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Steakhouse (or similar) VIP Lists?

This isn't the most chowish question so stop reading if you're looking for news of the greatest new strip-mall finds. . .

Anyway, because I do a fair amount of business entertaining there, Morton's gave me a VIP card about a two years ago. It entitles me to free drinks or free desert at dinner, a directory of unlisted phone numbers for all locations and reservations whenever I want them. It also apparently creates some type of computer profile on Open Table (or a maybe Morton's-only system) that tells servers a little about what I like and a little extra attention. I also get special supposedly VIP-only postal mail offers once in awhile.

I know that visiting just about any place often enough will get you some perks but I do like the formal nature of Morton's arrangement. It doesn't depend on the whims of whomever is there that day.

While I like Morton's well enough, I don't love it. I'd like to know what else is out there. I already know about The Palm's 837 Club and the AmEx Plat services but neither are really the same thing. I mostly value the "table anytime" policy but, obviously, like the other perks too. A few questions:

What other good-for-business places in downtown D.C. have _formal_ VIP lists or clubs? What are the perks?

Also, airlines and some hotels will often give you elite status if you send them proof of a sufficiently exulted status with a competitor. Has anyone ever tried this with a restaurant? Any idea as to how/if it would work?

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  1. smith & wollensky and capital grille have similar programs.

    1. I was a Morton's VIP member for awhile. It was fine but it didn't "light my fire." I got mine just because Mortons's was our after work "watering hole" and the manager sent us VIP cards. Used it once in awhile, Morton's is good as far as steak houses go, but I certainly wouldn't use them just to get the card.

      1. The AmEx plat is nothing. The AmEx black card is where it's at if you've ever had or been with someone with one.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jpschust

          amex offered me a black card, but when i looked at the annual fee i rejected it.
          when my daughter found out that i had REJECTED an amex black card she went crazy--telling me that i had just made a huge error.
          jpschust, was my daughter right?

          1. re: westsidegal

            WSG -- Not knowing about the Amex black card, I still think you did the right thing. There are lots of status-oriented things that do not make any sort of economic sense to me, and usually I am the only one in my group of friends who doesn't fall for them. A lot of times it's that I have no real need for a certain set of services. Certainly your daughter is not right -- you are, since you are probably very good at making good decisions for yourself.

        2. Any restaurant w/ Open Table has the ability to store enormous amounts of information about you- birthday, # of times you have cancelled, what tables you've sat at and with whom.. depends upon the motivation of the manager- oh, and your cc can be stored indefinitely if they put it in the 'notes' section- not the cc info section....

          1. Flemings has a similar program called the Magnum Club. My understanding is that management selects who is in the program (my husband and I were selected with the first group in Richmond) and there are various perks and comps, including being guaranteed a table at any Flemings in the US at any time if we walk in.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Janet from Richmond

              Janet I'm just interested ...once you selected is there a fee to belong and how much is it ?? thank you

            2. Please do tell us about the "Black American Express Card".

              1 Reply
              1. re: amazinc

                amex chooses who qualifies for it, however, i have never given a guest who holds one any kind of preferential treatment. they are also far less exclusive than when initially introduced.

                it does include certain concierge services, but again that has nothing to do with a restaurant employee.