Yesterday (well Monday night) I had written about the opportunity to buy “Hamilton” tickets at face value if you were an AMEX Platinum card member. I could NOT sleep on Monday night. I kept twisting and turning and having dreams about, not the show, but the actual ticket purchases. I seriously dreamed that I had bought 4 tickets for Valentine’s Day and was so happy… until I woke up. I think the last time I was that restless was when Kaskade tickets went on sale, and those for sure were 10X harder to buy. I kept thinking about how many tickets would be on sale… should I buy the max… which day should I buy… so lots of questions that I’ll go over today.
Disclaimer – I am an amateur ticket reseller; meaning I’ve sold some before, but I’m certainly no expert and learning as I go. I think I have some readers who are pros at this and could probably provide more information, so if you are one of those people, please comment and I’ll update this post.
How to find American Express Exclusive tickets
AMEX should email out tickets, but if not, you can visit this link -> http://www.ticketmaster.com/americanexpress
Lesson #1 – AMEX moving to unique codes for future events
When I was talking to AMEX concierge, the lady told me that unique codes were new for this event. She mentioned that in the past, the codes were public (usually the telephone number on back of card) and you didn’t even have to pay with your AMEX. FACEPALM! So, I think in the future, we’ll be seeing more unique codes for events. She also told me that the emails were randomly sent out, so you’ll sorta have to keep an eye out for hot ticket items like this if you don’t get an email.
Lesson #2 – Apparently there is a backdoor number to AMEX concierge
A group of resellers and I were trying to solve the problem – how do we get these unique codes from AMEX? If you didn’t get the email, the only way was to call AMEX concierge. Some people were already on hold for upwards of 1 hour (and this was at 7PM PST) and eventually hit 3 hours by 10PM. We were about to give up until one reader found a secret phone number. When he called, it mentioned “Centurion Concierge,” and a rep picked up within 30 seconds. He only gave his Platinum number and it was fine. Apparently this phone number (not on Google search) is either the actual black Centurion concierge line or it lets you skip the queue. Others were able to call it and everyone got a rep immediately. Sorry, I can not give out this number.
Lesson #3 – Was the limit 4 or 6 or 8 if you had 2 cards
Before the event, it was a bit confusing. We knew 2 things – that there was a limit of 4 per code/card. You could also buy 2 more after the exclusive presale for a total of 6, which was the Ticketmaster limit. However, if you had 2 cards, could you buy 8? The jury is still out on this one, but to play it safe, I’d recommend you use different Ticketmaster accounts per code/card. It also seems like you didn’t actually have to pay with your Plat card (although not paying with it may lead to a very small chance your tickets get cancelled down the road.)
[Edit – A commenter says that Hamilton/TM may cancel your tickets if you go over the 6 ticket max [for all shows in this round] and could cancel all your orders, so be careful. Link.]
Lesson #4 – Use the mobile app
While I didn’t use the mobile app, others said it was much faster than the site. Remember, seconds matter!
Lesson #5 – The best day to buy was Valentine’s Day
This was a no-brainer. In order of best days to buy – Valentine’s Day >>> Mother’s Day >> Easter weekend >> Spring Break weekend > Saturday > Friday. While it’s been a while since I’ve been single, can you imagine a better line than, “Baby, I’m taking you out to dinner and I also got us ‘Hamilton’ tickets for Valentine’s Day.” May even be a better line than, “Wanna Hamilton and chill?” And remember, this is New York, where hedge fund guys are always trying to one-up one another. Mother’s day will probably see more tourists and of course people who are trying to make their mothers happy.
Lesson #6 – Buy 2 orders of 2 tickets vs 1 order of 4 tickets
I made the mistake of trying to buy 4 seats in one order when I should have bought 2 orders of 2 tickets. While 2 orders will take longer, there are fewer 4 consecutive seats than 2 seats side-by-side, so while you are waiting 3 minutes for a search that will come back with ZERO results, numerous other people are buying up those pairs of seats, and by the time you realize your error, all the seats are gone.
Lesson #7 – Skip the stupid seat map
This was a nightmare! When I first opened up Valentine’s Day, about 1/3 of the seat map was available. First thing I noticed was that the orchestra seats were $850 each. The mezzanine seats were $199 and $179 respectively. From the Beyonce fiasco, I was a bit concerned that the $850 seats would be tougher to resell, so I tried to get the best $199 seats possible, which was the front mezzanine seats. The problem with the seat map view was that you had to pick your seats, and then hit ‘submit’ which takes an extra 2-3 minutes and it doesn’t guarantee your seats. I tried 3 times and every time, it came back with, “Oops those seats are sold.” Also, there was a row with 5 seats together. I tired to buy 4 of those, and TM kept refusing me saying, “Oops you can’t leave a single seat open.” So it was just a nightmare! I would have been better off just letting Ticketmaster pick the best 2 seats at $199 for me. That way, when the search result comes back, I’m “locked in” to those seats already.
Lesson #8 – When to sell?
I found this link that has an awesome chart. Whether you are looking to buy or resell, you must read the post!
“If you’re a seller, you’re most likely to get the highest price for your ticket 30-35 days before the show. If you’re looking to sell in the last 30 days (because of an unexpected schedule conflict?), you should do so right away. The price is likely to continue falling until show time.”
So is this deal dead? Well as of Tuesday afternoon, you could still buy the $850 orchestra tickets for Valentine’s Day. There were maybe 10 left as of 5PM PST. All of the $199 tickets for all the shows were gone by noonish. There will be a general public sale starting Sunday night, so use these tips to score you some tickets. Now you’ll be well prepared.