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Shangri La Bed 3

Shangri La Sydney King Bed

Recently my family and I stayed in the Shangri La Sydney Hotel in Sydney. I’ve always wanted to stay there due to the American Express Fine Hotel and Resorts Program. It provides incredible benefits where in a lot of cases the value of the benefits outweighs the actual cost of the hotel room itself.

In order to have access to Amex Fine Hotel and Resorts – you will need to hold the American Express Platinum Charge card.

I booked the most basic room with Amex Travel Online for the Shangri La Sydney hotel which is the Deluxe Darling Harbour King Room. The cost of the room was $280 for a Saturday night. Typically this is the most expensive night of the week for hotels.…

It was a nice surprise last week when I was helping a friend out with their travel plans that I stumbled on my American Platinum Charge Card account now providing complimentary Shangri-La Jade Membership. They have taken out the Intercontinental (IHG) Gold Membership over the last 2 months which is definitely a real plus.

I have found that after having the IHG Gold membership for a few years (even without it linking to my Amex account) – that it has provided with very limited benefits. The only thing I got out of it was 10% more points when staying at the hotel. My free breakfast or executive lounge access – no upgrades – really as a hotel customer – it did not provide me with any incentives to stay at IHG hotels. These include Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn. They do though have one of the easiest programs to earn a heap of points by applying for multiple points promotions. Then also combining them with Point Break nights where every couple of points rooms only go for 5000 points – then you really have a great deal.

But over the last year – there have not been any desirable properties to redeem the 5000 points for – so really has been a big disappointment.…

Amex Lounge Entry 2

Date: 14th April 2015
Time: 12:30pm
Destination: Singapore

The American Express Lounge at Sydney International Airport is on the left hand side after going through customs. It takes approx. 5-10 minutes to walk there. I've always wanted to try this lounge and I had complimentary access as I hold the American Express Platinum Charge card.

You are allowed to guest one more person (above the ages of 17). Also kids are free as well when travelling with you.…

From the last Blog post I wrote about the American Express Platinum Charge card – but I wanted to expand further on the features and benefits of this card and will give you a better indication in regards to if it is the right card in terms of points and travel.

In terms of hotels – it provides elite status for the following:

  1. IHG Rewards – Gold member. I’ve had gold status before and it is nothing special – you get 10% more points but that’s about it. I’ve never had any preferential treatment by having this before
  2. Club Carlson – Gold. This is for hotels such as Radisson. There is 50% bonus in points earned when staying in these hotels.
  3. Accor Advantage – part of the Accor group – you are entitled membership which costs $319 annually and includes a complimentary nights stay as well. This is included in your Amex membership – so really does save you some money. The free night could be used in an expensive property such as the So Sofitel in Singapore which retails for around $450 just for the base room. Also you get 50% discount in Accor hotels when dining.
  4. Accor Platinum – this is the top tier of the Accor group. The hotels include the Sofitel, Novotel, Ibis and Pullman among others. You are entitled to upgraded rooms if available and also lounge access. There is a 100% bonus in points earned as well
  5. Starwood Gold Elite – this is for hotels such as Sheraton and Westin. This status is as bad as the IHG Gold – you get nothing but a bit more points earned.
  6. 80,000 Amex sign-up bonus after spending $500 in the first 2 months. This is worth $5000 as this is enough for a return business class to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific.
  7. $200 Travel Credit with American Express Travel
  8. Free Flight or Hotel Stay with Amex Reservce Card – worth around $300
  9. Accor Advantage membership – valued at $319 when paying it yourself

Currently American Express has a promotion with the American Express Platinum Charge Card. This is in my opinion the flagship card of Amex. The promotion is that you receive 80,000 Amex points when you spend $500 in the first 2 months. How good is this do you ask?

It’s as good as getting a business return flight on Cathay Pacific which requires 80,000 points. That alone would cost you an average of $5000.  The bad thing about this card is the high annual fee of any card I’ve ever seen at $1200 per year.

So why you get this card? If you are like me and thinking that paying $1200 for a $5000 business class flight is a deal – then we are on the same page! Usually it costs $800 when on special to fly to Hong Kong.  So to get a business class flight for a few hundred dollars is a bargain to me!…

I did some research on a reward seat for Qantas for a business class seat between Sydney to Singapore return.

The number of points required is 120,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points which I already knew. This is high compared to if I was to use Asia Miles Frequent Flyer Programme which only requires me 80,000 miles to fly on the same plane and the same route.

Now what I was really surprised of was the amount of tax that was charged for booking an award seat. It costs $650 just for tax! Now compare that to if I was to buy a Scoot economy ticket for $400 return from Sydney to Singapore – which already includes tax! Or if I used US Dividend Miles Programme which costs me only $250 tax to buy a ticket to South-East Asia.

Qantas is also reducing the number of flights from Singapore to Sydney as well which means less availability for award seats.

You also do not have the option to buy points the way you buy it with US Dividends Miles or American Advantage programme.

As I have written about the Qantas programme before – most Australians only know either this programme or Virgin's Velocity programme – which means they can charge high tax and charge a high number of points to fly anywhere.…