Attending an American Express By Invitation Only Event with Vogue Creative Director Grace Coddington
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In the past couple of weeks, The Platinum Card from American Express has become one of my favorites in my wallet. Since the card switched from 1x to 5x Membership Rewards points on airfare earlier this month, I upgraded my Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card to a personal Platinum Card and have been putting all of my air travel on the card — and earning tons of points in return. Besides the new point-earning bonus, one of the things I love most about being an Amex Platinum cardholder is the number of perks that come along with it — and more specifically, Amex By Invitation Only events.
The Amex BIO event program is exclusive to Amex Platinum and Centurion cardholders and allows you to attend events at a reduced price or to events that are already sold out — music, art, dining and sporting events. I've been to some incredible BIO events in the past like the James Bond premiere in Mexico City and the Kentucky Derby. So when I saw there was a BIO event with fashion icon Grace Coddington, I had to attend.
Amex BIO events aren't free — and they can get pretty pricey — but they do give you some incomparable access to icons like Coddington, which are hard to turn down, especially for me as someone who's interested in the world of fashion. The Grace Coddington event was held in New York City and had a very intimate feel to it — there were only about 50 people in attendance — and I had the honor to go as an Amex Platinum ambassador. It cost $250 for each cardholder but included a copy of Coddington's book, "Grace: The American Vogue Years," which retails for about $131 — more than half the price of the event itself.
The event featured a 45-minute discussion with Coddington and Barney's Creative Director Dennis Freedman. The two discussed all of the highlights of Coddington's career, like starting at Vogue as the creative director on the same day as Anna Wintour. They then went through some of the most well-known photographs at Vogue from her time, which was beyond fascinating to hear the beyond-the-scenes stories from all of the iconic photos we've seen in print. (FYI: Annie Leibovitz is not easy to work with, but her work is absolutely incredible.)
There were little bites and cocktails throughout the night, and after the talk ended, we were able to line up and meet Coddington one-on-one. She was extremely generous with her time with me, so I told her who I was and what I do. Of course, I had to ask her what her secret to frequent travel is, and without missing a beat, she said, "First class." We then talked about transatlantic travel — she's not a huge fan of Virgin Atlantic and finds the seats kind of cramped, and so do I. So, we see eye-to-eye there.
She's also a big fan of Air France's La Première product, so when I asked if she'd yet tried the new 777, she said yes. In fact, she didn't pay for first class but was somehow upgraded. I wonder if a fangirl was working the counter and saw the iconic red hair and upgraded her — I mean, I would probably do the same if I were working at Air France.
In all, the event was an great opportunity to meet one of the iconic figures in the fashion world, especially in such an intimate setting. Being able to chat about two of my favorite topics — travel and fashion — in one night was definitely a night to remember, and it was all thanks to Amex's BIO program. Grace Coddington is super gracious, and her book is incredible — I highly recommend getting it and checking out future Amex BIO events for more extraordinary experiences. To see upcoming BIO events, log in to your Platinum account and select the BIO option on the benefits tab.