There is an ongoing contest between American banks as they attempt to capture the travel market for individuals with Ultra High New Worth (UHNW). Now Bank of America has announced the availability of exclusive travel experiences for UHNW clients through Indagare, a members-only, boutique travel-planning company. Indagare, founded by travel expert Melissa Biggs Bradley, offers curated content, customized trip planning and small group trips.
The relationship offers clients, including Merrill and Private Bank clients, behind-the-scenes access to remarkable and unique virtual experiences. Bank of America is focusing on UHNW individuals with these offers so they can enjoy these rarefied travel experiences and create community with other like-minded UHNWs.
Some of the Indagare experiences on offer to these Bank of America clients include the ultimate Napa Valley trip, a celebration of the best of the region, and the chance to meet the Harlan family and tour their renowned properties in their company. Or to enjoy “The Best of Private Paris,” with an opportunity to see numerous hidden treasures—monuments, private homes, artists’ studios, and more—in the company of the owners, designers and tastemakers in charge of overseeing and protecting them. I caught up with Melissa Biggs Bradley, Indagare’s Founder and CEO, to learn more.
Everett Potter: Melissa, tell us how the program started?
Melissa Biggs Bradley: The program was created to raise the bar on the kind of rewards Bank of America can offer its top customers. BOA knew that we had experience delivering exceptional small group trips with insider access and immersive activities so they reached out to have us create truly extraordinary trips. Their research and focus groups told them that UHNW clients are looking for special access, unforgettable experiences and spending time with like-minded individuals.
Potter: Give us an example of what types of trips or experiences are on offer.
Bradley: Each trip focuses on introducing travelers to the people who are preserving and evolving destinations, like the Harlan family in Napa, who really put California in the league of legendary winemakers. We spend three days at their estates and their private wine club NAPA Valley Reserve. Each trip also has a philanthropic component because we want the positive impact of travel to go both ways and enrich the visitors and the visited. Each of the Virtual Experiences we produce in the partnership is complementary to Diamond Honors Tier members. The events are capped at 50 clients as we also send a gift that pairs with the experiences. For example, for the Virtual Experience with Harlan Estate in Napa Valley, each client received a half-bottle of a rare vintage of Harlan Estate wine to taste alongside Bill and Will Harlan during the event. And for our Virtual Experience from Petra in Jordan, each client received a special, handmade Square Damascene Box, which celebrates the craft of wood mosaic in Jordan.
We include a complementary Custom Planner Membership to all Diamond Honors clients who sign up for a Global Invitation. The Global Invitations are small group trips, based on double and single occupancy. These experiences will allow the Diamond Honors clients to get a taste of Indagare and the potential is there for them to become members.
Potter: Are these one-off experiences or are they part of a longer and customized trip?
Bradley: Our Virtual Experiences are one-off experiences, but often they are connected to one of our Bank of America Global Invitations. They enhance education around the subject and inspire clients to sign up. Global Invitations are typically four to five-night trips. Diamond Honors clients who sign up for a Global Invitation will receive the complimentary Custom Planner Membership, allowing them to custom plan with an Indagare Trip Designer for 1-year.
Potter: How does this differ from a Virtuoso-style upgrade or experience?
Bradley: Virtuoso upgrades and experiences are more similar to what we offer as part of our Indagare membership; they are hotel perks and amenities not fully hosted and curated trips with special, once-in-a-lifetime activities, access and meals included. For our Custom Planner clients we are always creating bespoke itineraries tapping into our network of hotel and tour partners all over the world but not arranging multi-day trips with special private openings and rare meetings as these are. We also offer curated trips for partners like Vogue, Architectural Digest and The Wall Street Journal.
Potter: What is the entry point for these experiences?
Bradley: Indagare travel experiences are available exclusively to Diamond Honors members—clients with $10 million and more across their Bank of America banking and Merrill investing balances. Qualified clients can register for these unique experiences through their Merrill or Private Bank advisor teams, or by visiting the Preferred Rewards page for Diamond and Diamond Honors members.