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Being an American Express Platinum Card Member, you’re entitled to many benefits from the card that can make traveling more enjoyable. Everything from the Centurion Lounge access to the $200 airline fee credit every year – it makes being a Platinum Card or Centurion Card Member all worth it. But what makes it even more enjoyable is the access to events through its program, By Invitation Only (BIO). I’ve participated in this program several times in the past year – with VIP treatment at the 141st Kentucky Derby in May and suite tickets at the US Open in September.
This time around, I took advantage of another of Amex’s BIO events and went to Mexico City for the premiere of the new James Bond movie, Spectre. A quick side note: Although the highlight of this trip was definitely the Amex Platinum Spectre Premiere, I was able to check a huge destination off my travel bucket list. That’s right, I have been to far away places like Mauritius and Rwanda, but I had never in all of my travels been to Mexico – and I loved it.
But, back to this night – the premiere. This particular event cost $500 per ticket to attend and, as with all BIO events, was exclusive to Platinum and Centurion Card Members. To find events like this, 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.
The Spectre Premiere event entailed a night of complete VIP treatment for both myself and a friend, Alex. The event started with a Card Member check-in Monday morning at the W Hotel in Mexico City – a great place to explore, and is definitely on my list of places to revisit. The schedule then included group transportation to the Plaza Carso in Mexico City for a Designing Bond exhibit, which highlighted the story of the design and style in the world of James Bond throughout the course of its 50-year history.
Once we got to the set of the design exhibit, we were greeted by Stephanie Sigman, who plays one of the Bond girls in the new Spectre movie. It was great to not only be able to see the design of each of the 24 sets and everything that went into them, but also to actually meet someone from the cast. The exhibit itself started in London in 2012 and has since been presented in Toronto, Shanghai, Melbourne, Moscow, Rotterdam and Madrid and has been seen by more than 450,000 people.
What was particularly great about our tour through the exhibit as part of the nearly 50-member BIO group was that the curator of the exhibit showed us around. The general public can buy a ticket to see the exhibit, but only BIO participants were able to tour the exhibit with the curator. It was a surreal experience to start off the day.
From there, we traveled back to the hotel to rest before the premiere and the rest of the night. Before heading to the premiere itself, everyone with the BIO event was invited to a cocktail party at the hotel. It was a nice touch before getting the night started.
We then traveled to the main event at the Auditorio Nacional, the red carpet and premiere of Spectre. When we got to the red carpet, I was starting to feel like I was actually in the movie, which was something I haven’t been able to experience before. We were walking down the same red carpet as Daniel Craig and other special guests in attendance, like Sam Smith. It was a truly thrilling experience. After we had finished walking down the carpet and taking our own pictures, there was a reserved space for BIO attendees on the carpet itself to watch as the stars came down the same walkway.
In the movie, Bond goes on a rogue mission to Mexico City for Day of the Dead, a traditional Mexican event right after Halloween where families and friends gather to pray for and remember loved ones. It features bright colors and masks, most notably sugar skulls and marigolds, all of which were featured on the premiere’s red carpet. The combination of the Day of the Dead theme on the carpet and as an opening scene to the movie really set the mood.
Today, it costs about $15 to see a movie in theaters. But with a program like By Invitation Only for American Express Platinum Card and Centurion Card Members, the experience of being able to meet some of the stars of the movie and sit in the same theater as Daniel Craig when watching the premiere made it worth the extra money.
As for the movie itself, it wasn’t my favorite. It was long, but being in Mexico City watching the opening scene of the film that was shot not far from the theater was a spectacular experience. The film also featured shots in London, Rome, Austria and Morocco, which, if anything, made me want to get up and travel some more because they were so beautiful. After the movie, we were invited to the Grey Goose After Party at the St. Regis, which was just the perfect end to a memorable night. And as for my next BIO adventure, tonight I’ll be sitting front row at Ellie Goulding’s American Express UNSTAGED concert in New York. 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.