Fairmont Visa Signature card review

Fairmont Visa Signature card review

Updated: April 6, 2018
Updated: April 6, 2018

Fairmont Hotels and Resorts might be the best hotel chain for people who hate staying in chain hotels. Fairmont hotels are not just about luxury and top-notch service, but also are unique, historic, and often castle-like properties that consistently earn accolades and awards from Condé Nast Traveler, Travel and Leisure, Fortune, and other publications. Members can also earn credits and receive benefits at Raffles Hotels & Resorts and at SwissÔtel Hotels & Resorts.

It’s no surprise that a stay at a Fairmont hotel comes at a price, and this is where the Fairmont Visa Signature card comes in handy. Not only does it offer a terrific sign-up bonus, but you also get elite benefits with real monetary value, which will be yours for as long as you carry the card. And to make it easier to see if the card works for you or not, the annual fee is waived for the first year.

Very valuable sign-up bonus

You get two complimentary nights at any Fairmont in the world after spending $3,000 within the first three months. Since Fairmont hotel rooms come at a premium, we estimate a very high value for this free night certificate – up to 150,000 points, depending on where you book your stay. If you apply for the card together with your spouse or partner, you can turn this bonus into a mini-vacation at some of the most exquisite and luxurious hotels in the world.

Loyal cardholders are also rewarded with a generous bonus at the anniversary of their membership each year. You get one free night anywhere in the world each year that you spend $12,000 for as long as you carry the card.

Average earning scheme

Unfortunately, the Fairmont Visa Signature Card’s earning scheme is only average compared to some other premium hotel cards. You get five points per dollar on Fairmont hotel stays; two points for airline tickets, car rental, transit, and commuting; and one point on everything else. Cardholders who only spend a moderate amount on the card will have a hard time accumulating enough points to redeem for a free night’s stay.

High annual fee

The card comes with a $95 annual fee, which is high for a hotel card, but well worth the price if you take advantage of the free night stay vouchers and the valuable perks that come with the card. As another plus, the fee is waived for the first year. If you don’t like the card, you can cancel it any time before the next year’s fee hits.

High redemption threshold

One major drawback of the Fairmont rewards program is that rewards are not always easy to redeem. Some Fairmount properties enforce capacity controls on rewards rooms and strict calendars of blackout dates when rewards rooms cannot be booked. In addition, the minimum number of points required to redeem for one free night’s stay is very high at 25,000 points. Suffice it to say that the Fairmont rewards program is best suited to a traveler who spends a large amount on credit cards and can afford to stay at luxury hotels. Moderate spenders will have a hard time reaching the threshold for a free room.

Limited hotel footprint

Another drawback is the limited range of Fairmont hotels. While Fairmont offers some luxurious properties, there are a mere 60 of them scattered across 19 countries. If you are looking for a refined experience at one of these unique properties, the Fairmont card may be good fit for you. However, if you are looking for a broad range of travel options, you will probably be better off with another card.

Elite premier benefits

As a cardholder, you are automatically upgraded to premier status in Fairmont’s President’s Club. Although this is only an entry-level elite status, it’s tremendously valuable compared to other hotel chains. You get a number of perks, such as two free room upgrades (one to a suite) that are valid even on a rewards stay. You’re also entitled to a $50 food or spa credit, a free night on a three-night stay, and two-for-one rounds of golf at some golf resorts, among other perks.

Why get the Fairmont Visa Signature card?

  • You stay or plan on staying at Fairmont hotels frequently or on occasion.
  • You want to take advantage of an excellent sign-up bonus combined with a waived first-year annual fee.
  • You charge a large amount on credit cards each year.
  • You frequently stay at luxury hotels.
  • You want to save money on your stay and enhance your Fairmont experience.
  • You want to have a card with Visa Signature benefits.

How to use the Fairmont Visa Signature card:

  • Meet the $3,000 spending requirement in three months to get two free nights.
  • Consider applying with a partner or spouse to turn this bonus into a four-day mini-vacation.
  • Book your stay at some of the most aspirational Fairmont properties to maximize the value.
  • Apply a free suite upgrade to your stay to enhance your Fairmont experience.
  • Try to spend $12,000 a year on the card to qualify for the anniversary bonus night certificate and apply a free suite upgrade to maximize the value.
  • Take advantage of the third free night benefit for your paid stay, which is the part of your premier elite status.

Our reviews and best card recommendations are based on an objective rating process and are not driven by advertising dollars. However, we do receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. Learn more about our advertising policy

All reviews are prepared by CreditCards.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.

Responses to comments in the discussion section below are not provided, reviewed, approved, endorsed or commissioned by our financial partners. It is not our partner’s responsibility to ensure all posts or questions are answered.