Bernie Madoff had two Centurion cards and 15 supplemental platinum cards for family and staff. In some months, Madoff himself had zero charges on his card. We revealed in previous Prince research that the Super Rich often do not pay for anything themselves, delegating that task to surrogates; the Madoff statements back that up. It also means charge card-based marketing programs and databases may be fine for reaching the masses, but are not a very good way to target the Super Rich.
So what did we find?
They travel in packs, and pay for friends to get there. Over a six month period there were about 40 airline tickets purchased for others to join the Madoffs in locales from Tel Aviv to Palm Beach to New York and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
They like to eat out, with dozens of restaurant charges every month, many exceeding $1000 from Cannes to New York and Palm Beach.
Regarding the Madoffs’ use of their private jet, they traveled frequently, in one month dropping thousands at Armani and Jil Sander in Paris, the next day wining and dining in London, two days later $2500 at Polo Ralph Lauren in Palm Beach, then the next day renting a car from Hertz for $372 in Oklahoma City. One week later it was Los Cabos and a two-day stay at Esperanza for $8400. There was a $2300 marina bill for fuel and an ad hoc private jet charter for $77,000 (Madoff had two fractional shares).
The frequent travel (they had four houses and a yacht) shows why Elite Traveler has been so successful. For the Super Rich, the private jet is their living room and the best place to reach them!
Interestingly, for luxury marketers, since Elite Traveler reaches folks who are currently flying by private jet, Bernie Madoff is no longer a reader of ours. It’s hard to tell what’s happened to his other subscriptions.
This article first appeared in Elite Traveler