The Veteran Tickets Foundation, or VetTix for short, is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization started by two Gulf War veterans and the dependent of a Marine Corps veteran and is staffed almost exclusively by veterans and dependents. It offers donated tickets to servicemembers and honorably discharged veterans for free using a lotto system, as well as special discount codes that can be used save a few bucks. Tickets available vary but I’ve seen everything from opera to sports to comedy shows.
The site gives you the option to search available events by state. Once you find an event that interests you, you can click on the event and find out more details about the event as well as how many tickets have been donated and how many are still available. If the event lotto hasn’t opened yet, you can also see when it will open.
You can also choose to get notifications on events up to 210 miles from your home city (based on the zip code you enter when you sign up) and up to three other locations across the country. So, if you live in Iowa but are planning a trip to New York, you can get notified of any tickets in New York that may come open during your travel dates. Tickets tend to disappear almost as soon as the lotto opens so, when you see a new notification, you’ll want to act quickly if you want to have a chance of snagging any.
You enter a “lotto” drawing, by throwing in virtual coins. The more you want the event, the more coins you can put in. Coins are earned by keeping your account in good standing (2 coins per month) or by referring friends (15 coins per friend). They even make it easy to help you refer people, providing you with social media share buttons, e-mails, flyers, personalized VetTix business cards, or a referral URL, like this one I created: http://www.VetTix.org/ref/64125
You do have to sign up to access any tickets or discount information. Signing up is easy, though it does involve allowing VetTix to verify that you are actually a servicemember or veteran. For Active Duty members, you can sign up using your .mil account or provide a copy of your LES. Veterans can provide a copy of your DD-214 (long copy to show your character of discharge) or ID from a veterans organization (such as VFW). Surviving family members will need to provide a copy of the DD Form 1300 showing your name on the form. All individuals will also have to submit a copy of a government ID, such as a license. Social security numbers on all documentations can and should be blacked out before submitting the documents.
One thing to keep in mind before you start signing up for your free tickets – VetTix emphatically prohibits you from getting free tickets and then selling them. Also, all questions about tickets have to be directed to Vettix, not the venue/team/organization that the tickets are for. Violate these policies and your account can be suspended indefinitely.
Also, you don’t have to be in “take mode” to check out VetTix. As I mentioned, this is a non-profit so they rely on donations to keep this going. If you have tickets that you would be willing to donate or even a few bucks to help them purchase tickets, go ahead and contact them. You can also help with the “Hero’s Wish Program,” which attempts to fulfill a wish (recipients get one per lifetime) for Active Duty personnel within one month of a combat deployment (pre or post) or those home on R&R, severely wounded warriors, and surviving family members of servicemembers killed in action.
For those who might be curious, I verified that they are legit – beyond their 501(C)3 letter posted on their page, I confirmed it on the IRS webpage and Guide Star has given them a Gold-level rating for transparency. They are even Combined Federal Campaign donation eligible.
Note: In Sep, 2014 (about five or six months after I did my original post on VetTix) I had the opportunity to try out VetTix for myself. I had signed up for their newsletter and they notified me that there were free tickets (there was a $10 processing fee total) to a Jake Owen concert available for any vet who wanted to claim them, no lottery required. I claimed four and attended the concert. When I showed up, the tickets were waiting with a "Thank you for your service," label on the back and, while the seats where in the topmost level of the venue, they were absolutely great seats and the concert was incredibly enjoyable. So, I can now state from personal experience that VetTix does what they say and I had a great experience with them!
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