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Citi’s Private Pass program — a somewhat underutilized perk available to all Citi credit card or Citibank debit card holders — grants Citi customers access to advance ticket sales and VIP packages that can include lounges, backstage passes or meet-and-greets at concerts, sports events or dining experiences.

On Friday night, Citi offered a VIP package at Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s On The Run II tour stop in New Jersey. The event is an example of a hospitality perk cardholders are granted when they purchase tickets through Private Pass — it included access to a lounge in MetLife Stadium along with close-up floor seats to the show.

As guests of Citi, my boyfriend and I were able to join the festivities (and unleash my inner fangirl.) It was the tour’s third stop on the US leg of OTR II, having just wrapped up the Europe leg earlier this summer.

The lounge opened at 5:00pm, about two and a half hours before the show’s opener (DJ Khaled and a medley of other rappers) hit the stage. We arrived at the venue at about 6:00pm, where we found the special check-in tent for the Citi guests. Except for the price of admission, which was covered by Citi, we had the same experience as any other Citi cardholder who booked through the Private Pass platform would have had.

Check-in was a breeze compared to the snaking lines at every other gate leading into the stadium. I showed my ID, and we got our tickets and wristbands for the lounge and the floor seats. The staff was very friendly, and the check-in table featured some decor accents that touched on On the Run II’s American desert theme.

After we checked in, a Citi concierge walked us through security. As part of the VIP package, we were able to bypass a few of the other concertgoers waiting to file through the metal detector.

Walking right through security was a convenient touch and added to the VIP feel of the night. On the other side of the metal detector, our Citi concierge passed us off to one of the stadium’s premium guest services representatives, who walked us into the venue and showed us to the lounge.

It took us about five minutes to get from check-in to the lounge, whose entrance was draped with an On the Run II poster featuring Bey and Jay themselves on a motorcycle.

Walking into the lounge, there were two buffet tables of food to munch on before the show. It was almost dinnertime, so we helped ourselves to some of the spread, which included a variety of chips, salsa, guacamole, salad, beef skewers and a make-your-own slider bar. Options included crab cake sliders, regular mini-burger sliders — and my favorite, buffalo chicken sliders, as well as a variety of toppings.   

The food was tasty enough, but it wasn’t really anything to write home about. It was definitely a notch above standard stadium fare, and it was great to have something to eat before descending into the August heat for the show.

There was also a full bar available, so I was able to get a cool glass of Chardonnay to go with my food.

On the whole, the lounge carried through OTR II’s luxe American desert theme and was decorated with trendy accents like succulent plants and copper and gold votives. Although we arrived on the earlier side compared to other guests, the area never felt crowded, and we were able to relax (in the air conditioning — the stadium is not enclosed) before the show.

One of my personal favorite touches in the lounge was a photo op with the chance to pose on a motorcycle like Bey and Jay on the tour’s promotional art. There was a photo booth company that took professional pictures and turned them into a gif if you were so inclined.

About an hour before the show started, dessert was served: a variety of doughnuts, churros, strawberries and chocolate sauce.

We opted for a plate of churros loaded with toppings.

Not too long after that, it was time to go downstairs and find our seats for the concert to soak up a little face time with Jay-Z and Queen Bey. There was a little initial confusion with our seats — an usher told us the wrong section at first, and when the show began we were farther back than we should have been. One recommendation I have for Citi would be carrying the concierge escorts through seating for the show — although it might not have been possible to coordinate with the stadium.

Overall Impression

The VIP concert package was a great experience for me. If you’re already going to spring for concert tickets that are on the pricier side, pouncing on the lounge and easy check-in Citi offers as a perk with purchase through Private Pass would be well worth it. Personally, I’m an antsy concert goer who obsesses about the logistics of a show leading up to it — especially how to carve out time for dinner and drinks beforehand. I also prefer to beat traffic, arrive at the venue early and make sure all of my ducks are in a row.

So, having a cool (both aesthetically and temperature-wise) place to hang out and grab a drink and snacks before the show is ideal for me and something I will seek out in the future.

Featured image by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images For Parkwood Entertainment.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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