My AMEX, Milan and Me: The Everyday Expenses of a Millennial Business Traveler

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F is for fashion week. F is for fittings. And F is for financial goals,

which has gradually become a taboo and oftentimes difficult subject in a millennial's way of life.

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The content and story you are about to read is all personally written and produced, in partnership with American Express.

I hope that by sharing my story on business expenses and money management, I can help dispel the prevailing and unfounded myth that millennials are careless spenders who are too obsessed with avocado toasts and cannot afford to buy a house. Therefore, by popular demand, I’m returning to break down the realistic expenses behind yet another trip. This time, we’re jetting to Milan for Men’s Fashion Week. I’ll start with the biggest expenses first and work from there. Please note before you read any further that this is no way an outright statement or sweeping generalization that all business travelers (or any traveler, for that reason), spend the same amount of money in Milan or for fashion week.

ROUNDTRIP TICKETS TO MILAN, ITALY - $2200

First off, roundtrip tickets to Europe aren’t exactly the cheapest. Especially if you are flying out of Los Angeles. I normally only book business class tickets, but given that Milan was — more or less — a last minute trip, I opted for premium economy for both routes. My roundtrip ticket ended up costing approximately $2200. I promptly made that payment on my new American Express Cash Magnet™ Card. And just like that, I was on my way towards earning unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on my purchases, whether it is travel-related or not. It’s a great feeling knowing that my airline expenses earn Cash Back - perfectly tailored to my lifestyle. Terms apply, learn more here.

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The Excelsior Gallia Hotel

A premiere luxury hotel property in the heart of Milan.

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PRIVATE CAR SERVICE - $628

Cab services are almost nearly unavoidable during a business trip for me. Especially if it’s fashion week when my show and appointment schedules are packed between meetings and fittings. These expenses start to rack up the moment I land, with car services from and to the airport. I relied on local cabs during my entire stay in Milan, as a first-timer in the city, but I could ride easy knowing that my expenses are being placed on my American Express Cash Magnet Card. Additionally, as an American Express Card Member, I can gain access to a global assist hotline for coordination services in case of an emergency at any point during my trip. Helpful to have when you are a solo business traveler like me. I have to admit I could have saved a bit more in this area, if I had the leisure and time to walk everywhere I needed to go.

FOOD & BEVERAGE - $413

In Milan, the coffee and aperitivo culture is quite dominant. One wakes up to the smell of espresso and ends the night with a spritz. And usually there is some form of pasta involved. I enjoyed many an aperitivo, however, with friends and clients. It’s really the only way to feel immersed in the Milanese way of life and you can really save up on costs, since most aperitivos come with an assortment of side dishes -- enough to be considered a light dinner for many. I loved doing so at my favorite spot, a bar designed from the ground up by Wes Anderson, as well as my hotel’s rooftop restaurant.

5-STAR HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS (4 NIGHTS) - $1800

It wouldn’t be business travel in Milan without a stay at an extravagant grand hotel, in central Milan. Although rates vary by room type and availability, I managed to book an executive suite starting at $450 euro per night. The suite is ideal for business travels, as it comes equipped with a state-of-the-art stationery desk, a lofty decor set-up for ultimate relaxation, a private changing room, a bathroom that has chroma therapy and even an exercise bike — perfect for those who are too busy to even leave their rooms!

LUXURY SOUVENIR - $1350

My motto in life is to always live to the fullest and to treat yourself. There’s nothing wrong with a little retail therapy, as long as you can afford it and can plan for it. In this case, I got some swag over at a couple of designer boutiques right before I left Milan. Yes, it might be a bit staggering to some but — keep in mind that through my Cash Magnet Card, I can pay for this through a payment plan (via American Express’ innovative payment featured called Pay It Plan It) that is suitable for my lifestyle and financial planning. It all comes down to cost-per-wear as well, and I can already tell I’ll be using and wearing these items for seasons to come.

 

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SPA & RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES - $250

Meetings, fittings and content production sessions can be mentally exhausting. A mini-spa retreat are a fantastic way to take the edge of a jam-packed, business trip. On this trip, I was lucky enough to experience one of two spas right in the convenience of my hotel. It all comes down to simple luxuries in life; in this case, receiving an hour-long deep relaxation massage, enjoying the restoration room with heated marble slabs and sipping a steaming cup of tea. 

 

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As someone who constantly travels for business and pleasure, I am thankful to be an American Express Cash Magnet Card Member, knowing that the expenses I have could be transformed into generous Cash Back benefits.