I received an email about the new Fairmont Visa Signature Card from Chase from a reader. He was excited about the benefits, so I looked into the fine print and real terms of the card, to evaluate it for a review… and of course for my own use.
On first look there does seem to be a lot of value, especially as the $95 annual fee can be waived for the first year. The biggest for me is the 2 nights free in ANY property, and a big claim from Fairmont/Visa as there are some properties that have rates of $1600 a night (e.g. Fairmont Telluride all apartments). I picked up the phone to do some detective work … One phone call turned into four as no one really knew, and as I suspected the “Residence properties” which include Telluride and San Francisco do not participate.
So, what else? Or where else could I benefit on free nights in the Fairmont chain? Although not super easy to get to from Savannah but a good redemption on AA at 17,500 AAdvantage miles each way, Barbados looks nice for a 4 night break on the beautiful West Coast and their property there commands $615 per night plus tax. If Sara and I each had the new card in our wallets, we could escape for a short break maybe in the chilly winter months, maybe I play a round of golf and she have some extra beat time. This would be better for us if we happened to be in Miami (hello Avios) as it is a non-stop flight from there … and at 3+ hours flight with no chance of an upgrade (a la Delta) it’ll be in coach. But I’ll take it.
Santa Monica and Maui also have beautiful Fairmont’s in a great locations also. Some photos are shown below of all three:
So the verdict on whether the card offers high end hotels is definitely a positive one. One point of confusion was in on checking the card’s website, it did not indicate that Fairmont Premier status would be gained by being a card member as suggested by our reader; on a 5th phone call where the program manager kindly called me back, I can confirm Premier status WILL be granted as a benefit. This is great as you receive 2 – $25 dining certificates, 1 third night free certificate, and a very useful suite upgrade certificate for up to 5 nights, as part of being a Premier member.
In times where the credit card companies try and pack more in the way of benefits, what else do I get? Well you get “lounge club” membership which has 350 airport lounges worldwide but only 2 free visits and $27 per visit after that well; the same “lounge club” program you get with having the Chase Ink Bold credit card.
One aspect that is not clear also, is the free night certificate on offer on the card’s anniversary; which upon review is ONLY after a $12,000 annual spend. Out of reach for myself and for most of us I’d say.
In summary, I will definitely consider two applications to take advantage of the potential 4 nights in places I would like to visit, and the minimum spend is not outrageous at $1000 in the first 3 months. I don’t know if I would keep the card after a year as after that the benefits might not justify the annual fee. I don’t have a genuine need to stay regularly in Fairmont hotels. A solid card all in all though.
So the verdict on whether the card offers very useful hotel redemption choices for most people is… ?
Deal of the Day
For today’s Deal of the Day ExpertFlyer is donating One Year of Premium service ($100 value) for the best overall travel deal submitted. A great mileage run, mistake fare, partner promo, new card sign-up offer, or the special twist you figured out on a deal today. Add it to the comments section of this post (along with your First Name, Last Initial, and Airport Code) or this afternoon’s Deal of the Day post to be eligible to win.