Seven Ways to Get Cheaper Event Tickets

You don't need to give Ticketmaster all your money.

Seven Ways to Get Cheaper Event Tickets
Ticketmaster app open on a smartphone

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During a recent attempt to purchase tickets to see a comedian at a local arena, I was shocked that the fees tacked on were nearly as much as the cost of the ticket itself. The fees Ticketmaster charges have become a well-known frustration, but as someone who once covered the culture beat, I had gotten used to getting tickets for free. Paying out of my own pocket reinforced the higher cost of enjoying live events these days, and I was newly motivated to find a way to avoid giving Ticketmaster a considerable chunk of my money.

Here are a few ways to lower the ticket fees you pay or, in some cases, avoid them altogether. They all have pros and cons, but in this economy, doing a little more to save a few bucks can go a long way to keep more of your money in your pocket.

Visit the box office

One of the conveniences Ticketmaster provided was avoiding the hassle of going to a venue's box office. You could just stop by your local record shop or department store or, eventually, go online and get a ticket to the big concerts coming to town. Of course, the fees weren't that high back then. Now, it's a different story.

While driving to the venue might be a hassle, at least you won't have to pay some of the excessively high fees Ticketmaster adds on. However, instead of being open daily, many venue box offices are only open a few hours before an event, making things more inconvenient, especially if you want to see a high-profile concert.

Join the fan club

If you're willing to pay for a membership, many artists offer pre-sale tickets that are sometimes cheaper than those available to the general public. For instance, Canadian rock band Nickelback offers yearly memberships to its fan club for $33, giving you the opportunity to purchase exclusive merch, a membership card, and early entrance to shows, but also access to an allotment of seats before they go on sale to the general public. Sure, fan clubs can be a risky investment, but if you're a true devotee of Nickelback, the benefits could outweigh the costs. 

Use your credit card

If you use a Chase, Capital One, American Express, or Citi credit card, you might have access to tickets before they go on sale to the general public. In some cases, tickets might be cheaper because they're being offered at a discount, or you're avoiding dynamic pricing, which can boost ticket prices as demand for events increases, according to Forbes. However, be aware that this could also translate to higher annual fees on your credit card. 

Head to Groupon

Tickets to select events are available in limited numbers on the same website where your parents got the discount on that hot air balloon ride they took last year. For example, lawn seats for The Queens of R&B Tour in Phoenix are 52% off the listed price with no fees. (The only drawback is being outdoors in Arizona in July.)

Bid on some tickets

Websites like theXchange and offer a way to bid on tickets like a hotel room on or trade them for a small fee or, in the latter's case, no fee. The former provides a buyer guarantee to avoid scams, and its sellers must go through a vetting process. If fraud does happen, the site will penalize the seller monetarily. If these websites don't work for you, there's always Facebook Marketplace, right?

Try TickPick

When TickPick started, you could bid for event tickets. Nowadays, it promotes that it sells to fans with "no hidden fees" and guarantees that if you find seats cheaper elsewhere, it will refund you 110% of the difference (in credit, of course). It's a good way to find affordable tickets to sporting events at the last minute. However, according to TechCrunch, TickPick still makes its money from fees. They're just being upfront about it instead of surprising you at checkout. 

Wait to get a ticket on the day of the show

Venues often release more seats to events on the day of the show. If you snag these tickets online, you will have to pay Ticketmaster their fees. However, in many cases, the value of the ticket drops to a more reasonable amount to fill seats, which can offset the costs the seller tacks on.