It's definitely not a secret that rich people have access to things most of us have no idea even exist. But if you're curious about the luxury items and experiences only the wealthy can buy, then you're in for a treat.
A while back, a Reddit user asked the internet, "What do the rich buy that the poor don't even know is available for purchase?" The thread went super viral, and honestly, I'm blown away by the responses.
Here are some of the most surprising ones:
1. "Really wealthy people have private boarding gates at certain airports. Complete with showers, a spa, full bar, lounge, food, a bed, gym, sauna, etc. Total privacy. Your luggage is scanned and taken through security by a concierge, and you're driven to the plane in a BMW 8 series.
"LAX has them now."
2. "Everyone knows about mega yachts, but the very rich also enjoy their own trains — or at the very least private super luxurious train cars. With their budgets, it isn't expensive to rent space on freight lines and an engine, assuming they don't own their own. Sometimes, a group of friends will hook their private cars together and motor around a continent having a big party."
3. "You can rent celebrities for your private events. Not just musicians, but bona fide actors. This super rich guy in Bel-Air used to host his kid's birthday party in late October, so they went all out for a Halloween-themed party. Everyone at the kid's school was invited, plus their own friends. Each year, they'd hire some fantastic athlete to appear at the event; one year, it was Tony Hawk, another year, it was some Olympic gold medal gymnastics winners. The one that threw me was when they hired Demi Moore, Anthony Kiedis, and Benicio del Toro to be 'guests' at the party to hang out and pretend they were friends with the kid.
"Mind you, this was a KID'S Halloween party, set outside in a huge, massive garden — spread out over tennis courts and lawns with games, buffets, dessert tables, taco stands, omelette stands, BBQ, pizza, burgers, etc. No booze, no one allowed inside. All the event staff were dressed in Halloween costumes; it was VERY cool. But it was sad to see Kiedis and del Toro sitting together commiserating. You could see the 'f**k, the things we do for a paycheck' look on their faces. They were at a KID'S party. Demi was very nice — she brought her little doggies."
4. "Really wealthy people have specialized household staff. When someone is truly mega-rich, running their household takes the same complexity as running a small to midsize company, and management is skilled and compensated accordingly. Don't think 'butler' — think 'head of operations at a luxury hotel.'
"The staff that household managers oversee can be really specialized as well. For example, Larry Ellison has his own personal curator to oversee his collection of art. They do things like: advise on the purchase and sale of art in his collection, oversee storage and display of art housed on his property, oversee process of lending art for storage and display at museums, etc. The curator will often have their own staff to conduct actual conservation work, art transport, art installation, etc. So, if you've already got an in-house crew of seven people focused on your art collection alone, imagine how big your entire household staff is! That's why you've got a household manager."
5. "A while back, some guy on here was talking about his experience working as a sort of personal manager for a billionaire and how things are just wildly different for them. The specific example he used was how things work when they want to go on a trip and give any notice at all to their employees. What happens is that an advanced team gets sent a few days earlier to scope out the rented/bought location and report back exact dimensions for closet space, drawer space, etc. People back at the house go through the clothing, jewelry, etc., and draw up a priority list, which is sent to the advanced team. The advanced team then spends the next two days purchasing the list of items. Entire wardrobes, jewelry sets, makeup kits, bathing supplies, etc. Anything they cannot get (not enough time, or is one-of-a-kind, like the family heirloom watch the rich dude wears every now and then) is relayed to the house team.
"The family's schedule is arranged such that the moment the family leaves the house on the day of travel, a whole team of people rushes through and packs up all the remaining items (only after the family leaves, you wouldn't want to deny them access to their items for even a few seconds), which are then sent ahead of time to the airport while the family has a lunch or something somewhere. Upon landing, their luggage takes one route (direct), and the family takes a similarly indirect route (unless otherwise directed) so that by the time they get to the location, all of their items are not just unpacked but in their proper organized locations and ready for use without any of the advanced team ever being visible to the family."
7. "You can get access to private banks. Rich people use banks like Chase, but they don't bank through regular branches; instead, they use Chase Private Banking. They never wait on hold for a banker to pick up the phone, they get same day access to their deposits, lines of credit, etc. Deposit $3 million into your checking account, and you'll get a call from your bank's private banking group."
8. "Wealthy people can rent entire floors of hotels or multiple floors. Entire restaurants. Chefs from literally any restaurant in the world to cook for them, wherever they are. I saw all of those things done by a prince of Saudi Arabia: We estimated it cost him $50,000 just for the one private meal in our restaurant, given that he...
"1) Had the top four floors of our hotel booked (for the hundreds of staff to take care of him, his wife, and his two kids (plus, likely some mistresses if I'm being honest). As someone in this part of the world, being rich = the number of people who work for you.
2) He paid $30K just to close our restaurant for one meal.
3) Flew his favorite chef from New York to Orlando to cook for him on his private jet, and then back again. Of course, it was likely the OTHER private jet he had just for his staff, not for himself or his family.
4) Made food for our entire staff, all the kitchen staff, all the federal, state, and local security and him, and his wife and his kids.
I had a buddy who taught ski lessons to another Saudi prince's little kid and had some nearly unbelievable yet similar details during his interactions with them. That kid had an entire team around him or probably 10 staff, plus vehicles, snowmobiles, a helicopter, and so on. I later met a guy who worked on an ultra-luxury 300-foot yacht and served Bill Gates and his wife, among other super-rich people. Their primary job was to operate without interacting with them, or at least as little as possible. This shows you, in some sense, that having people around you doing stuff you need to be done but doing it invisibly is another perk of being rich."
9. "Some rich people get kidnapping insurance. I worked for a place where the CEO was very hands-on and would oftentimes fly to countries that were less than stable to sell the product. In case of kidnapping, we had insurance for him, for anyone else that traveled with him that might get grabbed, and contingency plans in place for what we needed to be doing and who to contact in case this happens."
10. "Rich people can buy actual smart homes. The Alexa/Google Home market is bringing it more mainstream, but for decades, the wealthy elite have had smart home functionality through companies like Crestron. The controls go far beyond controlling your lights and thermostat, and they integrate with more technologies."
11. "You think your Platinum Card is cutting it? Please! Centurion is the way to go. It'll cost $10,000 just to get one (initial fee to join and the first annual fee), but you get EVERYTHING. The Crystal Method are playing a local venue, and you want to go backstage and shoot the sh*t with Scott Kirkland because you're interested in donating to his favorite causes (because you've always admired the guy, his political opinions, and his music)? That can be arranged. Want a table at Schwa in Chicago, é in Vegas, Schloss Schauenstein in Fürstenau, or Aragawa in Tokyo? They'll get you in tomorrow. Need a full itinerary planned for a week in Paris? Need that new iPhone on day one but don't want to stand in line? Want to stay at the most luxurious place in Ibiza for the days Pete Tong is at the Blue Marlin? They do this in their sleep.
"It's a butler and concierge and local expert and best friend that knows a guy you'll never meet. All just a call away."
12. "The rich can get private performances with big name artists. I was on a yacht in the Virgin Islands, and some mega yacht owner pretty close to us had Christina Aguilera flown in to perform for his guest on the mega yacht. We were close enough to see the performance — not close enough to pretend to be part of the party."
13. "If you're wealthy, you can get a person to go to jail for you in your stead. This is a known phenomenon in Latin America, but I imagine it happens in other places as well."
15. "If you're willing to fork out $35,000 for the player and $500 per showing, you can watch films that are currently in theaters in your own private home-theater."
16. "I had a buddy who hired a driver, got him to get a chauffeur's license, and then made sure his Jaguar was long enough to meet criteria as a limo, and then, he could legally drink in the backseat. When I traveled with him internationally, someone met us at the door when we were dropped off, and they walked us to our plane. None of that customs/security stuff occurred."
17. "Some wealthy people buy books as decoration, with no intent of reading most of them. They buy books from wholesalers by the linear foot, specifying how the books look on the shelves (size, color, material of spine, etc.) without any regard for what the books actually are. They just need to fill wall space in library/office rooms in their homes."
18. "When you're rich, you can 'buy' relationships. I once worked at an Olympic horse ranch in Colorado, and the owner was from Seattle and was friends with someone who played guitar with Kurt Cobain. Plus, one of the riders I spoke to had just been to a party over the weekend that Mark Zuckerberg was at. That’s when it hit me — when you’re rich, you just know everyone, or know someone who knows them.
"Six degrees of separation is only for the masses. The elites are closer to two or one."
19. "Some rich people will land their 747s in small airports. I grew up around Lexington, Kentucky. The region is huge on horses, particularly thoroughbred horses. The entire city is surrounded by horse farms, and these farms breed some of the best racing horses in the world. The rich and famous will often come here to buy thoroughbreds to add to their breeding stock. One such person is a sheik from Dubai (I think) who owns his own private 747. Now, the local airport isn't rated for 747s, and it's not legal to land one there unless it's an emergency. The sheik doesn't care, though, and lands his 747 there anyway.
"The airport fines him every time he does this, which he is totally fine with paying. I've been told that many of the upgrades to the airport over the years were almost entirely funded with money from those fines."
20. "My dad barely qualifies as a millionaire in the loosest sense. He has told me that there is a certain threshold of wealth where you can just become reliably wealthier and wealthier without a big limit. It goes like this: He has a friend from Berkeley who worked on Wall Street in the '80s and left with about $1M in his bank account by age 35. He used half of that money to start his own business which a solar product that was greatly needed by other businesses in the area. After about four years of that, he bought an apartment complex for some side income. After seven years, the apartment complex has paid for itself, and he spends the profit that year on becoming a majority shareholder in another small business in the area.
"After making money on that, he start another small business — this time only loosely run by him with a separate CEO to run the company. Using previously accumulated money, he buys a golf course, and now, he is technically unemployed, but the dude makes between $3-4 million a year off of his passive income."
21. "Rich people can buy education. My neighbor used to get 'tutored' at home by our school teachers and head of departments. Want me to believe they never leaked exams? University is a whole different story from admissions to grades."
22. "Some wealthy people buy dinosaurs and artifacts that have not been discovered by science. A huge problem with paleontology in general is that most new discoveries are locked up in private collections with no one being able to study them."
"Though, to be fair, tons of specimens already collected, sitting in museum storage, aren't being studied because there's too much stuff to study. I agree that specimens shouldn't be private, though. There's a Nat Geo article on private natural history collectors, and it talked about how it's a controversial hobby amongst the rich, though often they work with scientists by loaning the specimens for research. Some scientists appreciate it because their funds aren't enough to buy the specimens."
23. "Rich people can get private jet timeshares. For those not quite rich enough for their own private jet, or those rich people wanting to be a bit frugal."
"More often, it’s because they want the option to get different jets. Flying with my wife, small jets will do. Flying 20 of my friends to my island..."
24. "Rich people can get access to really unique items. Occasionally, you see in the news stuff like 'hat used in some popular movie auctioned for $80,000' or '5,000-year-old Egyptian statue auctioned for $2,000,000,' and I wonder: What kind of auction do you even go to to buy that kind of thing?"
25. "I used to work in the photo department at Saks Fifth Avenue. Some days, I would shoot an entire rack of clothing worth around half a million dollars. There was an Alexander McQueen leather jacket that was around $40,000. So, I imagine they buy a lot of that sort of nonsense."
26. "The vast majority of financial products are out-of-reach for all but the rich. One reason the rich get richer is that they have access to investments that we've never heard of. Ever seen The Big Short? Why do you think Goldman Sachs took a week to correctly price Michael Burry's housing-short position? Because they were securing that position for themselves and their clients.
"Those financial instruments are so complicated and the regulation on them so byzantine that it wouldn't surprise me if Goldman actually didn't do anything illegal, like they're allowed, at their discretion, to mis-price an asset for a certain period of time — probably under the guise of the assets being complicated to price, but really, it's just a buffer for them to get an edge that regular people couldn't believe. Imagine going to a horse race and being able to bet on the horses near the end of the race. Rich people get that."
27. "For most people, a car is a depreciating asset; from the moment you buy it, it starts to go down in value. For ultra wealthy car collectors, they are able to access limited edition cars that go up in value immediately. For example, McLaren only made 375 'P1's that they sold for $1-1.5M — they are now worth easily over $3M.
"The challenge is, it takes more than just money to get one of these. With only a few hundred models to allocate, and with them immediately earning their owners a profit, the manufacturer will look at a number of criteria to decide who gets one — including how many models of their 'regular' cars you have purchased. If you are offered a Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta for $2.2M, you probably own 5+ other Ferraris, and you just bought a pair of matching Portofinos for your twins who are going off to college."
What are some other things "regular" people have no idea about that rich people purchase? Let us know in the comments below.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.