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Along with Hyatt, I’m a big fan of Fairmont hotels. One reason is because their top-tier Platinum status is easy to get. Normally, you need 10 stays/30 nights a year, but American Express Platinum and Business Platinum cardholders need only 5 nights. That’s one of the reasons I love having those cards for travel benefits.
Qualifying for Platinum status is pretty amazing because you get “benefits” for two years. There aren’t traditional benefits upgrades, club lounge access, and free breakfast. Instead, you get certificates that still save you a lot of money. After qualifying, you get a free night certificate, two room and suite upgrade certificates, $100 in food/beverage or spa credits as soon as you qualify. The year after, you get that all again.
The free night certificate can be used at Fairmont property, so your free night could normally cost $500+ a night. As well, there are some cheap Fairmont properties in mainland China that are under $100 a night, which is useful if you know the right people. In either case, I get probably close to a 100% rebate on the Fairmont stays that I do pay for.
One benefit that top-tier members get during a stay is a welcome amenity, which is lovely when done well. They leave a strong first impression yet doesn’t cost the hotel really that much. A personalized welcome card and tailored amenity really sets the tone for a stay.
Fairmont amenities have the biggest variation because there isn’t a brand standard, and have been hit or miss. One of my amenities at the Fairmont Santa Monica was literally two bottles of (Fiji) water.
On the other hand, this past weekend I was a the Fairmont Pacific Rim. It’s already one of my favourite Fairmont properties, but the welcome amenity really wowed me. Instead of the typical chocolates or fruit, they had a Herschel tote bag that you could keep!
For a bag that probably costs 50 cents to make in China, it’s a genius idea. This is fantastic marketing for Herschel and for Fairmont as well, given that I’m going to bring this up in conversation again and again. In my opinion, this is probably better than any other amenity except a good bottle of alcohol. I also find it amusing that someone is selling it on eBay for $40!
What’s the Coolest Hotel Welcome Amenity you’ve Received?