Using points for free concerts, festivals and elite experiences

The credit card industry has been changing, and in my eyes it’s for the better.  Certain elite credit cards from the days of old, like American Express and Diner’s Club, provided unique experiences for their members pretty much from day one.  In a way, they made you feel special.  Somewhere along the way, that feeling of uniqueness got lost in the mass credit market.  Well, customer service and personal touches are back, and providing that special experience is driving some competition between credit cards.   The result?  Really cool once-in-a-lifetime experiences for you!

American Express has long been a leader in providing their members special treatment and experiences.  One of those perks is the Front of the Line program, giving members early access to all types of entertainment, usually for the most popular bands, festivals and plays through Ticketmaster.  Not only can you get your tickets early, but if you are short of cash, you can also use your Membership Rewards points to pay for the tickets.


See HAIM for free? One of many offerings through Front of the Line. Source: Ticketmaster

SPG lets you redeem points for elite experiences (called Moments by SPG). Some regular offerings include VIP suite access at Wrigley Field or Madison Square Garden (including concerts!), tickets to major sporting events (like the NHL Winter Classic), or musicals in Vegas or New York. For foodies, SPG offers exclusive dinners with the hottest chefs (like a private dinner party with Chef Keller at French Laundry in the Napa Valley). Every once in awhile SPG pulls out the really cool stuff, like access to award shows, Sundance Film Festival events, comedy festivals, or VIP access to major concerts.  Examples?  How about VIP access to P!nk in Amsterdam, or a meet and greet with Coldplay and VIP concert access?  SPG also promotes an ‘On Tour’ offering, where they package hotel nights with concert tickets to some of the biggest bands.  Follow U2 across South America? No problem!  It’s one of the reasons we have an SPG American Express card, which also gives us the Front of the Line access.

There are a lot of other alliances to note.  In the US, there are programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards, which has auctioned off experiences such as Mad Men meet and greets and VIP packages including passes to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.  North of the border there is TD Bank, a major sponsor of music education and events in Canada, which provides discounts on concerts through their TD Music Access program.  Offerings lately include 2-for-1 tickets and $10 per ticket concert credits.  In some cases they also have a reservation program for concerts that I have yet to try, but it looks pretty cool.

Reserve tickets for the hottest bands through TD Music Access (like Imagine Dragons in Montreal).  Source: TD

Reserve tickets for the hottest bands through TD Music Access (like Imagine Dragons in Montreal). Source: TD

So if you love music and you can’t afford to travel (or can’t afford the tickets for that matter), look into what points can do for you.  At the very least, it may help you quench your musical thirst!

Have you redeemed points for a concert, festival or other experience?  I’d love to hear about it!


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