Are Presale Tickets Cheaper Than Regular Tickets

Going to concerts and big events is fun. But actually getting tickets? Not so much. Between sellouts in minutes and scalpers driving up prices, scoring seats at face value feels impossible.

That’s why presale ticket access seems so appealing. The promise of buying tickets ahead of the public sounds like a dream. But are presale tickets really cheaper than regular tickets? Or is it all hype?

This definitive guide will compare presale and regular ticket pricing in depth. You’ll learn:

  • What presale tickets are and how they work
  • If presales actually offer cheaper ticket prices
  • When it does and doesn’t pay to buy presale
  • How to get access to presale tickets
  • Whether presale seats are better than regular tickets
  • Pro tips for scoring the best ticket deals

After reading, you’ll know exactly when buying presale tickets makes sense and when you’re better off waiting for the regular sale.

What Are Presale Tickets?

Presale tickets give fans early access to purchase tickets before the general public can. They go on sale before the official on-sale date that regular tickets become available.

Access to presales is limited to specific groups tied to the event. This typically includes:

  • Fan club members
  • Customers of specific credit card companies
  • Users registered with ticket sellers like Ticketmaster
  • Email list subscribers of the venue or promoter

Buying presale tickets usually requires a special presale code or link emailed to eligible buyers. This code allows you to purchase tickets during the exclusive presale window before the mainstream on-sale.

The goal is to give super fans and loyal customers first dibs on seats as a perk. It also helps venues and artists create hype and lock in early ticket sales.

Are Presale Tickets Cheaper Than Regular Tickets?

This is the golden question – let’s dig into whether presale tickets really offer cheaper prices:

At Face Value Prices Are The Same

If you compare the initial ticket prices, there is no difference between presale and regular tickets. A $100 regular ticket will also be $100 if bought during presale.

Presale tickets are not discounted at face value just for being presale. Venues are not going to offer a special presale deal and undercut themselves.

So technically, presale does not equal cheaper!

Market Conditions Affect Final Pricing

Where presale tickets offer savings is avoiding price increases after public sales start.

For extremely high-demand events, prices often spike due to:

  • Low ticket availability selling out fast
  • Scalpers buying up tickets to resell at higher prices
  • Dynamic pricing algorithms raising prices automatically

By buying presale, you secure tickets at face value and sidestep inflated market rates.

On the flip side, low-demand events that don’t sell out may have regular tickets that cost less than presale:

  • Slow sales lead to last-minute price drops right before events
  • Venues run promotions and offer discounts to boost lagging sales
  • Waiting to buy at the box office can score below face value deals

So presale tickets costing less depends completely on demand and market conditions.

Should You Buy Presale vs Regular Tickets?

Since presales aren’t ubiquitously cheaper across the board, when does it make sense to buy presale versus wait?

Buy Presale For Sell Out Events

Snagging presale tickets is extremely advantageous for high-demand events you know will sell out quickly. This includes things like:

  • Major music tours like Taylor Swift or BTS
  • Sports playoffs and championships
  • Hit Broadway musicals like Hamilton
  • Festivals like Coachella or Lollapalooza

These events all see frenzied buying and plummeting ticket availability right after the on-sale.

Buying presale means locking in tickets at face value before scarcity shoots up resale prices. Even a $20 markup on a $100 ticket stings.

Presales allow true fans to avoid getting gouged after sellouts. That peace of mind is worth it.

Wait For General Sale When Demand Is Low

On the other hand, presale does not offer an innate advantage for events that have trouble selling out.

Most indie band club shows, third-tier sports games, and off-Broadway musicals are not hard sells. Plenty of tickets are available days or weeks later.

In these cases it pays to wait for the general on-sale:

  • Prices often drop as game time approaches if tickets are moving slowly. Last minute $20 cheap seats anyone?
  • Buying at the door scores unsold tickets below face value. Who doesn’t love a deep discount?
  • Sales and other promotions arise trying to unload tickets.

When an event is not in hot demand, save money by skipping presales.

How To Actually Get Presale Ticket Access?

Alright, presales seem great…but how does a regular Joe Schmo like you actually gain access to them?

Here are the best ways to get your hands on precious presale ticket codes:

Join Fan Clubs

Die-hard fan clubs offer some of the very first presale opportunities. Artists will reserve tickets specifically for true fans only.

Join an official fan club through the band’s website, label, or an authorized fan club provider. There is usually an annual membership fee of around $10-150+ to cover perks.

Once signed up, you will receive emails with presale links and codes as soon as new tours are announced.

Sign Up For Artist and Venue Email Lists

Venues and ticket sellers like Ticketmaster host their own presales for hot shows. Subscribe to their free email lists for presale ticket links sent right to your inbox.

Make sure to also follow your favorite bands on social media. Like Facebook pages and join email lists via their official site. Checking Instagram or Twitter leading up to concerts is another good way to find presale announcements.

Check Your Credit Card Offers

Major credit card companies like American Express and Citi often partner with ticket sellers to offer cardholder presales.

As a perk of membership, they provide exclusive presale windows to customers. Your normal credit card is the presale “code” to unlock them.

Check your card benefits guide or customer website for presale ticket offers.

Team Up For Group Presales

For very popular events, joining forces with other fans can improve presale odds.

Many ticket sellers like Ticketmaster host group presales when a certain ticket minimum is purchased together.

Team up with other fans to coordinate group buys during presale. This ensures everyone locks in tickets together.

Do Presale Tickets Have Better Seats?

Along with preferential pricing, presales are assumed to offer better seat location and quality. But is this really the case?

Unfortunately, there is no universal guarantee of better seats with presales. Availability depends on the specific event policies.

Some presales do reserve exceptional seats for fan club members or top credit card tiers. Special VIP packages are also common.

But for many presales, there is no seat quality advantage – it is a shared pool with normal tickets. You are not necessarily closer to the stage than late buyers.

That said, buying early does give you best pick among available seats before regular sales open up. Late buyers are left with slim pickings.

Overall there is some seat quality advantage to presales, but nothing is ensured beyond early access. Don’t buy presale tickets expecting front row seats by default.

Presale Pro Tips To Score The Best Deals

Now that you are a presale expert, here are some pro tips to lock in the best ticket deals:

  • Join multiple fan clubs and email lists to expand presale access
  • Follow artists, venues, and promoters on social media for first dibs on announcements
  • Target lower-fee credit cards. Avoid high-annual-fee cards just for presale perks.
  • Be ready to pounce instantly once presales open – codes go fast!
  • For high-demand events, don’t wait. Presale sellouts are common. Buy immediately.
  • Set Google Alerts for your favorite teams and bands to catch presale news.
  • Avoid buying presale just for the sake of it if regular sales will have plenty of tickets.
  • Weigh paying for fan club membership against the cost of buying scalped tickets after a sell out.

The Final Verdict: Should You Buy Presale Tickets?

Despite some myths that presale tickets are always cheaper or offer better seats, the reality is it depends on the specific event.

Buying presale when an event will clearly sell out fast is when you are most likely to score seats at a fair price. Avoiding mass scalping that ensues is the big value.

But for lower-profile events, waiting for regular discounts can make more sense than buying presale.

While presales don’t guarantee special perks beyond early timing, they remain your best shot at ticketing hot shows. At the very worst, you still lock in entry.

As long as you understand the nuances of presale versus regular pricing and set proper expectations, presales are usually a smart buy for fans.

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