Have you used a concierge service on your credit card?
December 15, 2019 8:22 PM   Subscribe

What did you use it for? What was your experience like? Was it worth it?

I just realized my credit card has a concierge service. What could I use this for? What have you used this for - did you like it, would you recommend it?
posted by Toddles to Work & Money (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I tried to have them buy concert tickets when they went on sale, that were expected to sell out quickly. Took about 45 minutes to go through all the double-checking and verification of my card and status. I believe they tried, but they failed at obtaining the tickets. They offered to buy them on the secondary market, but I didn't take them up on that.

The thing that's kept me from trying anything else is the sheer amount of questions they ask, and the ease of doing most things yourself now. They want to double check and verify everything, it takes a while. Just get your own restaurant tables, or tickets.

I'd love to hear if there's anything actually useful to use this for.
posted by cschneid at 9:32 PM on December 15, 2019

A fe years ago we used ours to book a table at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. They were able to get us a reservation that was better than what we saw online when we tried to book, but still not ideal. It was something like- the online system was completely booked except for a couple of dates that had really early or late seatings, even though we kept checking each day when they release times, but the concierge service got us a booking that was a midweek, slightly late seating six weeks away. So it's not like they were able to get us a prime Friday at 7pm reservation that week or anything. At the time we speculated that maybe the restaurant keeps back some times for concierge services and companies, or maybe just that the service actually called and was assertive and talked to a manager to find a reservation that wasn't open on the online system yet, which we could have done ourselves.

I probably wouldn't do it again because it was a lot of back and forth phone calling to the service and not always talking to the same person, so I remember being nervous that it hadn't actually all gone through and that the restaurant wouldn't have our details or we had the wrong time or something (although it all went fine and was delicious actually). But at the time we figured it was worth a shot and it did work.
posted by cpatterson at 4:26 AM on December 16, 2019

Not sure if your question encompasses this but I called the travel concierge at my credit card (Chase) and they found and booked me a short notice flight that wasn't showing up in the online options I could see. Excellent service.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:21 AM on December 16, 2019

I have it, and I don't use it. In addition to the fact that I'm introverted and fucking hate talking on the phone, it's nothing I can't do myself. By the time I call them and explain what I need, I might as well have done it myself. I read an article about it once where they interviewed a concierge guy, and he said that all he does is google stuff for people who are too old and/or rich to figure out how to use computers. I suppose it might be all right if you've lost your wallet and can't access a public internet, but that's it.
posted by Melismata at 8:45 AM on December 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

I hear (probably based on biased profiles) that you get what you pay for. That is, concierge on a 85/year travel card < concierge for $400/year “reserve” card <<< Amex Black invitation-only 1M+ in spending concierge
posted by supercres at 8:54 AM on December 16, 2019

It’s nice when you’re driving.
posted by oceanjesse at 9:07 AM on December 16, 2019

I was curious about this after reading your question, so I Googled it. Based on reddit answers, it seems like the one thing it is really useful for is that they have staff all over the world who speak different languages, so if you want to, like, book a reservation at some restaurant in Japan where they only take bookings over the phone during Japanese dinner hours and also the people answering the phones don't speak English, it can apparently be really handy for that kind of thing.
posted by phoenixy at 12:41 PM on December 16, 2019 [11 favorites]

I tried to use the concierge service on my card as a last resort when I could not find a rental car on my vacation destination island. I couldn't find one because there weren't any available (lesson I learned: book rental cars early when they're in a place where more rentals can't just be brought in from somewhere else!) so of course they couldn't find one either.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:28 PM on December 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

I met someone who is one of Amex's ultra-top tier concierge's for the invitation-only black cards and the stories she told about things they would do for people are pretty epic, but that's not what you're going to get from your $100/year travel card.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:48 PM on December 16, 2019

I use the concierge offered with American Express's classic personal Platinum Card, the one that's ~$500/year in fees.

In general I've found them good for last minute hotel and dinner bookings in big cities when I don't have time to research / call / google around. At least in NYC, LA and London, that concierge desk does not appear to have any particular stock of "hard to get" restaurant reservations. They source tickets for live events from the same brokers anyone can access online.

They are also (I hear) very good at certain kinds of reservations that are not hard to get in an absolute sense, but are expensive, hard to research and not effectively offered online -- bottle service at night clubs, hot balloon tours, private jets and helicopter charters, houseboats and cabin cruisers for water outings, etc.
posted by MattD at 10:33 AM on December 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! Based on these responses and others I read online I decided to give it a whirl. I asked for specific recommendations for a national park I will be visiting. Indeed the response I got was something I very well could have googled myself. But honestly, there is so much information about these parks, it was nice to have someone vet it. I was able to get directions to the park with a recommended route, places to eat near the park entrance that fit my specific needs, and then trail recommendations in the park that again, fit my specific needs. I was also given general information and cautionary details about the park, like not to use GPS because it leads people into ditches - good to know!

It took about 5 minutes on the phone and then they sent me their results in about 48 hours.

Could I have done this myself? Yes. Do I have time? No. Would I do it again? Yes, I called again today with a new request!
posted by Toddles at 10:29 PM on December 19, 2019 [4 favorites]

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