Credit Card concierge services worthwhile?
April 22, 2009 10:15 PM   Subscribe

Credit Card concierge services worthwhile?

I have the option of an Amex gold credit card with no concierge, or an Amex platinum credit card with the service. The higher cost of the platinum will be made up with a higher reward points value per dollar spent, but it is pretty close to a wash, so I would probably keep the cash and go with gold unless somebody can advise some value in the concierge service.
About me:
- I have had a gold Amex charge card for years and like its travel benefits. Customer service has also been helpful.
- I have access to a Mastercard for places that don't take Amex
- I'm in Australia, so many benefits available to US mefites don't apply (see here for the specific deal I am looking at)
- I like to hunt for a bargain, I can't imagine I would very often use such a service for purchases
- Perhaps I would call them and say 'I am looking at a Sony TV model xxx. It costs $y, can you find it cheaper?'

So, do you use the concierge service? What are some things you do with it? Do you find it worthwhile?
posted by bystander to Work & Money (7 answers total)
I had one of these services once through my Citi AAdvantage MasterCard. I tried to use it several times for information, and found it pretty useless—it usually took 20 min or so to answer my question, and the answer was wrong one of those times anyway.

I would save your money.
posted by grouse at 11:21 PM on April 22, 2009

The AE Platinum card is a very good card if you're a jetsetter (i.e. you like to travel in style).

If you fly business class with a partner, then the 2 for 1 deal pretty much pays for the card. The concierge service is useful if you find yourself in a big city, and you want to get a table at a hot restaurant on little or no notice. AE has an arrangement with top restaurants where they set aside a VIP table for AE's platinum customers. For example, you can call the concierge service, tell them 2 or 3 of your picks, and they'll call around and see what they can book before calling you back. I found this very useful when I was in New York a few years back, and also in Chicago last year.

The concierge is also supposed to be able to get show tickets on short notice, though, I've never used it for that.

You're basically paying for the best customer service. This is what AE is known for -- their customer service is always great, and their platinum concierge is a cut above that still.
posted by daemonicpenguin at 11:57 PM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Platinum has some pretty valuable benefits other than the concierge service. The airport club access is really nice if you fly Continental/Delta/NWA/AA with any frequency. Also platinum gets you free room upgrades at tons of hotels.
posted by Perplexity at 6:29 AM on April 23, 2009

Airport club access is awesome.

I think the concierge service is overrated. It didn't give me any discounts on broadway tickets, nor did it have availability for shows that I'd already confirmed as being sold out (the few times that I've tried to use it). For shows that were available, it wasn't any cheaper.

Bottom line, I don't think it saves me any money - but it makes airports more civilized.
posted by nyc_consultant at 7:29 AM on April 23, 2009

I've dealt with amex's concierge service from a different perspective. I work in a Ticket Center a couple times a month, and I've gotten an amex concierge representative calling me on behalf of a customer a couple times. The only "convenience" the customer seems to gain from it is that they don't have to wait on hold, the amex representative does. Whenever there is some issue that comes up (are they okay with the service charge?, that day is booked, did they have another date in mind?, Are they purchasing adult, student or senior tickets?) the representative had to call their customer back and clarify these things.

From that point of view, it seems as if you are paying someone for a task that will take twice as long if they don't know full details than if you had just called yourself. Since "getting awesome tickets" seems to be the main selling point of the concierge service, I think it's a lousy deal and doesn't do te job that effectively.
posted by piratebowling at 7:41 AM on April 23, 2009

Sometimes I can get restaurant reservations via concierge when I can't get them by calling the restaurant directly.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:36 AM on April 23, 2009

Strictly anecdotal, but second hand from a credible friend. He lost his passport and his wallet in Taiwan on what was supposed to be his last night. He called American Express to cancel his credit card and traveler's checks with them and get a new one issued but once they found out about his circumstances, they arranged replacements for traveler's checks, his American Express card and even his passport. They even changed his flight and put him up in a nice hotel.

I don't know if this cost him anything and we were in our cups but I was pretty impressed by his experience with AmEx concierge services.
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 9:46 AM on April 23, 2009

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