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The best credit cards for music festivals

Jan. 11, 2023
12 min read
nighttime photo of a crowd at an outdoor music festival
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With tickets for music festivals like Coachella, Boston Calling and Bonnaroo launching sales and presales this week, you might wonder if there’s a best credit card for music festivals, concerts or event tickets. Does it matter how you pay?

The short answer is “yes,” because using the right card can help you earn extra points or cash back on the purchase. Other cards will offer benefits while you’re at the festival, such as exclusive merchandise, invitation-only experiences or even separate bathrooms with shorter lines.

Before you start thinking about what to pack for this year’s festivals, you ought to figure out which credit cards will be at the front of your wallet. These are the best credit cards for music festivals and concerts this year.

Overview of the best credit cards for music festivals

Most travel credit cards and rewards credit cards aren’t tailored to music festival-goers, and festivals don’t offer their own credit cards. That said, some cards still offer music festival-related perks, including extra rewards on ticket purchases and exclusive access to VIP experiences.

Card nameWhy it’s on the listOther perks and benefitsAnnual fee
Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit CardAccess to Capital One Entertainment, which has exclusive ticket sales and VIP experiences.

Earn 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment and 4% back on entertainment.

Extended warranty protection on top of elevated earning rates.$95.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit CardAccess to Capital One Entertainment, which has exclusive ticket sales and VIP experiences.Earn 2 miles per dollar on ticket purchases.

Numerous shopping and travel protections.

$95.
Chase Freedom UnlimitedAccess to Chase Experiences for exclusive events and experiences.Earn 1.5% cash back on ticket purchases.$0.
Chase Sapphire Preferred CardAccess to Chase Experiences for exclusive events and experiences.

Access to pop-up events for Sapphire cardholders only.

Earn 1 Ultimate Rewards point per dollar on tickets.

Up to $50 in hotel credits annually on this card.

Multiple travel and shopping protections.

$95.
Citi Premier® CardAccess to Citi Entertainment, which offers presale ticket access, VIP event experiences and preferred seating.Earn 1 ThankYou point per dollar on tickets.$95.
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressAccess to exclusive tickets with By Invitation Only and American Express Experiences.

Access to pop-up events and lounges for Platinum and Centurion cardmembers only.

Earn 1 point per dollar on ticket purchases.

Receive monthly Uber Cash, which you can use for rides to concerts.

Numerous travel protections and shopping protection benefits.

$695 (see rates and fees).

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.

Here are the details on these cards and why they’re the best credit cards for concerts and music festivals.

Details on the best credit cards for music festivals

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee: $95.

Welcome bonus: Earn a $300 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

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Earning rates: Earn 4% cash back on dining, entertainment purchases and popular streaming services, 3% back at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target) and 1% on everything else. Plus, earn 8% back on Capital One Entertainment purchases.

Why we like it: If you’re looking for a high return on music festival expenses and 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 when you need some grub between performances. That’s the highest cash-back amount currently offered across all credit cards for both dining and entertainment.

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 presale access to Taylor Swift tickets.


Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee: $95.

Welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. TPG values this bonus at $1,388.

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Earning rates: Earn 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 5 miles per dollar on Turo rentals through May 16, 2023, and 2 miles per dollar on all other purchases.

Why we like it: In addition to earning 2 miles per dollar on ticket purchases, you’ll have access to the Capital One Entertainment benefits mentioned above and reimbursement for your application fee to Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. You’ll also receive two complimentary visits to Capital One Lounges or Plaza Premium lounges each year on your account anniversary.


Apply here: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card


Chase Freedom Unlimited

Annual fee: $0.

Welcome bonus: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on all purchases during the first year (on up to $20,000 spent for a total of $300 back).

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Earning rates: Earn 5% back on travel purchased through the Chase travel portal, 3% back on dining (including restaurants, takeout and eligible delivery services), 3% on drugstore purchases and 1.5% back on all other purchases.

Why we like it: In addition to earning 1.5% cash back on everyday spending, you’ll have access to purchase protection, extended warranty protection, trip cancellation/interruption insurance and car rental damage protection when using the Freedom Unlimited card. You’ll also gain access to Chase Experiences for exclusive events and experiences.


Apply here: Chase Freedom Unlimited


Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Annual fee: $95.

Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. TPG values this bonus at $1,200.

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Earning rates: Earn 5 points per dollar on travel booked through the Chase travel portal (excluding hotel purchases covered by the annual $50 hotel credit), 5 points per dollar on Lyft rides through March 31, 2025, 3 points per dollar on dining, 3 points per dollar on select streaming services and online grocery purchases, 2 points per dollar on travel purchases and 1 point per dollar on other purchases. Plus, receive a 10% anniversary points boost each year.

Why we like it: While American Express reserves its pop-up lounges and premier events for those who hold its most expensive credit cards, Chase allows even those holding the $95-per-year Sapphire Preferred card into its experiences at concerts, festivals and sporting events.

Previous events included the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival in San Francisco, where Sapphire Preferred cardholders enjoyed a happy hour discount at food vendors when paying with their card.

Plus, you’ll have top-notch travel and shopping protections, and you can get free food with Gopuff and Instacart to keep your stomach full along the way.

Guests watch the U.S. Open from inside the Chase lounge. MELISSA KLURMAN/THE POINTS GUY

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

The card also offers 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


Citi Premier Card

Annual fee: $95.

Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. TPG values this bonus at $1,020.

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Earning rates: Earn 3 points per dollar at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels; earn 1 point per dollar on other purchases.

Why we like it: You’ll have access to Citi Entertainment, which offers presale ticket access, VIP event experiences and preferred seating. The Citi Premier Card also offers an annual $100 hotel savings benefit, valid on a hotel stay of $500 or more booked with the Citi travel portal.


Apply here: Citi Premier Card


The Platinum Card from American Express

Annual fee: $695 (see rates and fees).

Welcome bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $6,000 on purchases in the first six months of card membership. TPG values this bonus at $1,600.

ISABELLE RAPHAEL/THE POINTS GUY

Earning rates: Earn 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year, then 1 point per dollar), 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel and 1 point per dollar on everything else.

Why we like it: While American Express doesn’t have any cards that earn bonus points for music festival spending, it offers cardholders some of the best 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.

In previous 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. Cardmembers enjoyed similar benefits at the last Austin City Limits festival.

Producer and DJ Metro Boomin performs at the American Express Platinum House during Coachella weekend. PATRICK T. FALLON/THE POINTS GUY

The card also comes with a slew of non-music festival-related benefits, including up to $200 in annual airline fee credits, up to $200 in annual Uber Cash, up to $100 in annual Saks Fifth Avenue shopping credits and access to numerous airport lounges. Enrollment is required in advance for select benefits.


Apply here: The Platinum Card from American Express


Bottom line

Credit cards aren’t useful for just booking business-class trips and scoring upgrades to larger hotel rooms. They also can provide serious value at events like music festivals. If you’re solely after extra rewards on ticket purchases, your best bet would be the Capital One Savor Card.

For cards providing pop-up experiences, it’s worth noting that simply having the card in your wallet should be sufficient. You don’t need to purchase your festival tickets with that card to get in.

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 for purchases made from ticket reseller sites such as StubHub and Ticket Galaxy. You can also double dip on 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.

Additional reporting by Benji Stawski.

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

Featured image by LINKA A ODOM/GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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