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When it comes to exclusive experiences, luxe benefits, VIP treatment, and everyday savings, premium credit cards are certainly all the rage. While I would certainly agree that credit cards like the American Express Platinum Card (my preferred premium card) are a must-have for any frequent traveler, there’s another option to consider–black card programs.

Though the first thing that often comes to mind is the massive fraud-fuel failure that was Magnises, black card programs have come a long way. One black card that stands out is the SELECT black card.

I was skeptical about SELECT at first but after months of using the black card for travel, dining, and entertainment, I’m sold on SELECT. What made it clear that SELECT was different from other members-only cards and programs was a recent experience during a Mother’s Day dinner in NYC. Here’s why that experience stood out.

a city with many tall buildings

View from My Hotel In Midtown Manhattan

Using SELECT Concierge

As part of my mom’s Mother’s Day gift, which also included a stay at the TWA Hotel, our first night in NYC was to include a nice dinner. We arrived in New York around 6:30 or so in the evening. After a long drive from New York-LaGuardia to Midtown Manhattan, we settled into the hotel room. By the time we had settled in, it was already 8:30 in the evening.

Tired from the journey from St. Louis to New York, my mom was close to settling on Shake Shack. I wasn’t going to let that happen At the same time, I wasn’t sure where to begin with New York City home to some of the world’s top restaurants. Then, it hit me. I decided to consult SELECT’s concierge team via the Meet SELECT app.

Now 8:45 in the evening, I was somewhat concerned I might not receive a response from the SELECT team in a timely fashion. In a matter of minutes, a member of the SELECT concierge team had responded to my inquiry. One of the restaurants recommended by the SELECT concierge was Blackbarn, just a few minutes away from our hotel. Serving fare that can best be described as a modern take on homestyle American classics, I decided that Blackbarn would be the ideal spot for my mom and me.

SELECT’s concierge team managed to provide a list of recommendations and reserve a table for two in the heat of New York City in a matter of 15 minutes. Within just 20 minutes, we had arrived at the restaurant.

a white and silver smartphones

The Meet SELECT App (Image via SELECT)

Mother’s Day Dinner at Blackbarn in NYC

Blackbarn is an upscale modern restaurant located in Nomad in Midtown Manhattan. The restaurant is the epitome of New York City hipster dining. Blackbarn sources its ingredients from local sources and offers unique takes on classic plates.

Last Minute Reservations

As previously mentioned, SELECT managed to snag my mother and me a table at Blackbarn in a matter of minutes. New York City is hit-or-miss when it comes to securing a last-minute dinner reservation so I was surprised at just how quickly we managed to get a table.

When we arrived at the restaurant, I provided my name and mentioned that I am dining through the SELECT black card program. The host knew exactly what I meant when I mentioned SELECT and quickly lead us to our table.

Free Champagne

Dinner started with free bubbles compliments of SELECT. My mom and I both love champagne so a free round was a welcomed benefit. Additionally, the restaurant did not skimp on the free round. Both glasses were heavy pours and closer to two glasses rather than a single round.

a group of wine glasses on a table

Free Appetizers, Side Plates

The perks didn’t stop at free champagne, we also received two free side dishes. Having familiarized myself with the benefits of SELECT at Blackbarn, I was aware of the free sides benefit but wasn’t expecting much.

To my surprise, Blackbarn doesn’t just fill your glass but also serves some rather large side dishes. I selected the truffle gnocchi which was absolutely insane. The plate was so rich I don’t think I managed to get halfway through the side dish before I had to call it quits. My mom is a huge fan of brussel sprouts and decided to order Blackbarn’s take on brussel sprouts. The roasted brussel sprouts were also tasty though, not nearly as rich as the gnocchi.

Again both side plates (which honestly, were enough for a meal) were free of charge thanks to SELECT.

a table with plates of food and glasses of wine

15% Off Our Bill

The grand finale and probably the benefit I appreciated the most was 15% off our final bill. I ended up ordering the lamb chops while my mom ordered the slow-cooked Amish chicken. Lamb is quite pricey, to begin with, and my mom’s slow-cooked chicken wasn’t cheap either. Since we were celebrating Mother’s Day and the grand opening of the TWA Hotel the following day, I splurged and ordered a bottle of champagne. In short, though tasty, dinner was not cheap.

The grand total for the dinner was around $213. Yeah, I know, that’s not a figure for the faint of heart. However, thanks to the SELECT black card, we ended up saving roughly $30. That brought the total down to $183. $183, while still pricey is much easier to stomach than spending over $100 a plate.

Other SELECT Benefits

In addition to offering members amazing benefits and discounts at top restaurants, SELECT comes with numerous other benefits. Take a look at my full post on the SELECT Black Card or visit SELECT’s official website for all benefits. Here are just a few of my favorite benefits.

  • 3 Month Free Trial of CLEAR Expedited Airport (and Stadium) Security
  • $200 Onboard Credit With Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises
  • 20% Of Audi Car Rentals with Silvercar
  • Exclusive Discounts at Retailers Including Cole Haan, Tumi, and Bose
  • Up to 70% Off Hotels
  • VIP Benefits and Discounts at Top Restaurants and Entertainment Venues

Learn more about the SELECT Black Card

Overall – Using SELECT For A Night Out

I have SELECT to thank for a perfect night out for Mother’s Day at an amazing restaurant. If it wasn’t for SELECT’s concierge team recommending Blackbarn, we probably would have settled for Shake Shack. Additionally, I don’t think we would have opted for anything more than our two entrees and the bottle of champagne. That would have meant missing out on two amazing side dishes and a free round of champagne.

What ultimately made the experience for me (being the one paying the tab) was the 15% off the final bill thanks to SELECT. That $30 meant more money to spend on other things during our trip to New York. Ultimately, my experience using my SELECT black card for a night on the town in NYC made it clear that SELECT reigns supreme over other VIP and black card programs.

For readers interested in SELECT, TravelUpdate readers can save $100 of the annual membership fee when they apply via this link or any other link in this post. Take it from me, someone who’s been a member of the SELECT program for almost a year, you’ll easily earn back the annual fee in savings.

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