Chase Fairmont Visa Signature Card Benefits

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Link: Chase Fairmont Visa Card

Earlier today I wrote about the Fairmont President’s Club, which is one of the more unique loyalty programs out there.

Co-branded hotel credit cards have really stepped up their game lately, as they mostly come with mega-perks that more than justify the annual fees on the cards year after year.

Here are just a few examples of the benefits you get on the cards each year, not factoring in the sign-up bonuses:

  • Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card — Gold status for as long as you have the card, Diamond status when you spend $40,000 on the card in a year, and an annual free weekend night certificate when you spend $10,000 on the card in a year; $95 annual fee
  • Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card — Silver status for as long as you have the card, annual free night at any category 1-5 property; $85 annual fee
  • Chase Hyatt Signature Visa Card — Platinum status for as long as you have the card, annual free night certificate at any category 1-4 property; $75 annual fee
  • IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card — Platinum status for as long as you have the card, annual free night certificate valid at any IHG property; $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $49

Fairmont Visa Signature Card sign-up bonus

You earn two free nights at any Fairmont worldwide with complimentary breakfast for two after spending $1,000 within your first three months of account opening.

The free night certificates will be electronically deposited into your Fairmont President’s Club account within four to six weeks of reaching the minimum spend, and can be redeemed by phone. Blackout dates do apply, though based on what I’ve heard availability tends to be pretty good.

Fairmont-Visa-Card

Fairmont Visa Signature Card annual fee

The annual fee on the card is $95, though waived the first year.

Fairmont Visa Signature Card foreign transaction fees

The card doesn’t have foreign transaction fees.

Fairmont Visa Signature Card earnings rates

The card offers the following earnings rates for spend:

  • 5x points per dollar spent at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
  • 2x points per dollar spent on airline tickets, car rentals, and trains
  • 1x point per dollar spent on everything else

Fairmont Visa Signature Card FPC benefits

Regardless of your status with Fairmont, you receive a certificate for one complimentary night at any Fairmont property after spending $12,000 on the card in a calendar year.

In addition to that, there are some other benefits which vary based on which status you have in the Fairmont President’s Club:

For Club members:

Assuming you’re a Club member with Fairmont (meaning you don’t have status with them), you’ll receive the following benefits:

  • Fairmont President’s Club Premier status for as long as you have the card (ordinarily takes five stays or ten nights annually), along with all the corresponding benefits including a $50 restaurant/spa certificate, one room upgrade, and one suite upgrade
  • One stay credit towards Platinum status for each $7,500 you spend on the card in a calendar year, up to two stay credits

For Premier/Platinum members:

Assuming you’re a Premier or Platinum member with Fairmont, the benefits are slightly different:

  • One Gold Floor upgrade certificate annually (these are the only Gold Floor upgrade certificates that Fairmont issues, to the best of my knowledge)
  • One $50 restaurant/spa credit for Premier members, or one $100 restaurant/spa credit for Platinum members

Fairmont Visa Signature Card award chart

As I mentioned in my review of the Fairmont President’s Club program, you don’t actually earn points for hotel stays. Instead you just earn airline miles, and if you have top tier status you can earn a free night after every 10 stays.

However, you can earn points towards award redemptions with the Fairmont Visa Card. Here’s the award chart:

Fairmont-Award-Chart

At 25,000-65,000 points per night, those are some really hefty award costs, in my opinion. That’s especially the case since you can’t supplement your points balance with points transfers, earning points through stays, etc. You literally have to earn all those points “the hard way” through credit card spend.

Given that Fairmont’s co-branded credit card is issued by Chase, I’m kind of surprised they haven’t added Fairmont President’s Club to the Ultimate Rewards program, so you could transfer points earned through the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Ink Bold® Business Card, Ink Plus® Business Card to Fairmont.

On the plus side, I find the premium for junior suites and Fairmont Gold Floor to be reasonable.

Is it worth signing up for the Fairmont Visa Signature Card?

I’d say yes. Two free nights at a Fairmont with breakfast is a great sign-up bonus. For example, I’ve always wanted to stay at the Fairmont Banff Springs, and the free nights earned through the card could be redeemed there. So the card is definitely worth acquiring… eventually.

Of course as is the case with many credit cards, the question is which you want to acquire first. For example, I have every single one of the above hotel credit cards, but don’t have the Fairmont Card yet. So I guess I just haven’t prioritized it high enough.

Is it worth keeping the Fairmont Visa Signature Card?

The card has a $95 annual fee after the first year, and for that you’ll get Premier status for as long as you have the card, which gets you a $50 dining/spa certificate, one room upgrade, and one suite upgrade.

So if you stay at a Fairmont even once a year I would say it’s a no brainer to keep the card. Between the $50 restaurant/spa certificate and upgrade, you can’t really go wrong. That being said, if you don’t stay at Fairmonts there aren’t any “tangible” benefits to keeping the card, like a complimentary annual free night just for having the card.

Is it worth spending money on the Fairmont Visa Signature Card?

So you get a free night certificate if you spend $12,000 on the card in a calendar year. You also earn 12,000 points for that spend (assuming it’s in a non-bonused category), but given how high redemption rates are, I’m not sure how much to value those points at.

If you put that spend on the Barclaycard Arrival™ World Mastercard® instead, for example, you’d essentially be earning 2.2% cash back towards travel. So on $12,000 of spend you’d be giving up ~$264 “worth” of travel by using the Fairmont Card. If you don’t value the benefits of the Fairmont Card itself, it also makes sense to factor in the $95 annual fee. So the “free” night does have quite a bit of opportunity cost, though you should factor in the value of the points you earn through spend as well.

As I mentioned above, another benefit is that you get a stay credit towards Platinum status when you spend $7,500 on the card.

Everyone’s number crunching will work out differently here, but for my personal situation, I think it might make sense to put $15,000 of spend on the card per year. Then I’d get the annual “free” night and two stay credits towards Platinum status annually, meaning I’d only need to make eight stays to achieve Platinum status. If I decide I do like Fairmonts, that seems like a good way to go about earning status.

Bottom line on the Fairmont Visa Signature Card

Keeping an IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card is a no brainer. The annual fee is $49 after the first year and you get a free night out of it every year, along with Platinum status. That’s worth it for anyone. The same is true for the Hyatt and Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card despite the slightly higher annual fees, in my opinion.

The Fairmont Visa Card isn’t quite as cut-and-dried in terms of the value proposition. Certainly the sign-up bonus is generous, and the card can be worth keeping long term if you stay at Fairmonts with any frequency. It can also be worth putting $12,000-15,000 of spend on the card per year depending on your goals.

So while there are other cards I’d apply for first, this one is definitely worth considering if you have most other hotel credit cards.

Do you have the Fairmont Visa Signature Card, and if so, what do you think of it? Did you get it for the sign-up bonus, or have you put spend on it long term?

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Comments

  1. One thing you overlooked, Chase Fairmont points can be redeemed for Gift Cards. $1 spent at Fairmont = 5 points. $2000 Fairmont Spend = $100 Gift Card to a lot of retailers. Including Fairmont.

    I racked up $35k in Fairmont Charges last year. That is over 1700 in Gift cards.

  2. We just got back from 3 nights at the Fairmont Empress and want to share my experience.

    Since I’m pretty much maxed out with 7 Chase cards, had the wife sign up for the Fairmont card.
    We booked a non-refundbale $150/night standard room and applied the third night free and suite upgrade. The total came out to about $300 for 3 nights in a $400+ a night room!

    Wonderful thing about Fairmont is that they are pretty flexible with the elite certificates. Since the sign-up for the credit card was before the cut off date, we received dining/upgrade certificates on the month of expiration. All it took was one phone call to the President’s Club and they extended the certificate’s expiration to the end of April. That saved us $100 from the afternoon tea at the hotel (which was still $50+ for 2 adults and a 5 year old…)

    Fairmont is a great back-up program if you travel often in North America. The one night certificate is a great value too, especially if redeemed at properties like the Savoy in London or the Plaza in New York.

  3. @lucky Please note that Dining/Breakfast certificated can be redeemed at any Fairmont at any time (no need to be a guest of the hotel). Basically you can go for lunch or dinner, apply the certificated and walk away. I spent my 2 free nights at the Savoy in London (you can’t use the free suite upgrade but you CAN use the room category upgrade) and the other 2 from my wife’s card at the Fairmont Singapore combined with the suite upgrade. Both stays were wonderful. The Fairmont Singapore breakfast spread was amazing!!!! You gotta stay there and report back. Those 2 and our stay at the Hyatt Kuala Lumpur (with suite upagreades) were the highlight of our trip!! We did DCA-JFK-LHR-KUL-SYD-SIN-HKG-JFK-DCA a combination of an Explorer Award and a 1 way in Qantas from SYD-SIN using Avios all in J. My kids, wife and myself loved it!

  4. this is all nice and dandy but the annual fee is pretty steep… if it were $49 i’d say it’s worth keeping.

  5. Can you provide a link to their award chart? I cant find it anywhere. Just want to see what hotels are in which categories. Thanks.

  6. @ peetyrd — Stupidly they don’t publish their award chart. It can only be accessed through Chase’s website when you’re logged into your online account.

  7. @ Grant T. — I have some hotel reviews I’m writing right now, but will be another 10 days before I have a flight review. Thanks for your patience!

  8. What are the top Fairmont ‘aspirational’ properties to redeem 2 free nights and yearly free night? How are the ‘blackout’ dates?

  9. Lucky, I’d redeem at the Savoy. An amazing hotel and the netflix documentary on the hotel is riveting…

  10. @Jim: Another great benefit which I use regularly.

    For a Fairmont elite, I think this card is a no-brainer.

    For your blog readers just looking to milk another card for the free benefits, perhaps not. (Although, based upon comments so far and the invaluable FlyerTalk Fairmont thread, perhaps it even does make sense for some just looking to score said freebies.)

  11. My husband and I both signed up for the Fairmont card today using your link. I am interested to try the program given the highly positive reviews on FT. However I don’t think the program makes a lot of sense for those who are used to spending a little and getting a lot. There are hotels in their portfolio which would be way out of reach of my pocket ie The Savoy, but there are others that I would happily pay for. I guess for me I would be looking to these properties for 1 night stay to qualify at the highest level. I doubt if I will keep the card after the first year.

  12. Anyone know how strict they are about the free night stays and whether the person whose name is on the cert has to be present or can they just be the second person named in the reservation?

  13. I travel a lot for work, and last year decided I wanted to try the Fairmont hotels, In Boston I stayed at The Fairmont Copley Plaza , in the heart of Boston I made PLT. My partner and I both got the Fairmont Visa Card, had to close out my UA card to get this but well worth it. We are going to Europe this fall and plan on staying at Fairmont Monte Carlo room start at $650/n. So to say that the visa mim spend is a big value is an understatement…

  14. Hmm… Perhaps Andrew YVR has a right strategy for redeeming points.

    Anyhow, given the low 10-stay requirement, I’m pretty sure that Lucky can qualify for Platinum pretty easily with short 1-2 night stays.

  15. What hotel card do you recommend if I want a signup bonus that lets me stay for the most nights in a standard hotel? By a standard hotel, I mean something like a Holiday Inn. It should be better than a motel, but it doesn’t have to be luxurious like a Park Hyatt.

  16. @ Donald — All depends which hotels you’re looking at, as there’s not one that’s best all around. Marriott and IHG both offer points as a sign-up bonus, so if you stay at their lower category properties you can really stretch those nights.

  17. My husband and I both signed up for the fairmont card for the sign up bonus. We stayed 4 nights at the Kea Lani in maui and got upgraded to a partial ocean view which would normally have gone for $900 per night with taxes. Also got a $300 food credit. All free! I will not keep the card since it’s not in our budget to stay at the fairmont on a regular basis, but it was a great sign on bonus

  18. Hi, if I close my Fairmont credit card before check in, can I still stay free and complementary breakfast certificate? I opened my card last November and I’m planning to use it on this Dec. Thank you.

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