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Amex Hamilton Presale
Over the past couple of weeks, American Express teamed up with Ticketmaster and Hamilton to offer presale tickets to Centurion and Platinum cardholders. The first presale was for tickets on Broadway in New York, while the second presale was for performances in Chicago.
Normally with American Express ticket presales you simply need to enter the customer service phone number on the back of your card to gain access. With this sale however they required a unique code. This code could only be obtained by contacting an American Express Concierge. This is where the problems began.
A Good Start But Quickly Downhill
I ended up buying tickets for both sets of performances up to my limit of 4 for each city. To obtain my code for New York, I called very early in the morning the day of the sale. The news of the sale hadn’t widely broken yet and I was connected in a few minutes to a friendly Concierge who was able to generate a code for me to use.
Once the New York presale began, things started going downhill. PDX Deals Guy was trying to get a code and he waited on hold only to be disconnected from the line several times. Others reported being on hold 90-180 minutes just to receive a code. I imagine this was frustrating not only for them, but also for anyone who wanted to reach a Concierge for another reason.
Chicago Was Even Worse
While the New York presale was a bit tedious for many, one would think American Express would fix their system. NOPE! In fact, the Chicago presale was seemingly much busier because news of the sale had become widely known. The presale was yesterday and for much of the weekend I saw people reporting hours long waits to receive their code.
Since I too needed a code, I decided to call the Concierge line at 6am Pacific this past Saturday. You would think that early in the morning on a Saturday wouldn’t be busy, but it did indeed take just over 60 minutes for someone to answer. To me that is bad, but based on the tweets of others, it got worse. Much worse.
— Anton Anderssen (@hartforth) June 11, 2016
Is This A Letdown?
Which brings me to the point of this post. If you are paying a $450 (or higher) annual fee for a card and if that card promises a Concierge service then shouldn’t you expect a reasonable hold time? Why was the Concierge line handling these codes anyway? Couldn’t they have setup a simple website or some other way for cardholders to get their unique code. Amex Offers perhaps?
Earlier this year I condemned what I perceive as a serious slip in customer service at Amex. I think this situation proves it. Perhaps they were taken aback by the New York presale, but they failed to adjust for Chicago, which is unexcusable. Remember, Platinum and Centurion cardholders are their bread and butter and I am sure many were left with a bad taste in their mouth.
I really want to know your opinions. Thankfully I didn’t suffer nearly as bad as most, but forcing cardholders to wait hours to take advantage of a perk of a $450 (or more) annual fee card seems terrible. Did you suffer long hold times to get to the Amex Concierge? Is this a simple mistake that customers should overlook or does this experience change your opinion of Amex and their premium product offerings?
Let us know in the comments!
Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.