After applying for an receiving the Citi Prestige card last week, not only was I able to quickly take advantage of the 4th night free hotel benefit for my Hawaii trip, but also for another trip coming up which will save me some money there as well. While I didn't have an experiences with the Citi Prestige concierge service prior to the change over to a new 3rd party concierge service, I was able to experience the new service provider very soon after getting the card. Apparently the new service provider makes booking a whole lot easier since you don't get redirected to a 4th party travel agent, everything is done with the concierge provider.
Concierge service can be pretty awesome even outside of he 4th night free. Sometime these providers have the ability to get tickets to events that were otherwise sold out, or had less than ideal seating. In the future, I may have to try them out for other services outside of the hotel bookings, but for my firs time out, the hotel booking is all that was required.
Calling the service was fairly simple as it only requires one to have the concierge number, which is a dedicated Citi Prestige cardholder service. The number is provided in the welcome package, luckily I remembered to add that number to my phone contacts since it's not very often that I carry around my 40 page welcome kit.
Upon calling the service center, a few quick automatic responses and the system transferred me to a representative, but I had to wait on hold... not a big deal, just kept doing what was needed for my day's work until they answered. Once the call was answered, he asked for some basic information and got started in on the bookings. One things that can be a good/bad thing here is that this guy was actually personable. It may have to do with most callers wanting some help for a specific reason rather than complaints that many normal call centers have to deal with, but he was quite pleasant.
There is one caviat to this, with people that are able to laugh, be talkative and the like, comes the ability for that person to shove their foot in their mouth. There were moments when I could see others taking offense, but I laughed right along with him and we really had an excellent interaction.
In the end, the wait time was a bit long for what is supposed to be a personal and premium service. However, the service representative was great, and a little humor and personality is welcome after talking to the stoic, unfeeling people at American Airlines. Really, I don't have anythign bad to say about the service, my bookings worked out well, currently I'm staying at one of the hotel's and everything went smoothly. With the two bookings, this will already save me around $400. Easily covering the $450 yearly fee with the airline credit included in. Coming up are at least 2-3 more trips that will make use of the service, looking at somewhere around $1000 saved this year. We'll see if I can make greater use of this as we progress through the year.