Yesterday, news was released that American Express had partnered up with TripAdvisor, one of the top Internet review sites.
The premise behind the partnership is that TripAdvisor reviewers can sync their accounts to their American Express cards. According to Amex, this should make the review more trustworthy because it proves the reviewer was actually at that establishment.
“Card members trust other card members,” said Leslie Berland, Amex’s senior vice president for digital partnerships and development. Do they? I don’t quite see it that way. In a digital age where every review is questioned for authenticity, this venture is too easy to poke holes into.
I had no issues linking my American Express card to my TripAdvisor account and posting a review yesterday.
Should this make my reviews more credible? Does that little “Amex Traveler” badge under my name make you trust me more? Some may say yes. I say no. I don’t know that I feel more at ease just because I see that Amex is affiliated with a reviewer.
“Reviews connected to an Amex purchase will be labeled ‘Amex Card Member Review‘.” This level of verification is a step in the right direction. It proves the user was actually at the establishment they reviewed.
In theory, this should weed out many of the fraudulent reviews that can be bought for as little as $1 per review. However, I don’t see how it can stop hotels from directly incentivizing a guest with monetary discounts for favorable reviews.
Also, it adds another level to the TripAdvisor hierarchy. Should Amex-branded reviews be considered more valuable? Not everyone has an American Express card. Moreover, not everyone chooses to pay for their hotel stay or restaurant bill with them. My Chase Sapphire Preferred card gives a better bonus for both hotels and dining so I would never use an Amex to pay those bills. Therefore, I’d be missing out on posting Amex Card Member Reviews.
Overall, I don’t use TripAdvisor too much because I know that it’s infested with a lot of fake reviews. This news will make me use it even less so. I’d rather rely on word of mouth, travel blogs, or travel forums for reviews. Even then, be wary of sponsored trips on blogs and fake posts on forums. If all else fails, don’t be afraid to wing it on a trip and explore. That’s what travel is all about!
What’s your opinion on this partnership by TripAdvisor and American Express? Do you use TripAdvisor for your trip research?
Sync your American Express card with your TripAdvisor account and post a review. When it posts, you’ll receive a one-time $5 statement credit!