Show Me The Money! The New Dating App For The Super Rich

Dubbed "Tinder without the poor people", the Luxy app filters users based on affluence and attractiveness. Dolly Alderton takes a swipe to see how the other half date. Photo: Thinkstock

It’s a Friday night and I’m in one of the city’s most expensive, exclusive restaurants.

I arrived here in a chauffeur-driven BMW, my date has just ordered a $400 bottle of champagne and I’m wearing a dress I can barely breathe in. Why? I’m dating like the one per cent – AKA the rich and powerful.

This is, apparently, how they do it.

It’s a plain, cold fact – I have never been in the top one per cent of anything. I was never one of those high-performing kids, I haven’t even suffered from any interesting or rare ailments. I am predictably, perfectly average.

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However, this week, I am roadtesting Luxy, a global dating app that has been billed as "Tinder without the poor people".

Luxy is part of the growing trend for wealth- and looks-assessed dating apps such as US-based The League (it syncs with your LinkedIn account and there are reportedly currently more than 100,000 people on the waiting list) and the UK’s Inner Circle ("an exclusive network reserved for only the most successful and attractive singletons around the world").

To join the Luxy community, you are asked to disclose your income (which must be at least $200,000), along with tax returns for proof. If your bank account fails to make the grade, you can fall on the mercy of existing Luxy users to assess you – in other words, if you’re poor but super-hot, you’re welcome to the party too.

I cross my fingers the Luxy crowd is keen on blondes and start to put together my profile, carefully selecting my most attractive (i.e. deceiving) photos. Next, I am presented with a page of indecipherable logos and I am instructed to select the "luxury brands" I affiliate myself with.

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I choose the ones I recognise that aren’t cars (I don’t drive): Chanel, Dior and Clinique. Then, I’m given a page of random words to select that I associate with my own personal brand including "lawyer", "sailing", "sexy", "Jewish".

I plump for the simple epithet "writer" although I fear this will pale into insignificance when "pilot" and "swinger" are also on the list.

I am left with a gruelling 24-hour wait to see if the Luxy crowd deems me worthy of joining their throng.

In the meantime, I speak to Tim, the CEO of Luxy, to ask him how it all came about. The rich it turns out, are just like you and I: hard-up for dates.

"A friend of mine was having trouble finding love. He is an entrepreneur without much free time and is picky when it comes to women," he explains. "Unfortunately, members on sites like Tinder didn’t meet his criteria, he wanted someone on his wavelength. Where would a successful businessman go to find like-minded women in a way that complemented his busy lifestyle? Thus, Luxy was born."

Finally, I’m in, and I start swiping right and left. It is a fact that brings me great comfort: I didn’t immediately fancy anyone on Luxy. All the men are very average-looking, many over 40. Their chat-up lines are hardly Keats-worthy – "Dolly, how’s it going?" – except for the occasional millionaire smoothie: "Hey! You like a cocktail? How about one at The Savoy?" One such charmer, a glowingly tanned 42-year-old entrepreneur who lives close to me, asks if I’d fancy oysters and champagne at a famous London seafood restaurant. I love oysters, and he seems friendly if not totally not my type, so I agree.

Now, I’m going to be honest here. I am not a woman who goes out with flashy guys – I always split the bill, we usually go to a pub. So, in the spirit of really throwing myself into this "top one per cent" thing, I ask if he could send me a car – which he seems totally unfazed by. And I decide to drink only champagne all night.

My flatmates accuse me of being "very Pretty Woman" when a BMW arrives to take me to the restaurant – I sinfully admit I do enjoy the decadence of it. I arrive at the restaurant in my most glamorous outfit (well, my flatmate’s Herve Leger bandage dress) and The Entrepreneur gives me two kisses on the cheek. He’s too blinged out for me, but he’s polite and has a nice (very white-toothed) smile.

There isn’t a real spark between us, but the conversation flows freely, as does the champagne. He is attentive and generous and we have a few things in common – he loves New York, he loves the British seaside, he’s fun-loving, he likes a drink. He has a warm, relaxed way of talking that makes me feel comfortable. After dinner, he whisks me to a very fancy cocktail bar in a very swish hotel where the martinis set you back about $5 per demure sip. And there, on martini number two, with him telling me about his "holiday apartment" in Park Slope in Brooklyn, I think – yeah, I could fall in love with this guy. I like his stories, I like his smiles. I like the oysters, the champagne, the houses and the cars. We have a goodnight kiss and I go home drunk and giddy.

The next day – with the vodka out of my system – I get an email from The Entrepreneur asking if I might fancy a trip to New York. I realise that in daylight, I don’t have a connection with him and just how easy it is to get caught up with the Luxy trimmings.

I send him a polite reply and say I’d love to be friends.

On to date number two: a banker who suggests a notoriously exclusive sushi bar. I’ve always wanted to try the famous miso cod and he seems like a nice guy, so I say yes.

Big. Mistake.

The Banker is an obnoxious, awful misogynist. From the moment I arrive he asks a stream of questions without listening to the answers. He immediately makes a point of telling me his type is "Mediterranean and petite" (I’m blonde and tall) and boasts about how many dates he’s been on (hundreds apparently – maybe there are a lot of girls in the world who like miso cod). I ask him why he likes using Luxy. "For PLUs", he tells me. "What?" I reply. He snorts, pompously. "People like us, darling." "And what are we?" I ask. "You’re quite thin, I’m very rich," he replies.

I say I’m too full for dessert and bolt for a taxi.

I’m feeling pretty jaded by my banker date and decide to choose my final prospect more carefully.

To my utter shock, one day as I’m swiping through thoroughly average-looking blokes and having thoroughly average chats with them, I find a boy I know. James. 27. Cuteish. A cousin of a friend. Has done a pretty good job of hiding whatever money he has to his social group; he always seemed like the rest of us. We match and start chatting – he seems rather surprised to see me on there – and asks if I want to go for lobster and champagne. I never thought I’d say this, but I would jump at a beer and hot chips. When we meet, I expect him to be wearing something to denote his mysterious wealth like a gold-leaf suit, but he looks like he’s always looked. He seems quite embarrassed that I’ve found him on the app and tells me that he just inherited a lot of money – that the "net worth" in his profile is a lucky accident.

So why is he on Luxy? "I wanted to see what it was like 'on the other side'," he tells me, sheepishly. And what is it like? "Same as Tinder, but with more high-maintenance girls. The dates are just as rubbish," he admits.

The women he has met up with have thus far been looksobsessed, always reapplying make-up, always posing. He never felt like he, or they, could relax. James is great date company – down-to-earth, self-deprecating, clever. Unlike The Entrepreneur we share a real connection that’s based on common factors like books we read and opinions we have rather than "stuff".

We don’t kiss at the end, but the date lasts for about four hours and we share a long, heartfelt hug. He says he’ll call – I hope he does. Ultimately, my Luxy dates have been mainly reassuring. Beneath all the frilly seafood and champagne, they have been just as hit or miss as normal dates. All these men, despite their apparent millions, seem as lost and lonely as everyone else I know looking for love.

And while my experiment has been fun, in all honesty, I’m quite happy being the 99 per cent. I’m not filthy rich or model-beautiful, so a dating site where those are the two fundamental requirements seems pretty glib to me. What I try to be good at is funny, nice, and clever – and those are the things I look for in a partner too. The expensive drinks and cars can’t sustain a relationship. James did call. We’re going on a second date next week – I said I just want hot chips and beer at my local. He said that sounded perfect.


How does Luxy work?
Anyone can apply: simply log on, upload photos and disclose details (with proof) of your income and lifestyle. Then, you wait to see if you are "accepted" into the exclusive group.

What if I’m not rich?
You’d better be pretty. If you earn less than $200,000, existing Luxy members of the opposite sex can view your profile and vote you in – or out.

How much does it cost?
Ironically, it’s free. But, if you want to go VIP, you can upgrade to Luxy Black, which unlocks special privileges for about $100 per month.