Platinum problem solvers: How Amex’s Concierge team handles ordinary, extreme requests
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Years ago, I came across a great Reddit thread about a former American Express Concierge. I loved re-reading his entertaining stories about member requests that came to his office. Today, I’ll cover my own personal experiences in conjunction with other data to show you how to maximize the capabilities of the American Express Concierge.
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Cards that are eligible for American Express Concierge
The Concierge is available to anyone who holds one of the Platinum variety of cards from American Express, as well as select premium cobranded cards. Eligible cards include Business Platinum Card® from American Express, The Platinum Card® from American Express, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card and the exclusive “Black Card” known as the Amex Centurion Card. Centurion cardholders will have a dedicated concierge assigned to them. Meanwhile, Platinum cardholders receive a different concierge for each request.
The information for the Hilton Aspire card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
How to contact the American Express Concierge
There are two ways to contact the American Express Concierge:
- Call 1-800-525-3355. For international collect calls, dial 617-622-6756.
- Email Platinum@concierge.americanexpress.com. You’ll get an auto-response back that your request was received and another email shortly thereafter, usually asking for a bit more information. I use this if I’m not in a hurry for an answer or know it will take some time for the concierge to find what I’m requesting.
There is no service charge to use the concierge. Any charges related to your request will be placed on your Platinum Card. In my experience, the concierge usually asks for a not-to-exceed amount based on what you’re trying to get done.
Types of Amex Concierge requests
Most requests coming into the Platinum Concierge fall into one of the following categories: flowers, concert/show tickets or restaurant reservations. Here are some tips on how to proceed with each:
Have the concierge contact local florists instead of online services like 1-800-Flowers or FTD. Because my last two online confirmed orders weren’t delivered on time, I now use the concierge. The service works directly with a local shop to confirm details like delivery time, price range and the particular arrangement I request. I usually email the concierge a week before delivery with the address, price cap and flowers desired and I’m done.
Perhaps an undersold value of this service is that Amex can grab tickets the second they go on sale for your desired concert. This means you don’t have to step out of a meeting at an awkward time or continually hit the refresh button only to miss out on the tickets anyway.
Give the concierge an adequate heads-up before tickets going on sale, with as much or little direction about the location and ticket costs as you desire. Tickets purchased by the concierge through TicketMaster don’t have the online convenience fee.
The Amex Global Dining Collection allows you to search a database of restaurants that are familiar with taking reservations from the Amex team. Some of the concierges who routinely work the dining reservations are rumored to be on a first-name basis with the host and maitre d’ of some of the best restaurants in New York City, Paris and London. You should still plan as far in advance as possible to ensure you’ll get a table.
I’ve found the concierge helpful for dining situations where I say, “I’d like a romantic Italian dinner in Chicago near the Navy pier. Can you provide three or four options for me that have reservations for tonight?” I once got a last-minute table at the classic Parisian restaurant A la Biche au Bois — and it was fantastic. I’ve even got extra perks like free drinks at appetizers at Global Dining Collection restaurants.
Although you should contact Amex Travel if you need help booking new travel, the concierge may be able to help with already-booked trips. During the pandemic, many cardholders have utilized the concierge to help with complicated cancelations, trip rebookings and getting refunds while airlines were slammed with other requests. Similarly, they can help you get home quickly when things go wrong during a trip. For instance, when TPG’s Brian Kelly was stranded in Bali during the Mount Agung volcano eruption, his Centurion concierge strung together a series of vans, ferries and planes to get him off the island at a time when most other people were out of options.
Unusual Amex Concierge requests
The sky’s the limit here, but you must give your request a common-sense check before submitting something so outlandish that no one can accomplish it. My own requests have included:
- Having a baby sun hat waiting at the Hyatt Regency Guam. I was flying in from cold Japan with my four-month-old on a last-minute business trip. A few hats were waiting at the check-in desk when we arrived — unfortunately, none that fit.
- A few years ago, the concierge located a two-foot-tall balloon in the shape of the number one, for my son’s first birthday party and had it delivered to the house.
Some of my favorite (successful) requests I’ve read about include:
- A gentleman asking the concierge to have his children picked up from school because he was with his mistress. The concierge arranged a limo service to pick them up.
- A gentleman in a hotel bathroom requested a new wardrobe as he had an accident during a business meeting. The concierge contacted the hotel concierge, who delivered new slacks, underwear and socks to the man in the stall.
- A woman saw a pair of earrings in an obscure foreign film. She called the concierge, told them the film and scene with the earrings. The concierge was able to locate a store that sold them.
Success with unusual requests can come down to the individual concierge and how much effort they’re willing to put into getting you what you want. As with all customer service, not all concierges are created equal. It’s obvious that many times they did a quick Google search or made a single phone call and found out a reservation or ticket was not available. However, most have tried to go the extra mile for me and provide an alternative if my number-one choice wasn’t attainable.
Is concierge service worth the call?
The concierge service available to Amex Platinum cardholders is most valuable to people too busy to complete time-sensitive tasks like making reservations, buying tickets and doing a little research. Relying on the good people on the other side of the phone or email for these errands can simplify things. Plus, if you’re polite and gracious to a concierge who has been particularly helpful, they do have the option of giving you their extension so you can work with them routinely.
If you’re counting on the concierge to come up with last-minute heroics, my experience suggests success would not be the norm, but it still is a possibility. For routine requests, I’ve had nothing but positive experiences.
There are similar stories of success and failure from the Amex concierge over at FlyerTalk, which may get your creative juices flowing for how you could best utilize the service.
Other Amex Platinum benefits
Aside from the concierge benefit, The Platinum Card® from American Express offers lots of other valuable benefits. Some of these benefits aren’t useful, with the coronavirus pandemic impacting our ability to travel. Some of these benefits have been amended so that cardholders can use them from home.
$200 airline fee credit
As a cardholder, you get an up to $200 airline rebate once per calendar year, meaning every Jan. 1, you get $200 to spend on an airline that you designate. Enrollment required for select benefits.
Airport lounge access
Airport lounge access is a cornerstone of the Platinum Card. Cardholders get complimentary access to Delta SkyClubs when holding a valid ticket for same-day travel. Amex has ramped up access to its own Centurion Lounges, with locations in Dallas (DFW), Las Vegas (LAS), New York (LGA), San Francisco (SFO), Miami (MIA) and Seattle (SEA). Cardholders get complimentary access, along with immediate family or up to two guests. You’ll also receive Priority Pass Select membership. Enrollment required for select benefits.
Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee reimbursement
Platinum cardholders can receive a statement credit for the $85 TSA Precheck application fee or the up to $100 Global Entry application fee once every 4 years. Global Entry will get you out of lengthy customs and immigration lines when you return from traveling abroad.
Automatic Marriott and Hilton Gold status
With the Platinum Card, you can get automatic Gold status with Marriott and Hilton Honors. Marriott Bonvoy Gold status gets you 25% bonus points on stays, late checkout, room upgrades and more.
Meanwhile, Hilton Honors Gold members get 80% bonus points, free breakfast and space-available room upgrades, among other perks.
This Platinum card benefit is incredibly valuable, especially considering that Gold status normally requires you to complete 25 nights with Marriott and 40 nights or 25 stays with Hilton.
Fine Hotels & Resorts program
The Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts program for American Express Platinum and Business Platinum Card® from American Express cardholders is a hotel booking site that includes added perks and benefits when you use it to book stays. Benefits include availability-based room upgrades, free night offers, complimentary breakfast, early check-in and guaranteed 4 p.m. check-out, resort credits for expenses like restaurants or spa treatments and free Wi-Fi at select properties.
Amex Concierge FAQ
How long do Amex concierge requests take to process?
I’ve had most usual requests handled in a matter of hours, but some have taken 2-4 days depending on business hours and the amount of research required.
Can I use the Amex concierge to book travel?
I don’t recommend calling the concierge to arrange any type of travel. They’ll pass you off to an American Express Travel Services representative who will begin a very long, drawn-out process of trying to book standard travel over the phone.
Will anyone else be notified of my concierge request?
Your requests will not be shared with anyone, including authorized users, except yourself. If you’re having flowers delivered to someone other than (cough) your spouse, they cannot find out. Apparently, many angry spouses have called the service demanding answers for charges on the statement.
The American Express Platinum Concierge is an often-overlooked perk of Amex’s premium cards but can be highly valuable. From scoring hard-to-get tickets to finding exactly what you need anywhere in the world, the sky’s the limit with what type of requests the concierge can fulfill.
Benji Stawski contributed to this story.
Featured image by andresr/Getty Images.
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