7 VIP experiences you didn’t know your Mastercard could unlock
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
We talk a lot here at TPG about credit card benefits. From lounge access to Uber and Lyft credit to Saks Fifth Avenue credit and even a monthly piece of cheesecake, we're all about maximizing the value you get from your wallet. While some benefits are well documented in articles, one of my favorite credit card perks actually doesn't get enough love: Mastercard Priceless Cities.
Mastercard Priceless Cities is a wonderful under-the-radar program that offers unique programs, deals and gifts all over the globe. I especially like Priceless because it isn't bank-specific or card-specific; any Mastercard will do, even one with no annual fee or a debit card.
For example, any of these Mastercards unlock the benefits of the Mastercard Priceless Cities program: IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card, Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® , Citi® Double Cash Card or the Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card.
I've used Mastercard Priceless Cities numerous times and want to share some of my favorite offerings with you.
Related: Best Mastercard credit cards of 2019
Dine with an art historian in Rome
This experience, which I just purchased, is the inspiration for my post: a private dinner at an art historian's home in the Eternal City. For just $73/person, we get an invitation to Massimiliano del Moro's apartment, where we will dine on a meal based on traditional Roman recipes while he relates the stories behind the dishes.
Here are other suggestions for savvy traveling when in Rome.
You book tours and experiences directly at the Mastercard Priceless Cities website.
Make doughnuts with the Doughnut King in New York
If you've got a tween in the family, book this experience for your next trip to the Big Apple: a private meet-and-greet with celebrated young-adult author Jessie Janowitz. If you're not familiar, Janowitz is the award-winning author of "The Doughnut Fix" and "The Doughnut King." That's pretty cool, but Mastercard Priceless Cities takes it up a notch.
Not only do you get to hang out with the author, but you also get to make doughnuts during a private lesson at Dough, then take home your custom-stuffed doughnut holes. At $150/person, this could be the perfect gift for the young bookworm in your life.
Privately shop till you drop in Toronto
Here's a fun experience that doesn't cost a dime: an after-hours shopping date at the trendy Toronto boutique Crywolf. You may dream of being a kid in a candy shop, but I'd rather be a kid in a funky boutique. Crywolf's selection of quirky T-shirts and fashion accessories will appeal to teens and college kids. You'll get a 10–20% discount on anything you purchase.
Looking for something more upscale? Check out the complimentary private shopping session at Toronto style spot Georges Rech. All you need for both of these shopping experiences is a reservation. There is no fee.
Learn about London by drinking gin
Walking tours are all well and good, but how about The Great London Gin Walk through the streets of London? This $45 tour (for Mastercard cardholders) is a bargain considering the two-hour tour features specialists who discuss the origins of gin and the opportunity to sample at three beverage stops along the way.
See the great Monarch butterfly migration with a biologist
Seeing the Monarch butterfly migration has been on my wish list since watching an IMAX movie about it years ago. Every year, millions of Monarch butterflies gather at a specific spot in Mexico, and then head for points north in a mass exodus. This tour gets you deep into the Piedra Herrada Sanctuary in Valle de Bravo, Mexico, with a biologist as your guide. Not only is this a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but you'll also enjoy a picnic prepared by a top Mexican chef. The Monarch butterfly experience is $204/person. The exclusive access is the Mastercard Priceless Cities advantage.
Be Improv inspiration in Boston
For an entertaining date night or celebration, check out the Improv Asylum experience in Boston. You'll dine with two cast members, go backstage for drinks and a meet-and-greet, and then get front-row seats to the show. Not only will you get to watch the show, but they'll also create and perform a sketch about you and make sure you get a copy to share. The cost of $150 for dinner and a show in downtown Boston is a decent deal on its face, but a night out with the cast and a memento you'll enjoy forever is a no-brainer, if you're a comedy fan.
Drive a Formula One car in Singapore
Have a need for speed? How does driving a Ferrari F430 F1 Spider or a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder during a Formula One experience sound? For just under $200/person, you can race along the Singapore F1 circuit for 30 minutes, then celebrate with a glass of Champagne. You might not get the checkered flag, but you can celebrate like a winner. I love this idea for a milestone birthday.
Our credit cards not only give us rewards, they also open doors that otherwise remain locked to most of us. Mastercard Priceless Cities is an easy way to get VIP treatment, and all you have to do is hold a Mastercard.