Travel Advisor vs AMEX American Express

Travel Advisor vs. American Express – Why book with me?


the blog:

“Why should I book with a Travel Advisor when I could just book through Amex?”

This is one of the most common questions I get, along with…

“Aren’t the hotel perks the same? And what about that 5x points value? Why is booking with you better?”

And I’ve got answers. Read on to learn why booking travel with a Travel Advisor will always guarantee a better experience.

Reason 1: Amex bookings are made via a third party or call center – no personalization or attention to detail included. I offer a smoother & high-touch booking experience – customized exactly for you!

Booking via Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts means you’re sacrificing personalization and attention to detail. To book, you’ll be waiting on hold to speak with a call center agent. And, with Amex’s nearly 7,000 agents,  you’re never getting the same person twice.

The Amex booking portal is not always accurate. It’s common for Amex to display only certain room categories for a given hotel stay; and those room categories aren’t actually available for said dates. Another issue: Amex advertises perks for cardholders at certain hotels; however, if cardholders book the hotel using their Amex card, but not directly through the portal, they’re denied the perks.

Plus, when you book with a Travel Advisor, you know the little things are taken care of. I can ensure your ocean-facing room is actually ocean-facing, for instance. I can confirm your suite will be connected to a room next-door, or that a crib can fit by your bed. I can triple-check that your room is on the same floor as your teenagers. You can’t get any of that booking through Amex. 

Reason 2: When you book with me, you get prioritized for room upgrades. And Fora’s relationships mean you always travel like a VIP, with amenities + extras.

Amex offers perks like free breakfast and up to $200 resort credit – however, these perks aren’t guaranteed and often not honored.

Booking with a dedicated Travel Advisor means you’re getting all the same perks, but you are prioritized for room upgrades above Amex (more on that below). Why? Because the travel industry is all about relationships. 

Over Fora’s decades spent in the industry, we’ve built meaningful relationships with hotels around the world (over 4,500, to be exact). We attend all the industry events and use our rolodexes daily to provide the best possible experiences for our travelers. And while Amex provides perks for card holders (at roughly 2,300 hotels), there’s no real relationship with Amex travel agents. The partnership is with Amex’s corporate brand, as a whole. Still, based on the sheer number of our hotel partnerships alone, you are nearly twice as likely to get that upgrade (or free breakfast, or spa credits…) booking with me.

And it doesn’t stop at upgrades. Fora is part of nearly every major preferred partner program, including Four Seasons Preferred, Hilton Impresario, Hyatt Privé, IHG Luxury and Lifestyle and Virtuoso Travel. Preferred partnerships are not easy to get – these are selective, invitation-only programs developed and cultivated by hotels to reward agencies who deliver consistent, high-quality clientele at significant volume. Clients who come from Fora and other preferred agencies book higher room categories, spend more at the property and are more loyal than any other channel. You benefit from the many years of this track record.

What does this mean? Beyond getting priority above Amex for room upgrades, you’re going to be at the top of the food chain. When you book a hotel with Fora, you’re a client that comes to them via a preferred partnership. This means you’ll be the hotel’s top priority, always marked as a VIP prior to your arrival at the hotel. Think personalized welcome gifts, exclusive amenities and above-and-beyond hospitality.

Reason 3: Booking with me means you have dedicated, 1:1 support – and a direct line to the hotel.

Remember those relationships I was talking about? These come in handy for travel mishaps, too.

Since Fora Advisors have relationships and book directly with the hotel, I am ready to verify, advocate and problem-solve for you if something goes awry when you’re traveling.

With Amex, on the other hand, there is typically no dedicated person looking after your trip. And since your hotel is booked via a third-party system, reservations are a pain to verify and change.

When you book through a Travel Advisor, on the other hand, they’ve got the General Manager on speed dial. No corporate back-and-forth, or waiting on hold with call centers.

Reason 4: When you book with me, you’re getting a customized itinerary with insider recommendations – backed by a global community of expert travel advisors.

Booking with me is always personal. When planning your trip, I put your travel needs and preferences center-stage, and I always mind the details.

This level of personalization is especially valuable if you’re interested in a multi-stop trip, or one that requires logistical planning (like a safari) or on-the-ground resources (like tours and transfers). And rest assured that with me, you’re getting matched with the best-of-the-best partners, all fully vetted by our community.

When it comes to hotel booking, I take time to match-make you to the perfect stay and add extras along the way. Amex isn’t going to put that level of finesse into your hotel booking.

Plus, booking with a me means you’re getting the highest-quality intel – from foodie-adored restaurants to local-approved tour guides – thanks to our global network. Each Fora Advisor is part of our active, engaged community of travel gurus, who interact all day long to ensure your trip is the best it can be.

Booking a trip with someone who lives for travel planning is an entirely different experience than working with an Amex call center representative. 

But wait… how should I use my Amex?

Amex has a great points program, lounge access and numerous other perks that cardholders love.

My advice? Book your flights with Amex and rack up points on other expenses — but save the hotel bookings for your Travel Advisor. I’ll do all the legwork and unlock a smoother, more personalized and VIP experience.

Ready to book your travel? Contact me today to get started.

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