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I love watching tennis, especially the US Open in New York every summer, and this year I was able to go several times thanks to Starwood and The Platinum Card from American Express.
First, I redeemed 50,000 Starwood points to book the Starwood Suite, which is Suite 110, located at center court in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Another time, I used my Amex Platinum to purchase By Invitation Only tickets.
By Invitation Only (BIO) events are exclusive to Platinum and Centurion cardholders. To find them, log in to your Amex account and search for By Invitation Only or call 1-800-321-RSVP (7787). By Invitation Only can also get you into sold-out events at cheaper prices than what many ticket brokers charge. American Express generally has staff onsite at many events so you’re taken care of and don’t have to worry about buying scalped tickets that could potentially be fake.
The last time I used this was for the Kentucky Derby in May, and the access I had was incredible. For the US Open this year, Amex pulled out all the stops. My tickets were originally for September 10, but because of rain we went on September 11 instead. We saw Serena Williams’ stunning upset to Roberta Vinci, her first US Open loss since 2011.
The Member Suite is open for Amex Platinum and Centurion card holders; however, at $2,625 each with a minimum of two per purchase, the tickets aren’t cheap. But you’re basically buying a share of a private suite that normally goes for $25,000+.
Amex’s Suite 105 is twice as big as Starwood’s Suite 110, and its corner location gave us an interesting vantage point. The indoor part of the suite is blessedly air-conditioned and full of amenities, including several televisions showing the match. Outside, there’s assigned seating on tall chairs.
The experience was amazing right from the beginning, when I walked into the suite to find Monica Seles and Rennae Stubbs having informal conversations with attendees. They were so lovely and approachable, and happy to sign tennis balls for everyone.
The next cool surprise was the swag bag, which included a backpack and a Wilson tennis racket. The food was gorgeous and plentiful, with lobster rolls, grilled skewers, fried chicken and biscuits and more – including an open bar.
There were several Amex staff members in the suite the entire time to make sure everything was perfect. Big props to Amex Platinum — you’ve made me a By Invitation Only fan for life! If you’ve got money to spend and want exclusive access, By Invitation Only can get you into sold-out events, so take a look and see what events are coming up here or call 1-800-321-RSVP (7787). While this premium card has one of the highest annual fees on the market, it has several valuable perks that could make it worthwhile, depending on your travel patterns. These include a $200 annual airline rebate, lounge access, free Hilton Gold status and free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status.
While this premium card has one of the highest annual fees on the market, it has several valuable perks that could make it worthwhile, depending on your travel patterns. These include a $200 annual airline rebate, lounge access, free Hilton Gold status and free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status.