The best credit cards for attending music festivals

Mar 7, 2020

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Although music festival season is still a few months away, if you plan on attending one of these big events, you need to start planning now. Before you even start thinking about what outfits you’re going to pack, you ought to figure out which credit cards will be at the front of your wallet.

The best credit cards for music festivals

Most travel credit cards and rewards credit cards aren’t tailored to music festival-goers and none of the major promoters offer cobranded options. That said, there are still some cards that offer music festival-related perks, including extra rewards on ticket purchases and exclusive access to VIP experiences.

The information for the Citi Prestige card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Today we’ll take a look at five cards that’ll help you get the most from your festival experience — and explain why in all likelihood, the best strategy will probably be a combination of the following choices:

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee: $95

Welcome bonus: Earn a $300 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 within the first three months.

Earning rates: Earn 4% cash back on dining, entertainment purchases, and popular streaming services, 3% at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target) and 1% on everything else.

Analysis: If it’s a high return on music festival spend you’re after and you like simplicity, the Capital One Savor is a no-brainer. The card has an annual fee of $95 and earns 4% cash back on all entertainment purchases, including tickets to music festivals. It also earns 4% cash back on dining, which is great for when you need some grub in between performances. That’s the highest cash-back amount currently offered across all credit cards for both dining and entertainment.

When you buy tickets at Vivid Seats using your Savor card, you’ll automatically earn unlimited 8% cash back (through January 2023). And although it’s not as extensive as some of the other issuers in this list, Capital One offers cardholders special access to certain festivals, which in the past have included the iHeartRadio Music Festival and JamFest at the March Madness Music Festival. Capital One has also offered cardholders other music-related perks, such as a the chance to attend free concerts and the chance to pre-order an exclusive Taylor Swift album bundle that included a one-of-a-kind Taylor Swift T-shirt.

The information for the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The Platinum Card from American Express

Producer and DJ Metro Boomin performs at the American Express Platinum House during Coachella weekend. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/The Points Guy)
Producer and DJ Metro Boomin performs at the American Express Platinum House during Coachella weekend. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $695 (see rates and fees)

Welcome bonus: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening.

Earning rates: Earn 5x points on airfare booked directly with the airline or Amex Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year) and prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel and 1x on everything else. Plus, Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.

Analysis: While American Express doesn’t have any cards that earn bonus points for music festival spending, it does offer cardholders some of the best music festival-related benefits. The Amex Platinum and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express come with three levels of VIP event access: Entertainment Access, American Express Preferred Seating and By Invitation Only. Just as it sounds, these grant exclusive access to ticket presales, special seating and cardmember-only events, among other perks.

For the last three years, the issuer has provided Platinum cardholders (and up to three guests) access to the pop-up American Express Platinum House at Coachella, which included SoulCycle classes and premium food and drinks, as well as makeup and hair services and even live performances from musical artists such as Justine Skye and Julia Michaels. Other Coachella-specific perks included a $10 statement credit after spending $10 at participating Coachella vendors, a free Ferris wheel ride for you and a guest, access to the priority Uber lane and admission to the on-site Amex Card Member Club for you and three guests. Similar benefits were offered at the last Austin City Limits festival.

Related: How I did a mini-Coachella weekend on a budget thanks to the Amex Platinum

The card also comes with a slew of non-music festival-related benefits, including an up to $200 annual airline fee credit, up to $200 in annual Uber Cash, up to $100 in annual Saks credit and access to the most airport lounges. Enrollment required for select benefits.

APPLY HERE: The Platinum Card from American Express

Citi Prestige

(Photo by The Points Guy)
(Photo by The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $495

Welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 ThankYou points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months.

Earning rates: Earn 5x points on dining at restaurants and air travel, 3x points at hotels and cruise lines and 1x everywhere else.

Analysis: Although the card no longer earns 2x points on entertainment, you’ll want to use the Citi Prestige if you want peace of mind when purchasing high-value music festival tickets. This is because the card offers Missed Event Ticket Protection. If you’re unable to attend an event for a covered reason, which can be as simple as because you lost your ticket, you’ll be reimbursed up to $500 per ticket (up to $5,000 each year). This even includes those onerous taxes and nonrefundable ticket fees like convenience and shipping fees. As with the Citi Premier® Card and all other Citi cards, the Prestige comes with access to the Citi Private Pass program previously discussed.

Related: What it’s like to spend over a decade on tour with superstar musicians

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $95

Welcome bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That’s $1,250 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Earning rates: Earn 5x total points on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out, 3x points on select streaming services, 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs), 2x points on all other travel, 1x point on all other purchases

Analysis: Similar to American Express and its pop-up Platinum Houses, Chase offers Sapphire Lounges. Unlike Amex, however, Chase doesn’t limit access to just premium Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders, but rather offers it to all Sapphire cardholders, including those who carry the much cheaper Chase Sapphire Preferred and those who have Sapphire Banking accounts.

Sapphire Lounges can be found at Chase-affiliated venues and at events where Chase is a major sponsor. Although the Sapphire Lounge concept is still in its early stages, the early rollouts are promising. There was a pop-up lounge at the last Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival in San Francisco, where cardholders enjoyed “Sapphire at Six” happy hours, snacks, a custom coffee bar, private bathrooms, Wi-Fi, charging stations and a second-story viewing deck.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

In addition to the lounges, the Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with access to “Preferred Experiences.” This gets you preferred pricing on VIP packages for music festivals and concerts as well as other types of events. Although it’s not the best use of your points, you can even use your points to pay for these experiences.

While the card doesn’t offer missed event coverage, it does offer some of the most comprehensive travel protections, including primary rental car coverage, so it’s great for booking your transportation to festivals.

APPLY HERE: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Bottom line

Credit cards aren’t useful for just booking free business-class trips and scoring upgrades to larger hotel rooms. They can also provide serious value at events like musical festivals. If you’re solely after extra rewards on ticket purchases, your best bet would be the Capital One Savor Card, but there are many other cards that offer unique perks for those chasing the VIP experience without breaking the bank. If it’s both of those things you’re after, you can always get multiple cards — you typically won’t need to purchase your festival tickets with the respective cards to receive benefits like Platinum House and Sapphire Lounge access.

In case you don’t get in on an initial round of ticket sales, keep in mind that credit cards could still help you maximize purchases made from ticket resellers. For instance, we’ve seen several Amex Offers pop up for purchases made from ticket reseller sites such as StubHub and TicketGalaxy. You can also double-dip your earnings by making purchases with ticket reseller sites through online shopping portals. Be sure to use a shopping portal aggregator site to quickly compare earning rates.

Related guides

Featured photo Kevin Mazur/Getty Images.

For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, please click here.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.