Can You Upgrade Concert Tickets At Venue

Have you ever scored tickets to see your favorite musician or band live, only to find your seats aren’t quite as close to the action as you had hoped? You’re not alone. While just getting passes to popular shows can feel like a coup these days, that initial excitement may morph into disappointment upon realizing you’ll be squinting at the stage from the rafters.

But before resigning yourself to lackluster views, know that you may have options to upgrade your concert tickets when you arrive at the event venue. While landing last-minute seat improvements is never guaranteed, under certain circumstances you can sometimes snag better spots by paying an upcharge.

This article provides tips on whether and how to upgrade to better concert seats when you roll up to the site. We’ll cover upgrade and exchange policies, costs, best practices to boost your chances, what to do if you can’t upgrade, and more. Read on to maximize your odds of scoring the prime seating you deserve to see your favorite acts up close.

Checking Ticketmaster’s Upgrade and Exchange Policies

As the largest ticket marketplace worldwide, Ticketmaster facilitates sales for a huge portion of live entertainment events. So there’s a good chance your passes came from them. The good news is that Ticketmaster does allow ticket exchanges under select circumstances.

You may exchange your tickets for better seats in the same venue if:

  • You purchased tickets directly from Ticketmaster originally
  • Your order confirmation code is formatted properly
  • The tickets weren’t obtained via transfer, resale, or a third-party
  • The order doesn’t have non-refundable items like merchandise

Additionally, there are logistical requirements surrounding timing and costs:

  • Requests must be made at least 24 hours in advance for most events, sometimes 48-72 hours depending on the show
  • Your new tickets must be the same price or higher than what you originally paid
  • In most cases, the exchange must be for the same event, venue, and date

If you meet the above upgrade criteria, you can submit an exchange request via Ticketmaster’s Fan Support. Note that even if requirements are met, upgrades aren’t guaranteed. And additional fees apply.

Requesting Same-Day Upgrades at the Box Office

While Ticketmaster’s policy precludes extremely last-minute exchanges directly through their site, some venues will allow upgrade requests on the day of the event when you arrive in person.

Rules and availability vary widely in these situations based on factors like:

  • How high-demand the performance is
  • If the box office still has tickets left to sell
  • The general flexibility of that venue’s management

Fans report occasional success scoring same-day upgrades at iconic venues like Madison Square Garden in New York and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. However, other establishments like Radio City Music Hall explicitly forbid any ticket changes post-purchase.

Before trekking to the box office to plead your case, check the venue’s website and call their customer service line to feel out policies. If they do allow same-day upgrades pending availability, arrive early on show day to boost your chances. Expect to pay the cost difference plus fees immediately if approved.

Managing Expectations: Upgrades Aren’t Guaranteed

While scoring seat enhancements at box offices does transpire in isolated instances, it’s important to temper expectations. Last-minute upgrades are more exception than norm.

Availability depends entirely on whether the event sold out. If so, there will likely be no wiggle room or empty seats to shift into. Usher staffing levels also impact matters—having ample personnel to verify seat changes reduces fraud risk.

Furthermore, box office representatives can’t necessarily approve every upgrade ask on the spot. They may have to check with managers and security teams, who could still deny requests deemed logistically troublesome or unfair to other guests.

So by all means, politely inquire about better seats when on site. But go in realizing you may need to enjoy the show from your originally purchased spots, and that’s perfectly alright too!

How Much Do Last-Minute Upgrades Usually Cost?

If your upgrade gets the green light, another key question is: how much will it set you back? Well, like most aspects of the concert ticket world, costs vary dramatically. Factors like show popularity, seat location quality, and pure luck come into play.

That said, to snag upgrades fans report typically paying anywhere from $20 to $200 extra per pass. You must also cover applicable exchange fees. These generally run around $10-15 per ticket.

Of course, if you’re moving from cheap nosebleed seats to VIP status right next to the stage, expect to shell out much more. The good news is you’ll already know the exact upgrade investment being requested before committing, allowing you to weigh just how badly you want that view.

Strategies to Increase Your Odds of Getting that Upgrade

Beyond verifying the event allows upgrades and having money to spend, a few other pointers can boost success chances when seeking a last-minute seat change:

  • Come early: Give yourself lots of lead time in case inquiries require phone calls, security checks by staff, etc.
  • Ask politely: Box office reps respond best to friendly upgrade requests rather than demands.
  • Have your payment ready: If approved, be ready to cover new ticket costs plus fees immediately.
  • Aim modestly: Requests to move just slightly closer often have better odds than wanting to jump from the rafters to the pit.
  • Don’t take rejections personally: Staff have procedures to follow. If not possible, enjoy where you are.

While upgrades aren’t ever assured, following these etiquette strategies gives you your best shot at scoring seats with better sightlines.

What to Do If You Can’t Get an Upgrade

Despite your politeness and prepared payment methods, you may need to accept that a last-second ticket upgrade simply isn’t in the cards. What then?

First, don’t let disappointment dampen your evening. The show will still be amazing from any vantage point in the venue. Focus instead on the music and enjoy bonding with other fans around you.

You can also see if nearby guests with preferable spots might permit you to swap seats for a song or two. Many concert-goers pay the experience forward and agree to quick change-ups.

Finally, consider arriving super early to wait in line the next time that artist tours. Devoted fans at the front often wind up with great seats for their dedication.

Enjoying the Show No Matter Where You Sit

While closer seats can provide special intimacy with beloved acts, there’s also something to be said for taking in a show from various house perspectives.

Fans bond and vibe everywhere from the rafters to the pit. Where you ultimately wind up won’t limit amazing memories made. In fact, sometimes ticket upgrades can introduce stress that diminishes enjoyment.

So try to embrace wherever you’re seated when the lights go down. Get caught up in the music you’ve come to hear. With the right attitude, any spot allows experiencing incredible concerts to the fullest.

At the end of the day, reward yourself for securing tickets at all amid chaotic demand. If upgrades come through, bonus! If not, breathe and have fun. The only “bad seat” is an empty one where you miss out entirely.

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