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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card
Anyone can purchase first and business-class airline tickets or a larger hotel room, and frequent travelers may regularly receive these upgrades as a benefit of their elite status. But when your credit card can offer you VIP access to entertainment and sporting events, then you’re truly receiving a benefit that money can’t buy.
Recently, some of our readers had a chance to share what events they used their credit card benefits or rewards to attend. To follow up, here’s a rundown of credit cards and programs that offer VIP event access or ticket presales.
APPLY HERE: The Platinum Card® from American Express (60,000 points after $5,000 spent within the first three months)
There are three levels of VIP event access offered by American Express cards: Entertainment Access, American Express Preferred Seating and By Invitation Only.
All American Express cardmembers receive Entertainment Access benefits that include ticket presales and cardmember-only events in select cities. Examples of events at this level include New York musicals such as Come From Away and Mean Girls as well as the LUCKYRICE™ food festival in Los Angeles.
Some premium American Express cards have access to special seating at these events through the American Express Preferred Seating program. These cards include The Platinum Card® from American Express, the Centurion cards, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Card from American Express, the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express and the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.
Finally, those who have the Amex Platinum, The Business Platinum® Card from American Express or the Centurion card can purchase tickets to By Invitation Only events and receive earlier access to pre-sales. Examples of By Invitation Only events include the 2018 US Open Tennis Championships (suite access), New Year’s Eve Countdown to 2019 in Times Square and the Napa Valley Harvest food and wine festival.
APPLY HERE: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (60,000 points after $4,000 spent within the first three months)
There are three different levels of the Chase Experiences available to cardholders, depending on which product they have. This program replaces the Sapphire Experiences that had included events like Vegas Uncork’d and VIP access to the Emmy Awards. These experiences can be paid for with cash or Ultimate Rewards points, however Chase only credits you with 1 cent in value per point redeemed, far below TPG’s current valuation of 2.1 cents per point.
- Select Experiences are available to all Chase credit and debit cardmembers, and the program includes perks like access to Preferred Seating from Ticketmaster. To access these seats, go to the Ticketmaster site, and under “Type,” select “Chase Cardmember Preferred Seating” in the dropdown menu. Then, purchase available tickets with your Chase card. Cardmembers also receive access to the Chase lounge at select venues such as Madison Square Garden in New York, The Chicago Theater and The Forum in Los Angeles.
- Preferred Experiences are offered to Chase Sapphire Preferred Card members and Ink Business Preferred Credit Card members. It includes VIP access to events and attractions such New York Knicks games and Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium.
- Reserve Experiences are only for Chase Sapphire Reserve cardmembers and J.P. Morgan Reserve cardmembers. Example experiences include VIP packages to the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival and the PGA Championship.
Citi Private Pass
Citi cardholders have access to the Citi PrivatePass program, which offers presale access to tickets, preferred seating and VIP packages for sports, entertainment and dining events. As of publish time, entertainment offers included tickets and packages for Niall Horan and Nicki Minaj & Future. Sports offers included a Victor Oladipo Basketball ProCamp and a Colt McCoy Baseball ProCamp.
Mastercard Priceless Cities
If you have any card that’s part of the Mastercard payment network, you can utilize the Priceless Cities program to purchase VIP experiences in select cities around the world. For example, you can meet with players on the Boston Red Sox or LA Dodgers during spring training, or meet the stars from the Broadway shows Waitress and Kinky Boots.
The Uber Visa Card
Barclaycard’s new Uber Visa offers cardholders access to select VIP events, including dinners at restaurants like Catch 22 in Los Angeles and Nobu in Malibu. At a press event I attended, were also treated to sample events like the Malibu Wine Safari, and a private party that featured a guest appearance by actor and comedian Kevin Hart.
NFL Extra Points Credit Card
This card offers you the chance to earn points toward exclusive NFL experiences customized to your favorite team. These include passes to the sidelines for pregame practices, being in the tunnel when the players run out onto the field or attending the post-game press conference.
But the most incredible award you can redeem your points for is tickets to the Super Bowl, as well as packages that include hotels and VIP events. While there are a limited number of Super Bowl tickets available — and they sell out quickly — I’ve spoken with cardholders who are able to redeem their points to attend the game every year.
Another avenue to score VIP access to events is to bid on an auction. While there aren’t auctions for credit card-specific points like Amex Membership Rewards points and Chase Ultimate Rewards points, many airline and hotel loyalty programs offer auctions where you can use your combined credit card and travel rewards to bid on unique experiences. Some of the better programs include Starwood’s SPG Moments and the newer Wyndham Rewards auctions.
Featured photo of Nicki Minaj by John Shearer/BBMA2017/Getty Images
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WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points Terms Apply.
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber credits annually
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees