Bye bye Fairmont card. I hardly knew ya…

Chase has begun sending letters to Fairmont credit card holders stating that the Fairmont card will be replaced with a Chase Sapphire Preferred card on August 15th.  My wife and I got the card in January of this year when some of the application links for the card stopped working.  I know that many readers did the same when I posted “The other Chase card you should consider today.”  The remaining working application links died 5 days later.

Since the card was no longer available to new applicants, we knew it was likely that Chase would discontinue the card altogether.  I had hoped that the card would limp along for existing cardholders for a few years, but it was not to be.  We only have 2 more months to enjoy the card.

The good news is that points earned from the card will turn into Ultimate Rewards points.  Plus, if you signed up for the card anytime after August 15th 2016, you can get a free anniversary night after only $6K spend.  The bad news is that we’ll turn into Fairmont status-less pumpkins on March 1 2018.  That’s really sad: the Premier upgrade certificates alone are insanely valuable.

Details follow.

Conversion details

  • Chase asserts that the conversion will happen on August 15th and that new cards will arrive “about six to eight weeks after”.  I believe this means that starting August 15th the card will operate as a Sapphire Preferred card (e.g. it will earn 2X for travel & dining) even though it will still look like the Fairmont card until the replacement arrives.
  • Your account numbers won’t change, but you’ll get a new expiration date and security code.
  • On August 15th, any points you’ve earned from credit card spend will become Ultimate Rewards points.  With your Sapphire Preferred account, you’ll be able to transfer those points to valuable transfer partners such as Hyatt, United, Southwest, etc.  Or you can use points to pay for travel at a value of 1.25 cents each.  Or, if you have a Sapphire Reserve card, you can move points to the Reserve card and use points to pay for travel at a value of 1.5 cents each.
  • If you want to redeem your points as Fairmont credit card points, you must do so by August 14th.  Most awards are only worth 1 cent per point, so most people will be better off waiting for the conversion to Ultimate Rewards.  There is one exception: free night Ovation rewards can be quite valuable under the right circumstances.  See more below.
  • Free night with $12K spend: One of the Fairmont credit card’s perks was that you can earn a single free night each year after spending $12,000 with the card.  If you originally got the card on or before August 15 2016, and you’ve spent $12K by August 15th 2017, then you’ll get the free night added to your Fairmont account (the free night will arrive either six weeks after your anniversary date or 8 to 10 weeks after August 15th, whichever comes first).  This free night will be valid for 1 year from issue.
  • Free night with $6K spend: If you signed up for the Fairmont card more August 16 2016 or later, then you only have to spend $6,000 before August 15th in order to get the free night that usually requires $12K spend.  And, presumably you already spent $3,000 in order to earn the card’s 2 free night signup bonus, so you only need to spend $3K more for this free night.  I stupidly already spent nearly $12K both of our cards, so I won’t benefit from this one time  benefit.  The free night from $6K spend will be valid only until February 28, 2018.

Chase Considerations

Don’t worry if you were thinking of signing up for the Sapphire Preferred card for its signup bonus.  If you do so before August 15th, you’ll be fine.  After August 15th, you can simply product change the card previously known as Fairmont to a different card so that you can apply for the Sapphire Preferred anew.

If you’re over 5/24 and have therefore been locked out of getting an Ultimate Rewards card that you want, this may be your ticket in.  You should be able to convert your new Sapphire Preferred card to the Sapphire Reserve, Freedom, or Freedom Unlimited.  In some cases it may require a few steps.  For example, you may have to first convert to the no-fee Sapphire, then convert that to another card, etc.  You won’t earn a signup bonus when doing this, but you also won’t ruin the chance of getting a signup bonus in the future.

The card conversion from Fairmont to Sapphire Preferred shouldn’t affect your 5/24 status with Chase.  I believe that your credit report will still show the account as having been opened on the date that it was originally opened rather than on the date of conversion.

If you want to earn Ultimate Rewards points and you happen to being staying at a Fairmont or will be dining at a Fairmont between now and August 14th, then use your Fairmont card to pay.  The card earns 5X at Fairmont properties.  Since those points will become valuable Ultimate Rewards points, that’s pretty good.

Fairmont Considerations

One of the most valuable benefits of the Fairmont credit card was that it automatically gave you Fairmont Premier status.  That status will presumably end on March 1 2018.  As a reminder, Premier status offers the following benefits every year:

  • $50 in dining or spa credits
  • 1 room upgrade
  • 1 suite upgrade
  • 1 free 3rd night on a 3 night paid stay

If you want to keep your Premier status past February 28th 2018, then you’ll have to complete 5 stays or 10 room nights by the end of this calendar year.

You can also earn up to 2 stay credits through spend on the Fairmont card, if you hurry.  The card offers 1 stay credit towards status for every $7,500 spent, with a max of 2 per year.

That said, since Accor purchased Fairmont last year, we don’t know whether the Fairmont loyalty program will remain at all past this year.  So it would be risky to invest in a bunch of stays or spend just to keep status.

Ovation Rewards

The only reward worth considering with your Fairmont credit card points are Ovation Rewards, which are basically free nights in exchange for points.  The point cost for the free night Ovation Rewards depends upon which Collection (A,B, C, or D) the hotel is in.  You can find a list of hotels by collection here.

Chase / Fairmont charges the following number of points for a standard room:

  • Collection A: 25,000
  • Collection B: 35,000
  • Collection C: 45,000
  • Collection D: 65,000

If you have enough points, this could be a good use for those points.  Keep in mind that Ovation Rewards include free breakfast:

Ovation Rewards are valid for a one night stay in the indicated room type, and include applicable room taxes, full breakfast for two in the hotel’s all day dining restaurant with related taxes and gratuities only (excludes buffets and alcohol.) Ovation Rewards certificates are redeemable based upon last room availability in the room category purchased (some exceptions may apply.)

Rocking Fairmont Free Nights and Elite Benefits

For more details about getting the most out of your Fairmont card and free nights while you still can, please see:

Also see:

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

  1. Thanks! Now I know to stop spending since I have already hit $6K. At least I still have 3 nights to use in Banff in April.

    • Umm, you better keep spending if you want to use your 3rd Free Night in Banff in April. If you only spend the $6k rather than the $12k, your 3rd Free Night will expire on 2/28/18. You will need to spend the full $12k if you want your 3rd Free Night cert to be valid thru ~ Oct 2018. BTW, you must be one of the very last ppl to successfully apply for this Fairmont Visa (in Jan 2017?) if your 2 Free signup Nights are valid into April 2018.

      • Thanks. I got my letter today and haven’t read it to understand. I am close to $12K so won’t be a challenge to hit that. And, yes, I got the card in the very last batch and timed my initial spending very carefully for this trip.

  2. I missed this credit card this year…real bummer as I’ve spent two weeks at Fairmont properties already this year. If anything, I hope this means another bank will pick up the Fairmont partnership.

  3. It is a shame that the Premier status and certs are going away. I was really looking forward to getting another batch in March. The third night free and suite upgrades were pretty sweet!

    But has anyone who applied for this card back in January actually received this letter? We don’t know if the the August 2017 conversion is only for those who have already had the card for more than one year. I think we need more data points. To date I have not received the letter.

    Also the portion of the letter that describes the lower $6k spend requirement is for those people whose card anniversaries occur after August. This could be someone who got the card in March 2015 and their last anniversary was on March 2017. They would have until mid-August to spend $6k to get a free night since they were being screwed out of 7 months of their cardmember year to complete the spending.

    I think it is very possible that us new cardholders might get our full year with the card. Government regulation on consumer cards has quite a few rules on what the banks can do in that first year on a new account. That is why we have seen changes on the Citi Prestige that were given a year to implement, or the 50% rebate on the Amex Platinum Business card honored for the first year for new cardholders. Since most of us got the card in January (or February with late approvals), this would coincide with the February 28 status year of the Fairmont program.

    Or maybe I too will get a letter in the next few days and be proven wrong!

  4. “Free night with $12K spend: One of the Fairmont credit card’s perks was that you can earn a single free night each year after spending $12,000 with the card. If you originally got the card on or before August 15 2016, and you’ve spent $12K by August 15th 2017, then you’ll get the free night added to your Fairmont account (the free night will arrive either six weeks after your anniversary date or 8 to 10 weeks after August 15th, whichever comes first). This free night will be valid for 1 year from issue.”

    Isn’t this stating the obvious? If you hold up your end of the bargain (i.e. spend 12k), you get the reward (1 night).

    The REAL question is if your anniversary is in June or July, can you spend 6k between now and 8/15 and get another anniversary night, even though your anniversary night from the prior year wasn’t awarded yet? I am aware that you can’t spend 24k in 1 anniversary year to get a 2nd night, but this would be a brand new anniversary year that only lasted a month or so.

    • The way I read it, you should be able to get ANOTHER Free Night if your anniversary date is in June or July and you spend another $6k/12k prior to 8/15. I sure hope that is correct because I am in the same boat and would really like another Free Night.

      • Good point. I agree that it should work that way. That said, there is a bullet that sheds some doubt “You cannot earn more than one Complementary Night certificate by spending more than $12,000.”

        I still agree that it should work, I’m just not sure that Chase knows that

        • My wife has had the Fairmont card since 2012, spending $12K each year. Her cardmember year ends on 7/9/17; she has already spent her $12K this cardmember year and is set to receive a complimentary night

          We called Chase this evening and spoke with a CSR who added a note to her account confirming that, if she spends $6K between 7/10/17 and 8/14/17, she will receive an additional complimentary night.

          As for me, I got my second Fairmont card on 1/17/17 (having cancelled my first card in 2013). I have already spent $3K and have my 2 nights. The CSR tonight confirmed that an additional $3K spend by 8/14/17 will allow for me to get another complimentary night.

  5. I got the card in late June last year. I haven’t been billed for my annual fee yet. Any idea what they’ll do for me? I’m subject to the 5/24 rule, so one of their other cards might be useful to me — as long as I don’t have to pay $95 for the new card.

    • You will be charged $95 to renew your Fairmont Visa in late June of this year, and then on August 15th you will automatically be converted to a Sapphire Preferred. If you want to keep the Sapphire Preferred for future years, they will charge you another $95 late June each year. If you want to product change to a different Chase card from the Sapphire Preferred, then you can do that as well after 8/15/17. Sounds like if you spend another $6k between your Anniv Date in late June and August 15th, then you will get another free night valid until 2/28/18. If you spend $12k during that same timeframe, your free night will be valid until ~Oct 2018.

  6. I work for a Fairmont hotel, and can weigh in a bit…

    The loyalty program is supposedly being merged into our new corporate ownerships, Accor’s LeClub. The info I hear has stated 2018 will be the first year of the new program covering all brands underneath Accor, but I am sceptical that will happen by then – my guess is the programs will lump through the early part of 2018, and start integrating throughout the year to have a complete program in place by 2019, but that’s just my thoughts.

    I missed the card due to chase 5/24 rules, and am really bummed, since it has extreme value for those that leverage the right properties and certificates. Luckily I still get heavily discounted rates, so all is not lost for me, but some properties don’t take care of their fellow colleagues like I always did when I was managing the front office.

    Hopefully we see a good offer on a LeClub card, and I’m hoping it’s NOT from Chase!

  7. I am interested in finding out about the June/July renewals and if I spend $6000 after my renewal and before the August end date. Appreciate the help. Thanks

    • Disregard my question. I could see it on my chase account.

      What will happen if I downgrade to different products other than Sapphire Preferred after August 15th? Will I loose my fairmont points or will it still be converted to Ultimate Rewards?

      • Well, as of August 15th you will have a Sapphire Preferred and your points will become Ultimate Rewards. If you downgrade after that to a no-fee Sapphire or Freedom card, you’ll still have Ultimate Rewards points — but those points can’t be transferred to partners unless you have one of the premium cards (Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, Ink Plus, Ink Business Preferred).

        • I spoke with a Chase Fairmont rep today and asked if there would be any incentive added by Chase to stick with the CSP. He said there is nothing firm, yet, but they ARE considering the same bonus structure as applying for a NEW CSP. That would certainly sweeten the deal considering my deep love for FPC & the cc, I guess we’ll see soon enough.

  8. Got the card a few years ago. My anniversary date is in Jan.

    1) Does this mean I have to spend 6k or 12k to get the free night by 8/14?
    2) Will I lose my fairmont status on 8/14 when the card goes away
    3) Can I use the suite upgrade and 3rd night free now for a stay in Dec, or will that disappear on 8/14?

    Miz

  9. Should we wait until our cards convert to csp, (receive the card?) and then downgrade? Or do you recommend calling? If we keep it as a csp, and I’m eligible for another sign up bonus, will keeping this “new” csp prevent me from getting another sign up bonus? Will it reset the clock? It’s been a few years since I’ve last held the csp. Thanks.

  10. What happens if we have the fairmont card and already have the CSP? Do they turn it into a freedom card?
    Gonna miss the fairmont card, using my last suite upgrade for 2 nights in SF at end of month.

  11. I have not received my letter, but from the one I’ve seen posted online there is no mention regarding the Fairmont Premier status granted with the card.

    I am worried that we will become “Fairmont status-less pumpkins” as soon as the Fairmont Visa Signature program ends on 8/15. I have Premier third night free and upgrade certs attached to reservations that will occur after 8/15. Since the certs aren’t actually redeemed until check-in that would be a seriously horrible situation! The certificate terms state “If a Member requests that a Certificate be used at the time of reservation, but there is no Certificate available in the Member’s online profile at check-in, the Member will be responsible for full payment of all room, tax and other applicable charges.”

    • That’s possible, but I can’t think of any examples of any other loyalty program working that way. I’m willing to bet that we’ll keep the status until Feb 28. You’re right, though, that it is possible and that would be a terrible outcome.

  12. Can you explain in more detail how to product change the Sapphire Preferred (that Chase converts our Fairmont cards to) to the Reserve card?. I’ve been unable to get a Reserve card bc of 5/24.

  13. There is a no-fee sapphire card? Really? So are saying you can message or call Chase and ask them to do this? I still need to charge some to get my free night, so I’m thinking of just having them issue me the Sapphire Preferred and then downgrading it to a Freedom Unlimited. Though I’ll still will have to pay that $95.

    I would like the bonus on the sapphire preferred; not just be given one and get no bonus.

    Though I’d like to know if I keep the Sapphire Preferred, since my $95 charge is due around August 2nd, I won’t be charged another $95 for this new Sapphire Preferred, eh?

    And you can still sign up for a second Sapphire Preferred and get the bonus? Or is it better to go ahead and sign up for a Sapphire Preferred now?

    Confusing.

  14. Not real happy about losing my Fairmont status. I would think they would leave it alone until the end of February. I was in Barbados last month, and used up a lot of this years extra features (free night, food credits). But still need another 5 nights to get to 10 for another year of status.

    I find it hard to believe that Accor would just dump all the “premier” status people who have the card back to “status-less pumpkins” on March 1st. I got this card because of the 2 free nights and the other benefits. I stayed in the Maui Fairmont last year and loved it. They don’t have that many hotels where I usually go (Europe); but I really like Fairmont brand and if it wasn’t for this card I never would have tried them out.

    I can’t be alone. I can’t believe they would give up all that goodwill and treat us badly. I’d be happy to get an Accor card to replace this one to keep the status, and would continue to stay in their hotels. I stay in Accor hotels occasionally, but they aren’t as nice as the Fairmont hotels.

    Otherwise, it’s back to the Hilton’s (free breakfasts & upgrades) and SPG properties.

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