I am a ruined woman. My American Express Personalized Travel Service and AMEX Concierge has rendered me useless. I can’t (don’t want to) do anything for myself. I’d really rather go through life with Ms. Balla, my trusted right-hand AMEX Concierge, at the helm.
This is my first experience using a concierge service. Or rather using one to plan a full trip. I’ve called upon a concierge at the odd hotel over the years to help arrange ground travel when catching a gnarly early morning flight, or to vet some local restaurant options. But this was the first time, four days out from departure, that I’ve put my travel arrangements fully into someone else’s hands.
A pleasant leap of faith, if you will.
Enter Ms. Balla, my AMEX Concierge. After a few minutes on the phone sussing out my preferences, she put together an itinerary that I am really excited about. She asked a ton of smart questions and, based on my answers, she booked my flight times and hotel location, walked me through some options on where to eat and shop, and outlined what to see in Madrid. (This handy service, by the way, is complimentary for Platinum and Centurion American Express Cardmembers.)
My wishlist to Ms. Balla was a short one: a cool coffee house near my hotel to fuel up in the mornings; the hope to explore Madrid on foot rather than taxi; a way to explore my love of contemporary art and photography; and some shopping tossed in for good measure. She worked her magic to send me a killer list of picks in a travel-friendly format.
Oh, and I hit her with all the mundane questions that I had been planning. She indeed helped me narrow down what to pack (definitely wedges over heels) and I’ve freed up some precious real estate in my carry-on as my sweet hotel indeed has a blow dryer. Short of packing Ms. Balla into said carry-on, I can’t imagine feeling more looked after than if I planned my itinerary with my own obsessive type-A touch.
In case you guys missed it, the reason I’m jet-setting to Spain this week is to check out Coldplay live at Madrid’s famed Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas, as part of the American Express ‘Unstaged’ music series. The seven-time Grammy award-winning rock band will take to the stage on October 26, and here’s the best part: You can watch, too! Coldplay’s entire performance will be live-streamed as a VEVO event on YouTube.
So if you’re looking to catch the performance from the comfort of your very own home (or anywhere you have an Internet connection, really), RSVP here. And scope out how you can be part of the show here. Not around for the live-stream? Following the live performance, the concert will be rebroadcast for the next several hours, and live, on-demand clips will be available for another 48-hours at YouTube.com/ColdplayVEVO.
Bringing a really cool music experience to the masses. I guess I shouldn’t expect anything less from the company that brought me Ms. Balla.
~ Karen Cleveland