We recently saw one of the best shows in Las Vegas, “Michael Jackson: One” at Mandalay Bay, for free. The great news is you can, too.
You can actually see any Las Vegas show for free. You don’t have to be a high roller, a relative of a cast member or even an award-winning blogger. Ahem.
The trick to seeing a Las Vegas show for free is being given a ticket. How do you get someone to give you a ticket? It’s easier than you might think.
First, some context.
For any given performance of any Las Vegas show, there are tons of people with extra tickets. Why’s that? Several reasons. Some people in attendance are the aforementioned high rollers. They get perks from their casino host, including batches of tickets intended for friends and family. Other attendees have been given tickets as part of a hotel room package. The list goes on and on.
Of the hundreds of people with free tickets (or even tickets they’ve paid for, you don’t care how they got them), many have members of their party cancel at the last minute. That means lots of tickets will go to waste. And that’s where human nature kicks in, potentially to your benefit.
If someone’s seeing a Las Vegas show and has an extra ticket, they’ll feel guilty if the seat “goes to waste.” Even if a ticket didn’t cost them anything, it has a value, often several hundreds of dollars, and nobody likes throwing money away.
Also, everyone likes to feel important and generous. Giving a stranger a ticket accomplishes exactly that.
How do you make yourself the recipient of a show-goer’s generosity? Just follow our simple suggestions below and you could save hundreds of dollars on Las Vegas show tickets. Let’s do this thing.
1. Show up.
Our main strategy for getting a free ticket to a Las Vegas show is this: Show up. That’s right. Go to the show you’d like to see. Once there, head for the ticket office or lobby area outside the show.
2. Be flexible.
Remember, this method of seeing a show free isn’t guaranteed. You may or may not achieve the goal of being given a spare ticket. So, don’t get emotionally attached to seeing that particular show on that particular day. If you can, that’s great. If not, try again.
3. Be willing to fly solo.
Getting someone’s spare ticket isn’t too tough, but getting a pair of tickets, together or apart, is nearly impossible. Again, flexibility is key. You can try this as a couple, but be open to seeing the show in different parts of the theater, and talk through your options if only one ticket presents itself.
4. Look respectable.
This is key. If the theater has assigned seating, you’ll be seated near the person who gave you the ticket, as well as their companions and family members. That prospect might give someone pause. Don’t give them a reason to pause. Dress (and behave) like someone you’d like to sit next to at a Las Vegas show.
5. Smile and make eye contact.
There’s no formal way of giving one’s ticket away. People with spare tickets tend to scan a theater lobby to see what their options might be. If you’re outgoing, warm and friendly, they’re likely to make a beeline to you. They won’t want to miss the curtain going up, so the transaction is going to happen quickly. Smiles are the international symbol of “I’m not a stalker and I’d love your extra ticket!” Oh, and don’t flirt. It’s not worth the hassle of having a friendly transaction mistaken for a potential hook-up (or worse, solicitation of prostitution).
6. Do not offer compensation.
Here’s the twist. People are generous, but they aren’t typically dumb. In a moment of weakness, their magnanimity may turn to opportunism. You may get the question, “How much is this ticket worth to you?” Would it be an incredible deal to get a $200 ticket for $25? Sure. But that’s not the game we’re playing. We’re playing the free show ticket game. If someone implies you should pay them for their spare ticket, say, “I’m sorry, I can’t do that. It’s scalping and the hotel frowns on that. I’m happy to take a ticket off your hands, though. Maybe you can find someone to sell it to. If not, swing back around. I’d love to see the show.” Trust us, they’ll give you the ticket, free of charge.
That’s pretty much it.
There are probably steps you can take to lubricate the process, but in our most recent case, none were needed.
It’s possible you could write “Extra ticket?” on a cocktail napkin and hold it discreetly to facilitate the transaction.
You could also learn American Sign Language and hope a fellow theater-goer knows it as well.
You could watch for odd-numbered groups. More than likely they got an even number of tickets and somebody decided they’d rather play blackjack.
Another tip from our Facebook fan Joanne, who often gets comped tickets she gives away, “If I even get the hint you are looking to resell and not attend the show yourself, I will avoid you like the plague.”
Other than that, just be open to something amazing happening. It’s Las Vegas, after all. Our primary export is amazing.
When you get your ticket, don’t be shy about expressing your appreciation. You might even offer to get your benefactor a cocktail.
And someday, if you find you have a spare ticket to a Las Vegas show, pay it forward.
Questions? Comments? Success stories? We’d love to hear them.