American Express has launched a new pop-up lounge at Raffles City called Platinum Avenue. This is open from now till 14 February 2023, and exclusively for Platinum Charge and Centurion cardholders.
Prepare yourself for a delightful suite of bespoke experiences at Platinum Avenue, an exclusive pop-up space for Platinum Card® Members. Look forward to light refreshments, exhilarating games and prizes, alluring floral bouquets and memories to take home.
To top it off, join us in an exciting array of specially curated workshops every month. From wine-tasting to workshop sessions and more, journey into the new year on an exceptional note with Platinum.
I went down today of my own accord to check out the venue.
Platinum Avenue by American Express
Platinum Avenue is located at Raffles City Shopping Centre, #03-18 (next to the food court, which I’m sure some wiseguy will claim is an apt metaphor for the perceived commoditisation of the card).
Access is available to both principal AMEX Platinum Charge and Centurion cardholders, with opening hours from 11 a.m to 9 p.m daily.
Platinum Avenue is a cosy little space, with capacity for 18 people. Seating is mostly hard shell chairs and low coffee tables, probably a deliberate choice to stop people from turning it into a coworking space a la Nook.
Spend & Redeem
Principal cardholders who spend a minimum of S$250 across a maximum of three same-day receipts will receive 10 credits (referred to as an “activity card”) to use at Platinum Avenue.
Redemptions are limited to:
- Monday to Thursday: 2 per day per principal cardholder
- Friday to Sunday: 1 per day, per principal cardholder
All credits must be used on the day of redemption. Here’s a summary of the options available.
|Moet & Chandon Champagne (200ml)||4|
|Mosanco Bottled Cold Brew||2|
|Berry Nutty Medley||2|
|1x Pinball Token||2|
|Evian, Soft Drinks, Nespresso Coffee, T2 Teas||Free|
For the avoidance of doubt, redeeming Platinum Avenue credits has no impact on your eligibility for complimentary gift wrapping or claw machine tries at the Platinum Christmas booth on level 2. If you have two receipts of S$120 and S$130, for example, you can redeem four tokens for the Christmas booth, and 10 credits for Platinum Avenue.
If you’re scratching your head about everyday items you can buy at Raffles City with your AMEX card, some ideas include Cold Storage, Guardian, Nespresso, and Starbucks gift cards (more options here). You can visit dining establishments as well, they also count towards minimum spend.
Unwind is a small bar area with complimentary Nespresso coffee, T2 teas, Evian water and soft drinks (Coca Cola, Sprite, Ginger Ale, Soda Water). Cold brew and champagne require tokens to redeem. Free drinks must be consumed in the lounge, while redemption items can be brought home.
Tables at Unwind require a reservation, which must be done at least two working days in advance via the Amex Experiences App. Each cardholder may bring one guest and up to two children aged 12 and below.
Having seen the venue myself, I think it’s very strange that you need reservations. This isn’t exactly a sit down fancy restaurant, it’s a sip-and-go kind of place. I doubt it’ll become Singapore’s hottest table anytime soon.
Cardmembers can redeem two credits for one game token, to be used at the pinball machines in the Play area (all other games are free to play).
Players of the Star Wars or Led Zeppelin pinball machines will be eligible to win prizes if they’re at the top of the leaderboard. The following prizes have been announced so far, with more to come later.
- Week of 20 to 25 December 2022
- 1st Place: One Apple Airpods Pro 2nd Generation
- 2nd Place: 30,000 Membership Rewards Points
- 3rd Place: 20,000 Membership Rewards Points
- Grand Prize: 20 December 2022 to 8 January 2023
- One Apple iPad 9th Generation
American Express will add a photo booth from 21 December 2022, which together with a floral arrangement cart will form the Create section.
Cardholders can redeem a self-created floral selection from Tuesdays to Fridays, 4 p.m to 8 p.m by using two credits for one bouquet.
Platinum Avenue will also be used as an events venue, with two wine tastings already announced. Both require 5,000 Membership Rewards points to redeem.
|🍷 Journey to Italy with Enzo Bartoli|
Journey on an oenological adventure to the vineyards in Piemonte, Italy and discover the
Exclusively for The Platinum Card Members attending the event, enjoy 10% savings on Enzo Bartoli wine pre-orders after the event.
|🍷 A Wine Voyage with Penfolds|
Grounded in experimentation, curiosity and uncompromising quality, deep dive with Penfolds on an exhilarating wine tasting voyage through a flight of 6 wines hosted by Joshua Yim, Ambassador of Penfolds, and discover the soul behind one of Australia’s oldest and most iconic wineries:
Light canapes will be served during the event. Exclusively for The Platinum Card Members attending the event, enjoy up to 15% savings on Penfolds wine pre-orders after the event.
This Platinum af’FAIR’s replacement?
Platinum Avenue seems to be a nice enough place. I suppose if you’re shopping at Raffles City and wanted a place to rest your feet with a free coffee or Evian, this would do the trick. But as for the spend-and-redeem aspect, the AMEX Platinum Charge was never my go-to general spending option, and I see very little here to change that.
What I’m much more concerned is that American Express believes this is an acceptable substitute for Platinum af’FAIR. For the uninitiated, Platinum af’FAIR is American Express’ annual blowout event for Platinum Charge cardholders, with complimentary food, wines, entertainment, activities and other freebies.
The last in-person Platinum af’FAIR came in 2019, and I still consider it to be one of the best parties I’ve ever attended (which either speaks much about the event or little about me).
For understandable reasons, an in-person Platinum af’FAIR was not possible in 2020 and 2021. But to American Express’ credit, they still made sure that cardmembers were recognised by organising virtual and hybrid events.
With Singapore basically reverting to pre-COVID life in 2022, it seemed all but certain that a physical Platinum af’FAIR would return as well. Cardholders waited patiently for the invitation to go out, but months fell off the calendar with no news. When I emailed American Express in November about Platinum af’FAIR 2022, I was told that they’d be “trying something different this year with some activities over the festive season”.
If Platinum Avenue is it, I can’t help but feel like they’ve badly misread the market. Platinum af’FAIR was the highlight of the year for many cardholders, and unless American Express intends to hold two events in 2023, I suspect this could have a detrimental effect on retention.
You might say I’m making too much of it, but I don’t think you can underestimate the halo effect that Platinum af’FAIR has. Speaking from personal experience, it’s not uncommon that one person is a firm proponent of the AMEX Platinum Charge, and his/her partner is more of a skeptic who thinks shelling out S$1,712 (and S$1,728 from 2023) for a credit card is the height of frivolity.
Events like Platinum af’FAIR go a long way towards tipping the balance towards renewing, and why wouldn’t it? A blowout evening with good food, fine wines, great entertainment and plenty of activities is going to put a smile on anyone’s face. While you obviously won’t eat and drink four-digits’ worth, it’s one of those intangible things that’s hard to place an exact value on, yet creates a sense of goodwill towards the brand.
Moreover, it’s a great marketing tool. In previous years, Platinum Charge members could bring one guest to Platinum af’FAIR for free, and another two for a nominal fee. Guests (who would presumably be of the same socio-economic status as the cardholder) get a first hand taste of the good life, and some of them might sign up as cardholders themselves.
All in all, it’s very sad that 2022 will be the year without a Platinum af’FAIR.
American Express has launched a new pop-up at Raffles City called Platinum Avenue, which runs until 14 February 2023. Platinum Charge and Centurion cardholders receive complimentary refreshments, with premium beverages, arcade tokens and floral arrangements available to those who spend S$250 or more in a maximum of three receipts.
I find nothing wrong with the concept per se, but at the end of the day it’s a glorified spend-and-redeem booth, and hardly a replacement for Platinum af’FAIR. I won’t be surprised if many cardholders have that at the back of their mind when evaluating whether to renew; I certainly will.
Visitors to Platinum Avenue- verdict?