Using reward cards for concert tickets

Cashing In columnist Tony Mecia
Tony Mecia is a business journalist who writes for a number of trade and general-interest publications. He writes "Cashing In," a weekly column about credit card rewards programs, for CreditCards.com

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Question Dear Cashing In,
There are some good concerts coming to my town this summer. A friend told me last week that she uses her credit card to get early access to the tickets and buys them before they sell out. How do I do that? - Bridget

Answer Dear Bridget,
You’re probably familiar with the typical perks of reward credit cards, such as cash back, free plane tickets and hotel stays. But lots of reward cards these days also come with smaller benefits that a lot of people don’t know about, such as purchase protection, car rental coverage and trip insurance.

One of the benefits that is probably seldom-used is special access to concert tickets. Many of the major card issuers have developed relationships with ticket providers and arrange for certain cardholders to have access to ticket purchases before tickets go on sale to the general public, or to buy special seats set aside for the bank’s cardholders. Now, they don’t have access to every concert, and they might not even have any in your area. But if you have this perk, it can be worth checking on, especially for big-name musical acts that are likely to be popular.

How do you know if you have a card with this perk? Go to the rewards section of the card’s website and poke around.

Here are some of the major card issuers and the ticket opportunities they offer:

  • Chase has a relationship with Madison Square Garden and is able to offer certain cardholders “preferred card member seating” via Ticketmaster at Madison Square Garden and affiliated venues such as The Chicago Theatre and The Forum in Inglewood, California. In addition to the special seating, Chase says that at some of the events, cardholders are invited to a VIP lounge with free food and beverages. 
  • American Express allows cardholders to make ticket purchases through Ticketmaster for certain concerts before the tickets are released to the public. For instance, in late March, there were presales to events including a Hank Williams Jr. concert in Michigan, a Zac Brown Band concert in Virginia and the WNBA All-Star Game in Seattle – and a handful more. Special seating is also available to American Express cardholders, who can also pay for their tickets with Membership Rewards points. 
  • Citi cardholders have the opportunity to buy tickets ahead of the public for Live Nation events. Like Chase and American Express customers, Citi cardholders also have the ability to buy preferred seats set aside for them.
  • Capital One does not have an established concert presale program, but from time to time partners with events to offer its cardholders early access to events such as the iHeartRadio Music Awards and the ESPYs. 

Some of these issuers have e-newsletters you can sign up for that will alert you to events in your area. With others, you might have to follow their social media feeds, or they may already have you on an email list.

If you enjoy concerts – and the summer concert season is approaching – it can be worth your while to explore using your cards to have special access to tickets or to preferred seating. Enjoy!

See related: Video: Exclusive credit card rewards experiences, Simple strategies for increasing your card rewards

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Updated: 11-18-2017