American Express recently added a WeWork membership to their Platinum card benefits. But the coworking program could be improved if they followed the Priority Pass model.
Included now with American Express Business Platinum cards, the “WeWork Platinum” membership allows cardholders to utilize hot desks at their facilities. The membership allows access to any of the locations but may require booking in advance due to availability concerns. At each location a coffee shop is inside, small offices, work station phone booths for having conference calls and sometimes even ping pong tables.
Location, Location, Location
The biggest deficiency with the program is that WeWork has few locations. They, like American Express, like to own their own facilities. In the US there are just 29 cities with a WeWork location though several cities have multiple locations and some are coming soon. For example, I frequent Houston for work and sometimes need a desk, printer, and stable place to have a conference call in between meetings.
Yes, Starbucks will do the trick for the most part, but it’s getting old.
In Houston, the fourth largest city in the country, there are just three locations one of which is conveniently downtown. But for the rest of the city, which is as far as 90 miles across in places, there isn’t enough coverage to be beneficial. Other cities have many locations and WeWork’s global coverage is better by both the number of cities and total sites therein than their US coverage.
Priority Pass Model Would Make WeWork Better, Usable
In Pittsburgh, I could use a co-working space about 10 days every month. There are plenty of local co-working venues in the Steel City but it doesn’t make sense to belong when I need the same spaces in other cities I visit.
WeWork will be a great option in Pittsburgh when it arrives but like many other US markets I visit, WeWork doesn’t have a location or it’s not convenint enough for my situation. Like Houston, simply having a location in a market does not necessarily make them usable and if you can’t use a benefit, there’s no value in it.
The Priority Pass model would make a lot more sense for WeWork. By adding partnerships with local co-working destinations they could significantly expand their locations and markets just as Priority Pass has done. Their restaurant location additions as of late have sped up their growth and added value to subscribers who might not have utilized the program before. WeWork could avoid costly build-outs for branded locations (like American Express Centurion lounges) and quickly scale to a level that makes them a must-have for feature for AMEX cardholders.
As card benefits evolve, WeWork could be a game changer as Priority Pass has become. However, in its present form WeWork’s membership impact for many users may be as limited as their network despite the quality of their product and availability of partner locations.
What do you think? Do you get value from your WeWork membership? Would this model work or is it better to keep each location homegrown?
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