Why I Hesitate to Recommend Chase Fairmont Visa to Families

An update: My reader Nancy mentioned that this bonus comes with complimentary Passion Premier status benefits valid during your first year as a cardholder. See more details here

I called and Fairmont employee confirmed that you can get a third night free even when using complimentary certificates. You also get a free upgrade valid for up to 5-night stay and free $50 dining voucher. This new development definitely sweetens the deal! Still, I recommend you read the post to see if it’s worth it to you.

My mission with this blog is to cut the fat, so to speak, when it comes to industry information, and focus only on offers applicable to a normal, middle-class family in America. Do I do a decent job at it ? I honestly don’t know. I hope so!

Regardless, this is my approach to “miles and points” news items. If you go to my affiliate site, you will find about  150 credit cards listed, if not more. All of them pay me referral. Yet, I only recommend maybe 15. The same goes for non-affiliate offers.

I’ve said before that I don’t list all of them, but focus on the most worthwhile ones. This blog is based on my own personal opinions, which some bloggers disagree with (totally cool). Diversity is always a good thing.

Sometimes, though, it’s a bit of a tough  call to make. Such is the case with Chase Fairmont  Signature Visa, pays me no referral. I couldn’t find this card on Chase.com, but it’s still listed on Fairmont website.

I’m not sure if it means it will be discontinued soon, though, it’s possible. One of my long-time readers has mentioned it last week and said she was planning on getting the card. First, here are the details on this offer:

fairmont visa

The annual fee is $95, not waived. Update: It now comes with a waived annual fee.

Still, sounds like a decent bonus, no? I debated on whether to include it in my list of best hotel loyalty cards, and ultimately decided to leave it out. Here is why:

1) Even though there are some very nice Fairmont hotels, there are SO few of them. See the map with all the properties. Sure, if you already plan to go to one of those cities anyway, it’s worth the look. We’ve toured Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, and it’s a gorgeous property. Just a side note: Here is a short trip report of this vacation, with some tips on the area.

If you plan to come here, absolutely look into getting this bonus. It appears that standard rooms come with 2 queen beds, so you should be able to fit 4. The rates can run as much as $500 or more per night. Here is the view from the hotel’s restaurant:

DSC_0097

You won’t regret staying here, I promise. That is if you find availability, which brings me to my second point.

2) I’ve seen reports on Flyertalk that the nicest properties have blackout dates, or have very limited availability when using certificates. That’s bad news for families who need to plan around kids’ schedule.

As a rule of thumb, I recommend you always have a Plan B for your hotel certificates. For example, if at some point we end up getting Chase Hyatt Visa for their Vendome property in Paris, I will be happy knowing that we can use the certs in Hyatt Clearwater if things don’t go as planned. It’s located within driving distance and looks like a nice property. A beach is always a hit with my kids!

Unfortunately, there aren’t any Fairmont properties in Florida. In fact, look at the list of hotels in US:

us Fairmont hotels

That’s it. Interestingly, this particular reader lives near Dallas, which does happen to have  a Fairmont. That’s my rule of thumb: Have a backup plan and have a hotel in mind that happens to be located within driving distance. You don’t want to be stuck with expiring certificates that can’t be used for your upcoming trip and end up scrambling to plan another vacation.

Don’t get me wrong, more travel is a good thing, but not if you end up getting in debt because of it. When you are talking  airfare for 4 – 6 people, car rental etc., the costs can add up very quickly.

3) Another drawback is that quite a few Fairmont hotels have double or triple occupancy for their rooms. So, if both spouses get the card, a typical family would only get a 2 night-stay out of the sign-up bonus.

Considering the fact that you need to spend $3,000 per card, you are looking at putting $6,000 towards this bonus. That’s a significant outlay for low spenders. Sure, you will get Fairmont points for it, but at the minimum, you would earn  $120 with a 2% cash back card or 30,000 Club Carlson points.

Plus, don’t forget, you’ve paid $95 annual fee per card to get your 2 “free” nights. I suggest you factor this in when deciding on whether to go for it or not. Will you be better off focusing on another bonus instead?

4) Another reason I hesitate to recommend this card is due to the fact that you may end up foregoing other lucrative offers from Chase. Of course, this goes for any bonuses you get  from any card issuer. Still, I recommend you tread carefully with Chase. It has most of the best offers among banks, so choose wisely.

Bottom line

This card can be a good fit for your family, as long as you understand its limitations and drawbacks. Always try to investigate alternatives and see if they would be a better fit. I also encourage you to email me because that way I’ll be able to give you tailored advice and suggest cards that might not be listed in my blog. Oh, and if you plan to visit Lake Louise, get the darn card (X 2) if you can manage the spend. Just do it!

Readers, does this bonus look appealing to you?

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14 thoughts on “Why I Hesitate to Recommend Chase Fairmont Visa to Families

  1. Personally, I don’t think the card is worth it. I’m not big on the hotel chain anyway, and I need more than 2 nights to become interested!
    My friend and his wife went to a Fairmount in Bermuda with their free nights and had fun, although he said it was crazy expensive there!

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    • Holly, that’s kind of how I feel. Too much minimum spending to get 4 nights if both my husband and I sign up. Of course, it does depend on your plans. If we ever go back to Lake Louise, I would absolutely consider it. Ditto for other Fairmont locations. I would have to think long and hard on whether it’t worth it, though.

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  2. I think you left off the best part about this card–it comes with automatic Fairmont premier status, which includes one extra free night and two upgrade certificates (both good for a stay up to 5 nights!). So essentially you could have 3 free nights in a suite at one of these hotels. I also read on Flyertalk that it’s mostly the Savoy in London and the Plaza in NYC with the limited availability. 🙂 We are still considering this card for a potential trip to San Francisco or maybe Maui.

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    • Shoesinks, I promise, I’m not trying to discourage you from getting this card! 😉 It’s true that availability is mostly sketchy for NYC and London. But when the program does it, I have a hard time trusting the fact that the same thing won’t happen to other hotels by the time my minimum spend is met.
      Also, maybe I’m reading this wrong, but according to a thread on Flyertalk, you already have to be Premier member in order to get these benefits. Look here:
      “Existing Club and non-FPC members:
      • Automatically upgraded to Premier FPC status.
      Accelerated Platinum Status
      • When spending $7,500, Cardmembers will receive an additional stay credit toward their Elite membership to a maximum of two stay credits per year.

      Existing Elite members – Premier and Platinum tiers:
      1 Complimentary upgrade certificate to Fairmont Gold from a Deluxe room per year.
      • 2x $25 ($50) Dining certificates for Premier members.
      • 4x $25 ($100) Dining certificates for Platinum members.

      You also receive these additional benefits each year if you qualify for Premier or Platinum status via stays/nights.”

      Look at the last sentence. It says you have to qualify for Premier status via stays, in order to get the upgrades and other benefits. Of course, it assumes that you keep the card and pay $95 annual fee.
      Also, when it says you get an extra stay credit after spending
      $7,500, it doesn’t mean free night. It just means that it counts toward acheiving their top tier status. Perhaps, I’m not understanding this sign-up bonus, but my impression is that you get 2 free nights in a standard room plus breakfast for two. No extra nights or upgrades, unless you already have status at the time of the app.

      Correct me if I’m wrong and link to info that says otherwise. I would really appreciate it, because I don’t want to give out wrong information to readers. Oh, and good luck with getting the card for San Francisco or Maui, I’m sure the properties are lovely!

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  3. Pingback: Best hotel points sign-up bonuses for family | Miles For Family

    • Hi, Leticia! You would have to go to my “Support me” page at the top and find the link there. Thanks and let me know if you find it OK. Email me and I can include screenshots, if it sounds confusing to you.

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  4. I got this card last Aug when the first year annual fee was waived and the spend requirement was only $1000 in 3 months. Plus, I am planning to stay at Fairmont Maui in May(where ANY resort hotel are crazy expensive). Having said that, I still I feel like I was missing out on other Chase offers (e.g. the 70k chase Ink) because of this. I already have four Chase cards, so I need to slow down a bit.
    For newbies, I can think of so many great chase cards before this one!

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    • Katye, I’m glad this card worked out for you! It certainly has value, even now. Plus, I didn’t realize that you can actually use the third night (from Premier status package) in conjunction with the certs.
      It certainly can pay off big time, but only if availability is there. If your airfare is booked already and the hotel happens to be sold out when you finally get the certs, you would be out of luck. And that’s the problem for families: They usually travel during popular times. I would hate for someone to go through all the trouble and then not be able to use those certificates. That would sour them on this hobby and cause them to give it up.

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    • Stefan, that’s how I feel too. Of course, some properties in Hawaii would be a good fit for family. And if I ever go back to Lake Louise area, I will totally consider getting this card. Hope it’s still around by then!

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  5. Pingback: Chase Fairmont Signature Visa for Families: Maybe Yay? | Miles For Family

  6. I was just considering this card for Lake Louise specifically, but I’m still torn. On one hand, Chase has been getting a lot more strict on card approvals so I lean towards not getting it. But with the news this week that Fairmont was bought by Accor hotels there is likely an expiration date for this card’s existence, which tempts me to try…

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    • @Mark I strongly recommend you pick up this card if you are heading to Lake Louise. It is a stunning property in a gorgeous locale. Plus, like you said, Fairmont card may not be around much longer. Go for it, seriously!

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