By Coleman Bentley
Everyone has heard of Visa, of course; it’s the way America pays for everything from the private jet, to the villa, to the room service and, finally, to the tip.
For ultra-affluent clientele, however, Visa’s less ubiquitous Signature program does more than just take from bank accounts, giving back to card holders in the form of unparalleled service, well-conceived perks and access to some of the most exclusive events on earth.
I learned as much last Thursday as I stood in Cirque du Soleil’s VIP lounge drinking comp’d champagne and enjoying caviar-accented appetizers just a few feet from Vincent Piazza, who, for three seasons, has played the infamous “Lucky” Luciano on HBO’s emmy-winning drama, Boardwalk Empire. It was the opening night of the world-renowned Totem’s New York City engagement and, despite the biting wind, Visa had quite literally rolled out the red carpet for its signature customers, granting these parties exclusive access to one of the greatest performance spectacles available. Lucky for me, “access” meant front-row center seats, unquestionably the best in the house.
Of course, Visa Signature’s program extends far beyond Cirque du Soleil’s signature blue and yellow tents, offering a variety of services and partnerships that guarantee members will never be without help, luxury or an unforgettable plan for the evening, no matter the destination. It all begins with the Visa Signature Concierge—a live, 24-hour-a-day team of personal assistants available to help account holders with their every question and request, without charge or international boundary—and continues with the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection, which boasts 950 of the world’s most fascinating and luxurious properties, ensuring there will always be 600 thread count pillowcases for members to lay their head upon at night.
Complementing these cornerstones, Visa Signature also offers a variety of tarnished-vacation safeguards—such as lost luggage reimbursement and a roadside dispatch service—so that whether you are on your way to a fine wine tasting, the Winter Olympics or, say, Cirque du Soleil (just some of the events that Visa Signature offers VIP access to), it is sure to go off without a hitch.