New American Express Dining Benefit for all Cardmembers

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Resy is a competitor to OpenTable for online restaurant reservations booking. It launched in 2014 with an idea of charging a premium for the most in-demand bookings. They’ve pivoted and are now a lower cost alternative to OpenTable with far fewer restaurants but skewing towards newer trendier spots that are filling up on their own — places that don’t need to pay for OpenTable’s eyeballs and just need software to manage reservations so customers don’t have to call in and no one has to stand by answering the phone.

At the beginning of the year Capital One launched a partnership with Resy that gave cardmembers ‘Exclusive Tables’ held on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at some top places in Austin, New York, and DC as well as a 72 hour head start for bookings during ‘Off Menu Week’ which is a twist on restaurant week, offering items a restaurant doesn’t usually make instead of a price fixe menu.

However American Express acquired Resy in May. I already wrote about a new offer to earn 500 bonus American Express Membership Rewards points for Resy restaurant bookings made and consumed between August 15 and September 30. You can earn the bonus 3 times, and need to add a Membership Rewards-enrolled Amex card to your Resy wallet in advance of the booking to earn the points.

American Express has also announced:

  • Off Menu Week Early Access similar to what was offered previously to Capital One cardmembers, American Express cardmembers get a 72 hour head start on bookings with the first opportunity coming next month for New York (reservations go live for Amex cardholders August 19).

  • Resy event series 48 hour early access to tickets for American Express cardholders for this fall and winter’s event series “including Resy Presents Secret Special with Danny Bowien & Friends (tickets on sale in August) and The Women Of Food, London (tickets on sale in September) series.”

American Express is not offering tables set aside for cardmembers at any Resy restaurants. So far they’ve only announced cardholder presale at Off Restaurant Week events in New York but other cities will follow.

The Amex offering is less rich than what Capital One was doing, and I expect there to be more competition for Resy benefits under American Express. However it’s good to know what is and will be on offer. (Capital One, though losing Resy, now offers special access to James Beard Foundation events.)

Dining is at the core of several banks’ strategies for attracting business from the new affluent who value experiences over things and have discretionary income.

Sapphire Reserve doubled down on the Chase Sapphire Preferred play of bonusing travel and dining spend.

Capital One is also making a big play for consumer interesting in dining with their Savor products. The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card is especially good with $0 annual fee the first year (then $95); 4% back on dining (and entertainment), 2% at grocery stores, and 1% everywhere else. They also added unlimited free delivery as a benefit.

My go-to dining card is the American Express® Gold Card which earns 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar at restaurants worldwide and on up to $25,000 per year at US supermarkets as well as 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines (or on amextravel.com) and has a $120 annual dining credit which gives enrolled cardmembers up to $10 per month in statement credits for using the card at:Shake Shack, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Grubhub/Seamless.

As it becomes harder and harder for banks to just spend more and more on rewards (the economics of the products face a competitive limit of what’s possible) experiences become a real opportunity for competitive differentiation.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

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