American Express Rolls out New Booking Tool in its Mobile Payments Setup

December 2, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

The ability to conduct business right from a mobile platform, and take that platform with us to physical businesses as needed, is mobile payments’ best tool. American Express recently tipped us off about one such move with a new reservation program that allows customers to make reservations from the same platform from which they pay for the meal.

Right now, the new reservation booking tool works with over 10,000 different restaurants worldwide. Given that dining is actually the number one request seen from the Platinum Concierge, it’s clear there’s a demand for such a service, and Amex was ready to provide.

Better yet, the app allows customers to not only make reservations, but even gain access to exclusive tables held only for those making reservations through the app. This includes tables at places like Gramercy Tavern in New York and Chiltern Firehouse in London. While users could gain access to these places before through the Concierge service, now, users can pull up the mobile app and get in that way.

Amex noted that it was planning to continue stepping up its Global Dining Collection system, and is putting it together with other recent acquisitions. However, there’s a drawback to this new program: it only works for Platinum Card and Centurion members.

That may be the biggest problem with this plan going forward. Granted, a lot of your standard-tier Amex card holders aren’t going to be in a position where they could get a table at Gramercy Tavern anyway, but most of them would probably like to have the option. Sure, it’s good to offer some rewards that are specific to top-tier card holders—what’s the point in being top-tier if you don’t get any goodies?—but this is an exclusionary move that doesn’t seem to have an immediate counterpoint for literally every other card holder.

It’s a good move, but it does seem to have a few basic flaws in its design. Hopefully Amex will remember that it has other cardholders beyond the Platinum and Centurion levels and spare a few bones for those poor souls lest they just pack up and get a Visa instead.