AmEx Platinum Travel Benefits in Mexico

Unlock Free Nights & Valuable Perks With American Express Platinum

After a few hours of navigating through flight cancellations and delays, Chris and I finally arrived in Punta Mita, Mexico for a few days of R&R. Now, I have to profess that I thoroughly enjoy planning and booking trips. While most people I know dread the mechanical, tedious process, I see it as an opportunity to get extra value for my dollar. And let's be honest, booking a sweet travel deal feels so much more rewarding than purchasing a discounted coffee table.

I have a few go-to credit cards that I use when booking travel, and our Punta Mita trip is the perfect opportunity to talk about one of my favorites.

American Express Platinum - Fine Hotels & Resorts

When I book hotels, I always start with my American Express Platinum card because it offers the Fine Hotels & Resorts travel portal ("FH&R" from now on). This platform provides a suite of benefits at luxury properties worldwide, including:

  • Free daily breakfast for two people
  • Unique property amenity (usually $100 credit for food, spa, or general property)
  • Free wireless Internet access
  • Early check-in (if available) and late check-out
  • Automatic room upgrade, if available

In addition to these standard benefits, FH&R often provides valuable price promotions. In the case of our trip to Mexico, FH&R offered a third night free at the Four Seasons Punta Mita.

Booking Four Seasons Punta Mita with AmEx Platinum Fine Hotels & Resorts

Booking Four Seasons Punta Mita with AmEx Platinum

Neither Chris nor I had ever been to a resort town in Mexico. Unfortunately, growing up in El Paso, TX on the Juarez border didn't count. We were choosing between Cabo, Playa del Carmen, and Punta Mita, but this FH&R third night free offer made our decision easy. The incremental value we received from booking our three-night stay through FH&R included:

  • $450 - Third night free
  • $600 - Automatic room upgrade from garden view to ocean view (worth $200/night for 3 nights)
  • $180 - Daily breakfast for two ($60/day for 3 days)
  • $100 - Food and beverage credit (hello, margaritas and guac)

In total, the value of these benefits was $1,330! What a great deal, especially for a resort that has been ranked among the top properties in the world! Beyond the AmEx perks, our experience at the Four Seasons Punta Mita exceeded our expectations. The property, service, amenities, and restaurants were top-notch. We never felt the urge to leave the resort due to the sheer number of restaurants, pools, beaches, and things to do. Some of our favorite activities were the lazy river, the ocean-view spin class, the tequila blending class, the arcade room (no shame—I beat Chris in air hockey and Mario Kart), and finally, the baby sea turtle release. I highly recommend this property if any of you are considering a Punta Mita trip!

Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita review
Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita infinity edge pool
Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita beachside service
Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita restaurants and fine dining
  • Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita entry lobby
Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita beachside sunset
Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita coconut water on the beach
Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita Fine Hotels & Resorts
  • Four Seasons Punta Mita Sea Turtles
Four Seasons Punta Mita Sea Turtles
Four Seasons Punta Mita Tequila
Four Seasons Punta Mita Spin Class

American Express Platinum Card Benefits

Update: American Express announced some changes to the Platinum card as of March 30, 2017. The below benefits reflect those changes.

While the AmEx Platinum card carries a hefty $550 annual fee, the rewards I get back are well in excess of that. In addition to FH&R perks, the card offers:

  • $200 annual airline fee credit.
  • $200 annual Uber credit. $15 per month and $35 in December.
  • $100 credit for Global Entry. Y'all, I can't express how much anxiety this has saved me while traveling.
  • 5x Membership Rewards points on hotels and airfare. This is currently the highest return on the market for travel spending! The caveat is that you have to book the hotel through amextravel.com. You can book airfare through the airline or amextravel.com (but not Expedia, Kayak, Priceline, etc.).
  • 40,000 point sign-up bonus. This can be worth upwards of $800 when transferred to hotel and airline partners. I signed up for the card when AmEx offered a limited-time 100,000 point bonus, worth $2,000.
  • Boingo Preferred Internet access. Great for reliable airport Wi-Fi connections
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • American Express Concierge. Helpful in reserving tables at fully booked restaurants, getting tickets to popular events, etc.
  • Access to Centurion and Priority Pass airport lounges. This perk was a relief when we were stuck in the DFW airport due to a canceled flight. The line to speak with a gate agent wrapped around the hallway, so we headed straight for the Centurion Lounge. Within minutes, the agent booked us on a new flight. These Centurion lounges also offer complimentary food by award-winning chefs, alcoholic beverages, premium Internet, showers, and even spas. Not a bad place to hang out!

One of my favorite Platinum perks is the automatic elite status at Hilton and Starwood, which leads me into the next part of our trip.

Booking St. Regis Punta Mita with Starwood Preferred Guest Card Benefits

Booking St. Regis Punta Mita with Elite Starwood Status

Punta Mita is a beachfront village located just north of Puerto Vallarta and contains two main resorts. First, The Four Seasons (check!). Second, the St. Regis, which is a Starwood property. I heard and read fabulous things about the St. Regis, so I booked our last night in Mexico at this resort. Because the Platinum card provides me with automatic Starwood Preferred Gold status, we received the following benefits:

  • Early check-in at 11am (normally 3pm)
  • Late check-out at 4pm (normally 12pm)
  • Automatic room upgrade from a garden view to an ocean view (worth $100)
  • Choice of 250 Starwood points or a free drink. I chose a free drink because...vacation (worth $15)
  • 10%-15% off of the lunch and dinner bill, depending on the restaurant (worth $20 for us)

I could have booked our St. Regis stay through the American Express FH&R portal, but I chose to save the cash and book with Starwood points instead. I must say that the Four Seasons set a high bar for the remainder of our stay. However, this stunning, impeccably manicured property did not disappoint. First, we were greeted at check-in with a palm tree-lined ocean view and the choice of hibiscus iced tea or margaritas to sip (guess which we chose). Then, we proceeded to our upgraded room with our personal butler (!!!) and promptly made our way to the Sea Breeze bar for a margarita class that consisted of more drinking than learning. We spent the remainder of our day sipping coconuts at the infinity edge pool and enjoying food and dessert at the resort's fine dining restaurant, Carolina.

St. Regis Punta Mita Fine Hotels & Resorts entry lobby
St. Regis Punta Mita Starwood Property
St. Regis Punta Mita restaurants and fine dining
  • St. Regis Punta Mita Beachside Sunset
St. Regis Punta Mita infinity edge pool
St. Regis Punta Mita outdoor showers
St. Regis Punta Mita margaritas and palm trees

AmEx Platinum Global Entry and Pre-Check Benefits

While we weren't ready to leave paradise, the trip home was a smooth success thanks to the Global Entry program. As I mentioned, my AmEx Platinum card reimbursed me for the $100 application fee. While I'm a pretty anxious traveler, Global Entry (which comes with TSA Pre-Check) has been the best stress-reliever. When we landed back in Dallas, we bypassed a two hour long customs line and headed straight to a kiosk where we scanned our passports and fingerprints. We were in and out in five minutes, leaving plenty of time to grab some short rib tacos and bananas foster bread pudding in the Centurion Lounge before our flight to Austin (Chris was hangry).

  • Centurion Lounge American Express Platinum Benefits

Needless to say, we're already thinking about our next trip. Since a good value is generally the inspiration for my vacation choices, I signed up for the FHR News bi-weekly email that keeps me informed of new free night offers. I would love to hear about your experiences booking vacations, so please leave a comment below! Where is your favorite place to travel, and how do you get the best value out of your vacation stays?

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