Credit card concierge services

Credit card concierge services: Which cards do it right?

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Updated: May 07, 2024

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Welcome bonuses, free travel insurance and airport lounge entry are just some of the juicy perks that Canadian credit card holders want. The concierge service, on the other hand, is one perk that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. While it’s a pretty common feature on most premium credit cards in Canada, it seems to be rarely used and poorly understood. Let’s take a look at this valuable yet sorely underused and under-appreciated perk.

What is concierge service?

Have you ever been to a nice hotel and noticed a person with a friendly smile tucked away behind a fancy desk off in the corner? Well, that’s the concierge. A concierge is a person with serious know-how about things like restaurants, attractions and much more about the area where you’re staying. A credit card concierge service is very much the same deal.

You can call the concierge service, usually available 24/7, to connect you with a professional know-it-all who can help you with a wide array of requests. They can do simple things like arrange a rental car, make a dinner reservation or secure theatre tickets. They can also perform more difficult tasks like order flowers to be delivered, direct you to the nearest English-speaking doctor in a foreign city or even help you devise your entire vacation itinerary.

A concierge service can be a bit like having your own personal assistant helping you out when you’re in a bind.

What can concierge service get you?

Each of Canada’s main credit card networks (Visa, MasterCard and American Express) have cards that feature a concierge service. Here's what they offer:

Visa

If you’re a Visa Infinite* or Visa Infinite Privilege* cardholder, you’ll have access to the Visa Infinite Concierge. The service includes:

  • Advice on the perfect travel itinerary
  • Restaurant recommendations or where to find that perfect birthday gift.
  • Hotel booking and attraction ticket reservation assistance
  • If you're looking to snag a reservation at the most sought-after restaurants, or if you're on the hunt for fresh and exciting dining and winery recommendations for your upcoming trip, Concierge service is there to help

Mastercard

Mastercard does not offer many specifics about its concierge service because it says that the financial institution that issues the card selects and provides specific benefits. It notes, however, that some general services provided include:

  • Planning a night out
  • Making travel arrangements
  • Ordering gifts
  • Providing tourist information

American Express

The American Express concierge service can coordinate requests big and small for cardmembers, including:

  • Restaurant suggestions
  • Ideas for memorable nights out
  • Recommendations for places to visit in a specific city when you’re travelling
  • Arranging for the purchase and delivery of an item that you saw while traveling, but didn’t have time to buy
  • Arranging for flowers or gifts to be sent to business clients in other countries
  • Finding meeting rooms or service apartments to rent for business trips
  • Helping to retrieve lost or forgotten items

An American Express representative told me that its concierge could even ship a wedding dress halfway across the world!

Is it free?

When concierge services are included with a credit card, they are free, meaning your annual fee covers it. It’s essential to note that while the service is free, any goods they purchase for you, like tickets or flowers, are at your own expense. You will have to pay for any physical goods you buy – make sure you specify your spending limits when you seek a concierge’s assistance.

Top credit cards for concierge service

Card Concierge service Welcome bonus Card type Annual fee
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card Comprehensive concierge services help like securing hard-to-find items Earn up to $2,900 in value* including up to 85,000 Aeroplan points. Travel Rewards $139
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* Card Visa Infinite Privilege Concierge, like “having a personal assistant on-call" Up to 120,000 BMO Rewards bonus points* Rewards $499
The Platinum Card® Top tier concierge service, including access to VIP shows, luxury hotels and even sold-out events Earn up to 70,000 Membership Rewards® points (conditions apply) Rewards $799

*Terms and conditions apply.

TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card

Apply now

up to 50K pts

Excellent

Earn up to $1,200 in value† including up to 50,000 Aeroplan points†. Conditions Apply. Account must be approved by June 3, 2024.

Expires

Jun 4, 2024

for every $1 spent on eligible gas, grocery and direct through Air Canada® purchases (including Air Canada Vacations®)†

1.5 points

Earn 1 point for every $1 you spend on all other purchases†

1 point

Earn points twice with Aeroplan partner brands and on the Aeroplan eStore.†

2x

Earn 50% more Aeroplan points at Starbucks when you link your card to your account.†

50%

NEXUS application fee rebate every 48 months†

1

checked bag free for you and up to 8 travel companions†

1st

Purchase APR

20.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

22.99%

Cash Advance APR

22.99%

Annual Fee

$139

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.50%

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent

Required Annual Personal Income

$60,000

Required Annual Household Income

$100,000

Pros

  • The card has a high earn rate for Aeroplan Points, generating 1.5 points† per $1 spent on eligible purchases.

  • Insurance offered includes coverage in the categories that travellers need, and is generally better than its Aeroplan peers at a similar annual fee level.

Cons

  • No airport lounge membership or free lounge access.

  • Aeroplan points can’t be redeemed for flights outside the Star Alliance network, nor can they be redeemed for cash credit. This makes them less flexible than some competing travel rewards programs.

The TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card has a notable welcome offer. Earn up to $2,900 in value* including up to 85,000 Aeroplan points. Conditions apply. 

This card’s top-class concierge service† includes help like finding local restaurants offering takeout, ordering flowers and cakes to celebrate your loved one’s special day, and even finding virtual activities to help pass the time.

Key features:

  • Welcome Bonus: Earn up to $1,600 in value including up to 70,000 Aeroplan points. Conditions apply.
  • Rewards structure: 1.5 Aeroplan points per $1 spent on eligible grocery, gas, and direct through Air Canada purchases (including Air Canada Vacations) made with your card; 1 Aeroplan point per $1 spent on other purchases
  • Additional perks: Travel medical insurance, trip cancellation/delay insurance, baggage delay/loss insurance, rental car insurance, and more
  • Annual fee: $139

†Terms and conditions apply.

BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege

Apply now

max 120K pts

Excellent

Get up to 120,000 Points*

Expires

May 31, 2024

Cardholders earn an impressive 5 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent in essential categories like travel, dining, gas, groceries, and pharmacy*. This bonus applies up to an annual threshold of $50,000.

5

You’ll earn 1 BMO Rewards point per $1 spent in these categories after that threshold as been met. Other purchases will earn 1 BMO Rewards point per $1 spent*.

1

Purchase APR

20.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

23.99%

Cash Advance APR

23.99%

Annual Fee

$499

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent

Required Annual Personal Income

$150,000

Required Annual Household Income

$200,000

Pros

  • Strong welcome bonus

  • High rewards earning rate*

  • Earn more when you add supplemental cards*

  • Annual lifestyle credit*

  • Mobile device insurance*

  • Extensive travel insurance*

  • Extended warranty and purchase assurance*

  • Visa Airport Companion membership and 6 complimentary airport lounge visits per year - over $250 USD* in value

  • Access to Visa Infinite Dining Series and Visa Infinite Wine Country*

Cons

  • High annual fee

  • High eligibility requirements

  • The welcome bonus is not awarded immediately

  • High rewards earning rate reduces after $50,000 spend

Currently, the card is offering up to 120,000 BMO Rewards bonus points*. You’ll get 50,000 points when you spend $6,000 in the first three months, plus 30,000 points when you spend at least $30,000 in the first six months. Receive an additional 40,000 points when you spend at least $75,000 in the first year. 

You’ll also have easy access to a Visa Infinite Privilege Concierge (which is a step up from the regular Visa Infinite Concierge). Visa describes it as akin to “having a personal assistant on-call. You name it. They’ll make it happen!”

Key features:

  • Welcome bonus: Up to 90,000 BMO Rewards bonus points*
  • Rewards structure: Earn 5X the points for every $1 spent on travel, dining, gas, groceries and drugstore purchases*
  • Additional perks: Comprehensive travel insurance*, unique dining and wine events*, Visa Airport Companion membership and 6 complimentary airport lounge visits per year – valued at more than $250 USD*
  • Annual fee: $499

The Platinum Card

Apply now

70,000 pts

Excellent

Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points1*

Earn 2 points for every $1 in Card purchases on eligible dining and food delivery in Canada

2x

points for every $1 in Card purchases on eligible travel

2x

point for every $1 in all other Card purchases

1x

Purchase APR

21.99%

Annual Fee

$799

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.50%

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent

Pros

  • Earn 5X Rewards Points for flights and on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel

  • Access to a wide range of luxury perks, including premium concierge service

  • Complimentary lounge membership providing access to over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide

  • Annual statement credits: $200 airline fee credit, $200 hotel credit, $240 digital entertainment credit

  • Special insurance coverages like trip cancellation/interruption, flight delay, lost or stolen baggage and rental car theft & damage.

  • Provides extended warranty (2 years) and purchase protection (120 days).

Cons

  • High annual fee of $799, one of the heftiest among Canadian cards

  • The rewards system can be complicated, especially for users not familiar with maximizing credit card points

  • Requires good to excellent credit for eligibility

With a $799 annual fee, The Platinum Card® happens to be one of the most expensive charge cards in Canada. It offers lots of benefits like airport lounge access, a $200 CAD annual travel credit and a $200 CAD Annual Travel Credit through American Express Travel Online or Platinum® Card Travel Service. The card includes over-the-top concierge services. You can use the concierge to book theater tickets and avoid fees, book tickets to sold out shows, get help planning an event, search for specialists like a contractor, a pet groomer and even organic catering.

Those interested in lounge access can take full advantage of The American Express Global Lounge CollectionTM which unlocks access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide. This includes The Centurion® Lounge network, Plaza Premium Lounges and hundreds of other domestic and international lounges designed to enhance your travel experience.

Key features:

  • Welcome bonus: New Platinum® Cardmembers, earn 70,000 Welcome Bonus points after you charge $10,000 in net purchases to your Card in your first three months of Cardmembership. Conditions apply.
  • Earn rate: Earn 2 points for every $1 in Card purchases on eligible dining and food delivery in Canada, 2 points for every $1 in Card purchases on eligible travel, and 1 point for every $1 in all other Card purchases
  • Additional perks: $200 CAD annual travel credit, $200 CAD annual dining credit, lots of extras like travel insurance and airport lounge access
  • Annual fee: $799

Summary

See what you’ve been missing? Concierge services are awesome. Give your concierge a call; they are there to help make your life a little easier. Remember, if you own a premium credit card, you are already paying for the service with your annual fee so be sure to take advantage of this under-appreciated benefit.

Sandra MacGregor Freelance Contributor

Sandra MacGregor has been writing about finance and travel for nearly a decade. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications like the New York Times, the UK Telegraph, the Washington Post, Forbes.com and the Toronto Star.

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