Living with credit, Rewards, Shopping, Travel

5 ways your credit card’s concierge can help on your next trip

Stephanie Zito

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Ever wished you had a personal concierge to help you with your travel planning, dinner reservations and all those things you’ve been trying to find the time to research? You may have a personal concierge as part of your credit card’s perks who’s just a call or email away.

While a personal concierge sounds expensive and fancy, your credit card’s concierge is a free service available to cardholders of certain types of Visa, American Express and Mastercard reward credit cards.

What exactly is a credit card concierge?
Similar to a concierge in the lobby of a fancy hotel, a credit card concierge can provide you with information about area restaurants and attractions, assist you in finding your way, and help you to secure event bookings, tickets, dinner reservations, and whatever details and appointments you may need at your destination.

Unlike a hotel’s concierge, a credit card concierge isn’t limited to giving you information for a single location. You can use a credit card concierge while at home, traveling or in advance when planning a trip. Plus, most credit card concierges are accessible by phone, email or internet 24 hours a day.

Here are five ways your credit card’s concierge can make your next vacation or business trip more memorable and less stressful (and how to reach your credit card’s concierge, too):

1. Restaurant reservations
Heading to London and want to book a fancy dinner before you hit the theater in the West End? You don’t have to rely on Yelp reviews and Open Table or wait until you get there to ask your hotel concierge for help. You can call your credit card concierge for recommendations and reservations.

Not traveling, but in search of a local restaurant that can accommodate a large group, offer a private room, or meet a specific dietary restriction (I’m allergic to potatoes) – your credit card’s concierge can help you out with these, too.

2. Event bookings
Need theater tickets to go with your dinner reservation? A credit card concierge often can help you with bookings for shows, concerts, sporting events and just about any event for which you might need a ticket.

Concierges, while highly skilled in securing tickets, are not magicians. They probably won’t be able to help you get cheap tickets to the Super Bowl or a sold-out show of “Hamilton” on Broadway, but if you want to see a magic show in Vegas, they likely can pull that rabbit out of a hat.

3. Shopping and gift buying
A credit card concierge’s assistance can come in handy if you’re in search of a hard-to-find item, or need to solve a shopping mystery like where to purchase the perfect holiday cookie gift basket for your gluten-free and sugar-free client.

Take, for example, the time I met a woman in an airline lounge wearing a pair of knee-high, black, wedge-heel, Hunter rain boots that I knew I absolutely needed as soon as I saw them. When a quick online shopping search revealed that her rain boots were a retired model and no longer in stock anywhere, I requested help from a Visa Signature concierge to help me find a pair.

With a little extra shopping research, the concierge was able to locate two pairs in my size offered by private sellers on eBay. Fashion crisis averted!

4. Making appointments
A credit card concierge can help you to get better organized by booking appointments for you at home and away.

Last year, while traveling in Buenos Aires, I really needed a massage (a direct result of too many tango lessons). My hotel concierge would only recommend the spa at the resort where I was staying, yet I really wanted to try something local. With no Spanish, I was struggling to find anything through my own research, so I shot a quick email request to the Visa Signature concierge.

Twenty-four hours later, I had an appointment with a masseuse I would never have found on my own.

While it isn’t recommended to use a concierge to book appointments you can easily make yourself, appointment booking can come in handy when you need some extra research or local knowledge.

“I used the AmEx Platinum concierge to book an appointment at a hair salon in Toronto when I was traveling, and to find a local delivery service that would bring soda to my hotel room,” explained Seattle-based rewards traveler Jackie Jacobs.

5. Helping you with research
Your credit card’s concierge also can help you by doing research on travel, or any topic that requires more knowledge than a quick Google search.

In my own travel planning, I recently used the American Express Platinum concierge to research local dive operators offering dive trips in Madagascar in the month of December, and last year I used the Visa Signature concierge service to locate those tango lessons I was taking in Buenos Aires.

Photographer Mahesh Shanker uses Visa concierge services for researching details related to itinerary planning for his travel photography work.

“My requests have ranged from the specifics of finding of photography ‘fixers’ (photography guides), arranging location releases, permits and permissions, to getting average temperature estimates, a list of places to visit and shop, and recommendations on how to connect between two locations,” he says.

“I try not to overuse the service to avoid being a pest unless I know that it is something that they probably know and can help me out with more quickly that I can find the information myself,” he says. “Otherwise, I just Google the information.”

For research requests, you’ll get the most help if you have specific parameters to guide the concierge to help them find exactly what you’re looking for.

How to contact your credit card’s concierge
Getting a credit card concierge’s help is simple – all it takes is an eligible credit card account and a phone call or email request.

Visa Signature concierge: If you have any rewards-earning Visa cards, there’s a good chance you may already have at least one Visa Signature card.  The Chase Sapphire Preferred card, the Hyatt credit card, the Bank of America Alaska Airlines credit card and the Chase British Airways credit card are all Visa Signature cards. You can make requests from the Visa Signature concierge online, or by phone.

Visa Infinite concierge: Visa Infinite cards also have their own concierge service – and the Chase Sapphire Reserve and U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve cards fall into this category.

You have to call the Visa Infinite concierge for help, but from my experience they’re very thorough in their knowledge, as well as quick. The number to call for the Infinite concierge for U.S. cardholders is 877-660-0905 or collect from abroad 312-800-4290. Note that there are different numbers if you’re based in Canada.

I recently called the Visa Infinite concierge looking for help to research wedding expos on the West Coast. The concierge asked lots of questions to help define my search – questions I hadn’t even thought about like the price I was willing to pay for admission (before or after tax), the size of show I’d consider, and how far I was willing to travel.

The best part was that he narrowed down my list and sent me a PDF of results within a few hours. (And he did all of this work for me while I was out wine tasting!)

American Express Platinum concierge: If you carry the American Express Platinum card or the American Express Business Platinum card, you can access the AmEx Platinum Concierge as a card member benefit.

The platinum concierge is a call-in service, and the concierge may ask you a number of clarifying questions to make sure he or she is serving you well. From a U.S. phone, call the AmEx Platinum concierge at 800-525-3355. If you’re abroad, and need some help booking that appointment at the local spa, you can call the concierge collect at +1 617-622-6756.

Bonus: If it is “Hamilton” tickets you’re looking for, the AmEx Platinum concierge has reportedly been able to help customers get tickets for face value.

For all concierge services, you will need to have your card number ready to confirm your eligibility, and make your concierge request 24 hours in advance.

World Elite Mastercard concierge: Barclaycard Arrival Plus and other World Elite Mastercard holders have 24/7 access to a concierge service “that acts like a relentless personal assistant.” Cardholders trying to locate hard-to-find items (like my rain boots) or reserve that perfect table can call the number on the back of your card.

World Mastercard concierge: If your rewards card is part of the World Mastercard family, which includes the Citi/Advantage Platinum Select and Barclaycard CashForward cards, you have access to a global concierge to “assist you in discovering more” 365 days a year.

Safe travels! By the way, I flew from Portland, Oregon, to Austin, Texas, for the second week of the ACL music fest this weekend. So far, I haven’t needed my various credit card concierge services, but this trip is just starting.

See related: Putting credit card concierges to the test, Finding a credit card with concierge service


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