Editor's Note: This story is part of a GlobalPost Special Report on income inequality around the world, "The Great Divide."
HONG KONG — There are few places for ordinary people to escape the mobs of tourists, touts and handbag hawkers in Tsim Sha Tsui — Hong Kong’s commercial hub — but for members of the city’s upper crust, there’s always the Platinum Lounge.
Tucked away in the perfume section of luxury retailer Lane Crawford, the Platinum Lounge is available to cardholders who spend more than $10,000 a year at the department store. Inside this opulent oasis, uniformed attendants bring free drinks and mushroom quiche on silver trays. An original Andy Warhol screen print hangs from the wall.
I am here on the invitation of Don, 30, for whom the platinum membership is an afterthought. A member of the city’s elite, Don said that in a typical month, he spends around $13,000 on his credit cards, though in December the total came to $65,000. The free miles he earns on these sums have taken him to Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Morocco, Germany, and Malaysia in the last year alone.