Virtuoso vs Amex FHR bookings

Voyaging Doc

Level 2 Member
Just recently had my first experience booking with a Virtuoso agent for some future travel. His rates pretty much matched Amex FHR. Anyone have any experience with Virtuoso? Of course it's YMMV but when I discussed Amex FHR with him he says Amex can secure 4PM guaranteed late checkout as opposed to Virtuoso because Amex is such a large bulk buyer. Virtuoso's advantage is that the agent can lobby personally on your behalf via their connections sometimes for a better upgrade or other perks that may not be a priority for the hotel when they see the FHR booking. Anyone can comment on this?


San Francisco Bay Area
I've had it go both ways. One time did a FHR booking online for my birthday, and called up Amex to ask them to add some language about "It's his birthday...don't ya know?". We got upgraded to a suite on check-in.

For a Virtuoso anniversary booking the agent requested a suite upgrade -- we got one.

I've heard mention that Virtuoso > FHR when it comes to upgrades, in general. Don't know how true that really is.

My overall preference is Virtuoso though, due to being able to build a relationship with an individual agent and flexibility to use any CC on the booking.

Voyaging Doc

Level 2 Member
I'd have to agree with you Confectioneer. It now makes me think that the Amex platinum is more of a so-so card.

I would certainly think Virtuoso > FHR in the long run as the personal relationship could benefit you more in the end


Level 2 Member
Another thing to consider is looking for a hotel chain specific program. For example, Peninsula hotels are generally covered by both FHR and Virtuoso, but there is also a PenClub program. The PenClub program will offer full breakfast, rather than just a continental breakfast, and full flexibility around check-in/check-out rather than extended limits through FHR and Viruoso. There is usually an upgraded welcome gift as well since it is through the hotel's program. Other top tier hotels have similar programs (like Four Seasons). So if you are booking a high-end hotel through FHR or V, it's usually worth comparing with the hotels own benefits program (and you'll need to book through an approved travel agent).