I usually talk about tickets in terms of airfare. But today, let’s stick closer to home and talk about those tickets for performances. Broadway, arenas, that kind of ticket. The ones, when you actually snag them, feel like you’ve snagged some holy grail (“Hamilton”? Foo Fighters? Chris Rock?).
Those same tickets can be a disaster waiting to happen.
Maybe you bought them for yourself. Maybe you bought, or received them, as a gift. Maybe right now, you’re entering the date on your calendar. You’re excited, looking forward to it. Maybe, though, you’ve already found yourself facing down that big-ticket quandary, as you realize other commitments clash with the date of your show: ‘I can’t go. Now what do I do?’
Tickets usually come with the caveat, “All sales final. No refunds, exchanges or returns.”
For the most part, take those words very seriously.
But after being in a few ticket jams, I can tell you, it ain’t necessarily so.
We’re all human: ticket buyers and sometimes even ticket sellers. And so there are some get-out-of-ticket hell-almost-free policies and options.
Here are a few examples:
- At the Hudson Theatre on Broadway (where we recently saw Uma Thurman et al in “The Parisian Woman”), there are two compassionate policies for ticket holders. The first applies to ticketholders who want to change to a different date: Call the box office (855-801-5876) and you can swap them for a $12 per seat fee. The second is for those who’ve already missed the date of their performance (hey, it happens): The Hudson’s Past-Date Policy involves calling a special number the theatre (646-975-4620) on the day you want to go and if they have seats available, they’ll give them to you. No fees, but you do need to bring your original-date tix to make the exchange.
- At the Metropolitan Opera, you can call up and exchange your tickets for a different date (if tix are available) for a $10-per-ticket fee plus any difference in price.
- And here’s one more I discovered when I was sick and couldn’t use the $200 per person (for four of us) tickets. I called American Express Platinum’s concierge service, they called the theater, and were able to secure a refund for the entire amount. That’s why I love American Express Platinum, despite its high annual fee; the concierges will go to bat for you and usually hit a home run. Other high-end cards (Chase Sapphire comes to mind) may wield similar clout in the ticket exchange game, especially if they are a sponsor of the event.
Ticket sellers and event promoters need to pay for their lavish/huge productions and want their seats filled. We get that. But sometimes they’ll surprise you with their compassion clauses, so it pays to give them a call. At the very least, you might be able to give them back to the box office and instead of getting a refund, get a receipt for a tax-deductible donation. With the price of tickets these days, that’s nothing to sneeze at.