I apologise to any readers who tried to meet up with us at the American Express Platinum pop-up lounge at The Hospital Club in Covent Garden last night.
The evening turned into a PR shambles for American Express, although anyone could have seen the flaw in their plan.
The lounge has capacity for 75 people. However, Amex decided to put on a lecture for 60 people at 6pm until closing time at 8pm.
I’m not sure which one it was, but the topics to be covered over the weekend were:
snow globe making
make your own home fragrance
“holiday tips related to shopping, clothing, and decorating”
With 60 people ticketed for the lecture, only 15 places in the lounge were left for the general public. On a Friday night. In a city with many thousands of Platinum and Centurion cardholders, all of whom had been emailed and invited along.
We arrived at 4.30pm. The last people to get in arrived at 4.20pm. After that, Amex stopped allowing anyone else in and started to clear the lounge, because everyone had to be gone by 6pm.
People arriving early for the 6pm lecture (some were there at 4.30pm with us) were told to queue until 6pm. They did tell us that, as we were at the front, we would get in as one of the 15 members of the public allowed in at 6pm. However, hanging around for 90 minutes did not really appeal.
What you can do, of course, is use the other facilities of The Hospital Club because you are already in the building – the staff don’t know you’re not a member. Anika and I went up to the 2nd floor bar, had a beer and went home.
If they are running similar lectures in the evenings on the other nights that the lounge is open (tonight, tomorrow and next Friday to Sunday) then there is no point – at all – in turning up.
When I asked the manager why they had done this, she told me (and I paraphrase, obviously) that they expected that the people who would come would not be the sort who have jobs. They were expecting everyone to visit during the day on Friday. No-one was expected to come on a Friday night, despite a two hour ‘canapes and cocktails’ happy hour being advertised.
If you do want to give it a try …..
The Amex pop-up lounge is at private members club The Hospital Club, on Endell Street near Covent Garden. The lounge will be open from Friday 24th November (yesterday was the opening day) to Sunday 26th November and from next Friday 1st December to Sunday 3rd December, from 11am to 8pm.
You will get access with a Platinum or Centurion charge card. Each cardholder can bring two guests, so presumably if your partner has a supplementary Platinum card then you’d be allowed four guests between you.
There is a special ‘cocktail and canapes’ happy hour between 5pm and 7pm each day.
Your chances of getting in at night seem slim. Assuming that only 15 members of the public will be allowed in each evening because the other 60 slots are reserved for lecture attendees, and one Platinum cardholder can bring in six people using their supplementary card as well, you can do the maths.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – September 2022 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
50,000 points bonus until 2nd October – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review
For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.