately, your free stay can’t be booked online so you’re going to have to call up the Platinum Travel desk at 1-800-392-1177 or drop them an email at [email protected] to make your booking.
In the email, simply mention that you’d like to book your complimentary 2 night stay, and include the following details:
- Name of property
- Dates of stay
- Number of guests
- Names of guests
- If you’re celebrating any special occasion
I sent my email on a Saturday and received a call on Monday afternoon to confirm my details. Shortly after that, I received an email with my confirmation letter enclosed.
If you’re eager to redeem your free stay, note that there’s no need to have physically received your voucher before contacting the travel concierge. You will need to present the voucher when you stay, but otherwise there’s nothing stopping you from making the booking first and getting the voucher afterwards. Given that bookings require a one month lead time, this can help those of you who intend to stay in the near future.
Which properties represent the best value?
With 26 high quality properties on offer, this seems a bit of a minefield question. “Best value” is inherently subjective, and hard to answer without knowing your individual travel patterns and preferences.
From a pricing point of view, however, here’s how the 26 different properties measure up, based on the rate for a standard room on a random February weekend.
There’s a subtle but important nuance to add to the table above. I’ve taken the price of a standard room for comparison, so the overall order in terms of “atas-ness” will be correct. However, the value you get from each property may be different, because the free stay voucher doesn’t cover the same type of room for every property.
In some cases, the AMEX Platinum Charge free stay voucher books you into the base room. But in others, the voucher gets you an upgraded category. Take the Banyan Tree Bangkok for example. The free stay voucher books you into a Serenity club Room, two categories above the standard room…
…or the Angsana Bintan, where the free stay voucher gets you the Family Suite, the highest category of room there is!
Which hotel did I choose?
After much deliberation, I finally went with the Banyan Tree Ungasan Bali. I’ve been to Bali many times, of course, but the fact that the base level room at this property looks like this sealed it for me:
The base level pool villas come with 10m infinity pools, a private jetpool, a Balinese bale with daybed and measure up at an impressive 4,521 square feet. The property itself sits on a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean, and has won rave reviews from those who have visited.
For the period I was looking at, a flexible rate with breakfast would have set me back more than US$800 a night, so I was more than happy to cash in my voucher here.
The $1,712 annual fee that the AMEX Platinum Charge carries may be hefty, but assuming you value perks like these, the first year’s fee could well be worth paying. Be sure to do your research on each property and its revenue rates for the period you’re looking to visit, because the last thing you want to do is blow your voucher on a room you could have afforded normally.
Want to learn more? Join The Milelion’s dedicated AMEX Platinum Charge Telegram Group for more discussions on the perks of the card.