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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is probably the first time I got a copy of Departures without having heard about it for weeks from people on here who got it earlier.

It wasn't wrapped in plastic. I also noticed that my year-end summary was packaged more cheaply. So, what gives? Is American Express doing the equivalent of the airplane olive, trying to save hundreds of thousands of dollars by making things look second-rate?
 

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I wouldn't be surprised at all. The word is they are in big trouble since they got into the revolving market. I gave up my Platinum when they cut benefits. The concierge is a joke now IMHO. They called and offered me a deal and I still declined to renew it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I wouldn't be surprised at all. The word is they are in big trouble since they got into the revolving market. I gave up my Platinum when they cut benefits. The concierge is a joke now IMHO. They called and offered me a deal and I still declined to renew it.
They raised the membership fee by about $75 because they started offering a free domestic coach companion ticket program - problem was, the one ticket you paid for was much more expensive than if you'd just bought two through Travelocity or the airline directly. Then they discontinued the program but didn't drop the fee.

I use the Fine Hotels & Resorts program quite a bit, and I've more than earned back my annual membership each year. I've used the concierge three times, and each time I was able to get last-minute reservations at a ridiculously busy restaurant (one of them on their opening night), so no complaints there.
 

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They raised the membership fee by about $75 because they started offering a free domestic coach companion ticket program - problem was, the one ticket you paid for was much more expensive than if you'd just bought two through Travelocity or the airline directly. Then they discontinued the program but didn't drop the fee.

I use the Fine Hotels & Resorts program quite a bit, and I've more than earned back my annual membership each year. I've used the concierge three times, and each time I was able to get last-minute reservations at a ridiculously busy restaurant (one of them on their opening night), so no complaints there.
Yes! I used that to great effect when I was single and dating, but now I'm a stingy old man who likes to eat at home. :icon_smile_wink:

They got me a great package at Cheeca Lodge once. It just seemed the exclusive nature of the perks went away. Maybe it has returned. All through the 90s I couldn't have lived as well without them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
They got me a great package at Cheeca Lodge once. It just seemed the exclusive nature of the perks went away. Maybe it has returned. All through the 90s I couldn't have lived as well without them.
Several years ago my air conditioner went out in early summer. While waiting for the repair to be completed, I used the Platinum Travel Service to book a room at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Atlanta on a Saturday night.

I paid $179 and was given a club-level room - the "club" had an open bar of top-shelf liquor and a decadent food presentation. The Fine Hotels and Resorts package comes with a free breakfast, and the once-per-stay bonus gift was a free lunch, so we combined it to take advantage of their incredible Sunday brunch.

Between the brunch, the drinks, and the food in the lounge, we got well more than $179 worth of free stuff.

Likewise on my last trip to New York - the Plaza's current buy-two-get-one-free rate brought the price down to $385 a night; the continental breakfast would have been $100 for two each morning, and the $100 bar credit got us a round of drinks in the Oak Bar and another round in the Rose Bar.

Hotels are loath to reduce their rates officially; they will, however, give fantastic promotions and lots of free stuff, especially if they can identify people who are likely to come back and pay full price for everything later.
 
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