This post is sponsored by Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase.
Exclusive Events for Cardmembers
If you hold a Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card from Chase, you’ve received emails about exclusive events only open to Cardmembers. If you haven’t paid attention to the offers, or if you thought the events weren’t as amazing as they looked, let me set the record straight: the events are incredible! Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase invited me to join Cardmembers for the 15th year of Live In The Vineyard in Napa, and it was one of the best music events I’ve ever been to. And it felt even more special because it’s not open to the public.
Live In The Vineyard
Live In The Vineyard is a music industry event in Napa that every year brings together music programmers for radio stations and music supervisors (aka the individuals who select music for movies, trailers, ads, and video games) with artists showcasing their latest work. It’s set in vineyards and wineries throughout Napa Valley, with excellent food and wine in abundance. I was blown away by the music from both upcoming and established artists performing in intimate settings. Cardmembers get VIP access to all major Live In The Vineyard events throughout the week, and there are additional exclusive events for Cardmembers as well, also with live music.
Getting to Napa
I love Southwest Airlines®, and even if I wasn’t heading to their Cardmember event I would have flown them—they’re the only airline with non-stop flights from Santa Barbara to Sacramento and Oakland, both of which are roughly an hour from Napa. I chose Sacramento since the timing of the flights worked best—I could arrive in Sacramento at 11:05a.m. and transfer to Napa (the first Live In The Vineyard event started at 4:30p.m.), and then depart the final day at 1:20p.m., so I could have a leisurely morning. And remember, Southwest® lets you check two bags for free. I could have gotten by with a carry-on, but I knew I’d be bringing wine home so I checked a bag. Southwest is the ONLY airline that makes sense if you’re traveling to Napa and buying wine! Plus Southwest has no change fees and no cancellation fees, as long as you cancel more than 10 minutes before your flight.
I arrived in Sacramento and was met by a driver at baggage claim—arranged for all Cardmembers attending the event. The driver took me straight to the Westin Verasa Napa, where all Cardmembers each had a suite for three nights. I’ll talk more about this later, but in general Cardmembers used 200,000 points for access to Live In The Vineyard, which included transfers, hotels, and events.
Welcome Reception—Live In The Vineyard
The week started with a welcome reception at Robert Mondavi Winery. There were three artists who performed—O.N.E The Duo, Jax, and American Authors—and Julian Lennon was also onstage, interviewed by the iconic Matt Pinfield. I LOVED this event! In addition to getting to hear several songs from the musicians, we were able to hang out with them after their sets. I spoke with Prana from O.N.E The Duo and Matt Pinfield for a while, and took a photo with Jax (my 12-year-old daughter loves her). It was a gorgeous evening, and the food and wine were excellent. It occurred to me how disappointing it was that despite being the 15th Live In The Vineyard event, with incredible events and musicians every year, it was only my first time attending. I am committed to earning 200,000 points in the next year to be able to attend next fall!
Following the opening reception, we headed to St. Supery Estate & Winery for a dinner that was only open to Cardmembers. In a small room at the winery we had probably the best meal of the week, along with wine (of course!) and a performance by JP Saxe. We departed with a bottle of wine as a gift and then arrived back at the hotel to find more gifts in our rooms, including wine notebooks, Bluetooth speakers, and really nice water bottles. Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase do things right!
Day Two—Live In The Vineyard
Day two started with brunch at Raymond Vineyards. The food was excellent—sliders, Cubanos, wood-fired pizza, soup, and beignets served throughout the gardens—and performances by Francisco Martin & Fritz Hager, Luis Figueroa, Rosa Linn, and John K. I’m purposely listing every artist here since some of these will be big names in the future and I want it in writing that I saw them early on! I particularly enjoyed John K’s set and have now added a lot of his songs to my streaming playlists. Just an outstanding event.
For dinner I headed to Gott’s Roadside, a Northern California institution, with a friend for burgers, fries, and fried Brussels sprouts (more Rapid Rewards® points!) before walking over to the Uptown Theatre for a slightly more formal evening performance. January Jane, Leigh Nash (from Sixpence None the Richer), Jake Wesley Rogers, Alec Benjamin, Reik, and Bebe Rexha sang, and Justin Tranter spoke about the songwriting process (he’s written a lot of huge hits, including Sorry, Bad at Love, and Believer, among dozens of other songs that you’ve likely heard). Alec Benjamin was hilarious and his songs were excellent (several of which I knew, thanks again to my daughter), and Reik was incredible. Also really enjoyed Jake Wesley Rogers.
Day Three—Live In The Vineyard
As great as all the previous events were, Live In The Vineyard saved the best for last. Brunch was at Peju Winery, again with excellent food and wine. The music started with Cole Redding before Nova Wav come on stage to talk more about songwriting, and then the event concluded with Dean Lewis, Aloe Blacc, and Sean Douglas on stage, taking turns singing. I was very familiar with Dean Lewis and Aloe Blacc already, and they didn’t disappoint. Sean Douglas held his own, though, despite not normally performing—he’s the songwriter behind hits from Chainsmokers, Selena Gomez, Lizzo, Dan + Shay, and others, and for the record he’s the son of Michael Keaton. I didn’t want to take my eyes off the stage—just an amazing performance by all three, again in such an intimate setting.
From Peju we drove to nearby Bouchaine Vineyards for a wine tasting in a beautiful setting, and then we had an afternoon break, which I used to visit a friend who owns a winery and tasting room in Napa and tried even more wine. At 6:00p.m. we headed to the closing dinner just for Cardmembers at Artesa Vineyards & Winery. We got a tour of the winery before sitting down to yet another excellent meal, and a fun performance by country duo Kat & Alex. And yes, we left with another bottle of wine!
Napa to Santa Barbara
The final day, after breakfast at nearby Barnhouse Napa Brews, my driver picked me up at the hotel at 9:45a.m. to head back to Sacramento Airport. I arrived in plenty of time for my flight—especially since checking my bag took all of one minute (I had checked in online the day before to secure my boarding position). My flight to Santa Barbara was beautiful…and short. An hour later I was at the airport, and a little after that I was back home. Such an easy travel day, and flying Southwest is always a pleasure.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Credit Cards from Chase
Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase Cardmembers were able to attend Live In The Vineyard one of two ways: either they used 200,000 points (per couple), or for the last few spots people are able to bid. I have the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, but with any of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase you get a signup bonus, you earn points through Southwest flights and everyday purchases, and you receive anniversary points. The points add up quickly and, honestly, 200,000 points is a bargain for all that you get at the Live In The Vineyard event. Other exclusive Cardmember events are a similarly excellent value.
I’ve been a Chase cardholder for 25+ years and have flown free more times than I can count. And Rapid Rewards points can be redeemed for car rentals and hotel stays and count towards Southwest Companion Passes® as well. But in my mind Cardmember events like this are an even better use of points—you can always buy a plane ticket, but you can’t otherwise buy a ticket for Live In The Vineyard!
Learn more about Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase HERE. With the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card from Chase (the card I use every day) you get a 50,000 points new Cardmember bonus, 3,000 anniversary points, 2X points on Southwest purchases, 2X points on local transit and commuting purchases including rideshares; internet, cable, and phone services, and select streaming purchases, and 1X points on all other purchases. Benefits vary a little for their other cards—learn more about which one is best for you HERE. All points earned with the card, including the introductory bonus, count toward the coveted Southwest Companion Pass—the benefit that allows you to select one person to fly with you for free (not including taxes & fees from $5.60 one-way) every time you purchase or redeem points for a flight. Rapid Rewards points don’t expire and there are no blackout dates.
Have you attended Live In The Vineyard as a Cardmember? Who were the best artists you saw?