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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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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