Enjoy music festival season without breaking the bank


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The weather is warming up, and our social media feeds are filling up with announcements for some pretty wicked music lineups and pictures of glitter-covered folks with unicorn hair. That can only mean one thing — it’s festival season.

Whether you’re looking to rock out at Lollapalooza or catch some local bands at an indie festival, you can save money by making your purchases on a rewards credit card. Keep reading to learn about some of the best cards to use when planning for your music festival adventure.

Getting Started

First things first, let’s talk options. There are music festivals out there for every variety of taste. Here are a few details on some of the most popular, but there are lots of others to explore. Do some research on the kinds of music and/or performers you like to nail down your final choice.

Festival Name Location Timing Current Headliners Cost (General Admission)
Coachella Indio, California Mid-April Ariana Grande, Solange $429
Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas, Nevada Mid-May Afrojack, Diplo $379
Pitchfork Music Festival Union Park, Chicago July Tame Impala, Chaka Khan $75* (1-day pass), $175* (3-day pass)
Lollapalooza Grant Park, Chicago Early August Bruno Mars, Jack White $130 (1-day pass), $340 (4-day pass)
Austin City Limits Zilker Park, Austin October Shawn Mendes, Lil Wayne $105 (1-day pass), $260 (3-day pass)

*Prices are time sensitive. Check with vendor for most up-to-date cost.

Getting Tickets

Now that you know which festival you want to attend, it’s time to buy your tickets. Festivals often offer different package levels to accommodate your needs. You can buy tickets that only cover one day, or go all out and purchase packages that include lodging and VIP perks. Even better, there are actually credit cards out there that offer entertainment rewards for festival purchases that could be applied towards other expenses such as gas, food and lodging.

If you buy your festival tickets on VividSeats using the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card, you can get  8% cash back on your purchase. The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card is known for its dining and entertainment perks. It offers 4% cash back on general dining and entertainment purchases and 2% cash back at grocery stores. You’ll also earn 1% cash back on all other purchases. And as an added bonus, there’s a $300 cash back bonus if you spend $3000 in the first three months of opening your account.

Getting There

Now that you have your tickets sorted, it’s time to make some travel plans. While there are some great local festivals that you can probably check out, many of the big music festivals will require you to do some traveling. Whether you are choosing to fly or have an epic road trip with friends, make sure to pay for your travel in a way that makes the most of your money spent.

Air Travel

If you’ll be flying to get to your festival destination, consider paying for that travel with a travel rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. This card will give you an unlimited 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point for all other purchases. You also get trip cancellation and interruption insurance. And if that wasn’t enough, you get 60,000 bonus points if you spend $4000 within the first three months of opening your account. That is worth $750 of travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Road Trip

If you are playing the road warrior for your festival travel, you have a few more details to manage. Road trips often mean renting a car. And you will definitely have to think about gas and snacks. If you’re looking at a longer road trip, you may also be looking at overnight lodging. A great way to take care of these expenses and earn cash back along the way is to use a card like the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card. This card offers three rewards points for each dollar spent eating out, on gas station purchases, rideshares, transit and other travel-related expenses. Not to mention you can earn 20,000 bonus points in the first three months with the card if you spend $1000 — a cash redemption value of $200. 

Getting a Place

You’ve finally arrived and are ready to enjoy all the energy of the festival, but first you need to drop your stuff at the place you’re staying. Booking lodging ahead of time for festivals is key, as available rooms will fill up pretty quickly. While camping is an option that some go for, unpredictable weather and access to facilities is something to consider before setting up your tent. Whichever option you choose, you definitely want to prep ahead of time by making reservations for a space, be it a room or a campsite. Here are some tips for both lodging options.

Hotel Stay

A hotel stay will offer you the option of private quiet space to land after being in the energy of a festival day. You’ll also have a secure place to store your things and access to your own private bathroom. You’ll likely want to rent a car if you’re going with this option so you can come and go as you please. If you are going with your own transport, make sure you take care of a parking pass at the venue. And think about covering these expenses with a card like the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. Booking your hotel on this card on eligible purchases can earn you 10X miles per dollar spent (if you book and pay for your room at hotels.com/venture- ends January 2020), and you can earn 2X miles per dollar spent on other purchases with no cap on how many miles you can earn. These rewards miles are flexible can be redeemed at any hotel, car rental, or airline with no blackout dates.


While a hotel stay may offer you more privacy, sometimes the better option is to camp. You don’t have to worry about leaving the festival site or missing any of the good vibes. To have the most comfort in your camp, you’ll want to make sure you have a sturdy tent, a comfy sleeping bag and a rechargeable lamp. Depending on your access to charging sites, you may also want to have a battery pack with you. Make sure you check the weather for the weekend to possibly add portable fans, blankets or rain covers to your arsenal as needed. Take care of these purchases with a card like the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card. This card has no annual fee, 1.5% cash back on all purchases, and $150 cash back if you spend $500 in the first 3 months of opening the account.

Time to Party

You’re finally at the festival and ready to party. While you’re enjoying the music, also take the opportunity to check out the festival scene. Some festivals have restaurants on site where you can indulge your inner foodie between taking in the music and vibes. And be sure to leave yourself time to have a look at what the vendors have to offer. There will probably be some limited edition merch that will be a great memento from your festival fun.

While you may want to have a bit of cash on hand, using a credit card for purchases will streamline your pockets. Some festivals, like Coachella and Lollapalooza, have gone cashless. You can load up a wristband with credit or use Apple Pay or Android Pay to make all of your festival purchases. Make sure you link your rewards card of choice to your wristband or pay app to get the most out of your spending.

Bottom Line

Festival season is a good time, especially if you plan ahead. Book your flights ahead of time if you’re flying and take care of lodging reservations to secure a place that is comfy, close and secure. Keep a trusty rewards card on hand for making purchases during the festival, whether with a wristband, pay app or the old fashioned way. The best part? You can use your rewards points for the next festival on your calendar.