Reselling concert tickets for miles and points

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I’m sure all of us has considered or resold concert tickets at one point in time.  Before you snicker at my taste in music, just know that like Lucky, I am a big Taylor Swift fan.  My buddy and I have gone to her last 2 concerts.  We went to one together 3 years ago where he got to grope caress her neck (it’s a long story but it involves floor seats and sheer luck.)  Then on her last tour, I booked my European trip while forgetting that she was coming into town.  CRAP!  So I did what any true fan would do – I bought tickets on eBay for her show in Vancouver, a ~3 hour drive away.  Sadly, I took my wife, who is only a casual fan.  My buddy then took his girlfriend to the show in Seattle.  Anyway, this year, at the height of her fame, we wanted to get the best seats possible.  Our plan was to buy additional tickets, resell them for a profit, and then use the profit to upgrade our seats.

Execution

On the day her presale tickets went on sale, I had a handful of my friends and another handful of coworkers trying to buy the best floor seats.  The best we could get was mid-section floor seats.  We kept checking and checking, and we realized as time progressed, we were never ever going to get closer to the stage.  The funny thing is that the ‘best available’ seats started to return results in the 200 section of the stadium.  While it’s technically closer and a better view, we thought that “floor” seats were going to have a better resale value.  So while my friends stopped at 1 pair of tickets (a couple bought 2 pairs), you guys know me by now… I couldn’t help myself and so I bought 16(!) pairs at a price of $164 each.  That math works out to be 16 x 2 x $164 = $5,248.  Of course I put all that on my SPG card (prob should have used my Citi Premier 3X TYP at the time.)  I even realized that by putting together some pairs, I actually had 6-8 seats all right next to each other (has to fetch a higher premium if a group of teenage girls wanted to sit together right?)  I thought I had hit a home run with this.

The Morning After

You know that high you get when you think you scored a sweet deal (which I did,) but then the morning after, you realized maybe it wasn’t a good deal after all.  Well, the next morning, I looked at more tickets just for fun.  I was looking around on the site and saw this little nugget:

“There is a 6 ticket limit. Please adhere to the ticket limit. Orders exceeding the ticket limit will be canceled without notice. This includes duplicate orders having the same name, billing address or credit card.

Please adhere to published ticket limits. Persons who exceed the ticket limit may have any or all of their orders and tickets cancelled without notice by Ticketmaster in its discretion. This includes orders associated with the same name, e-mail address, billing address, credit card number or other information.”

So the way I saw it was – if they cancel my tickets, so be it.  I broke the rules (not knowingly,) so if they want to cancel, I’m fine with it, especially since my friend found a much better pair of tickets.  We could use his tickets.  Before the morality police come and hate on me for taking up precious floor seats for their teenage daughters, let me apologize to you now.  I did NOT KNOW!  If I had known about the 6 ticket limit, I would have stopped there.  I was expecting TM to actually NOT let me order more.  You would think a big company like that would be able to program a limit to purchases since they’ve built to many barriers for you to even buy the tickets [to prove you’re not a bot.]  So not knowing what to do, I just let this one sit and let fate take its course.

Fast Forward 5 Months

So it had been 5 months since I bought said tickets.  I was expecting cancellation emails by now, but they haven’t come.  I considered reselling the tickets on Craigslist and then doing the “free transfer,” but I worried that if TM cancelled the tickets later on, I’d have to find the buyer and return their money, which would be a hassle.  And I couldn’t keep their money since that’s just bad karma, and I couldn’t do that to another Tswizzle fan.  I thought about selling them on Stubhub, but that would lead to the same situation.  I thought about calling TM and cancelling the tickets, but what good would that do me?  I’d be back at square 1 with nothing to show for my effort.  So I did the next best thing – I’m going to resell them back using the TM site!  That way, if they cancel the tickets, the new buyer gets their money back and I also get my money back.  I’m also not stupid enough to list all 16 pairs at once, so I decide to list just ONE pair to test it out.  Check out the fees:

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That’s right.  Ticketmaster charges $63(!) to resell tickets that they already own.  If that’s not highway robbery, I don’t know what is.  I mean, you can transfer tickets for FREE to anyone else, so why is there a charge of $63?!?  Jeez!  Anyway, I sold the first pair within a week.  Since then, I’ve sold 8 pairs in total; all with a ~25% margin profit not including the SPG points.  TM does pay you back via a debit card and not back to the SPG card though, so I’ve “banked” those SPG points already.  It does take a week for them to deposit the money.  I’ll slowly shed all of them this way since the concert is still 3 months out.

Conclusion

I had also tried to buy tickets to Maypac, but those lasted SECONDS.  Moral of story – I think it’s fine to buy up to the ticket limit and resell (I think that’s fair game.)  Doing what I did was wrong, so don’t do that!  I think if you wanted to “scale up,” you could buy in other cities (not 100% of the rule here.)  Also, make sure you buy tickets to an actual popular artist; you don’t want to LOSE money on this experiment.  This was literally a rounding error in all of my MS activities, but at least I did everything from my pajamas.  By the way, people were wanting to buy the tickets off of me on CL, so if you take TM’s cut out, I could have had 50% margin on my money.