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Audience Rewards Points are a bit of an obscure way to get the highest value per point specifically on Broadway tickets, and they can be worth more than Amtrak points at times (sometimes 6 cents or even 20 cents each) and transfer at a 1:1 ratio from Amtrak if you have status with Amtrak or if you spend 25k in a year on the annual fee Amtrak credit card. 

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With theatre seats location is key. The Audience Rewards option is for the "Select Orchestra/Front Mezzanine" so the lowest option in the rear Mezzanine shouldn't be possible, meaning the lowest value would be $78. $78-$12=$66. $66/500=$.132, so 13.2 cents per point. Because the Amtrak cards get 1 Amtrak point per $ spent on general spending (& higher with other categories), that's a 13.2% return on general spending when redeemed for that high of value per point options.

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While I've seen better (i.e. a 2 or 3 bedroom suite or Aspen with Choice for the $+points rate when paid rates are around $1500 with Amtrak transferring 1:3 to Choice with the same restrictions for transfers as with Audience Rewards), a 13.2% return on general spending is pretty solid.

To see an example of what I'm talking about, here it is:

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So in the above example you're looking at 1499-180=1319. 1319/6000=.22, so 22% return per point, or if from general spending on Amtrak then converting to Choice points, 66% return on general spending. Rather than doing that though, as long as the caps on purchasing points aren't too limiting for you (& assuming you're able to grab them before they go), even better than that is a 3% cashback card in your first year (like with Alliant or possibly Discover miles if you can use the points for Daily Getaways with Choice) or even the annual Alliant 2.5% cashback card if you're not getting at least that in return from other cards or are low on cash then buying the points on the annual Daily Getaways sale assuming it's coming back for Choice at the same rates. Even 2.5% cashback (assuming Choice points purchased for half a cent each) would then yield 5x 22%, or 110% return on spend (on general spending), when getting that high of value per point as the Aspen option. There's better though than 3% cashback in the points world (i.e. Citi Double Cash + Citi Premier or Prestige) so if you have the $ & your spend justifies the annual fee it's better to not get a 3% cashback card.


Keep in mind with Aspen 3 negative factors:

1. The area is pricey

2. The availability is limited

3. Availability is even worse for points than for $ due to 100 day limits out on points reservations.

To find high values per point, I suggest sorting by the lowest number of required points for the $+points options.

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Keep in mind that the locations are limited. For instance, the Broadway play Hamilton recently came to Newport News, VA, but was not a possibility with Audience Rewards (at least it wasn't visible online). Also, more shows are available to earn points on (you can earn points when you spend on Broadway often) than to redeem on. Also, some points won't even be worth 2.5 cents per point (TPG valuation of Amtrak points) on certain shows and times, and in that case they would better be spent on Amtrak (although some would argue at least 3 cents including myself if you resolve to only put them on purchase when they would be worth that like almost all business class travel and most non-saver coach tickets)

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