American Express brought its Platinum House experience to the 1 Hotel South Beach at Art Basel in Miami Dec. 6-8, offering benefits and experiences exclusively for Platinum Card holders—from free Equinox fitness classes to a live art installation to a special performance on a private beach by Pharrell Williams. But this year’s design and programming also addressed consumer pain points the brand discovered through conversations with customers the year prior. The result was a women-focused networking space within the hotel as well as food trucks serving late-night bites within the city’s art districts.
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The Platinum House networking space, located in a poolside, pop-up lounge the brand dubbed “Little Cabana,” was born out of a need for networking amidst the art and revelry of the week. “It’s something that we were seeing happening in our Platinum Houses, particularly the ones that were open during the day,” says Amy Marino, vp-global brand marketing, experience and partnerships at American Express. “Between all of the art fairs and soirees, a lot of our cardmembers were hanging out in the lobbies of some of the major hotels on South Beach, either taking coffee meetings or networking.”
The insight inspired the brand to create a designated networking space, led by Audrey Gelman, co-founder of The Wing, a women-focused co-working space and collective. There, attendees could take meetings, make phone calls or work on a laptop, as well as participate in programming. For instance, writer and curator Kimberly Drew hosted a discussion on Dec. 7 about women’s influence in the Miami art scene that was open to members of The Wing as well as cardmembers.
Beyond the Platinum House footprint, American Express addressed another pain point by bringing food trucks by Global Dining Collection chef Jose Andres to serve late-night bites until 2 a.m. that were free for Platinum Card members plus two guests. “Often when you’re leaving an evening event, you want somewhere to grab late-night food. But that’s not really part of the scene in Miami in the way that it is in New York or L.A.,” says Marino. “We brought food trucks to the Wynwood and Design districts, available to those exploring those artistic hot spots everybody is hanging out in at night.” And through offering free food truck fare to cardmembers in addition to guests, the brand was able to connect with potential customers throughout the city.
American Express developed the program at Art Basel with members of its influencer network, Platinum Collective. Gelman, who led the networking space, is a member. “Typically, elevated experiences at places like Art Basel or Coachella or London Fashion Week are reserved for celebrities or industry insiders,” says Marino. “But for our cardmembers, they can get in just by flashing their Platinum Card at the door. We’re able to give them that access to the experiences that they want in the places that we know they are.”
Additional touchpoints included complimentary morning fitness classes by Equinox featuring master trainers; a live drawing performance and installation by Sougwen Chung, presented by art curator and Platinum Collective Member Julia Kaganskiy; complimentary food and beverage, including specialty cocktails from Centurion Lounge mixologist Jim Meehan and also bites by Global Dining Collection partner restaurant Planta; and exclusive retail items from sustainable fashion label Together California’s David Bowie “Stardust” Collection.
Two flagship events took place at the space as well. On Dec. 8 cardmembers received a special performance on the beach by Pharrell Williams, the creative director of American Express Platinum, which benefitted the organization Young Audiences Arts for Learning. And the night prior, Platinum Collective member chef Michael Solomonov of Zahav hosted a private, Israeli-themed dinner on the beach for cardmembers and guests. Agency: Momentum, New York City.
Step Inside the American Express Platinum House at Art Basel:
Photos courtesy: Bryan Bedder and Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for American Express