I sent my most senior correspondent out to Napa to dine at the French Laundry this Christmas weekend only to find that there was no special amenity for her. I had booked months ago with the AmEx concierge, If you can recall, I was able to get free wine and a truffles when I went last year.
I reached out to the concierge and they had this to say:
– The French Laundry –
Unfortunately we have recently ended our partnership with this restaurant, however that does not mean we can no longer assist with your dining requests. I would recommend for the best chance at success to place your request with us ahead of a given booking schedule, which is approximately on a quarterly basis. For example: January 1st,will release for March 1st through April 30th. In our typical experience, it takes about 10 minutes for a given period to fully sell-out once the books open, and prime-time weekends always go the fastest. We still to collect advance booking attempt requests from our valued Cardmembers, but please note that we are now limited only to the publicly available TOCKTIX page. Unfortunately we have no further provisional access to tables at this restaurant, and once the books have opened for a given date, we can only add our Cardmembers to the TOCKTIX wait-list, which will contact them directly with an offer if there were an opportunity. As a reminder, The French Laundry pre-charges all reservations at the time of booking, for the full menu price of $315 per person, and are all final sale and cannot be refunded, which do make cancellation opportunities rare.
Oh well, I got my eye set on Atelier Crenn anyways, which just received a third Michelin Star. They are also located in the Bay Area. The AmEx concierge had this to say:
We do have an established partnership with chef Dominique Crenn and her fabulous restaurants, and we are more than happy to leverage this to our advantage for you, however there are limitations to this as well. Atelier Crenn opens their books to reservations on the first date of the month, 2 months prior (for example, all dates in March of 2019 will become available on January 1). Atelier Crenn is also booking on TOCKTIX, involving a pre-charge of the full menu price starting at $335 per person, and cannot be cancelled or refunded once booked. Once the books are open and a given date appears to be booked, we often have additional access for parties of 2 only, at the 8:00 PM time mark, although these are limited and not guaranteed.
How times have changed! I always found the AmEx relationship with The French Laundry to be one of the most valuable Platinum membership perk. I am glad to see that they added Dominique Crenn to their Global Dining showcase! Is this a sign of appealing to a more contemporary crowd? Looking forward to checking out this relationship soon. Please use this link if you have not gotten your free for military AmEx Platinum.