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Enjoying Art Basel Miami as an American Express Card Member

Dec. 09, 2016
5 min read
Cocktails with CRASH (Private Forever)
Enjoying Art Basel Miami as an American Express Card Member
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Once a year, the art world descends upon Miami for Art Basel. And as a resident of Miami Beach, it can be frustrating with so many people crowding into the small(ish) city and spaces with all of the parties. But, it can actually be a lot of fun and I go every year. For someone going to Art Basel for the first time, my one tip would be to plan accordingly — some of the best parties are private so you need to get invited or pay to get in.

But luckily, if you're an Amex Platinum Card® Member, you can get special access to events, which comes in handy particularly for popular weekends like Art Basel. This year, Amex hosted an event for Card Members at the Faena Hotel in Miami featuring an exclusive performance by Kendrick Lamar. The Faena is this new million-dollar revived building, but it's more than just a hotel. It's also an art complex and is the home to several residences. It's one of the coolest new things in Miami Beach, so if you're in the area, be sure to check it out. I especially love its restaurants — Pao by Paul Qui and Los Fuegos by Francis Mallmann, which are both amazing.

Tickets to the event were available exclusively to Card Members for $65, but I was invited as a guest of Amex. The concert was held on the beach at the Faena inside of a pop-up dome — a really unique venue. Platinum and Centurion Card Members also had access to a VIP area by the ocean. Not only did it feature the Kendrick Lamar show, but it also highlighted an art installation by Shantell Martin, a British visual artist. And coincidentally enough, she's a TPG reader! It was interesting talking with her because since she's a British-based artist who travels around the world, she's super smart about her points.

Where art meets music- in a pop up dome on the beach, naturally @kendricklamar #amexplatinum

A photo posted by Brian Kelly (@thepointsguy) on

The entire event was amazing — both the concert and the art installation — and Kendrick Lamar is a great performer. He did about a 90-minute set in a really intimate setting and it was great. But besides having amazing access to an incredible artist, it was great to see how many people are into points and came up to introduce themselves. When I was getting ready to leave, I started talking to Kendrick's sound guy. Touring musicians have to be smart about their points so I thought it was kind of funny to talk with him and hear how he uses his points and miles from all the tour travel.

Post-concert, I was also invited to attend an exclusive afterparty at the Faena Penthouse, hosted by the American Express Platinum Collective. If you want to attend amazing events like this and you have the Platinum or the Business Platinum Card® from American Express, it's well worth checking out the By Invitation Only and Card Member exclusive events. On the Amex site, there's a listing of events that are going on around the world, and many of them are really intriguing. While you do have to pay for some of them, know that they're well-curated and well-run events and worth the cost.

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In addition to the American Express Music Meets Art event with Kendrick Lamar and Shantell Martin, I also attended an SPG Amex event at the W South Beach with graffiti artist Crash and Ali Shaheed Muhammad from A Tribe Called Quest. The event was poolside and Crash was right there so you could interact with him as much as you wanted. The event was for Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express Card Members, so it was great meeting even more readers at the #SPGamex event.

While Art Basel can be crowded and overwhelming, there are ways to get around it and to really be able to enjoy what it's all about. With American Express, I was able to see some of the coolest installations with great access — both the Kendrick Lamar and Crash events were really fun. At Art Basel, the art exhibitions are always amazing, but the parties can be just as fun — and Amex proved that with these great events.

Featured image by Owen Kolasinski/