Windbag Miles is a blog about points, miles, credit cards, travel, and general windbaggery.

Did anyone else get an invite to the "Ask Amex" pilot program?

I remember that I took a survey a while back about changes I would like to see to Amex's concierge service, and the fruits of that customer research must be coming to fruition now with Amex's new "Ask Amex" service that they're rolling out. (I also took a really meta survey about what I want Amex's customer research sample group to be called. Unfortunately, "PlattyBros" wasn't an option.) I got an email about Ask Amex today, with a link to download the app. In a nutshell, Amex is rolling out an AI-based concierge for Platinum members that will help you do concierge-y stuff without having to wait on hold and talk to a real person. Seems cool, except... I was a little skeptical, because Amex hasn't to my knowledge said anything about this themselves. The service is provided by a third party (Mezi), and I was prompted to enter my Amex login credentials in order to prove I was one of the super-special invitees into the pilot program. The idea of sharing my Amex info (including login credentials and card data) with a third party is a little dodgy to me... I'm sure it's fine, but without anything directly from Amex confirming that it's real, I'm hesitant.

After some more digging, I started to realize that Ask Amex is kind of a bad deal. It's pitched as an addition above and beyond my existing Platinum benefits, although the company behind it - Mezi - already has what looks like the same thing available for free to everyone. Putting an Amex GUI on it doesn't suddenly make it special and worthy only of Amex Platinum members.

Additionally, I was able to find an FAQ on Mezi's site, and it gets worse from there. First of all, you have to use your Platinum card, which means that any travel that you book will be at one point per dollar. Additionally, Mezi specifically states that bookings made through their portal don't qualify as purchases made directly on a travel provider's site, which means you wouldn't get 5x points on airfare either. Nor would you earn 2x for booking on Amex travel, since even though the app looks like an Amex and quacks like an Amex, it's not an Amex (or a duck). Finally, you can't use Amex offers or make Hotel Collection and Fine Hotels and Resorts bookings through Ask Amex either.

Bottom line, Amex is rolling out a new digital concierge that may be a phishing scam, offers none of the features of its normal concierge, is not exclusive to Amex, and which prevents you from taking advantage of any category bonuses. All so you can ask your phone to book you a hotel room instead of suffering the indignity of having to search online. I get that AI is the future, but I'm good on holding onto the past for a little longer if this is what's in store.

Has anyone signed up and used it? Am I right to ignore this, or am I missing out on some amazing concierge-ing?

Wait hang on... Aeroplan miles can be redeemed on Cathay Pacific???

Why I love Virgin America first class even though it doesn’t have flat beds or pod seats or champagne or caviar or all aisle access or widebody jets