Sunday, January 4, 2009

Money for nothing

American Express wants me to go Platinum. Not in a Diana Ross way, but in the "upgrade to Platinum membership" way. Here's what you get for your $450 annual fee, besides snickered at by American Express:

"An exceptional array of premium benefits..."

1) Triple rewards points. Ok, that's pretty cool. I have bought my dining room furniture and most of my vacations on rewards points. Gas Gouge 2008 made this very handy.

2) Airport lounge access
what does go on in the airport lounges? I picture it like Vegas, and like Vegas probably filled with oily business men. I'll tell you this -- if I sign into a lounge and there are just as many kids playing freeze tag in an enclosed space as there are in the terminal.... I will want some cash back.

3) Hotel/resort upgrades
membership does have its privileges. Don't you like the idea of flipping out the platinum and saying, "what else ya got?"

4) 24 hr travel assistance. meh. Now you're stretching. And I think I already have that. Maybe at the Platinum level it speaks French.

5) Dinner reservations
here's a secret they've been keeping from us: "Every day at more than 1,300 of the most acclaimed restaurants in the US, Canada, and abroad, a reservation is held for Platinum Club members." I am a celebrity!

6) Dedicated Concierge team
my dream of expanding my staff comes true. Also good to know this could be my fallback career when my horoscope comes true this year.

This is that same healthcare math where I wonder if I would use $450 worth of services, or if I should just buy an airport lounge membership.

In a related story, Sears would like me to know that the service warranty on my washing machine expires next month. They recommend that I buy a 3 year extended service plan for $200, and guess whether I will need $300 worth of service in the next 3 years. Come to think of it, if we called our health insurance "extended wellness plans," would we buy it?

I found myself reconsidering a gym membership this year, but couldn't find one that would admit up front how much they are. Like the airlines, they make up the price by the minute. And everyone knows it is impossible to quit. A dear friend always said the gym should cost $10,000 and give you money back every time you use it. This would be agreeable to both parties I think.

In this same stack of mail, though, was a card from the local pizza joint. Not my preferred pizza joint, and they must know that, because the card was for "1 fee small cheese pizza." Now that's an offer I can get behind.


  1. "Every day at more than 1,300 of the most acclaimed restaurants in the US, Canada, and abroad, a reservation is held for Platinum Club members."

    What are the chances that you'll be at the top .00043 percent of any of the "most acclaimed restaurants" (acclaimed by whom?) anywhere on the planet without a reservation?

    A better business strategy would be to go local. I might consider paying the fee if they could assure a lunch booth at Mill-hood Pizza, or a parking spot at CVS between 5-6PM. Ooh, better yet - if they could send someone to warm up your car in the AM.

  2. Hilarious!! I think you've been PRIZIMed again! And I love your/friend's gym model!

    I would never join merely on account that they don't offer me my most needed service and that's access to my very own personal Sommelier. I thought they said membership had its privileges ... the nerve! They call this a program?!

    Thanks for the chuckle!

    Lola (C-Lo)


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