American Express Acquiring Resy

Filed Under: American Express

American Express has announced today that they’ve signed an agreement to acquire Resy, which is the digital restaurant reservation booking and management platform.

Amex’s acquisition of Resy

American Express says that their acquisition of Resy builds on their growing suite of digital services that extend beyond traditional rewards and points, to provide card members access to more types of things.

For those of you not familiar with Resy, they’re a competitor to OpenTable. So if a restaurant isn’t bookable on OpenTable, it may very well be bookable with Resy. Resy works with 4,000 restaurants in 154 US cities and 10 countries, and seats more than 2.6 million diners per week.

Amex expects that this acquisition will be completed in the summer of 2019.

American Express’ SVP of Global Loyalty and Benefits had the following to say regarding this acquisition:

“Resy was created to both connect people who love dining out with new, notable and hard to get into restaurants across the globe, as well as help restaurants’ businesses grow and thrive. Similarly, American Express has strong relationships with premium dining partners and restaurants across the globe, and provides our Card Members with access to incredible dining experiences through our exclusive benefits and programs. We look forward to working with the Resy team to continue to grow the Resy digital platform, and develop new ways to further connect our Card Members and restaurant partners through unique access and experiences.”

Meanwhile Resy’s CEO had the following to say regarding the deal:

“American Express is a brand that we have admired and sought to partner with from our inception. There are myriad points of synergy between Resy and American Express that we look forward to pursuing together in the name of creating an end-to-end global dining platform that thrills both diners and restaurants alike. As it does today, Resy will continue to focus on delivering world-class hospitality software to our amazing restaurant partners, connecting diners to insider experiences, and reimagining the future of dining.”

Amex says that after the acquisition is complete, Resy will maintain much of the same management, and their current booking and management services will continue to be offered.

My take on Amex’s acquisition of Resy

Over the past few years we’ve seen credit card issuers get into a war of sorts when it comes to rewards points. We’re seeing bigger and bigger bonuses, and on some level it just won’t be sustainable to offer even more points.

So card issuers are increasingly looking for other ways to differentiate themselves. This can include access to experiences and other rewards.

While a credit card company taking over a dining booking platform may seem odd, I can see the logic of this. Amex will be able to work with Resy to offer cardmembers access to exclusive tables, and will also be able to better integrate the booking platform into their app, website, etc.

At the beginning of 2019 Capital One and Resy launched a partnership, which should give you a sense of what a credit card company could be trying to accomplish here. With this partnership, Capital One cardmembers had early access to off-menu week restaurants in various cities, and cardmembers also had access to extra reservations during peak times.

I think it’s safe to say that partnership is ending soon.

What do you make of Amex’s acquisition of Resy?

  1. I cancelled my Platinum card yesterday. If Amex focused on improving their actual existing product, perhaps they wouldn’t need to keep coming up with these half-effort partnerships and “credits” that do nothing to increase the value of their brand. In NYC, pretty much any restaurant worth booking through an online service is on OpenTable. I’ve never even had the need to use Resy. I’m keeping my Gold card and my two business cards, but the Platinum has run its course, at least in its current iteration.

    The retention specialist assigned to me basically conceded as much as well. She had no rebuttal when I gave her my reasons for cancelling, including the convoluted airline credit, useless credits like Saks, higher AF, increasing crowding of Centurion Lounges, and non-existent travel coverage. Nearly every competitor has a better product. Their retention offer was pitiful too, $200 statement credit with $3,000 spend in 90 days. FOH. Amex needs a change of vision, and that’s coming from a loyal customer for my entire adult life.

  2. Overall I think this works for both Amex and Resy. Hopefully payments made through Resy will now count as 4x points for Amex gold card holders. Two months ago I made a Resy reservation at a restaurant that’s prix-fixe and can only be reserved prepaid (you don’t pay anything extra when you dine there.) I paid through my Amex gold card but didn’t get the 4x points even though the payment went through the restaurant. In my statement it was categorized as “Restaurant – Restaurant”. I did get the 4x but only after filing a complaint to Amex MR.
    I’ve used Resy several times and I’d say it works 90% of the time. I made a reservation to Paris Cafe back in April (when reservations opened) for tonight at the TWA hotel but unfortunately I was told there was a glitch from Resy so they cancelled my reservation. I’ll admit I’m bummed but it is what it is. The part I don’t understand is why they notified me of the glitch at 11pm last night when I made the reservation 3-4 weeks ago. Ah well.

  3. @Gurujanitor – couldn’t disagree with you more regarding Resy. Opentable’s reward system is okay, but the product is pretty lame. Resy has the advantage of letting you set alerts when times open up. Good luck getting a prime reservation at a good restaurant on a Friday/Saturday on Opentable when the booking window is often less than 5 seconds. Resy availability emails /realtime popup reservations have been way more useful to me. Also, try searching a neighborhood for dinner at 7pm and you have 10,000 choices without a great way of filtering out crap. Resy restaurants are much better quality as a whole, at least in New York.

    Also, not sure why you’d think Saks credits are useless, even if you’re not the demographic to buy a $100 tshirt, since they sell many generic products at the same price you’d pay elsewhere. Socks? Underwear? I’ve never have trouble using mine and combining it with a shopping portal. Centurion lounges are too crowded, but I’ll take that 9 times out of 10 over a priority pass lounge, a dining credit for always crowded & mediocre airport food, or sitting in the terminal when i have time to kill. I love my Citi Prestige and Chase Sapphire cards, but what superior airport experience are they offering?

  4. This is great. Yes OpenTable has volume, but Resy has the good stuff. I can almost always get a Captial Grille reservation when I need it, but with the AMEX concierge having access to Resy, restaurants like Fig in Charleston and Red Hen in D.C. just got a little easier to get.

  5. If you’re in a city you’re new to, seeing which restaurants are on Resy is a quick trick I use for finding someplace delicious. They’re usually good. Resy also has the Hillstone Group restaurants, which are the best.

  6. Guru – I have gotten alerts for some pretty in-demand restaurants with Resy, both in New York and in other cities (LA, SF, Montreal). OpenTable is a generic tool but Resy will be a useful add to Amex customers, especially if they can reserve some additional tables.

    I also disgaree with you on the Amex Platinum. Many benefits of the Amex Gold card can be replicated elsewhere (Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige, etc), but the Amex Platinum has a number of unique benefits (SkyClubs + Centurion, various Amex Offers, the credits that I get a lot of value out of, good service, etc) that make it a must have.

  7. @Evan – Thanks, thats a solid rebuttal. I actually had forgotten about the notifications on Resy (as my SO just changed a reservation tonight to a better time using Resy just now, ha!).

    I still stand by my other statements though, I do think of the credits more as gimmicks than anything else. The Saks credit is still a gimmick to me. I’m not buying $100 in underwear or socks or undershirts in a year, and you’re right I’m not in the demo that overspends on t-shirts or cologne. So no, I haven’t found a way to maximize it. Maybe I’m not trying to, but I’m not going to buy $100 in underwear just because I can. Ultimately it isn’t free because you’re paying that $100 with the AF. And if you aren’t purchasing items you’d be buying anyway, you’re not actually saving any money. So for me its useless.

    I used the Uber credit every month in its entirety, usually within the first two days of the month, and is probably the only credit I got max value out of with out jumping through hoops. I always buy GC’s with the Delta credit (my airline of choice), however the $50 limit is a hassle, and Delta’s own limit on how many payment methods you can use on a single transaction also limits the usefulness of those GC’s themselves. Again, I may get full value, but a broad travel credit on the Prestige and Sapphire are more appealing.

    And don’t get me wrong, I loved Centurion lounges for a long time. I use the one at LGA for breakfast all the time. But I don’t see them as worth paying a huge premium for anymore, as they increasingly become more crowded, and with that dirtier, louder and generally more unpleasant. Are they the best domestic lounges in the states? Sure, I guess. Do I see the value of paying a premium to use them when I can alternatively get a free meal in the terminal, or stay at a decent lounge that is actually quiet down the hall? Not really. Sure their food is higher quality, but its still objective crap as far as your health goes. So a free meal at a restaurant in the terminal isn’t actually that much worse of an option, in my eyes.

    And really the biggest thing for me is the lack of coverage with the Plat. A -travel- card with that high a premium should be leading the industry in coverage, not lagging behind. In the end, for me, it just wasn’t worth keeping any more. I had it a long time, and always found it worth the fee, but it has increasingly become hard to justify. And I still see these sorts of partnerships as gimmicks to cover the fact that the card doesn’t offer a better return on spend, useful travel coverage, nor genuinely useful and easy to use credits. To each their own though.

  8. @Anthony – I concede I’m wrong about Resy. But purchasing an online reservation system does not supersede the underlying issues I have with the direction of the card, which I outlined to Evan above.

  9. Sorry, I agree with @GuruJanitor. The Platinum card is getting smashed by the competitors. 5x using Amex Travel is ridiculous they are using third-party portal which the airfares are more expensive. Serious! Everyone search for flight tickets on Skyscanner, google flights or momondo. 1x on eligible purchases where the market is going to at least 2x points per dollar. I don’t want to have 5 credits cards and think at the register or online which one is more value for that payment either American Express or different brand. The benefits of gold should be applied to Platinum and not create one more card. The Centurion lounge crowded is American Express fault because is giving the card to everyone and now we can’t use on incoming flights. One thing I always requested is the spouse to be allowed to have a Platinum card without paying the annual fee of $300 as long as you can prove he/she is your spouse. I always wrote on feedback on the survey I received my claims above and everyone should do the same. I don’t have American Express representative if you do! Take ownership and complain! Everyone wants the best!

  10. “Works with 4000 restaurants seating 2.6 million customers per week” … ? That would mean rest seats an average of 650 customers per restaurant per week…. somehow I doubt that volume, as some of their restaurants are pretty tiny!

  11. Google Duplex will smash the restaurant reservations the medium term, great opportunity for the Resy owners to sell out.

  12. @michael yeah and people thought Google reviews were going to put Yelp out of business. LOL, try again buddy. Google needs to stay in their lane.

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