Review: Chase Fairmont Credit Card

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Review: Chase Fairmont Credit Card

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Chase has had a Fairmont credit card for a while, but for a variety of reasons, it’s gotten little play on points and miles blogs. But, now with Chase’s restrictions on getting approved for some of their best products, it’s time to expand our horizons.

Fairmont Visa Signature® Card

Bad News First

The primary reason the Fairmont card doesn’t get so much action is that they have very few properties. More importantly, those properties have blackout dates. The nice thing is that those blackout dates are explicitly published. And outside of that, availability is pretty decent at most properties.

You can view the 2016 blackout dates here – but, for the most part, they’re pretty logical.

The Fairmont Monte Carlo, for example, is blacked out for certificate or points redemptions during the Grand Prix.

Fairmont Credit Card Review

Card Issuer: Chase

Annual Fee: Waived the first year, then $95.

  • This is a standard benefit on Chase products for their first years.

Sign-Up Bonus / Minimum Spending Requirement: 2 Certificates / $3,000 in three months.

  • Certificates can be used at any Fairmont with availability to the exclusion of the blackout dates (see here).
  • You must call Fairmont customer service to redeem certificates – excellent and friendly customer service team.
  • Certificates post to your account after the statement closes in which you completed the $3,000 in spending.

Bonus Categories: 5 Fairmont points per dollar at a Fairmont property, 2 for every $1 spent on airlines, car rentals and local transit (public transit, Uber), and 1 point per $1 on everything else.

  • You currently cannot transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to Fairmont, but the earning on this card is subpar because of the limited options for redeeming certificates. For hotel purchases at Fairmont properties you’re better off using the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Citi Prestige which both earn 3X on hotels.
  • The best way to use Fairmont points is for Gift Cards – this must be done via Chase (‘Redeem rewards’ on your Fairmont card section).

Hotel Status: Premier Status

  • Premier status is provided upon opening the card and it’s the second tier of Fairmont stauts. The real benefit is that it gives you
    • A room upgrade certificate
      • Entitles you to one category upgrade from what you booked (excludes suites)
      • Non-transferable, unless you have Platinum (top-tier) status
    • A suite upgrade certificate
      • Entitles you to one category upgrade within the Suite category
Fairmont suite certificate

Book a basic level suite and use your certificate to upgrade to a suite twice the price at the Fairmont Monte Carlo!

    • Two $25 dining certificates or Willow Stream spa certificates (applied at check-out), good at any Fairmont property
    • Third night free certificate – applies only to cash bookings
  • These certificates are good for six months from issuance
  • The full terms and conditions for the certificates can be found here.
Fairmont Status benefit certificates

The Fairmont Credit card provides Premier Status, which comes with a host of ancillary certificates

Foreign Transaction Fees: None.

Best Properties? Best Properties, FOR YOU

As mentioned above, your ability to redeem these certificates is limited by their amount of properties. The map they provide is interactive, but here is what it looks like in Europe

fairmont europe

You can’t use your certificates at Swissotel or Raffles

Fairmont has more properties in Asia and the United States. They also have several historic properties around the world and many beautiful and popular properties in Canada – where Fairmont is headquartered.

‘Best’ is completely subjective – the typical mantra is that the more money the property costs, and the “free’er” (yes, I’ve just made that a real word) it is, the better.

Probably the two most expensive and famous Fairmont properties are in New York and London. Fairmont restricts you to using only one certificate at a time if you stay at either of these locations. 

For example, Fairmont has a beautiful property in Scotland – and as much as I want to go to Scotland, I’m not a golf person. That’s what the property (the St. Andrews) is known for, and places it in a bit more of a remote and random location within Scotland. Sure, it might cost a lot if you paid cash, but it’s not the most practical place to stay.

That being said, there are some unique properties in places that don’t have many points options.

  • There are two Fairmont properties in Bermuda. There currently no other major chain hotels or point redeeming properties on that island. This card and these certificates offer that.
  • As Fairmont is headquartered in Canada, they have a lot of nice properties, particularly in remote locations or ski destinations such as Whistler, Canada.
whistler fairmont

Image courtesy of the hotel

One last tip.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts are known for their exclusivity. They offer unparalleled customer service. I can’t wait for my stay at the Fairmont Monte Carlo. Though it doesn’t cost as much as the Savoy in London, this redemption makes sense for me.

The tip? You can use your certificates for kosher food. Wait… what? Some Fairmont properties will bring in kosher food from local restaurants. If so, they’ll charge you at the end of the stay – you wouldn’t pay directly to the restaurant. You can just use your dining certificates towards that charge! I’ll be doing this at my upcoming stay in Monte Carlo.

Bottom Line

While the Fairmont card has its limitation, it’s a no-brainer if you have a specific use of the certificates. I would not recommend opening this card if you have no use for the certificates, as they expire a year from issuance. Don’t plan a trip around the certificates – plan a trip, and then see where the certificates may fit in.

The link for the card can be found here.

-The Miner


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