We all know Premier League football is big business. We’re very used to hearing obscene figures in relation to transfers and contracts – for example the record breaking £89m Manchester United paid to sign Paul Pogba in 2016. Sadly this in turn is often reflected in the growing cost of tickets, merchandise, etc. which is passed on to supporters.
For most people, myself included, that makes the top tier hospitality tickets for Premier League games seem completely out of reach. I’ll be very honest and say that, as much as I love football, as a dad of 4, I couldn’t justify spending £200+ to watch a Premier League game.
Yet, in October I was able to treat my own dad to a live Premier League game from the posh seats! We were served free beer and food all night, and I even managed to get a night at a Hilton (in an upgraded room) on points. Here’s how I did it with my Amex card, plus a look at a second option for using points for VIP Premier League tickets at Arsenal via the Emirates Skywards scheme.
The Amex Lounge – Brighton & Hove Albion FC
As you might be aware the American Express UK HQ is located in Brighton, and they are the primary sponsor for Brighton & Hove Albion FC. Brighton carry the Amex name for both their shirts and their stadium. Like many team’s sponsors, Amex also have a corporate suite at Brighton’s Amex Stadium – and luckily, like many other sponsors, they use the suite to entertain their clients – in this case Platinum cardmembers.
I’ve covered the Platinum Card previously (here), this is a fee paying card – however, if you did get these tickets, the value of this perk alone would not be far short of the £450 annual fee. This is before you even factor in the points bonus, and stacks of travel benefits – if you access those benefits too then this card could pay for itself multiple times over.
When I initially saw in July (via the monthly Platinum ‘Vista’ email) that Amex were allocating lounge tickets for all of the Brighton & Hove Albion home games this season, I called and added my name to the list immediately. About two weeks later I was allocated tickets for a Friday night fixture vs West Ham in October. Ticket allocations for over subscribed events work on a waitlist basis and it seems there is likely some priority system for these. When I called they hinted that things like how long you’d been a cardmember, whether you’d accessed events before and how much you spend are the card would be factored in. That said, since I first secured tickets, I have been called at short notice and offered other fixtures too (so if you do have Amex Platinum it might still be worth calling Platinum concierge to enquire, even if there are currently no games available).
What’s the Amex Lounge like?
Brighton’s Amex Stadium is a nice modern stadium, just outside of Brighton itself. The Amex Lounge is located on the South East corner of the stadium and consists of a lounge area with tables, and reserved balcony seating to watch the game. There is a bar at one end, drinks (with the exception of spirits) were free, and unsurprisingly this made service speedy, even during half time!
Amex lounge tickets include: a free programme on arrival, a three course ‘bowl food’ menu with table service, complimentary drinks from the bar and cheese and biscuits at full time. Guests can use the lounge for about an hour and a half pre-game and then an hour or so post-game. The lounge has full length windows looking out across the pitch – although these are covered at kick off due to restrictions relating to drinking alcohol whilst watching the match.
The lounge is a nice space, and the seating gives a great view of the action. Unfortunately on this visit, the game didn’t quite live up to lounge – eventually ending in a tight 1-0 home win.
The bowl food menu was nice, with a few different options available. There were no restrictions on how much food or drink people had. Service was also good – we were well looked after.
For a complimentary event, this was a good night out. Well worth the 3 hour drive we made to attend!
Reward Stay at the Brighton Hilton Metropole
In addition to my free tickets, I booked a reward stay at Brighton Hilton Metropole for 35,000 Hilton Honors points. My Hilton Gold Status (covered here) got me an upgrade to a sea view room, plus free breakfast.
The Hilton Honors points were acquired from other recent stays, plus some collected for every day spending on the Hilton Barclaycard (no longer accepting applications).
This hotel can be summarised as having good service, nice breakfast and restaurant/foyer area – but very, very tired rooms! Our upgraded room had a nice sea view, but it was desperately in need of refurbishment.
Getting Premier League Tickets through Emirates Skywards
There is a actually a second way to get Premier League tickets – potentially even easier than the above if you’re not an Amex Platinum cardmember.
Similarly to Amex, as club sponsors for Arsenal, Emirates offer some ticket packages through Emirates Skywards. These are able to be purchased with points, either earned through flying with Emirates – or more simply by transferring at 1:1 from Amex. As mentioned previously the best way of achieving this is likely via the Amex Preferred Rewards Gold card – free in year one, with a 20,000 points bonus for a £2,000 spend in 3 months. See my post here.
Currently 10,000 points will get you a standard ticket, whilst 20,000 points will get you hospitality in an Emirates SkyBox including food and drink. At the time of writing, upcoming games vs Cardiff, Southampton (Premier League) and, more interestingly, a derby game vs Tottenham (Caraboa Cup) all appear to be showing availability. I have previously seen some games at 5,000 points standard, and 10,000 points hospitality – which would be a very good deal. So worth keeping an eye on. See Emirates Skyward Arsenal page here for more info, or to book. Note that to set up an Emirates Skywards account and transfer points from Amex might take several days, therefore there is always a risk that tickets sell out in the meantime. That said with multiple games available your chances of still getting tickets in a few days’ time look good.
Amex Gold or Platinum
If you’re interested in applying for an American Express Gold or Platinum card, use our referral link for additional bonus points.