Heading to NYC? This Rewards Program Is a Must for Cheap Broadway Tickets

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  • The Audience Rewards program lets you earn and redeem points for every Broadway, Off-Broadway, opera, and cabaret show you take in on your next NYC adventure.
  • You can earn even more rewards by using a credit card with bonus points on entertainment, which you'll earn on top of any Audience Rewards points you receive.
  • If you'd rather get travel rewards, you can choose to earn United miles or Amtrak Guest Rewards on your ticket purchases instead of ShowPoints.

While New York City certainly has no shortage of things to do, there's one thing on pretty much every visitor's list: catching a show. From Broadway to cabaret, there's a bit of something for everyone on the stages in NYC.

Given its worldwide popularity, it's no surprise that New York's entertainment scene has its very own rewards program. Called Audience Rewards, the program lets you earn and redeem points for tickets to any eligible show.

Audience Rewards 101

So, how does it work? Simple. Sign up for the program, then purchase your show tickets. Points per ticket vary depending on the production, from 2 ShowPoints per dollar at the low end, up to 3,000 points per ticket at the high end.

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If you can earn 10,000 ShowPoints in a 12-month period, you'll become a VIP Member. This unlocks a higher earnings rate, preferred pricing, private VIP events, and special birthday perks.

Points can be redeemed for free tickets, or you can pair points and cash for a discounted night out. Audience Rewards members can even participate in special auctions for hard-to-get tickets and event access.

In my opinion, one of the best parts is that it's a standalone program, not a credit card driven one. This means you can use any card you want to buy your tickets, and the rewards you earn as an Audience Rewards member will stack with what you earn with your rewards credit card. For example, if you use a card with bonus points on entertainment, you could double or triple your return on a single Broadway purchase!

Amex cardholders can get early access

If you have an eligible American Express credit card, you could get even more out of your membership. Amex's Preferred Access cardholder perk applies to select shows, giving you early access to preferred seating.

Going this route won't mean you have to skip the rewards, however. You can enjoy your Preferred Access seating while still earning ShowPoints on every ticket. Just make sure to enter your Audience Rewards number when you make your purchase.

If you'd rather earn travel rewards than ShowPoints, check out these interesting Audience Rewards crossovers with United MileagePlus and Amtrak Guest Rewards.

For example, if you have a United frequent flyer account, you can use it to earn United miles on your Audience Rewards ticket purchases. At the bottom end, you can earn 50 miles per ticket, but some shows offer 2,000 points or more. Have extra miles laying around? You can even redeem United miles for free tickets to your favorite shows. Use a United credit card to double dip your miles earnings.

If you'd rather ride than fly, you could also choose to earn Amtrak Guest Rewards points on your Audience Rewards ticket purchases. Similar to United miles, how many points you'll earn will vary by show, with 50 points per ticket at the low end, and 1,900 per ticket at the high end. You can also turn Audience Rewards points into Amtrak Guest Rewards points, though you have to do it by phone.

Entertainment that's rewarding

Taking in a great Broadway production can already be a rewarding experience in and of itself. But with the programs we've mentioned here, you can make those rewards literal as well as figurative.

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