With travel limited and the American Express airport lounges closed during the pandemic I debated whether or not the keep the American Express Platinum Card. A member since my Mexico City travel days more than a decade ago, the lounges were my main reason to keep the card. But after an early summer flight to Philadelphia and an escape to the Lodge at Woodloch to start traveling again, the joys of the airport lounge experience did not exist. Miami and Philadelphia closed. Did it still make sense to keep the card? Was it time to start cutting expenses in the pandemic?
Once back home, I decided to review all the other benefits and decided since my annual fees were not to be renewed until November, I decided to use other benefits and reviewed the Fine Hotels & Resorts benefits for my birthday. Thankfully, Florida offers plenty of “staycation” opportunities, many holidays for me reachable in a days drive. Recently, I made return to Disney World and also visited the Florida Space Coast, but this time my goal was luxury, to stay luxurious. My goal was to splurge, to treat myself for my birthday in luxury property. The Breaker’s, the iconic Flager property in Palm Beach, caught my eye and a plan was hatched.
Fine Hotels & Resorts Benefits
Although rates were cheaper on discount hotel sites I decided to still book through the Amex Platinum Program for the Fine Resorts and Hotels benefits;
An upgrade (depending on availability) at time of check-in;
A $100 credit to use on site (I had no plans of going anywhere else)
An early 12pm (noon) check-in when available
Free Wifi (great to have access if needed)
Breakfast for two every morning
Guaranteed 4 PM late check out (most important)
I knew one day (or one night) would translate to more than 24 hours on site.
The Breakers Palm Beach
The Breakers Palm Beach Entrance
And upon entry I was welcomed I received the welcome drink along with receiving the potential upgrade. In these times of the pandemic hotels are often not nearly at capacity (and sometimes can’t be) so the chances remain higher than normal that even on a Friday you will be rewarded with an upgrade.
The $100 went fast on lunch and cocktails, but I considered it a prepaid expense. I knew I’d spend it on food and beverage anyways spending more than 24 hours on site. Yet, it was nice to make a dent in my total bill and receive some quality cocktails and lunch from the Surf Break with a view of the ocean. Happy Birthday indeed.
Then after taking the onsite shuttle to a delicious birthday dinner at the Flager Steakhouse, where I treated myself to house specility the bone in Filet I retured to my upgraded room complete with bucket of ice for my nightcap cocktail. On a staycation, you can easily bring in your own bottle, so there is no need to worry if the bar is open (in Covid) or if they have your favorite spirit.
The following morning, the included breakfast served like more a of brunch, which a I took late since I was in no rush to leave. The late 4pm checkout,, the crown jewel benefit for a using this benefit as part of a single night staycation created the illusion of a two day mini vacation. No need to change the bathing suit in the spa when one can return to the room at 3:30pm to change before checkout.
Yet, even with the perception of a multi-day holiday, a return trip will be necessary to fully appreciate and experience all the historic property offers with clay tennis courts, multiple restaurants and lounges (some closed for Covid) and the true scene. I had little people watching opportunity with such few hotel guests.
American Express Platinum Card
Upon checkout, I used my American Express card to pay the bill and placed the platinum card back in the wallet. After these benefits, I suspect it will remain there for some time to come, especially since the lounges inside the airports are open once again.
Stay luxurious, Craig