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Forums Payment cards American Express Concierge will no longer reserve restaurants

  • blue_wolf 28 posts

    I asked concierge to reserve a table at one of the new ‘abroad dining credit’ restaurants in Belgium, and was informed that they no longer do restaurant bookings at all, except for UK-based restaurants which are on the ‘local dining credit’ list.

    That’s a pain, because I actually found Amex’s live chat quite good at suggesting and booking restaurants that had availability on a Saturday night at short notice.

    Just seems like another downgrade of the concierge.

    therooster 28 posts

    I just got an email from Amex stating this as well (they will no longer book restaurants not on the offer)

    SamG 1,644 posts

    tbh I’ve never had any success with getting them to book something I couldn’t book on opentable myself and suggestions abroad have been very weak – hotel restaurants and the like

    Luca M 391 posts

    They bought the Resy system and want to push this, although it is really limited and no many good restaurant in there. The only way this would be useful is if they agreed collaboration and integrations with the likes of Sevenrooms and OpenTable

    Niall 113 posts

    This is very poor. Not that I have made massive use of the concierge, but If they won’t even book restaurants for you, I’m struggling to think about what they would do.

    George K 292 posts

    This has gone from what was an excellent in-app booking system to a complete farce. It wasn’t too long ago that you could book any restaurant directly from the amex app, and if it happened to be one of the dining collection ones, you’d get the freebies as advertised. A trip to hakkasan in mayfair yielded a glass of free champagne for everyone and some treats after confirming that I had booked with Amex Plat.

    I think the Resy app is possibly superior in the US, where you can identify yourself as a platinum cardholder within the app and have a specific filter with dining collection restaurants. I couldn’t make this work in the UK.

    web 8 posts

    This is a huge disappointment. I did use the Concierge on a regular basis and grew to like it as I learnt how to work with them. There were a few things they could do well and once you knew how to use it in line with the way they work, it was quite useful. I defaulted to always booking through Concierge as they were able to call up multiple restaurants, plead for reservations on my behalf, secure extra benefits occasionally and all it took was a message on the app or a quick phone call. I probably could have serviced the request myself in about the same time, but with Concierge I only had one number to call (and a UK number at that) and they’d sort it out. It was a simple, single interface to millions of restaurants worldwide, through good old-fashioned talking on the phone.
    However I do lament the degradation in service over the years. As recently as 2019, I used Concierge successfully to find a magician for a corporate event, order Paxton & Whitfield cheese on Christmas Eve to be delivered by bicycle when all delivery slots were booked up, put together a whole dining itinerary for a trip to Paris (dealing with the same person throughout on an email thread), organise a rural boat trip when the company didn’t even accept Amex, and so on. Eventually these sorts of requests began to be elicit grumbles, then we’re outright refused, on the grounds they “didn’t have any trusted suppliers” and “couldn’t give away your information for data protection reasons”. Bars couldn’t be contacted because “we can’t guarantee their level of service”. Responses were streamlined, less personal, copy & pasted, and you could tell that the agent on the other end of the phone was being pressured to deal with your request there and then as quickly as possible. So only a quick Google search and “sorry we couldn’t help” came back. They stopped spending hours doing bespoke research. That’s if you could even get through to them on the phone, or if the chat function in the app worked properly without waiting hours and having another agent pick up the thread and having to start again.
    I can’t help but feel that all I have in my pocket now is a weighty gift card. The dining credits are nice, but they symbolise what the Platinum Card has become. It’s transactional, luring new customers with cold, hard cash incentives that justify the annual fee. If I want to spend that money on dining then I would anyway without going via Amex. The extra “identity” I used to get, feeling part of an exclusive club before, has vanished as the soft benefits have been eroded.

    can 506 posts

    @web completely agreed…

    Luca M 391 posts

    The thing is the concierge service is one of the benefits of the card, and for many years it was talked about as an entry level to what was offered to Centurion cardholders.

    Initial the restaurant reservation service was stopped under the “Covid” banner but now looks to be officially a thing of the past.

    Lady London 2,045 posts

    From Amex a refusal of service because they “didn’t have any trusted suppliers” and a refusal to book bars sounds awfully like “If it’s not a restaurant where Amex has got a deal to earn a rake-off on your spend, then the advertised service to cardholders isn’t available”.

    Which would match why the new “dining rebate” program to cardholders is restricted to named restaurants only.

    jamesjingyi 6 posts

    Ugh that’s so annoying, I used it quite a lot when I needed a restaurant and didn’t have time to call up or only remembered to call when it was outside of their opening hours.

    Also just a kick in the teeth to put the closing statement of ‘We believe this change will mean you continue to receive more from your Platinum Cardmembership.’.

    You just removed a feature, I mean I don’t think that helps me get more.

    Lady London 2,045 posts

    Good point Jamesjingyi. Yes it is quite surprising that Amex have not followed the airlines and called this withdrawal of an existing service to cardholders ‘an enhancement’.

    web 8 posts

    I just phoned to enquire about this and was told the following:
    * They can book restaurants in the new Global Dining Collection if you are having trouble booking through “the app” (not sure where to find that), but it was very much “we will try to help but expect you to try first” vibe
    * They will be able to look at booking other restaurants only if it’s part of a trip booked with Amex Travel. Not just any trip paid for on your card, but has to be Amex Travel. I did ask whether paying for a tube journey on my card counted as one of these “blessed by Amex” trips, and unsurprisingly it’s not. So you will have to book a flight through Amex Travel to wherever you’re going to benefit from restaurant reservation service.
    The lady on the cancellations team was as taken aback with this as me and said they hadn’t received any communication, but subsequently confirmed this directly with the Concierge team. I received a 35k retention offer, which I took and didn’t feel too bad about since I was genuinely considering cancelling after this farce.

    ‘We believe this change will mean you continue to receive more from your Platinum Cardmembership.’

    I believe they can justify this by technically saying you’re receiving more vs. not having a Platinum Cardmembership, not more “than before”. Well actually that’s only just true — if they are going to make Platinum Cardmembership just a gift card with very little extra, then I’m not receiving more than I am otherwise. However, in their favour, the recent summer round of Amex Events was very good, and subsidised/free.

    merlin90 16 posts

    Is this UK-only or the case for Platinum users worldwide, do we know? In the US (and possibly the UK, although I’m not sure) they removed the ability to email the concierge last year; you can now only ring up. I’ve not used the concierge a ton and have had mixed results with the service over the years, through both UK and US Platinum cards. I remember trying to book a wine tasting somewhere in or near Lyon at short notice and the person I spoke to genuinely just suggested I check Viator. More recently, when I needed to find places in Chicago from which I could rent a morning suit last year, they were quite helpful (and were good about emailing me to say they needed some more time but would have something for me as soon as they could).

    People who have held a Platinum card for much longer than me have noted that the service is a shadow of its former self, due in no small part to it now being an outsourced operation rather than something Amex offer themselves.

    jamesjingyi 6 posts

    Good point Jamesjingyi. Yes it is quite surprising that Amex have not followed the airlines and called this withdrawal of an existing service to cardholders ‘an enhancement’.

    😮

    People who have held a Platinum card for much longer than me have noted that the service is a shadow of its former self, due in no small part to it now being an outsourced operation rather than something Amex offer themselves.

    Wait you’re telling me that getting ‘Thanks for your message! I’ll get back to you in a moment’ sent 3x on live chat is not great customer service? 😉

    I haven’t had the Platinum that long but have had an Amex for years, and felt that the general customer service has gone downhill. It’s become all about headline features that they themselves don’t have to maintain — rather than the £150 abroad credit I would prefer an actual concierge that can book me any restaurant, not just the ones getting them kickbacks!

    Mouse 173 posts

    I have added my Amex Platinum as a payment card on the Resy app, but when I select “Global Dining Access” in the search box I get zero results in London. Does anyone know if there’s a trick to using it?

    PlaneSpeaking 3 posts

    I just called the concierge service to ask if there’s a dinner cruise in Dubai that’s as good as Bateaux Dubai which has ceased operating. Amazingly, they don’t have one restaurant on their list, not just in relation to dinner cruises but through the entire Emirates!

    sturgeon 190 posts

    I get the possible uses for concierge but honestly don’t understand the need to call for restaurant reservations. It’s so easy to book online. Rather than OpenTable I use the Fork app, they send oddly frequent codes giving you £20-50 credit on your next reservation which you can then redeem on other restaurants. I’m also a platinum member as of this year and not finding it to be great but I’ve signed up for the bonuses. If I don’t get a good retention offer for year 2 I’m closing it. The idea of booking through them in the past and getting a welcome drink or something sounds great, shame that’s gone.

    rwp88 12 posts

    The NatWest Black concierge (powered by 10) is far superior to the Amex one. Example – regular newsletters with promotions (events, free champagne at certain retaurants), happy to take restaurant bookings directly via an email, so it’s minimal fuss.

    Example – looking to use my Amex platinum £150 restaurant credit at Hawksmoor. Remember seeing a promotion from NatWest where if I book via the concierge I get a free glass of champagne for all diners on arrival. So booked via them and will pay via Amex to get the best of both 🙂

    can2 462 posts

    Their most widely promoted feature used to be finding tickets for sold out shows.
    I tried that for a comedy show, admittedly for an internationally well reputed comedian, in Bristol. They couldn’t help at all. The wibe was like, why did you call us for this? I lost hope there 🙂

    Lady London 2,045 posts

    I get the possible uses for concierge but honestly don’t understand the need to call for restaurant reservations. It’s so easy to book online. Rather than OpenTable I use the Fork app, they send oddly frequent codes giving you £20-50 credit on your next reservation which you can then redeem on other restaurants. I’m also a platinum member as of this year and not finding it to be great but I’ve signed up for the bonuses. If I don’t get a good retention offer for year 2 I’m closing it. The idea of booking through them in the past and getting a welcome drink or something sounds great, shame that’s gone.

    And I think I saw OpenTable still has the IHG points-earning opportunity as well.

    jj 520 posts

    I get the possible uses for concierge but honestly don’t understand the need to call for restaurant reservations. It’s so easy to book online. Rather than OpenTable I use the Fork app, they send oddly frequent codes giving you £20-50 credit on your next reservation which you can then redeem on other restaurants. I’m also a platinum member as of this year and not finding it to be great but I’ve signed up for the bonuses. If I don’t get a good retention offer for year 2 I’m closing it. The idea of booking through them in the past and getting a welcome drink or something sounds great, shame that’s gone.

    The best restaurant in my nearest city doesn’t take online bookings. The second best restaurant is usually booked months in advance, but arrangements can be made of you know the right people.

    The best non-Michelin starred restaurant in walking distance of my house takes only phone bookings. The second best doesn’t take bookings at all – it’s limited to walk-ins.

    Good restaurants don’t like online bookings because they’re busy anyway, don’t want to pay fees, and hate the high no-show rates. If you’re a regular, it always seems to be possible to slot you in even if the place is apparently full.

    If you restrict yourself to online bookings, you risk missing the best places to eat. A decent concierge should be able to navigate that minefield.

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