The Big ScoreBig Experiment: Hacking Hamilton


ScoreBig Extreme StackingUPDATE 10/14/16: Use Extreme Caution purchasing from ScoreBig!  In October 2016, ScoreBig encountered “an unexpected liquidity crisis” which lead to them ceasing operations temporarily.  Their communication to buyers at that time indicated that “there may be an issue regarding the continued validity of the tickets you purchased”.

By Anita, Lab Manager

Needed: Tickets for Hamilton

A bit of background: In late 2015, my son asked if we could go to New York to see Hamilton. I scanned the resale prices for summer 2016 and decided to wait until a later school break so I could buy at the box office. In January 2016, I purchased three excellent tickets for MLK weekend 2017 thanks to the Amex presale.

Buying a year in advance has its perils. By the time I realized we couldn’t travel that weekend, the box office was sold out for the entire run. So I booked flights and a hotel for December instead knowing I’d have to turn to the resale market after all.

For the past few months, I have been watching for relatively under-market priced tickets to be listed on the resale market for my travel dates. The prices, especially for the good seats I was hoping to get, were truly horrible.

ScoreBig Experiments

A few weeks ago, I started doing the ScoreBig Extreme Stacking experiments:

After the first few ScoreBig experiments showed that the quadruple dip works, I realized this might be my best bet for getting Hamilton tickets.

The timing was especially good for a few reasons:

  • I’d booked my travel to New York so I definitely needed tickets
  • iConsumer began offering 19.2% cash back for ScoreBig
  • Fuel Rewards 2x offer was about to expire
  • A few decent seats were listed at relatively reasonable prices

They were not even remotely as good as the seats I’d bought directly from the box office at a far lower price, but based on my months of scouring, I figured I wasn’t likely to see a better deal.

So, for the good of the blog, I bought them to see if we could scale up the quadruple dip this far. (Just kidding. I did it for my son.) These tickets had been face value at $230 and I got them for (gulp!) $546 each.

Hacking Hamilton Results

Three Hamilton tickets @ $546 $1,638.69
iConsumer cash back @ 19.2% $314.63 Blank
Southwest miles $88.74 1000 miles first time bonus + 3 miles per dollar
Shop Your Way Rewards $327.74
Fuel Rewards $132.00 $6.55 in Fuel Saver Rewards
Total for 3 tickets $775.58
“Cost” per ticket after rewards $258.53

For the sake of argument, let’s pretend $230 per ticket for a Broadway show is a reasonable benchmark for a good value.

And let’s further pretend that SYW Rewards are worth close to their value in cash. (Probably a more shaky assumption than the first.)

By that standard, $258 is a great deal. A day or two before I bought these, someone paid $592 each for the same day, section and row on Stubhub, and I paid about 12% over face after all my rewards.

Editor’s note: When calculating your own “price after rewards” keep in mind how much you value the various rebates. For example, I live close to town and rarely have to fill up my gas tank so I personally wouldn’t value Fuel Rewards anywhere near their maximum value.  Similarly, if the gas stations that accept Fuel Rewards are more expensive than the ones you normally fill-up with, then you should discount their value accordingly. -Frequent Miler

Buy and Resell?

If readers are wondering whether this might be a good enough deal to buy tickets from ScoreBig and resell them, use extreme caution. To prevent such reselling, they are not releasing my tickets until “late December” for a December 30th showing. Although their estimate may be conservative and I might get them sooner, at this point I have some concern that I’d be stuck without the option to sell If I can’t use these tickets for some reason.

This post was written by Anita, FM Lab Manger.  Anita actively researches new Extreme Stacking possibilities and maintains the Frequent Miler Laboratory page.
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