A new social phenomenon is rising on the Lower East Side and more and more people want to be a part of it – Magnises, a kind of social club for the aspiring entrepreneurial class. Of course, there is a catch. Not just ‘anyone’ can join. Using the infamous black American Express Card as an inspiration and model, Magnises transfers the same approach to attract aspirational 20-somethings who want the cachet of the real thing, but can’t afford it.
The original idea behind Magnises is to provide millennials with a more accessible (but still costly) version of the invite-only American Express Centurion card—or the “black card”—that carries a five-thousand-dollar initiation fee, twenty-five hundred dollars in annual dues, and a reported quarter-million-dollar annual spending limit. And in a way it is working as the alternative has become “the hot new way to spend money among NYC’s young elite”.
Technically, it is not so much a credit card, but rather a payment method since is simply takes the credit or debit card the member already uses and activates it to the metal Magnises card through the data on the magnetic strip. At the time of its launch the service was only intended for and aimed at New Yorkers, trying to make the most of life in the city. However, the start-up does plan to venture into other cities in the near future.
With an annual fee of $250, the card achieves its goal of being more attainable for 21-to-29 yearolds. The perks of the card are constantly increasing with Magnises currently having 50 memberships with the end goal of enhancing the members’ social life in general. There is a wide variety of services to choose from – from private trainers in big gyms like David Barton to exclusive treatment in restaurants like La Esquina, Arlington Club, Omar’s, bars and nightclubs.
The clubhouse on Greenwich Avenue in the West Village serves as a home base for members, and provides a secluded and convenient place for discussions, casual conversations and meetings.