Invite only clubs are a one way street. You can’t wink, smile or nod your way in, and you can’t even really ask your way in. But once you’re in- oh my goodness. Travel is like nothing, we mere travel mortals can even imagine. For the uber important customers of the travel world, there’s no gesture too grand and no convenience left unturned. Here’s an “off the record” glimpse into the world’s craziest loyalty programs.

Emirates “iO” Program…

Getting loyalty cards in the mail is always exciting, but having a senior executive personally drive to your house to present you with a card is just…wow. Sure enough, Emirates sends a senior sales manager- armed with metal “Invitation Only” frequent flyer card, Mont Blanc wallet, Gold cards for anyone you wish and a series of phone numbers. These numbers are not for everyone- in fact, they’re JUST for you. Greeted by name, every time you call. In addition, the airline guarantees you availability in business class on any flight, even if it’s sold out, as well as a fully private lounge in Dubai, just for “iO” members. The cherry on top? They’ll send round trip chauffeur service for you, even if you’re flying economy. You’re that important…

Ritz Carlton Invitation Only…

When it comes to winning customers, there’s only so much that nice lobbies and efficient rooms can do. It’s the little, personal things that make those who frequent hotels – feel as if they’re at home. Or perhaps, even better. Above their Platinum level, Ritz Carlton has a small group of Invitation Only members. Upgrades are a given, welcome drinks go far beyond wine you’d regift, and your personal concierge is nice but what else can be done? The company has empowered employees with discretion to spend as they see fit- to “wow” people. For example, we know a frequent Ritz guest left his briefcase at the hotel. An employee immediately grabbed a cab to the airport to follow the man and deliver the briefcase, but they were unable to catch them before their flight. Solution? The Ritz Carlton hotel employee hopped on the next flight to personally deliver the briefcase, thousands of miles away…

British Airways Premier…

Just being an A-lister gets you nowhere when it comes to British Airways Premier status. And if you have to ask, you’re definitely not getting it. Above Gold and Gold Guest List sits the secretive “Premier” status- reserved for the biggest spenders. The status is renewed annually, making it a privilege and not a “right”. The airlines lips are sealed, but we know that British Airways will delay a flight up to 30 minutes just to accommodate a Premier, a nice perk for those tight connections. Speaking of which, a dedicated team of “Special Services” personnel from British Airways are always on hand to meet and assist passengers at every step of the journey, including Jaguar limo transfers to bypass the terminal. Of course you get private phone numbers and invitations to things like Fashion Week, Wimbledon and others too. Not bad, eh?

Qantas Chairmans Club…

The name quite literally says it all. Each member of Qantas invitation only “Chairmans Club” is personally selected and signed off upon by Qantas’ Chairman. Once approved, members can expect similar perks to other invitation only programs, like: escorts through the airport, special phone numbers and upgrades, not that they probably need them. But that’s boring- secret passageways through the airport- NOT boring. Chairmans Club members gain access to a truly secret, unmarked lounge in Qantas main gateways, feature personal assistants, ridiculously nice food and wine and a secret escape to the plane. Not many people on earth have ever been inside. Oh, and if all this doesn’t sound fanciful enough, members are granted airside passes to use the lounge any time they’d like- even if they’re not flying. They can even bring colleagues, to hold meetings in there…

Air France Club 2000…

In case your French is limited “La Premiere” basically translates to “the best”. Club 2000 is reserved for the airlines biggest spenders, heads of state and only the most A-list of A-list celebrities. Once you’re in, an entire La Premiere team is at your disposal for every Paris flight- even on COMPETING airlines. They’ll drive you from their exquisite private lounge to someone else’s plane – just to let you know they love you all the time. But why fly with anyone else? Club 2000 members are greeted personally by name by every member of staff at the airport and on the plane. That’s right, every single person at Air France knows you’re important. Even the pilots know who you are, and generally come around to thank you for taking the time to fly with them. Indulgent? Wonderfully so.

United Global Services, American Concierge Key, Delta 360…

By now- you get the gist. Life as an ultra VIP or “VVIP” is about as good as it gets. The three U.S. Airlines each have their own programs, which are known for personally walking members to the front of any security line, sending Porsche’s to take them from one plane to their connecting plane, actively monitoring reservations for any hiccups- and of course booting the rest of us “norms” if a seat is needed. If you want in- it’s rumored you need to spend at least $40,000 with the airline alone annually, and ideally on flexible, fancy tickets. Needless to say, they’ll go to great lengths to keep your business- if you’re on that level…

Do you know anyone in invitation only programs? What have you heard?