How to Make Visa Obey Your Every Desire: The Credit Card Concierge Experiment

The following post is a guest post by John Hargrave, whom I met in 2007 at SXSW.

If you find large-scale pranks (Super Bowl, anyone?), impersonating celebrities, and other clever mischief amusing, he’s the king of the domain. His book Prank the Monkey is a guide to unleashing your inner Loki.

Given my interest in outsourcing and pushing the envelope with concierge services, he suggested the following post, which looks at just how far VISA will go to keep you happy. I’ve run similar experiments with American Express Platinum Card with similar results. There are no credit card affiliate links in this post, so no ulterior motives. Just eager for you to reap benefits you’ve probably never taken advantage of. Enjoy.

Please share your success stories, past or present, in the comments.

Herewith enters Sir John Hargrave.

###

I recently signed up for The Visa SIGNATURE Chase Freedom card, for one reason: it has a concierge service. [Tim note: In fact, all of the “Visa Signature” cards have this concierge service, among other benefits]

A credit card concierge service is much like a hotel concierge service, except you don’t have to tip. A concierge is your own personal assistant, someone who will do anything you want them to do: make dinner reservations, book a trip to Hawaii, or shop for negligees for your grandmother.

We’re so used to being treated badly by credit card companies that it’s almost impossible to believe that they are serving you. But that’s how it works: they’re your virtual assistants, ready to help you with anything.

Anything?

I wanted to test the limits of my Visa Chase Freedom concierge service, so I spent a week making incredibly ridiculous requests, to see how they’d hold up…

TEST #1: GIANT TUB OF NACHO CHEESE

I made my first call to the Visa Chase Freedom concierge service by calling the toll-free number on the back of my card. I was connected to a concierge named David, who I pictured wearing a little bellboy hat, like a hotel concierge, though I think they just wear a telephone headset nowadays.

David spoke English, which was a nice change from my usual calls to Visa. “I’m traveling to Austin next week, and I want a big tub of nacho cheese. Make that a HUGE tub,” I told him. “Enough to fill a punch bowl.”

“Does it need to be in a tub?” he asked, taking the request with the seriousness of someone who worked for me.

“Can, jar, tub, I don’t care,” I said. “I just want liquid cheese, and a lot of it.”

“Would you like us to get back to you by phone or email?”

“Phone, please. I don’t want there to be any miscommunication about my cheese.”

“Is it okay if we have this information to you by 2:00 pm tomorrow?” he asked.

“That would be fine,” I responded, “as long as I get my cheese intel.”

“You’ll get it, sir,” he assured me. “Thank you for calling Visa Signature concierge service.”

Chase Freedom, before it runs away.

Here’s how the service works: your request is assigned a “case number,” which goes into an enormous pool of concierge requests. These requests get outsourced to overseas workers who track down the information and enter it into their system. Then you either get e-mailed, or an English-speaking worker phones you back the next day with what they’ve found.

“I have your information,” said a young woman named Jenny who called me the following day. “There is a supermarket in downtown Austin named Fiesta that sells large cans of nacho cheese.” She gave me the address, phone number, and the price of the cheese.

I went to Austin the following week, where I went to Fiesta, and I actually found the cheese exactly as she had described.

I was floored. This service was a dream come true. Just think of the ridiculous errands I could send them on next!

When I heard that the Visa Chase Freedom card came with a concierge service that would do anything I wanted, I had to put them to the test. Don’t we all want to make our credit card company work for us for a change?

TEST #2: CROSSWORD PUZZLE

“I’m really stuck on 62 across,” I complained to Maurice, the concierge who helped me the following night. I came to learn that I would get a different concierge every time I called, but they were all quite helpful, with none of the attitude that you normally get from customer service reps.

“What crossword puzzle are you doing, sir?”

“It’s the USA Today puzzle,” I said. “The clue is BLUE GROTTO LOCALE. I have no idea what that means.”

“Blue Grotto locale,” he repeated, writing it down.

“The only Grotto I know is at the Playboy Mansion,” I told him. “But this is 11 letters, and starts with I.”

“Okay,” he said. “You want to hang on?”

“Sure,” I said. He put me on hold for about two minutes—the same amount of time it usually takes me to get through to someone at Visa—and came back with the answer.

“You ready?” he said.

“What, you already got it?”

“The answer is ISLE OF CAPRI,” he said. “11 letters, starts with I.”

11 letters, starts with “I”.

“That’s incredible!” I exclaimed. “Are you like an idiot savant of puzzles?”

“You just happened to get someone who likes crosswords,” he said, modestly.

“I will call you every time I need a clue in the future!”

“Uh … okay!” he said, as brightly as he could.

How many times have you been at a restaurant, arguing with your friends about which President was the fattest, or whether Kevin Bacon has ever done a nude scene? Now you don’t need to pull out your smartphone and Google it, you can just call Visa and have them look it up for you.

Having a Visa worker do your bidding: much classier than an iPhone.

TEST #3: DAILY AFFIRMATIONS

“I suffer from low self-esteem,” I told Jamie, my new concierge. “My psychologist recommended that I give myself a daily affirmation. You know, something like, ‘I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.'”

“Okay,” said Jamie, not sure where this was heading.

“But that’s a lot of work, so I’m hoping you guys can do it for me. Just call and give me a daily affirmation.”

“You want us to call and tell you you’re a good person?”

“That’s right. I mean, if you think so. I’m not so sure myself.”

“If you can hold for one moment, I can check on this for you,” Jamie said.

Keep repeating this, and you can one day be Senator of Minnesota.

I bit my lip to keep from cracking up as she went to check with a supervisor. She came back with bad news. “I’m afraid we can’t do this for you,” she said, “but we can look up services that would do this for you.”

“What?” I asked. “Why? Am I not good enough? Oh, I knew it.”

“I’m sorry, we’re just not allowed to do anything of a medical or emotional nature.”

“You can’t tell me I’m good enough because I’m not,” I moaned. “Which is exactly what I thought!

“Sir,” she said patiently, “I’d be happy to look up other services that can send you these affirmations, and e-mail you that information.”

“Could you at least attach a little positive note to the e-mail?” I begged. “Just like, ‘Thanks for being you?'”

“Let me check with a supervisor,” she said, a little less patiently this time.

I pushed hard on the affirmation, and she asked a supervisor three times before I relented. Apparently Visa Signature couldn’t do quite anything, but I have to admit she did eventually come through on her promise, sending me this via e-mail:

Visa Signature Concierge

Dear John Hargrave,

Thank you for using Visa Signature® Concierge. The information you

requested is provided below.

Motivational Message Service

Please Note: Please find below one option for a company that

is able to provide phone, texts, and emails reminding you of “what a good

person you are.”

Company: MedVoice Inc.
Contact: Renee Dotson
Phone: 800/720-1151
Cost: $89.25 per month for unlimited messages.

I decided to let Visa have this round, since they did technically satisfy my request, which was to find someone who could send me love notes. But now it was time for a real challenge.

I had applied for a Visa Chase Freedom card, just so I could test if their concierge service would fulfill my every desire. So far they had done an amazing job, but now I was about to cross the final frontier.

TEST #4: SPACE TRAVEL

“I’d like to book a trip to space,” I said.

There was a pause. “You want us to send you to space,” said Courtney, my new concierge/slave.

“That’s right.”

Cost: $200,000, plus a $15 fee for extra bags.

“Well, I have heard there are companies who can send you to space.”

“Money is no object,” I said, “but I am on a budget.”

“So you want details on pricing?”

“Pricing, the waitlist, when I could travel, everything,” I said. “Also, medical restrictions. I have a weak spleen.”

“I guess you don’t need restaurant recommendations to go with that trip,” she cracked. Humor! I fell in love with the Visa Signature concierge service at that moment.

“That’s a great point!” I said. “What do they serve on these flights? I want to know what I’m going to get to eat in space.”

“Probably that astronaut ice cream,” she said.

“YES! Tang!”

“We’ll get this for you by 2:00 pm tomorrow,” she said.

Their time quotes vary, depending on how difficult they think the request will be, and probably how many wage slaves are available to look up your request in the Philippines. But my requests were generally answered in less than 24 hours.

Possibly the coolest name of any company, ever.

The next afternoon, I got my response via e-mail, outlining not one but TWO space travel companies (Virgin Galactic and Space Adventures), with medical restrictions (none that they could find), and meal options (peanuts or pretzels).

Another test passed. There was only one more thing to find out: could the Visa Signature concierge service investigate themselves?

TEST #5: WRITING THIS ARTICLE

“I’m a writer on deadline,” I told Bruce, my new concierge/manservant, “and I need to find out a little more about this Visa Signature concierge service. Are you familiar with this service?”

“I’ve heard of it, yes,” he said.

“Here’s what I need to know: is there anything you won’t do? Like, I assume you won’t help me find a contract killer, or overthrow a government. But what else? Where do you guys draw the line?”

There was a long pause. “May I place you on hold while I check on this for you?”

“You betcha.”

He came back a few minutes later, sounding a little bit shaken. “Okay, we can get you a list like that, but we’ll need about three days to put that together.”

“Oooh. That’s not going to work. I need to deliver this article tomorrow.”

“That’s the best we can do, sir.”

“That’s weird,” I said. “You shouldn’t have to research this one at all. Can’t you just read it from your training manual or something?”

“I’m sorry, sir.”

“But my deadline really is tomorrow. I can’t finish the piece without it. I’m going to have to say Visa Signature concierge service couldn’t deliver the final thing I asked for.”

“We can deliver it,” he repeated patiently, “just not until Monday.”

“But the readers will never find out the answer,” I pressed.

“I apologize to your readers.” Bruce was polite to the end.

“All right,” I said. “They forgive you. Monday it is, then.”

All in all, I was incredibly impressed with the Visa Signature concierge service. It costs nothing beyond the annual card fee, and it’s helpful for so many occasions. There’s almost no limit to the things the concierges can do for you, except for… well, you know. Help you finish the end of your article.

Some things I guess you just have to do yourself.

(This post originally appeared on Credit Card Chaser)

Afterword from Tim: In the comments, several concierge service providers were kind enough to provide their thoughts, and one was kind enough to list some of the cannot-do’s. Here are a few:

1. We cannot get you an interview to work for a sports team.

2. We do not have special access to confidential government reports.

3. We do not have discounts for venues, restaurants, or services not included on the website http://www.visa.com/signature.

4. If a hotel is completely sold out and booked, we cannot reserve a room there; however we’d be glad to check other hotels nearby.

5. We cannot research your school paper, or do your job for you.

6. We can’t run personal errands or call your friends for you.

7. We can’t plan your wedding, but we can help you find a wedding planner.

8. As far as what’s considered unethical behavior, consider this an example: If child prostitution is legal somewhere, we won’t help you find one; however if you’re in Nevada and want to make an appointment for a rendezvous at the Bunny Ranch, we’d be glad to help you check rates and availability.

9. We don’t have access to your credit card account information or rewards program.

Please keep these not-so-unreasonable limitations in mind when you give us a call. We’ll hear from you soon.

Elsewhere on the Web – Odds and Ends:

Tim Ferriss on Angel Investing (video) – TechCrunch

How I answer the question “How should I monetize my blog?” (3-minute video)

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 500 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

Leave a Reply to Ben James Cancel reply

Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration.)

316 Replies to “How to Make Visa Obey Your Every Desire: The Credit Card Concierge Experiment”

  1. Hey, I thought everyone knew that Kevin Bacon was in Wild Things! He did a nude near the end.

    Loved the experiment =)

  2. FFFF, why won’t any banks with this kind of customer satisfaction (we have Signature VISAs here, yet, the concierge service is merely lip service) here.

    Well, someday it _will_ happen.

  3. Ivan:

    I imagine here is Russia/Warsaw Pact countries. I wouldn’t wait around for banks to provide such concierge service, be ready to pay for it or find out on your own. Waiting to get something for free ain’t a good business plan.

    Cheers,

    Zach

  4. Hey Tim – great post! I’ve known about the concierge service for some time, but thought they only came with big annual fees. What a great surprise to find the signature logo on my no-fee VISA card! 🙂

    Also, I see that many readers completely missed Sir John Hargrave’s sarcastic tone. Get a copy of his book Prank the Monkey and prepare to laugh violently – then you’ll really understand what it’s all about.

    This post reminded me that testing boundaries from time to time is important. Just don’t over do it – services like these are a privilege and not an entitlement. Even John knew when to back off when he started becoming annoying.

  5. Hey Tim,

    That was hilarious!!! I haven’t laughed this hard in months…and could hardly finish reading the post! I will have to get one of these cards just to experience this level of help!!! I agree way better than pulling an iphone out.

    Many thanks my good man, love the clear thinking and discipline that you bring to your work- still working through your book- still working on the speed reading aspect of things.

    Cheers

    Rahim

  6. This is great. I am going to use these examples to test the agents in our call center to see if they can handle it. I expect that after a few days I will arrive at my office to find my desk covered in liquid cheese.

  7. Glad to see I’m not the only one who immediately thought, “Wait. Anyone can get any of this from their local librarian.” No need to have a special credit card for it.

  8. This might get buried here, but I’ve already seen two companies that are charging for this same level of service. In fact, their list of “what we cannot do for you” is strikingly similar to that of Visa’s… more than likely just a guy who got a card and is charging people for him to access the service.

    Brilliant!

  9. Tim,

    I called visa concierge and asked them “Who can help me get into the Guiness Book of World Records for the fastest developed ecommerce drop-ship protein-product website?”

    They said, “I’ll have your answer by 2pm tomorrow.”

    Sure enough, they got back to me with: “Tim Ferris.” and all your company contact info. and explained to me that you are the single most likely company to do this. ??

    Crazy. eh?

    I had to explain to them “Look, I’m not asking what man has the most potential to do what I’m trying to do…. I own the domain name to do this, I’m asking who can get it done?”

    They said, “That wasn’t your question, sir.”

    haha…

    they’re right.

    so, I guess it’s you Tim.

    Feel like setting a record for the “fastest start up to success protein product dropship ecommerce website?”

  10. This was hilarious! I love this twisted humor. Far better than jackass in that it has an intelligent edge!

    Thanks for the laugh…grabbing my visa as I write this…

  11. Brain Thanks.

    What a hoot, I laugh so hard I thought I was going to ——— myself. I am still laughing. Never thought CC company would give service. I am going to apply for one of those card. Thank you. PEACE Chipo

  12. Just tried it myself but came up empty. I told them I wanted to drive from CT to CA with my 4 year-old son and wanted a list of 10-15 recommended stops along the way. Seemed easy to me, but she said it was “outside the scope” of what they do. I asked why and she told me it was because it was too broad, and because it was a nationwide request , and she doesn’t know what road I’m even taking. I told her that’s what I want her to recommend, and she recommended that I call AAA. She offered to provide 3 recommendations but I needed to tell her which route I’d be driving and specify the states.

    Perhaps my request was, in fact, too broad but it seemed like an easy one to me. Or perhaps Ferriss-mania has required Visa Signature to tighten the scope of their requests.

  13. my own experience was with amex centurion, I arrived in Shanghai without any dress socks and had to go to a meeting which required a suit. I called the concierge in Hong Kong where I live. Half an hour later there is a guy at the door with two pairs of socks one black one navy blue.

    Perfect!

  14. Tim,

    I read your book and really enjoyed. I’m stil trying to find something that will produce an automatic income stream. I can understand using the signature services for booking hotels/airfares/concerts, but the examles in the article could have been found with a simple google search within seconds instead of waiting days for the someone to e-mail you back.

  15. Tim,

    This article amused me. The naysayers need to lighten up. Apparently some people have 0 sense of humor. I also like the fact that he got the concierge to actually display a sense of humor, that alone is a small miracle in telephone customer service these days. I’ve learned a lot from you Tim and it’s always appreciated.

    On a different note, sometimes its almost as much fun to read the comments as the post.

    Thanks Again!

  16. True story: I was in Beijing at the Temple of Heaven when my wife’s wedding ring fell into a snow bank after she took a glove off. We were able to use AMEX Platinum concierge to find a metal detector in Beijing in less than 3 hours. We returned to the snow bank, metal detector in hand, and shortly found the ring.

  17. This is huge. I am departing to make use of these instances to test the agents in our identify center to observe if they can grip it. I anticipate that after a little time I will appear at my workplace to find my desk enclosed in gooey cheese.

  18. Thanks for this article! Realized that I have a black Visa signature card, so I just registered w their concierge service.

    I need a replacement seat for my Miata convertible, so I asked them to contact the junkyards within 100 miles of me to find one for less than $200. I’ll let you know how they do!

  19. VISA Concierge requests have probably exploded since this article has been written, and my last two requests (not crazy) have been denied as they are “out of our scope of expertise”

  20. I will tell you that our concierge center has exploded. we can not hire and train fast enough to keep up with the demand for concierge services. In fact it has come to a balance where the Budget is strained. We are a non income producing benefit so there is a fine balance between providing a service to our cardholders and becoming a cost liability. We are still trying to process every request but have found that we are also recieving more and more requests that are “out of our scope of expertise” Even on these request we try to provide a service and provide you with links or contact information where you might be able to track down the needed information. As a result our turn around time has gone from hours to a week in some cases. Please be kind to your concierge and realize that they are working under increasingly stressful conditions.

  21. Some of you don’t get the point that the article was tongue in cheek fun showing off a useful service.

    Of course they are using the web, Google etc…, to get the information. But think about it for a moment and put it into $. Depending on the need and the time you will spend calling a person vs. the time you spend researching your self and collating the information you can save money.

    I play pool. I travel a lot. I like to know where the pool rooms are where I am going. I don’t always have or better said I don’t always make the time to find out where they are and map them out for the cities I am going to. Consequently I have spent time in hotel rooms trying to find out the best place to go play.

    It would be nice to be able to call someone and have them send me a compiled list of what they found. Their list might end up being useless or it might be a good starting point. And they might find something I wouldn’t have.

    Plus you get to interact with another person in a pleasant manner.

    Plus I imagine that they can be very helpful if you do have a real “situation”. I am sure that they can provide some forms of help that you wouldn’t get from just surfing the web.

    Think of it like this – they surf the web to find answers but they are motivated to find you good answers as “good” answers are the currency of their job. So they probably have a shared “consciousness” of sorts when it comes to tracking down the best answers. I wouldn’t be surprised to know that they have their own internal search to mine their own answers for similar questions as well as just announcing to their colleagues that they have a question and need some help answering it.

    Now, for me personally though I don’t think I am going to be getting a card and paying a fee for a service that I would rarely use. However if that service was part of the card’s features then I might use it once in a while. AFTER I wean myself off the habit of doing it all myself first.

    I would like to point out that Google’s text-search is pretty impressive as well for a free concierge-super-lite type thing. In the USA you can text your question to GOOG411 (I think) and within minutes you will get a text back with information. I have used it a lot and most of the time it brings back the right info. (see pool hall searches above).

  22. I usually Google and usually like doing things myself. But sometimes I have found myself in a situation where it’s been much harder than it should be — like finding a decent laundromat in D.C. near my hotel or on the Metro. (Apparently almost everyone in that city has them located in their building) That’s when these folks can come in really handy.

    @Concierge – was it this article that caused the explosion?

  23. This article is hysterical. I never liked the idea of having a concierge do tasks for me, but practically, the time savings that could result make sense. Just signed up with a Chase Sapphire card that has a concierge service so I’m going to make sure I use them next time I’m in need of a giant tub of nacho cheese.

  24. I found this article to be hilarious. It made me wonder about what I would do with this service and I couldn’t come up with anything too useful.

    It also made me wonder what the top 10 requests are for this visa concierge service.

  25. has anyone heard who VISA use for their concierge service?

    i’d be surprised if it’s all done in house – these services are normally handled by a third party partner?

  26. This is quote possibly one of the funniest posts ever. Though I am very glad I do not work as a customer service representative. Working in a retail service industry I feel slightly bad for these people you’re ‘pranking’.

    I will be sure to find recommendations for my space vacation on the awesomely named Virgin Galactica next week though. ; )

  27. Just called Chase and had my card upgraded for this… can’t wait to see where this leads! Going to ask for a list of kid-friendly places to go around D.C. for our upcoming vacation!

  28. Wow Tim, tough crowd! Most people seem to have enjoyed the post (and got the humour) while others criticize you for everything from having too much fun, to not writing enough, to being rude(even though you didn’t write the article!) I was surprised to see that you responded to some whereas personally I wouldn’t have. I can’t decide if it’s a good thing or not- I think you just gotta keep doing your own thing and maybe not explain yourself to some people. Let them work it out for themselves. It was interesting however to see all the various points of view- from black to white, and everything in between. Great site, keep up the good work! (Oh, and where are the ads???More ads please:)

  29. Tim,

    This is a fantastic post! Glad you highlighted this. 🙂

    Just ran across a similar and more recent one here: http://goo.gl/K1QcS

    Covers all the ins and outs of concierge service.

    Keep up the great work!

  30. Stumbled on this because I’m trying to figure out why Chase sent me a new Visa card with the exact same numbers and expiration as the old one. But I notice it does not have the concierge number on it anymore. I think I’ll call and ask why!

  31. I agree with Tim. I actually am a concierge and work for this company. We take our customers very seriously and most cardholders call for emergency reasons, or to sincerely receive information that they are not able to find themselves. Please do not waist our time with prank calls.

    Dear Tim,

    I admired your book. However, I really don’t like the idea of fooling the concierge around. If it was just a test run, it’s fine. They are trying to help you and there have been incidents about people calling the concierge for help during disaster like Hurricane Katrina and recent earthquake in Japan. If you were the one stuck in the wreckage and had to wait on the line just to reach the concierge after a long prank? Some people are oversea or do not know the emergency number. They called the concierge and of course they try their best to help. Seriously, it’s not funny to prank them

  32. This post is hilarious, I will have to check out a concierge card next time I’m allowed a credit card!

    Which will be In around 7 years once my credit score is back to normal I expect!!

  33. This post is very funny and also interesting. I might have to try this with my credit card concierge. I never thought they would go so far for their customers!

    Haha I guess it is the least they can do with the extreme rates they charge, not to mention fees.

  34. I love this! I have this service with my card, but I’ve been too tentative to actually use it. I think I’ll see what kind of concert tickets they can come up with! Thanks.

    1. I’m not sure how they “deserved” anything. All I see is someone harassing minimum-wage call-center employees :\

  35. Oh my goodness. I have not laughed this hard in FOREVER! Brilliant. All because I didn’t know what a concierge would do for a credit card service. Now I know! You ROCK!

  36. I just want to say that it is not accurate that requests are sent oversees to be fulfilled. They are actially fulfilled by the concierge the cardholder speaks to on the phone; unless he is not in the office the next day in which case a colleague of his, from a Canada or USA office will assist.

  37. I don’t think the standard Chase Freedom Card anymore has it. Maybe they upgraded the ranking system. The AMEX Sky blue is pretty neat. I’ll check out and see if they have concierge services.

  38. This was incredibly entertaining to read! I’m a hotel concierge in San Francisco, so it’s funny to read what other types of concierges go through when getting information. They should give you a commission, I’m totally wanting one of these signature cards now!

  39. this is a great post i know its several years old but it still had the info i needed and it made me laugh while reading. i never did use their concierge program and was wondering about it. did a quick google search and your blog popped up. thanks for the info and im sure to be using their service in the near future.

  40. I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your

    sites really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back later on. Many thanks

  41. You are so interesting! I do not suppose I have read through a single thing like this before.

    So wonderful to discover somebody with unique thoughts on this

    topic. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This website is one thing that is needed on the internet, someone with a

    little originality!

  42. After I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new feedback are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the identical comment. Is there any way you may remove me from that service? Thanks!

  43. I used to love this guy’s website Zug.com. I was pretty bummed when it closed down a couple of years ago. I’m glad to see he’s still going strong!

  44. I work for a Fortune 500 insurance company that also provides Employee Assistance Program benefits. These EAP benefits include a work/life department that provides these types of concierge level searches. Additionally we provide in-the-moment counseling crisis services that are given by professional clinicians: so your requested affirmations are our pleasure.

  45. So when I first read this article I was disappointedly thinking this service would be US only. No way we’d have it in Canada. But a quick trip to Google taught me, not only is concierge service available in Canada, but it’s on the Visa card I already carry!!!

    I just called them and talking to Andre, my concierge was as much fun as reading the blog article! I’ve got him trying to find me the puppet from the movie Purple Rain. He did start of on Google, but I had already tried that before and I knew it was a dead-end. They’ve got their work cut out for them!

    Also I made Andre promise to watch Purple Rain tonight and will be quizzing him the next I speak to him, I also sent him the link to this article. Hi Andre!

    T.

  46. Dear Tim et. all,

    I am a concierge with Black Card Visa and we have a similar service. Just to let you know, we do not use the Philippines or other outsourcing techniques for our research or to fill requests. I have had calls similar to yours, especially the “Money is no object, but I am on a budget” statements. I am glad you found your concierge with a sense of humour, I know with our company a sense of humour and yet taking each request seriously is vital to fulfilling our duties.

    Some of my requests have involved a trip to place a flag in the Antarctic, life size Star Wars statues (could not find in budget specified so I offered mannequin information, costumes to fit and wigs matching hairstyles with nearby hairdressers willing to fix the wigs to style), live butterflies in boxes to be released when birthday candles were blown out, and other fascinating and imaginative requests.

    Have a great weekend!

    Alison C

  47. Hilarious read, it looks like the Visa team has a pretty good handled on what they should and shouldn’t cover. I think I would’ve been uncomfortable with them giving those life affirmations if it wasn’t obviously a joke.

  48. Awesome article, you are a great writer. I wonder whether the concierges are intrigued to have an interesting challenge or just annoyed with calls like yours. I can’t help but have enormous respect for them, I am not sure I could display such poise and efficiency. I never realized I had such a valuable credit card in my pocket, and to think I was about to cancel it. I am holding on to my signature card, who knows when I might need a bucket of cheese?

  49. I was just reading a book about this a few weeks ago – it gives scripts and everything about all the ways that you can get Visa and MC to do what you want them to do… since they are, after all, pretty much at the mercy of their customers, it’s just that most customers don’t realize this.

    Kudos on the article! Good read!

  50. Visa concierge: ‘Regarding shopping requests, we do assist with requests for difficult to find items which include, but are not limited to, the following:

    Rare bottles of wine/liquor

    Rare books

    Rare sports memorabilia’

  51. I asked visa concierge to help me research for a mini fridge purchase but they replied saying ‘We are now focusing on our core competencies. Unfortunately, the service that you requested is outside of our scope of support. We do however, help design trips, help with a special occasion, arrange for the perfect gift, or set up dinner reservations.’

  52. After reading this article I decided to try this out. I contacted Visa Concierge to have them compile a list of lawyers in my area that work on contingency. I received the reply that the request was beyond the scope of their services but they could help me with travel, dining, and entertainment arrangements only.

  53. Nice work!! On a side note, the researchers of your tasks actually aren’t sent overseas which makes this service even better in my opinion. I knew an employee of the Visa concierge service and they take the call and do the research right there with their team of coworkers. The person taking your call may not necessarily do the research, but it is certainly being done by a trained professional in their office in the United States.

  54. Hmm. This is an interesting article. I’ve had this signature card for over a year now, but have never used this service. Figured I would look into it and enjoyed the article.