Seeing Hamilton in Chicago for Cheap: Part 1 – Introduction and Planning

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Million Mile Secrets team member Jasmin visited Chicago with her 3 kids to see Hamilton – An American Musical.  And she did NOT wait months for tickets or pay a small fortune!

She’ll tell you how she traveled with her family to Chicago using miles, points, and credit card perks for an unforgettable weekend of Big Travel with Small Money!

Jasmin:   Thanks, D!  My children are huge Hamilton fans!  The soundtrack is in heavy rotation in our house, the kids know all the lyrics, and Lin-Manuel Miranda is their hero.

But tickets to the Hamilton productions in New York and Chicago are very hard to get.  Shows are sold months (or years) in advance, and ticket prices can be incredibly prohibitive.

Seeing Hamilton In Chicago For Cheap Part 1 Introduction And Planning

If You Want to See Hamilton – An American Musical, You’ll Normally Wait Months and Spend a LOT of Money

But with a bit of luck and the right credit cards, I was able to surprise the kids with tickets to Hamilton and a trip to Chicago as a Christmas gift – without breaking the bank.  I’ll explain how!

Seeing Hamilton in Chicago for Cheap Index

AMEX Platinum Cardholders Can Access Exclusive Hamilton Tickets

Link:   American Express Platinum Concierge

Link:   The Platinum Card® from American Express

Link:   The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

Link:   The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz

Sometimes catching the best deals are a matter of luck, and you find yourself planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip at the spur of the moment!

By chance, just before Christmas, I noticed The Points Guy posted that the AMEX Platinum Concierge released a block of Hamilton seats for American Express Platinum cardholders.  And they were selling at face value, for as little as $65 per ticket!

I have The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz, so quickly called the number on the back of my card.  And after waiting on hold for over an hour (I guess lots of folks had the same idea!), the concierge let me know there were still inexpensive seats left for shows in January and February.

Seeing Hamilton In Chicago For Cheap Part 1 Introduction And Planning

Tickets to Hamilton at the PrivateBank Theatre in Chicago Can Cost Hundreds of Dollars or More Through Ticket Resellers

I was able to get 4 balcony right center seats for the January 21, 2017, performance.  And the total cost (including taxes and fees) was $260!

To book a performance through the AMEX Platinum Concierge, call 800-525-3355, and use your AMEX Platinum card to pay for your ticket.  And there’s a limit of 4 tickets per cardholder.

The concierge said it could be a few weeks before the tickets were sent.  But they arrived by mail ~3 days after I bought them, in time for Christmas!

Seeing Hamilton In Chicago For Cheap Part 1 Introduction And Planning

What a Surprise! Those Are Little Tears of Happiness at Receiving Hamilton Tickets for Christmas!

After the initial squeals of glee and excitement settled down, the kids’ next questions were “Wait?  How are we getting there?  Can we fly Emirates First Class?” (Um, no.)  And, “Can we stay at a Hyatt?” (Yes!)

Picky customers, these kids!

Getting to Chicago

Link:   Best Ways to Use Airline Miles for Domestic Tickets

Chicago is a short (~1 to ~1.5 hour) flight from where we live in Western New York, and we can fly out of Buffalo or Rochester.

Because it’s a short-haul route, we had several options to book non-stop, cheap award seats in coach:

I prefer to save my American Airlines, British Airways, and United Airlines miles for international trips.  And Southwest cost the fewest number of points.

Although I no longer have the Companion Pass, I still have lots of Southwest points, including those from signing-up for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card card last year.

Plus, the kids enjoy the fun and sometimes goofy flight attendants on Southwest.  And you don’t have to pay to check a bag!

Seeing Hamilton In Chicago For Cheap Part 1 Introduction And Planning

The Kiddos LUV Southwest! And We Had One of the New Planes With a Re-Designed Cabin and Seats!

So I booked our Southwest flights right away.  In total, I spent 59,336 Southwest points and ~$45 in taxes and fees for 4 round-trip, non-stop tickets between Buffalo and Chicago (Midway) on Southwest.

Staying in Chicago

Link:   What’s the Best Hotel Card for US Travel?

Link:   Hyatt Regency Chicago

Link:   The Hyatt Credit Card

Like Daraius and Emily, my children and I love Hyatt hotels.  They’ve always exceeded our expectations, especially with employees who go above and beyond for the kids!

I had a free anniversary night in a category 1 to 4 Hyatt hotel from the Chase Hyatt card I wanted to use.  But, as a Diamond Elite member, I also had a Diamond Suite Upgrade which would expire soon.  So I set about finding a Hyatt in Chicago which fit the bill for a 2-night stay.

We chose the Hyatt Regency Chicago.  It’s a Hyatt category 4 hotel, right downtown, next to the river.  And walking distance from the L train and plenty of attractions.

Seeing Hamilton In Chicago For Cheap Part 1 Introduction And Planning

The Hyatt Regency Chicago Is Convenient to Many Attractions, Like the Chicago Riverwalk and Maggie Daley Park

The Hyatt Regency Chicago normally costs 15,000 Hyatt points per night.  But I wanted to use a Diamond Suite Upgrade, and reservations made with all points are NOT eligible for suite upgrades.  So I paid $149 + tax for one night, used my free anniversary night for the 2nd night, and asked very nicely if I could get apply the Diamond Suite upgrade to the anniversary night, too.

The Hyatt folks said there was no guarantee, but we got lucky and were upgraded to a junior suite both nights!

Note:   The excellent Chase Hyatt card is one of the handful of Chase travel cards you CAN still get even if you’ve opened 5+ cards in the past 24 months.

Activities in Chicago

The highlight of the trip was seeing Hamilton – An American Musical at the PrivateBank Theatre.  I’ll share more about it in a later post!

We crammed a lot of other activities into the 2-day trip, which included:

It was a whirlwind weekend, but one that won’t soon be forgotten!

Bottom Line

Million Mile Secrets team member Jasmin traveled to Chicago with her kids for a weekend getaway to see Hamilton – An American MusicalAnd she did it using miles, points, and credit card perks!

Stay tuned for the next installment, where she’ll review their Southwest flights and stay at the Hyatt Regency Chicago in a junior suite!

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One response to “Seeing Hamilton in Chicago for Cheap: Part 1 – Introduction and Planning

  1. Rise up! As a venerated General once said, “Flying to Chicago is easy, young family, getting tickets is harder.”

    Please keep me posted on any other opportunities to buy Hamilton tickets, because if given the chance,
    I AM NOT THROWING AWAY MY SHOT!