Credit, charge card and rewards programs provide preferred seating to Broadway Shows, often at a discount

Credit card companies are always looking for ways to bring additional value to their clients. In the past we have seen aggressive campaigns by credit card companies to woo card members who are specifically interested in Broadway shows. The credit card companies have realized that the demographic of the Broadway show fan is a good fit for their risk model.

Broadway Ticket Offers for American Express Credit Card Holders

American Express currently offers 3 types of Broadway show value-add to their card members. These special offers are:

  1. Preferred Seating - American Express reserves a number of well placed seats at a popular Broadway show and guarantees the show that it will sell them to their card members. If not, AMEX will buy the outstanding unsold inventory.
  2. Pre-Sale Seats - These are similar to "Preferred Seating," except that they go on sale before the public can purchase regular seats, thus creating a pre-market.
  3. Broadway Show Discounts - These are discounts to a Broadway show that only AMEX card members are given. Card holders often have to give some membership rewards back to AMEX to get the right to buy the discount tickets.

Making this model even more complicated, American Express often has a deal for their clients that allow them to get a discount to a preferred seat.
All in all, the three Broadway show offers that AMEX has negotiated are quite strong and thus makes the AMEX card very popular with ticket brokers, who get to buy large amounts of "Preferred seats," get access to the "pre-sale" tickets, and get a discount to boot.

Broadway Ticket Offers for Visa Signature Credit Card Holders

Not be outdone, Visa decided to get in on the action, and now Visa Signature cardholders can get preferred seating, pre-sale tickets, and special discounts to Broadway tickets. If you don't already have one or both of these credit cards, it may be worth signing up for one for the sole purpose of using them to get access to these Broadway show ticket benefits.

Presale Password Codes

The exclusive pre-sale passwords are the most popular of these credit card offers that pertain to Broadway show fans. While pre-sales don't mean much for your average Broadway show, they are a bigger deal when it comes to getting tickets for much-hyped Broadway musicals and limited-run plays featuring big stars (Hamlet with Jude Law and A Steady Rain starring Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig are recent examples). In those cases, ticket buyers usually want to snap up great seats before performances start selling out, so the pre-sale is a good opportunity to get a jump on early ticket sales.

During the pre-sale period, which may be a day or even a few weeks prior to the tickets going on sale to the general public, Ticketmaster will only sell tickets to people with the correct presale password code to type in. Card-holders can get these presale passwords easily (through an e-mail list or on the credit card's website), but non-card holders have to get them from a friend or hunt them down on the internet (some enterprising individuals post passwords on personal blogs). Once the password has been entered, the ticket buyer can purchase from a pool of seats that have been set aside for the pre-sale. Beware, though, that the presale seats are not necessarily the best to be had. But it is still a good way to ensure that you have seats to the "hot ticket" Broadway show of the season.

Case Study: Spiderman Presale Passwords

The Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark musical, by U2's Bono and The Edge and Lion King director Julie Taymor, is a prime example of a Broadway show whose ticket presale attracted a lot of attention from Broadway ticket buyers. The fact that it is a musical about a major comic book and movie hero, it is directed by a visionary like Taymor, and of course that it features music by mega-band U2 made it highly anticipated, so many people wanted to get their tickets right away. Naturally, when it was announced there would be an AmEx presale, people lined up (in the virtual sense, that is) to get tickets at Ticketmaster when they went onsale June 24, 2009.

But though fans were excited to have snagged seats to the multimillion dollar musical months in advance of the public ticket sale by using their special AmEx presale passwords, it wasn't long after that it was announced that Spiderman would be delaying the start of performances nearly a month. Even more troubling, a few weeks later, it was announced that production on the show had temporarily halted due to a cash flow problem, leaving many Broadway rumor-mongers wondering if Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark would ever open on Broadway. All of which makes the Spiderman musical a good case for why it might actually be better to wait for the public sale rather than buying into the hype of the presale.