Fairmont President’s Club Premier And Platinum Status Benefits

This past weekend I spent a night at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Vancouver, which simply blew me away. It was possibly the nicest hotel I’ve stayed at in North America, both in terms of the property itself and the service. Meanwhile a couple of weeks prior I stayed at the Fairmont Waterfront Vancouver, which was nice enough, though didn’t really seem much different than the other “major” hotel chains.

Fairmont-Pacific-Rim-Vancouver-012
Fairmont Pacific Rim Vancouver Gold Harbour View Room

While I do still think Fairmont lacks an identity as a brand based on my limited experience with them, they do have some nice properties that I’d really like to visit. Beyond that, I have to say that Fairmont President’s Club members are some of the biggest advocates I’ve seen of any hotel brand. I get emails all the time from FPC members raving about how much they love Fairmont.

So I figured I’d write a post covering the basics of the Fairmont President’s Club program, and then write a follow up post about their co-branded credit card.

Fairmont President’s Club has three status levels

Let me say upfront that I find Fairmont’s program to be unnecessarily complicated and rewarding in a somewhat backwards way.

At the same time it’s one of the most generous loyalty programs for members without status, while the rewards for those with status are a bit more questionable.

Anyway, Fairmont’s three membership levels are as follows:

  • Club Status is earned just for enrolling in the program
  • Premier Status is earned after five stays or ten nights in a calendar year
  • Platinum Status is earned after ten stays or thirty nights in a calendar year

As you can see, the qualification requirements are reasonable compared to what other hotels require… but do the benefits add up?

I’ll share my thoughts on the top benefits of each level below, but feel free to check out the official Fairmont President’s Club status benefits page.

FPC Club Status

I find Fairmont’s program to be extremely rewarding for entry level members without status. Here are a few of the perks you receive:

  • Complimentary in-room, high speed internet
  • Private reception desk, offering express check-in and check-out
  • 500 airlines miles per qualifying stay
  • 10% discount at The Willow Stream Spa
  • 15% savings at The Fairmont Store
  • Complimentary local calls
  • Complimentary shoeshine at city properties
  • Complimentary health club access
  • Complimentary access to BMW bikes at select hotels and resorts
  • Fairmont Fit (in-room delivery of Reebok shoes and apparel, yoga mats, stretch bands)

Fairmont-Presidents-Club
Lots of benefits just for joining the Fairmont President’s Club program!

There are other benefits, though I find those to be the most valuable ones. For simply joining a loyalty program, I’d say that’s pretty rewarding.

FPC Premier Status

As I mentioned above, Premier Status requires five stays or ten nights in a calendar year. In addition to the above Club benefits, the major additional Premier benefits include the following:

  • One complimentary room upgrade per year
  • One complimentary suite upgrade per year
  • $50 Fairmont dining (lunch & dinner) or Willow Stream Spa e-certificate annually
  • Complimentary third night on a three night stay, once per year
  • 750 airline miles per qualifying stay (instead of 500)

So for making just five stays per year I would say those are fairly nice benefits.

FPC Platinum Status

Platinum Status requires ten stays or thirty nights in a calendar year. In addition to the above Club and Premier benefits, the major Platinum benefits include the following:

  • One complimentary night annually for achieving Platinum status
  • One additional complimentary night for every 10 nights above 30 nights through the “Stay More Nights. Earn More Nights” promotion
  • Two complimentary room upgrades per year
  • Two complimentary suite upgrades per year
  • $100 Fairmont dining (lunch & dinner) or Willow Stream Spa e-certificate annually
  • 1,000 airline miles per qualifying stay (instead of 750)
  • Guaranteed early check-in and late check-out
  • Personalized welcome amenity

FPC Room & Suite Upgrade Certificate Terms

As I mentioned above, Premier members receive one complimentary room upgrade and one complimentary suite upgrade per year, while Platinum members earn two complimentary room upgrades and two complimentary suite upgrades per year.

So just how restrictive are those upgrades?

Here are the basic terms of the room upgrade certificate:

  • Valid for a one category room upgrade at any Fairmont property worldwide
  • This excludes suites and Fairmont Gold Floor rooms
  • Each certificate is valid for a stay of up to five nights
  • Certificate may not be used at Fairmont Heritage Place Residences, The Plaza Hotel or The Fairmont Royal Pavilion
  • Blackout dates may apply

Here are the basic terms of the suite upgrade certificate:

  • Valid for an upgrade from the room category purchased to the hotel’s designated suite category
  • Not applicable for Fairmont Gold rooms
  • Each certificate is valid for a stay of up to five nights
  • Certificate may not be used at Fairmont Heritage Place Residences, Fairmont Makati, The Plaza Hotel, The Fairmont Royal Pavilion, Fairmont Tremblant, The Fairmont Vancouver Airport or The Savoy
  • Blackout dates may apply

For all the details on both room upgrade and suite upgrade certificates check out the full terms & conditions.

FPC members don’t earn points for hotel stays

What makes Fairmont’s President’s Club program rather unique is that unlike Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, and Starwood, they don’t issue points for hotel stays. You can earn 500-1,000 airline miles per stay, but the only way you’ll earn free nights through hotel stays is by achieving Platinum status, which will get you one free night, and then an additional free night after every 10 nights, starting at 40 nights.

What’s funny, though, is that Fairmont has a co-branded credit card with Chase, and you do earn points for spend you put on it. And they have an award chart for redeeming those points. Except you can’t actually earn them from hotel stays, but rather just from credit card spend.

I’ll have a separate post about the Fairmont Visa Card, but I do find that a bit odd.

Bottom line on the Fairmont President’s Club program

My intention isn’t to bore you guys with the details of the program, but rather to cover the basics, because it’s a program not many people are familiar with.

In many ways this is a really innovative program. As a Club member you get lots of useful perks just for joining the program, which is rare.

Fairmont’s actual elite status tiers are fairly easy to reach, though at the same time seem overly complicated to me in terms of the benefits.

A $50-100 spa certificate and certificates for a one category room upgrade are nice though not substantial, so that leaves the suite upgrades as the biggest draw.

But the part that really throws me off is that you can’t earn free nights (or points towards free nights) unless you have top tier status. That just leaves me a bit puzzled…

All things considered, though, Fairmont does have some properties that I’d really like to visit, so I might just make Premier or Platinum status by chance. Maybe the perks will prove to be worthwhile, and I’ll consider doing a handful of stays with them per year, now that I live in hotels full time. But beyond that, maybe many of their hotels are so nice that they don’t need a super-rewarding loyalty program to get guests in the door.

For those of you that are Fairmont President’s Club members, what has your experience been?

Comments

  1. I’m now a regular at the San Jose Fairmont. No complaints at all, where they do a great job is by setting reasonable expectations and meeting them consistently. That’s where a lot of other hotels (and airlines frankly) fail.

  2. @ Justin — There is, though the points can only be earned through the credit card. Will post that shortly with the review of the Fairmont Visa Card.

  3. Can you use the upgrade certificates on award stays? I’ve been eyeing the Fairmont Orchid in Hawaii and would love to snag a suite.

  4. @ noel — It’s only valid on paid, qualifying stays unfortunately.

    Update: I stand corrected, looks like it’s valid on free nights as well!

  5. This Fairmont Fit sounds interesting, but I’m not sure I’d want to be wearing borrowed shoes.

  6. @ noel & lucky: My wife and I each opened a Fairmont Visa and we got four free nights which we’re using this July in Bermuda. We were able to apply our free suite upgrades to this stay rather easily with just a phone call.

    So for the credit cards we got 4 nights in a $1,000/night suite, free breakfast all four mornings for both of us, and then all the other little bonuses they give out as Premier members. We were very pleased with the level of service the representatives gave over the phone; not sure if we somehow got lucky getting these suite upgrades or not.

    Friends of our are coming on the trip as well and they got the suite upgrades on their four free nights as well.

  7. @ noel & lucky I’ve been a platinum member for over 5 years and never had an issue of using a room/suite upgrade with my platinum free night certificate. I’ve even done it on one night stays.

    @ RakSiam The shoes are very well cleaned after each use. Quite often they actually look brand new. With Fairmont Fit they give you a complimentary pair of socks too so you can always throw those out if you’re concerned.

  8. @ Chris H Interested. I wonder if that is the exception or the rule? Do you need to have elite status to get it to work? That would make for one suite trip to Hawaii (PUN!)

  9. One question. What about gold level rooms. Is there any way with status to earn an upgrade to gold level. In fact I find it odd that there is no way to get a gold level room as that to me would be even more valuable then the suite upgrade.

    Also is there any discount way to get gold level rooms. I see at FHR the gold level room rates are usually about the same price as booking directly through Fairmont.

    Final question. What about tips on the $100 certificate they give you. If you spend say $80 on breakfast, can you use the $20 for the tip, or do you have to add that on as extra. (ie, does your free breakfast cost you $20)

  10. @ Ben — I am one of the lucky ones who was able to purchase Lifetime Platinum status a few years ago. I have to say that I am not particularly impressed with Fairmont, although maybe that will change over time since I hopefully have 60 more years of Platinum status remaining! šŸ™‚

  11. As a AC Super Elite you get Fairmont platinum status. So far I’ve stayed at Fairmont Boston, Fairmont San Jose, and Fairmont Singapore. As a platinum you are really treated well. In Singapore they even put a unique scarf around your neck and escort you to your room.

  12. I’m not a frequent traveller, but for my honeymoon 3 years back my wife and I stayed for 4 nights in the Fairmont Singapore. We really like the look of the hotel anyway and booked. I noticed by chance they had this ‘Presidents club’ thing and just signed up. When we arrived they seemed to have been expecting us, the door man took us straight to the separate desk for checking in. During the stay the staff were immense. When we left to go to the airport they had arranged a posher taxi for us, and whisked us to the front of the taxi queue. (Tbh, I don’t like getting that sort of ‘queue’ jump preferential treatment really, feel a bit embarrassed.)

    Overall, great benefits for a free to join programme. As I said, we don’t travel a lot, so have never stayed in a Fairmont since, but when we think about planning holidays we always see if there is a Fairmont in the city we would like to visit, so they’ve certainly won our loyalty in the future.

  13. @ Jerry — If you already have Fairmont Premier or Platinum status and apply for their co-branded credit card then you get one free Gold Level upgrade cert annually. Unfortunately there’s no other way to get upgrades to the Gold Floors, as far as I know.

    I believe the dining/spa certificates are applied at check-out, so should be able to apply to tip, I believe.

  14. Lucky, I don’t know if you know this but your Amex Platinum card gets you a shortcut to FPC Plat – 5 nights and you get FPC Plat status! Pretty good shortcut, with great benefits.

    You could’ve been 2/5ths of the way there with your two stays!

  15. @ Diondo — Woah, this applies to the US American Express Platinum Card? If so, how do I sign up? Have never heard of that before.

    Thanks for the heads up!

  16. I don’t know if it is for USA Plats, I know the Canadian one gets it – the Concierge told me about this benefit when I was activating my card.

  17. I’m considering applying for the credit card (to get the two free nights), but am concerned about availability. I know the Plaza and Savoy are very tough, but I think some other desirable properties are tough as well (for example, at Lake Louise, the base-level rooms that can be booked using free night certs appear to sell out months in advance during the main tourist season). Can anyone provide names of really nice Fairmonts where free night availability is reasonable?

  18. With minor exceptions (Plaza, Savoy, a few others), if you book a fairmont room, you can apply certificates to that room.

    If you book and they reject it, just cancel the booking.

  19. I’ve been a platinum for about five years now (and will be forever actually)..

    we have always used suite upgrades with free nights, either via promos (like 5th night free) or via using a free night (although, often in conjunction with another night probably paid)

    the dining/spa certs, just come off your bill at the end. No need to worry about tip amount or anything. bill everything to your room and then just tell them take as many certs as you have bills for. I usually just flush these all out during our first stay of the year. Why risk having anything left over.

    We usually end up hitting several of the legacy CP hotels (Banff (great spa!), MTB, Whistler, Vancouver) annually, as well as places like the Orchid, Kea Lani or chicago. Sometimes stay in SNA and Scottsdale (nice spa!)

    Granted, as you’ve said above its not your typical hotel nights earning program, but as a Platinum they sure do make you feel welcome and get you a lot for your dollar.

    ONE thing I have always liked about Fairmont is that even if you’re just signed up for their Presidents Club program, the free sign up they don’t nickel and dime your for WIFI ACCESS. I hate how many programs continue to charge 10-20$ a night for WIFI. Just sign up already and get free wifi on any stay (you have to have been signed up PRIOR to arrival to get free wifi though, so do it BEFOREHAND!)

  20. Ben –

    If you know anybody who is living full time in hotels for a year, Fairmont Fit is a nice addition to the program. I travel primarily on business, and this (shoes, shirt, shorts, socks) is just one less thing I need to pack for my travels. I really like it.

    The biggest drawback, however, is the small footprint of Fairmont hotels globally, even including Swissotel and Raffles.

    I’ve been Plat the last three or four years, and plan to continue to earn this status each year as I like the properties, service, and benefits.

    Recently stayed at the Plaza, which we really enjoyed (booked through FHR, received Plat benefits too). An upcoming stay in Pittsburgh, which is supposed to be a nice property.

    I stay in San Jose, The Olympic, and Millenium Park regularly and like all of these properties as well.

    The Claremont in Berkeley is about to become a Fairmont – it will be interesting to see what they do with this classic property.

    Lark

  21. It’s not hard to get top status but weird that you only get upgrades to Gold floor(s) through CC. Do they ever upgrade at check-in based on status or would you always have to book a Gold room?

  22. A few points.
    1)I was Platinum for many years… but never got any airline points for my bookings. It depends on your rate, mine were too low, I guess.
    2)Room upgrade certs are basically useless, as the hotels will often assign you more than 1 category upgrade seeing that you’re a Plat.
    3)Call when you want to book your suite upgrades, so that you can confirm at booking.
    4)DO YOUR RATE HOMEWORK BEFORE PHONING TO BOOK. They will often neglect to give you the lowest rate, even if you ask. They will never quote you a non-refundable rate, even if they see one. They will never quote you a “Moderate” room which is cheaper, but a bad room (you cannot use any upgrade cert on a moderate room, but you can still hope for the better room assignment upon checkin). Their website rates are cheaper, and you can ask for specific rates that you see and be given them… but they won’t disclose those rates unless you specifically request them.
    5)Non-gold room upgrades get a non-gold room; Gold room upgrades get a gold room upgrade. If you want a gold room, book one… but you can upgrade within their ‘better rooms’.

  23. Many of the Fairmont hotels are offered in vacation packages, like Hawaii, Whistler, Bermuda. Can one earn credit for hotel stays, that are purchased, as part of a vacation package?

  24. Just used my two free night certificates (earned by reaching 30 and 40 nights) together with the suite upgrade certificate for a 201sqm Corner Suite at Fairmont The Palm Dubai. Combined with the complementary early check-in and late check-out and all the little perks like 100 dollar spa certs it was a great whole three days experience for the two of us.

  25. The Chase Fairmont VISA, with two free nites, is a great deal for those in the US. Is there any comparable program, with any credit card, for those in Canada ?

  26. If using the Visa signup night certificates together with the Suite upgrade certificate, does that give you free Executive Club access?
    The Fairmont website says:
    “Executive Club privileges are extended to all guests residing in Fairmont Suites, including complimentary daily breakfast and evening cocktails.”
    However, the phone rep said it’s an extra charge.
    Anybody know for sure on this?

  27. I have been a Platinum member since 2014.
    I have requested the Fairmont Hotel staff in Manila to extend my Member Cerificates for 3-6 months as I haven’t had the chance to use them all.
    They have not gotten back to me and today my certificates expire. This is very bad service indeed.

    I wish to seek reconsideration.
    Rosemary Ong
    FPC# 3249832036

  28. The best award was a rental set of golf clubs at resort hotels for each day. Where is this reward? I used them at golf resorts and they were great. If they’re not part of the award package for Premier members, I’ll have to think about staying somewhere that has a better award program.

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