Your definitive guide to the American Express Global Dining Collection
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One of the top activities we can’t wait to return to post-pandemic — besides travel, obviously — is enjoying an exquisite meal inside a beautiful restaurant. And it’s even better if we can have new food experiences while traveling.
2020 may have been the year of takeout meals, app delivery services and getting to know our kitchen gadgets, but hope for a return to the fine dining experiences of years past is on the horizon in 2021. It’s true that many restaurants have found ways to accommodate guests through outdoor dining, but as more people receive COVID-19 vaccines and states allow businesses to reopen at higher capacities, restaurants will soon be welcoming more customers indoors once again.
Whether you’re ready now to dive back into restaurant dining experiences or looking for future inspiration, the American Express Global Dining Collection has got you covered. Let’s take a look at the details.
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What is it?
The Global Dining Collection is a portfolio of restaurants around the world that partner with Amex to offer Platinum and Centurion cardholders premium dining experiences at some of the top spots in town. Think: special menu items, free drinks and, perhaps best of all, prime restaurant reservations. Yes, even those at venues fully booked online. Many of the restaurants in the collection have earned Michelin stars, or are continually listed as the best in their given city.
While reservations aren’t always guaranteed, it’s always good to know you have this benefit in your back pocket. It’s like having a close friend who always has a connection at the hottest restaurant in town.
How it works
How do you access this amazing perk? Well, first, since this is an exclusive perk for certain cardholders, you’ll need to have The Platinum Card® from American Express, American Express Centurion Card, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express or the Business Centurion Card from American Express.
Even if you don’t currently have one of those cards, you can still browse the list of restaurants and take note of places you may want to visit in the future.
The information for the Centurion Card and the Business Centurion Card from Amex has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
When you want to make a reservation, you’ll need to contact the Amex concierge by calling the phone number listed on the back of your qualifying credit card. A friendly agent will ask how he or she can help. It definitely pays to do some research ahead of time and narrow down a handful of restaurants you want them to check in on.
Keep in mind, though, you’ll be subject to the restaurant’s cancellation policy. This typically varies by restaurant, but most range from a 24-hour cancellation period to noon the day of your reservation. If you cancel after that time frame, you’ll likely have to pay a fee — typically $50 or more. The agent should explain your desired restaurant’s policy before your reservation is booked. The service itself is free of charge.
Similarly, Amex added a reservation booking feature on its app in 2020. Again, you’ll have to be a Platinum or Centurion cardholder, but the tool gives you access to reservations at more than 10,000 restaurants worldwide with just a few taps on your screen. To access, go to the “Membership” section and select “Reserve Top Restaurants.”
On a recent occasion, I attempted to use the app to search for restaurant reservations in my city, as well as different cities and using various dates, but I couldn’t get any restaurants to show up for availability. I’m not sure if that’s due to it being a fairly new feature or due to the pandemic, but calling the concierge may still be your best bet for now.
This is where things get really fun.
As we mentioned earlier, some of the top restaurants in the world are part of this collection. Here are some of our personal favorites. Note that this is by no means an inclusive list: There are more than 40 restaurants in New York City alone! So you’ll definitely want to check out the full list on Amex’s site, as well.
- Carbone, New York City
- Eleven Madison Park, New York City
- Daniel, New York City
- Blue Hill at Stone Barns, New York City
- Le Bernardin, New York City
- Republique, Los Angeles
- Cecconi’s West Hollywood, Los Angeles
- Jean Georges Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
- Chi Spacca, Los Angeles
- Flour + Water, San Francisco
- Atelier Crenn, San Francisco
- RPM Steak, Chicago
- Zahav, Philadelphia
- Zuma, Miami
- Nobu, Miami
- Sotto Sotto, Toronto
- Momofuku Noodle Bar, Toronto
- Pujol, Mexico City
- La Pergola, Rome
- Seta, Milan
- Blanc, Barcelona, Spain
- Chiltern Firehouse, London
- The Grill at the Dorchester, London
- La Petit Maison, London
- The Wolseley, London
- Benoit, Paris
- Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris
- Rech, Paris
Related: The 17 best restaurants in London
- Hakkasan, Shanghai
- Voyages, Macao
- Lobster Bar and Grill at Shangri-La, Hong Kong
- Aqua, Hong Kong
- Man Wah, Hong Kong
- Masque, Mumbai, India
- Yauatcha, Mumbai and New Delhi
- Heinz Beck, Tokyo
- Beige, Tokyo
- Signature, Tokyo
- Aria, Sydney
- Cirrus, Sydney
- Quay, Sydney
- Rosetta, Sydney
- China Doll, Sydney
- Spice Temple, Melbourne
- Lee Ho Fook, Melbourne
- Marion, Melbourne
Middle East and Africa
- Ling Ling, Marrakech, Morocco
- Mes’lalla, Marrakech
- Zuma, Istanbul
- Cipriani, Dubai
- Hakkasan, Dubai
- Zuma, Dubai
- Nobu, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
It’s worth noting that a handful of Zuma, Nobu, Cipriani and Hakkasan locations participate in the program. Many of the restaurants in Major Food Group, including Carbone and Sadelle’s, operate in multiple cities — including both New York and Las Vegas.
Additionally, famous chefs such as Massimo Bottura, Daniel Boulud, José Andrés, Alain Ducasse, Dominique Crenn, Michael Solomonov, Daniela Soto-Innes and Nancy Silverton have restaurants that participate in the Amex Global Dining Collection.
If you don’t have a certain restaurant in mind, you can also call Amex and see what availability they might have for your given time, date and city. Again, the availability is different than public-facing information you might find on sites such as OpenTable, Resy and Tock.
Of course, no matter where you end up dining, you’ll want to use a card that earns you bonus points on dining. Even though you’ll need to have one of the aforementioned cards to have access to the Global Dining Collection, you don’t have to pay with it. In fact, you probably shouldn’t, as there are other cards out there that earn more on dining purchases.
My personal favorite is the American Express® Gold Card, since you’ll earn 4x valuable Membership Rewards points at restaurants worldwide. The card is currently offering a welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in purchases in the first six months of account opening. Based on our latest valuations, that bonus is worth $1,200. You’ll also earn up to $120 in annual dining statement credits. If you travel abroad frequently, you’ll be pleased to know there are no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees).
Now if you’ll excuse us, we have a dinner reservation to attend.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold, click here.
Additional reporting by Senitra Horbrook.
Featured photo by fcafotodigital/Getty Images.
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