Chase Fairmont Signature Visa for Families: Maybe Yay?


Awhile back, I wrote a post on Chase Fairmont Visa and why it may not be the best fit for a normal family. Well, there is an interesting quirk to this program that made me rethink it a bit. First, the details on the offer, which does not pay me referral:

fairmont visa benefits page

If you read my post as well as comments, there was some confusion on whether you could combine the “third night free” certificate with bonus nights. I even called Fairmont, and was told yes, you could. Well, apparently, either the rep was wrong or they have changed the terms:

fairmont certificate terms

So, it looks like the offer is indeed for two (not three) nights. However, you can use your upgrade suite certificate that comes with Premier Status (complimentary perk for having the credit card), while redeeming free nights. There are some very nice Fairmont properties to choose from, two of them in Hawaii:

us Fairmont hotels

Of course, my biggest pet peeve is the teeny tiny Fairmont footprint. If your plans change or there is no availability at your desired location, then what? Well, apparently, there is a workaround. As my reader Doug has pointed out, you can reserve rooms without having any certificates in your account. You may need to call in order to do that.

So, basically, you can apply for Fairmont card, and if approved, look for award room availability that would match up with  flights to your destination. Voila! Take your time meeting minimum spend because your room is reserved and waiting for the certificates to be applied. In fact, you don’t even need the card open at the time of reservation, as Doug told me in the email (check my comments section for more on his experience).

This is a very neat perk, and makes this offer worth a look, especially if you plan to go to Hawaii. In fact, it could make sense to get this card instead of Chase Hyatt Signature Visa. I’ve seen reports on many blogs that award availability in Hyatt Andaz Maui is awful, especially during peak periods. Plus, with Fairmont card, you will end up staying in a suite, a huge perk for families. Check out this excellent review of Maui property on Travel Codex. My kids would go bananas for those pools!

I’ve researched this property and the reviews on Trip Advisor are mostly positive. All rooms are suites, so the upgrade certificate would likely get you an oceanview unit. Yes, it’s extremely overpriced, but that’s why using credit card nights is such a good deal. Interestingly, when you go through reservation process, it says the suite will fit four. However, it did let me put in three kids. You may want to bring an air mattress, just in case:

fairmont kea lani

Yes, the rate is for one night, and there is a daily resort charge. And it’s not even during holidays. Who pays these retail prices? You do? Go to VRBO, seriously. You can get a spectacular oceanfront villa for less. If you are going to Hawaii for the first time, I recommend you split your stay between Maui and Kauai. Beaches on Maui are nicer, so it makes sense to go with the chain property. Plus, sometimes you can see whales if you time your visit right. But  I also enjoyed staying in a small rental in Kauai, overlooking the mountains. Cheaper and more authentic.

I’m taking a closer look at this offer because I’m thinking about taking my family to Washington DC for a few days. As you can see, there is a Fairmont property there, and the rates hover around $400 per night for a basic room. I’m not crazy about the idea of channeling $6,000 in credit card spending towards getting only 4 hotel nights (via 2 cards), but the property  looks very classy. Maybe a little too classy, if you ask me. Judging from photos on the website, it looks like we are not their target guests. Oh well, I don’t mind being a square peg in a round hole. I started this blog, didn’t I?

I’m still not 100% sure if I will go for this offer, but it does sound  like a solid bonus to consider. The fact that you can reserve rooms before even applying for a card (after joining Fairmont program for free), as well as suite upgrade and other perks, make it very tempting. Certificates expire in 12 months after the date of issue, so there is some time to tinker with your plans and make changes when needed. Be aware, some properties have blackout dates, so always double check.

Non-affiliate application link

Readers, who is considering applying for this offer?

P.S. Stefan at Rapid Travel Chai blog is an expert on Fairmont program and could probably give you more tips. You could also contact FlyerTalkerinA2 via Twitter, who stayed at this Maui property, as well as many other Fairmont hotels.

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15 thoughts on “Chase Fairmont Signature Visa for Families: Maybe Yay?

  1. I was seriously considering this card when we were planning a trip to San Francisco (but we scrapped that trip for now). I’m still considering it for our 2017 cruise to Alaska to stay in Vancouver (it’s between that and the Hyatt card). We have to wait until next summer to apply since we don’t need the rooms until June 2017. Too bad there isn’t a 3rd night anymore!


    • @Shoesinks This card is growing on me! I really like the property in Maui, but we have too many plans as is, unfortunately. I definitely think you should consider it for Vancouver. A huge advantage here over Hyatt offer is that you can get a suite. With 5 of you in the family, that’s huge.
      As far as that third night goes, don’t feel bad. It’s totally possible that Fairmont rep misunderstood my question. It probably wouldn’t work to combine it with bonus nights. But who knows? The wording on this offer was extremely confusing. One thing is for sure: This card can be a tremendous deal under the right circumstances.


  2. Thanks for the follow up on this. You are absolutely right that while this card may not be for everyone, but in certain circumstances it can really pay off. As you mentioned, I was able to call Fairmont and make a reservation for the Kea Lani for 4 nights before I even signed up for the card, and the agent was very friendly and said it wouldn’t be a problem to convert the reservation later if we wanted to use free night certificates. (As a note, it can be hard to figure out what type of room you need to book at each property in order to use the free night certificates, so you can either just call the Fairmont reservation line and the rep will tell you, or there is a good FlyerTalk thread on this very topic through which I found the answer.) Both my wife and I ended up signing up for the card, and after meeting the minimum spending I called Fairmont back to apply the certificates from both our accounts to our stay and use my upgrade certificate. The whole process took maybe 5 minutes and all the customer service reps were incredibly friendly. On top of that, we each have $150 worth of free dining certificates to use while we are there. In our case, we are getting over $4000 of value out of simply having this card, and will likely cancel it before we have to pay the annual fee so it will end up costing us nothing.


    • @Doug Thank you so much for more details on this offer! I wasn’t sure if the dining certs are mailed right away or after the first year. Looks like you get them right away, which makes this offer even more awesome. I’m surprised at poor Chase marketing when it comes to this bonus, it really is quite amazing. Looks like you made out like a bandit here! I’ve updated the post and told readers to check your comment.
      I meant to do a follow-up post on this card earlier, but things kept coming up. I appreciate your insights. Please, share some photos of your trip when you get back. I would love to see them.


  3. So…top cards for free 7 nights in Hawaii, during summer break:
    1. Chase Hyatt (2 nights)
    2. Wyndham (3 nights)
    3. Hilton (2 nights, over weekend, and guessing availability is issue)
    4. Fairmont (2 nights)

    I guess you’d have to do a bit of island hopping, and I get the impression the Fairmont may not be the place for kids…


    • @Cheapblackdad Yup, that pretty much sums it up. I probably need to do a post on it, now that I think about it. This topic has been extensively covered before, but I could probably add a different angle. At least I hope so!
      As far as this Fairmont property goes, it doesn’t look stuffy, not to me. I would not hesitate to take my kids there. It’s true, Fairmont is known for elegant (a tad snobbish?) properties, but I don’t get this vibe from Maui hotel.


      • Hehe, my hope was to prompt a post on just this topic. Selfish on my part, as you know I’ve been considering a Hawaii trip for some time.


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