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Despite listening to Taylor Swift’s music for her entire 17-year career, I had still never seen my favorite artist live.
I couldn’t afford a ticket to her shows growing up, and it has been 5 years since she last went on tour for her “Reputation” album. When news of the Eras tour rolled around — speculatively her last tour ever — I knew that this would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Taylor.
But I was just one of many fans who couldn’t snag tickets for the show, thanks to the infamous Ticketmaster presale drama of December 2021. That all changed last week when I booked a floor ticket just 2 days before the show and used my points and miles to subsidize most of the cost for my spontaneous yet expensive getaway.
If you’re like me and were unable to get tickets during the sold-out presale, here’s my success story of how I was able to see Taylor Swift — and how you can too for the rest of her tour dates!
Booking the Ticket
My loyalty to Capital One paid off — or so I thought — when cardholders supposedly were to get first dibs on tickets. In fact, I’ve had the trusty Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card in my wallet for more than 3 years.
I was ready to book a floor ticket to any of her show dates, but I watched my dreams get crushed as the Ticketmaster website crashed and all of the seats got snapped up. As scalpers were reselling the same tickets for upwards of $10,000+, I was ready to admit defeat.
A few days before the tour kicked off in Glendale, Arizona (which has been famously nicknamed Swift City, Era-zona), I checked in on the ticket resale prices again. To my surprise, tickets dropped significantly as resellers panicked to get rid of them, and there were plenty available on the floor in the $300 to $400 price range.
As such, I booked a floor ticket at less than face value for $390 on StubHub 2 days before the concert. I paid with The Platinum Card® from American Express to inch closer to my minimum spend for the 150,000-point welcome offer that I was able to receive and used the American Airlines eShopping portal to earn 3x miles per $1 spent on my purchase. Not bad!
Hot Tip: Through March 26, 2023, you can earn 1,000 miles just by spending $25 or more by downloading the American Airlines eShopping portal browser extension.
Booking the Flight
It was time to book everything else for my trip, which proved to be more of a challenge than paying for the ticket itself. Last-minute flights between New York and Phoenix were few and far between, and a round-trip ticket cost nearly $900.
For my one-way ticket between New York (JFK) and Phoenix (PHX) on Delta Air Lines, I could’ve paid $450 or used about 40,000 Delta SkyMiles.
Instead, I transferred 15,000 Amex Express Membership Rewards points to SkyTeam partner Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to book the same exact flight. Taxes and fees were just $5.60 for my one-way ticket, so I scored nearly a 3-cent value from my Amex points!
Hot Tip: Want to get a better value on your domestic award flight? Knowing these reciprocal partnerships can come in handy — check out our guide to the best U.S. domestic flight redemptions for maximum value!
For the return ticket, I paid $390 for a United flight between Phoenix (PHX) and Newark (EWR), which was admittedly too steep for my liking. However, United MileagePlus was charging 35,000 miles. I also checked Star Alliance partners Air Canada Aeroplan and Avianca LifeMiles, but there was no award availability through either of those loyalty programs.
But by paying with my Amex Platinum card, I still earned 5x points per $1 spent on my United flight (up to the first $500,000 spent directly with airlines or through Amex Travel, then 1x points) and got closer to meeting my minimum spend on the welcome offer.
Booking the Hotel
Hotels were nearly booked up as the concert drew in nearly 150,000 fans to the greater Phoenix area for both nights of opening weekend. Fortunately, my Chase Ultimate Rewards points saved the day.
It pays to know a World of Hyatt Globalist member, as my colleague Juan Ruiz generously booked my 1-night award stay for the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Gainey Ranch through the Guest of Honor program. As such, I got a room upgrade, free breakfast for 2 guests, late checkout, and free valet parking.
I transferred 23,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to my World of Hyatt account. Then, I filled out the point combining request form to transfer my points to Juan’s account, which could take anywhere from a few days or a few weeks to process. Cash rates were nearly $600 for the night, so I got well over 2.5 cents per point in value with my Chase points.
Booking the Rental Car
This year, I’m also on the hunt to earn back my Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion elite status. Until March 31, 2023, you can earn 1 Medallion Qualification Dollar (MQD) per $1 spent on hotels and rental cars through the Delta Travel Extras portal.
I booked a standard sedan for roughly $100 per day. Thanks to my Amex Platinum card, I also had top-tier Hertz President’s Circle status. However, I declined the upgrade to stick to a reliable Toyota Prius to get 56 miles per gallon and minimize refueling costs at the end of my trip.
Hot Tip: Delta partners with Hertz to offer Medallion elite members up to 8x miles per $1 spent on rentals and extra perks!
If you’re also trying to earn Delta Medallion status, every little bit helps when it comes to earning MQDs. If you’ve got any upcoming travel, be sure to act quickly to take advantage of this limited-time opportunity to earn MQDs on hotels and rental cars!
Was It Worth it?
Without a doubt in my mind, yes.
Taylor sang a whopping 44 songs, and it was both a marathon and a sprint for the 3.5-hour show. Some of my favorites included “All Too Well (10-minute version),” “Don’t Blame Me,” and “My Tears Ricochet.”
When it comes to using points and miles for travel, I firmly believe there’s never a wrong way to use them. It can be easy to get caught up in achieving the absolute best value from your points rather than focusing on the actual travel experience itself.
If your favorite artist is performing in another city and you can use your rewards balance to get you there, it’s undoubtedly worth the redemption. Similarly, my colleague Victoria Walker opened a Citi credit card to get presale access to the Beyoncé Renaissance World Tour.
Credit cards and concert tickets may not seem like they have anything in common, but having a stash of travel rewards helped me see my favorite artist live this past weekend.
I’ve been a die-hard Taylor Swift fan ever since I was 8 years old, singing along to “Our Song” on the radio. It was one of the most unforgettable weekends I’ve had in my life, and leveraging my points and miles turned my dream into a reality.
If you’re looking to buy a resale ticket to Taylor Swift, be sure to check in a few days before the concert begins. That’s when you’ll get the best deal possible, and you can then use your airline miles, hotel points, or transferable rewards to get you there!
The information regarding the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
Featured Image Credit: Stella Shon. All images credited to Stella Shon unless where otherwise noted.
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UP's Bonus Valuation
This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.