ATG Theatre is an organisation that looks after most of commercial theatres in the UK. They issue and sell tickets for most musicals and plays performing in the UK.
They also offer membership cards so theatre lovers can get discounts and perks.
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If you like going to the theatre, you may want to consider the ATG membership card as it could save you a lot of money. It’s a great way to get cheap theatre tickets, however it’s always down to: is it worth it for you?
This is exactly what this article is about. We will explain to you everything you need to know about the ATG Membership card and take some examples so you can determine whether the ATG member card is worth it or not!
What is the ATG theatre card and how much is it?
The ATG theatre card is a membership card that gives you access to discounts and perks in all 31 ATG theatres in the UK. It costs £35 if you choose the direct debit option or £45 if you pay with a credit card. There is also a premium option for £24 that includes the protection of all your tickets.
I’ve been debating for a long time before to get the card. Ultimately £35 is a fairly low price for a membership card but it’s not really what it is about, it’s always about making your money back at the bare minimum.
Also, it’s very hard to know if it’s going to be worth it or not as ATG doesn’t display publicly the discounts, you need to be a member to know what you’re going to get.
There aren’t any straightforward answers to the question is it worth it or not because it depends on the shows you want to see and how often you go. So I thought I would make my point by doing some calculations.
What do you get with the ATG member card?
First of all, let’s look at the actual perks:
– No booking fees (they depend on the show but it’s safe to assume they would be at least £1 per show)
– No transaction fees (£3.95 per show)
– Priority booking: this is important as it will not only give you access to the best seats but also to the cheapest seats at £13. It also comes handy when some popular shows are coming. For example, I got access to priority booking for the Lion King in Manchester (end of 2020) and it was a very good thing because most seats sold out within a few hours.
– Discounts (generally between £5 and £10 on selected seats (this discount is not available for the promise seats at £13)
– Up to 4 tickets per show
– Free cloakroom
There are more perks that come with the card but these are the ones that will actually make the difference money wise.
Please note that discounts aren’t available for all shows. Plays and musicals such as The Lion King, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Wicked won’t get discounted. No matter what you will always have the transaction fees off though.
With the premium membership, you will also get all your tickets protected which means you will get your money back if you can’t make it for a show!
Here is a summary of what is included in both memberships:
Examples of discounts with the ATG Member card
Here are a few shows I got discounts on in 2019 – 2020:
- Amelie: £15 instead of £25
- We will rock you: £10 off
- Book of Mormon: £10 off
- & Juliet: 50% off
- Dirty Dancing: 50% off
- Wicked (London): No booking fees
- Lion King (Manchester): No booking fees & Priority booking
- Back to the future: £10 off
For the sake of the calculation, I will assume that we are only getting the worst discounts, no booking fees and that you only use 1 ticket per show.
Let’s say you always get the cheaper seats at £13. The card will only knock off the £3.95 transaction fees which means that it will start to be worth it from your 9th show. So you need to go to the theatre at least 9 times per year (once every 6 weeks roughly) to make it worth it. 9 shows will be the bare minimum.
You go to the theatre more than 9 times a year? Then there is nothing to debate, just take it! You do not? Then let’s take a more realistic case.
It’s pretty safe to assume that you would go to the theatre with someone. As a normal case scenario, you would get 2 tickets with £5 off, no booking fees and no transaction fees. This is not even for very good seats. These would be for the cheapest seats excluding the promise seats. In that case, you would get £14.95 off per show which means that it only takes 3 shows to make it worth it.
So if you go to the theatre at least 3 times per year it will work out very well for you.
So, is the ATG membership card worth the money?
As a general thing I would say that to be 100% you’ll make your money back you need to go 5 times a year or every 2-3 months. If you are reading this article that means that you like going to the theatre enough to even consider taking the card so I’m sure you’ve already calculated that it’s probably going to be worth it. But as there is no guarantee there will be a good discount on the show you want to see, it’s always a bit hard to say yes or no to the question. It’s up to you to make your own calculation depending on the frequency and your tastes. I can’t give you an ideal answer but I guess it will still give you a good idea.
The discounts aren’t generally good enough to make you book something you wouldn’t have without the card, but they will save you quite a bit of money on tickets you would have bought anyway.
If you do like discovering new shows, you will be able to get better discounts. Sometimes you can get more than 50% off.
There are a lot of “2 for 1” offers too which means that you will get your money back way quicker if you go with someone else.
If you are a couple and always go to the theatre together, then it’s definitely worth it. You can book up to 4 tickets with your card. There is no need to take one card each.
If you go as a family, let’s say 4 people, it will only take 1 or 2 shows for you to get your money back!
What do I love about the ATG membership card?
I do love having an ATG Membership card. It took me a long time to get one but now I wouldn’t do without it.
Here is what I love about it:
- I save my fair share of money
- I go to the theatre more
- I enjoy the experience more (no stress to book thanks to the priority booking, cloakroom…)
- I get great discounts on some shows
- I get great discounts on weekday performances (Personally, I don’t particularly like going to the theatre on Saturdays, I like the atmosphere way better during the week. Discounts are way higher during the week, especially on Tuesday, which I find very convenient)
- I get better seats for the price of back seat
What is the ATG Member card not good at?
That’s the thing with the ATG member card: depending on your situation it can be well worth it or not! I want to make sure you know everything about it so you know whether it would be a good investment for you or not!
Here is a list of things that the ATG Member card is not great for:
- Discounts in London Theatres: unfortunately most of theatres in London (or at least West End) won’t give any discounts with the cards. If you live in Manchester or Birmingham though, you’ll get plenty!
- Discounts for performances on saturday nights. You can get some amazing discounts during the week but it’s true that it’s generally more difficult to get some for performances on the weekend.
- All shows don’t have discounts especially the most famous shows such as Lion King, Wicked…
It’s hard to tell if it would be worth taking the card as a general thing. It really depends on you and how often you go to the theatre. But, if you go more than 4 times a year, it will save you money for sure and you might end up going more often to take full advantage of the offers.
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