I must have seen that Citi Private Pass commercial two dozen times on TV. If you haven't seen it, you can see it on YouTube. It starts off with a guy getting dumped by his girl friend because he's too boring. It ends with him back stage of an Alicia Keys concert.
This is part of a new credit card trend. Instead of rewarding credit card customers with cash back or points, card issuers are rewarding customers with "special access" to entertainment events. The Wall Street Journal just published this article on this topic
, and it provides some insights:
For issuers, the events can be a more cost-effective way of drawing consumers than cash-back, miles and points programs, analysts say. The promotions also are designed to generate customer allegiance.
In summary, this "special access" is cheaper for the card issuers which means the credit card customers get back less money from the rewards. Appealing to people's emotions is often a good marketing strategy to increase profits, but it's rarely beneficial for the customers' wallets.