You spend hundreds of pounds on theatre tickets. Why isn't anyone recognising what a great theatre fan you are and rewarding you for it? Are you accumulating loyalty or reward points on your spends?
If, like the bee,
you never book an airline ticket or hotel room without first signing up for their loyalty programme,
you never shop for groceries without your loyalty card, and you know that Sainsbury's and Tesco give you reward points on even the tiniest of spends,
you never shop on a credit or debit card that does not reward you for your purchases,
then why let your theatre spends go unrewarded?
Yes, it is possible to get rewarded for the precious pounds you spend on theatre tickets. And also do some good to the swarm while you're at it. The Bee swears by Seatplan.com, the avid theatre-goer's most trusted companion.
Seatplan's seat views help you decide if the view is worth the price
First, before you even book a seat, you get to see pictures of the view from the seat and decide whether the price is worth it. The bee has found that some pricey seats aren't so great after all. So always check the view, and see how it compares to the price.
The bee has found that many times, seats labeled as restricted view on the venue's website are not so bad after all, or not as bad as the steeply discounted price would suggest. Grab those seats at bargain prices! All hail, seat-view-arbitrage!
Earn reward points for uploading your seat view photos
Join the Seatplan community for free and post pictures of the view of the stage from your seat. For each picture you post, you can get 50 reward points, plus an extra 20 reward points for posting a picture of your ticket.
For tickets, a screenshot from your phone will do. Tickets are not made publicly visible so you don't have to worry about your personal details showing; in fact, you can make sure your name is left out of the screenshot. Pretty harmless.
Further, if you go with a companion, you are allowed to send in pictures from their seat too. You can send in a maximum of three seats' views per theatre visit. That's 150 points for a party of three, plus 60 points for your ticket stubs if you submit them too.
What's more, your pictures get you double points if the show is a new one. For any show with fewer than 200 pictures posted so far, you get 200 points per photo! This is even if the theatre venue is ancient and has much more than 200 photos. What matters is that the current show or production is a new one.
Get cash vouchers for theatre tickets when you redeem your points
For each show you go to, you get 50 points for your seat view picture,
+50 if the production has fewer than 200 pictures
+20 if you add a picture or screenshot of your ticket
And that's per person. You can submit photos for up to three different seats per theatre visit, earning you
50 x 3 = 150 points on your pictures, and 20 x 3 = 60 on your ticket stubs, for a total of 210 points per theatre visit.
If it's a new show with fewer than 200 seats uploaded so far, then add another 50 x 3 = 150, for a total of 360 points per theatre visit! That's equivalent to roughly £5 pounds.
You heard it right. Seatplan gives you cashback of up to £5 for your theatre visit.
Accumulate 750 points and you get a £10 voucher to book tickets on the Seatplan website. For a newly launched show, that takes only 2 visits to the theatre with a party of 3.
For those of you who like to go to the theatre alone, it takes up to 11 theatre visits to accumulate the 750 points, the equivalent of a £10 voucher. If you visit new productions, you get an extra 50 points per picture, so the total number of visits needed to earn your £10 could be even lower than 11.
Whatever the rate at which you earn points, know that it's free money!
What is the cash value of theatre reward points? Is the value worth the effort?
Is this a good cash back rate, you ask? Absolutely. Assuming you spend £20-25 per show (and this is the upper limit of the bee's budget for all West End shows), it takes roughly £250 to watch 11 shows, which gets you just enough reward points to earn your £10 voucher.
That's a 4% cashback.
Even the best credit cards give you rewards or cashback worth only 1-2% of your spends (after initial promo periods, at least).
So 4% is great!
And if you're using a good credit or debit card, you should be getting back an additional 1% from your credit card company or bank.
Don't miss it! In fact, 4% is just the bare minimum, because remember you can get double points for new shows. If every show you're going to is a new one, that increases your cashback rate immediately to a whopping 7%, and even higher if you're going with a group.
Case in point: The bee recently watched My Fair Lady for free
The bee converted 1500 points of Seatplan rewards into £20 vouchers, and bought an upper-circle-last-row-corner-seat-that-makes-your-eyes-hurt-from-squinting ticket that was selling for exactly £20 at the time of booking (around 3 weeks before the show), and went to the show feeling lucky.
At the show, the bee of course took seat view pictures and uploaded them to Seatplan along with the bee's ticket screenshot. My Fair Lady had just opened. Being a new show, it got the bee double points, i.e. 100 points for the picture of the seat view. Plus 20 for the ticket, of course.
And this upload took the bee's current points balance just over 750 points. You know what that means. Another free £10! Rush to Seatplan.com and start getting rewarded!
Did the bee mention that you get a neat timeline of your theatre journey from Seatplan?
See for example the 'theatre timeline' the bee is able to see on its Seatplan.com profile page, documenting all the shows it has been to this year. The bee gets to scroll through the timeline left and right, and it throws up its own seat-view pictures for each show clicked. The bee feels good to have its theatre journey captured in this way! And sometimes the bee likes to fondly go through its timeline photos to relive memories of its favourite shows!
P.S. The Bee is not associated with Seatplan.com in any way, and promotes their platform only as a fan. From one theatre-lover to another.
P.P.S. If you're still not convinced about how much you can save, look at the bee's savings tracker for inspiration.