But with no pre-season heads up, the Nationals front office for the 2013 season significantly diluted the Red Carpet Rewards program. The number of points needed to buy extra benefits increased dramatically. For example, a Saturday game against the Philadelphia Phillies on May 25th would cost 1,000 Red Carpet points for a field MVP or club seat, which is 10 times what the cost would have been last year. The Nationals also shortened the window in which you can redeem tickets ahead of time to one month; last year you could use points to buy a ticket for any game in the season.
Nationals fans are crying foul.
“With no announcement or heads up, they upped the redemption levels to the point where your rewards were cut by about 80 percent,” said Tom Snedeker, a local businessman who has owned season tickets every year since the team arrived in Washington from Montreal in 2005. “It’s kind of a slap in the face for those of us who have had season tickets since day one and supported the team through all the lean years.”
The program was particularly loved by fans who would buy a full season and use points to buy tickets for friends and family, or to buy better seats to watch some games up close.
Over the winter I considered going in on season tickets with a friend, in significant part based on how great the Red Carpet Rewards program had been. Now I’m very glad I equivocated too long and missed out on the seats I was thinking about.
I won’t attempt to guess what the team is thinking here (or with its change to the rainout ticket policy), but the net effect is that its most passionate fans bear the brunt, while casual fans benefit. That may be (probably is) smart business, but it’s a bummer. And it’ll keep me buying my tickets a la carte on Stubhub rather than a season at a time direct from the Nats.