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Own the Night app aims to hack nightclub VIP scene

App flags customers who spend big bucks at Chicago clubs

  • Own the Night promises to reward clubs' biggest spenders with perks and VIP treatment.
Own the Night promises to reward clubs' biggest spenders with perks… (Getty Images/Images Bazaar )
June 10, 2013|By Kate Bernot, @redeyeeatdrink | RedEye

As anyone's who stood outside a club in snowy, rainy or windy Chicago weather can attest, waiting in line sucks. Frequent clubgoers and friends of the club promoter might have a free pass, but a new app called Own the Night hopes to extend the VIP treatment to regular clubgoersprovided they have a sufficient bank account.

Billed by founder Kevin Yu as a "black card for nightlife," the Own the Night app aims to reward affluent partygoers with perks such as no cover, VIP admission and free drinks at Chicago clubs and bars. A full version of the app launches for iPhone this week, with an Android version to follow within a month.

Users who download the free app have to link it with a credit or debit card. Then Yodlee, a financial data platform that's used by companies such as Bank of America and PayPal, identifies the user's average spending at nightclubs and bars. If the person's spending at participating clubs -- such as Bevy, American Junkie and Spybar -- qualifies, he or she becomes an Own the Night VIP with access to free cover, free drinks and VIP admission.

Does it give free-spending partiers an upper hand? Sure. Does it require you to divulge some personal information? Definitely. But Yu stresses the app's security and is willing to bet that club regulars will welcome the chance to flash the app for sped-up admission and VIP perks.

As for the rest of Chicago's partiers with more meager budgets, the app will leave you in nightlife limbo with a "Status Pending" screen.

kbernot@tribune.com  @redeyeeatdrink

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