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A Credit Card Perk You May Not Expect: Concert Tickets

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Capital One announced a new partnership with iHeartMedia this week that grants its cardholders early access to 2015 iHeartRadio Jingle Ball tickets. (Exclusive pre-sales for the concert tour start Oct. 6 at 10 a.m.; everyone else has to wait until Oct.12.)

You may not know this, but other issuers can similarly help you score concert tickets. American Express, for instance, offers early access to events through its partnership with Ticketmaster, while Citi’s Private Pass program features pre-sales and preferred seating at various venues.

These perks will undoubtedly appeal to fans and music lovers, but there are few factors to consider if a particular offer is inspiring you to apply for a new piece of plastic.

1. How’s your credit?

Good scores qualify you for an issuer’s best APR, terms and conditions, so you should get a sense of where you stand, credit-wise, before filling out an application. You also may want to make sure your score can weather a small ding. Each credit card application generates a hard inquiry on your credit report, which can cause your score to by five points or less. You can get a free credit report summary that includes two credit scores, from Credit.com.

2. How much does the card actually cost?

Access and exclusivity are typically associated with rewards credit cards, which often carry higher annual percentage rates than standard credit cards. These products may also carry an annual fee that your spending habits simply don’t justify. It’s always a good idea to read a card’s terms and conditions carefully before filling out an application, so you understand all the costs associated with adding to your payment arsenal. You may not want to inadvertently break your budget just for a better chance to see your favorite band.

3. How much will the concert tickets cost me?

Pre-sale and preferred seating offers generally require you to charge the tickets to your credit card so you’ll want to consider whether their price point is in your budget. There could also be fees associated with buying tickets from a particular vendor. Keep in mind, too, that rewards credit cards generally best benefit cardholders who don’t carry a balance. Otherwise, your points, miles or cash back just get lost to interest charges. If you’re prone to carrying a balance or, say, overspending on entertainment, you may be better off applying for a low-interest or balance transfer credit card instead.

4. What other rewards are being offered?

Consumers with excellent credit, in particular, should consider whether the card’s base rewards program is competitive. Or, more pointedly, if the product offers the most points, miles or cash back in a category you already put a lot of your hard-earned dollars towards. Reading a program’s terms and conditions can also help you unearth any expiration dates or redemption restrictions that may make a particular offer less sweet. 

5. Are there any caveats to the concert sale offer?

Certain pre-sale or preferred seating offers may limit the amount of tickets you can buy or may be restricted to a certain amount of cardholders. The offer may also simply be the result of a one-time deal or part of a longer partnership that you can take advantage of over time. Again, reading through the fine print of a specific offer can help you determine if applying for that card will ultimately be worth your while.

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