When comparing the benefits of various credit cards, you may encounter travel insurance, airport lounge access, mobile device insurance, and extended warranties. While they might be less familiar, concierge services are also a benefit of many premium credit cards. When used effectively, a credit card concierge service can save you both time and money.
If you’ve ever stayed at a hotel and been helped by the concierge, then you’ll already have a general idea of how credit card concierge service works. Basically, having a certain card gives you access to a person who can provide recommendations, secure tickets, or even shop for you.
Sure, you could handle these things on your own via a Google search or online shopping, but that requires time and energy. Since many credit card concierges are available 24/7, you can instead call them at any time, tell them what you’re looking for, and relax while they do the work for you. Additionally, some concierges are well connected and may be able to secure you access to sold-out events via their partners.
If you’re the type of person who likes to research everything yourself, it might be tough to hand over the controls to a concierge service. However, if you think the credit card concierge service as a personal assistant who can help you with tasks that you don’t have time for, you can see how using one might reduce stress and help you be more efficient.
The services offered by your credit card’s concierge depend on what card you have. You’ll want to take a look at your benefits guide to see what’s covered. It’s worth noting that your concierge is there to assist you, not to cover the costs of anything you order or buy. Any charges the concierge incurs while fulfilling your needs will be billed to your credit card. For example, if you ask the concierge to book you a hotel room, they will charge it to your credit card.
Some examples of common credit card concierge services:
» See our picks: Best travel credit cards in Canada
All three of the major Canadian credit card networks offer concierge services for certain levels of cards. They include:
Not every Visa Infinite card or World Mastercard comes with concierge service, however. In Canada, American Express only appears to offer concierge service with its Platinum card. In general, premium cards like these charge higher annual fees. If concierge service is an important credit card perk for you, make sure to check the terms and conditions of cards you’re considering to see what’s included before applying.
It depends on your needs and how you plan to use your card. For most Canadians, concierge services probably aren’t as important as the interest rate, annual fee, and type of rewards, when choosing a credit card.
But if your chosen credit card comes with concierge service, it’s definitely worth trying out. While you’ll still have to pay for whatever purchases they make on your behalf — you won’t have pay them to do so.
If you do try out the service, be very clear with the concierge; describe exactly what you’re looking for and how much you’re willing to spend. Concierges can’t read your mind, so the more details you provide, the less likely you’ll be disappointed.
Barry Choi is a personal finance and travel expert. His website moneywehave.com is one of Canada's most trusted sites when it comes to all things related to money and travel. You can reach him on Twitter: @barrychoi.