March 21, 2018

Loyalty Milestone Changes

Friday is the deadline for Wizards season ticket holders to renew their season tickets for the 2018-2019 NBA season. If you are coming up on a multiple of five years as a season ticket holder, I'm sure you are looking forward to your anniversary milestone, just like I am with my 20th next year. might want to check that your milestone rewards are still what you thought they were. They've changed from when I wrote about these and ranked them two years ago. Most are better. But some...well, read on.

Way back in the first half of the aughts, the Wizards invented an anniversary rewards program which rewarded season ticket holders for every five years of buying season tickets. The program got instituted right before my fifth year as a season ticket holder and since then I've enjoyed the program with emotions ranging from complete indifference to genuinely feeling appreciated. I wrote about what I consider the best reward in my 15th season when I got to treat a bunch of my friends to a catered game in a Verizon Center suite for free. That was pretty awesome.

So what's changed? Take a look. I'll list each of the new rewards with the old reward below it for the same milestone and then some of my as always super valuable commentary.

5 Years: Private Reception with Wizards Management and Special Guests
Former Reward: Exactly the Same Thing

So nothing's changed at the five year milestone. You get a reception of sorts I assume somewhere in the Capital One Arena (ours was in what is now the PwC Club) with probably Ernie Grunfeld, maybe Tommy Sheppard and at least one player. I know Kelly Oubre, Jr. was there this season because I know someone who is celebrating her five year milestone this year and I got a picture of Kelly hugging her texted to me during a game. Our special guest was Gilbert Arenas. But Gilbert never showed, alleging a flat tire. So I got some snacks in the arena on an off night for my five year reward. Cool.

10 Years: Trip to Philadelphia for 76ers vs. Wizards Away Game
Former Reward: Member's Name Displayed on the Wizards Wall of Fame

In my ranking of rewards two years ago, I rated the 10 year reward, which at that time was your name on a wall, as having absolutely no value whatsoever. The Wizards must have figured that out too because they ditched it for a trip to Philly to see the Wiz take on the 76ers. This is a huge upgrade. This trip used to be the 20 year milestone reward so moving this thing up 10 years and losing the name-on-the-wall thing is definitely the right thing to do. Only problem is...we'll get to it.

15 Years: Lexus Level Suite for Wizards Game
Former Reward: Exactly the Same Thing

If you are anywhere close to your 15 year anniversary as a Wizards season ticket holder, please don't cancel. This experience was and I'm sure still is fantastic. I devoted a whole blog post to it three years ago that's linked above. Do this and then quit if you can't afford tickets any more.

20 Years: Roundtrip Car Service to Wizards Game and Dinner Pre-Game
Fomer Reward: Trip to an Eastern Conference Away Game

I can't tell you how much I was looking forward to my 20 year milestone. My friend Mike and I were pretty pumped about getting on a Wizards party bus and heading up to the City of Brotherly Love for a game at Wells Fargo. We've even talked about the importance of making it to 20 so we could cash in on this reward.

And then they moved the trip to the 10 year mark, an anniversary for which I received my name on a wall which now comes just for free. It's replaced by roundtrip car service to a home game (I'm assuming the game's not in Philly but that would be even better than a bus trip) and dinner pre-game. Are you kidding me? I get cheated on my five year anniversary by an Arenas no show, now I feel I got cheated on my 10 year anniversary and I'm now looking forward to something less enthusiastically for my 20 year reward? I'm furious about this. Can't tell you how disappointed I am. The Wizards should let people in my class (and similar) get both this reward and get on the bus to Pennsylvania when we hit 20.

Just a note here: the former 20 year reward was a trip to an Eastern Conference away game, but I know the most frequent destination was Philadelphia so I'm considering the former 20 year reward as the 10 year reward. I still can't believe this is happening.

25 Years: DC12 Club Wine Club Subscription
Former Reward: Participate in the Pre-Game Captain's Meeting at a Pre-Selected Home Game

Finally, someone saw the light of day and the absolute absurdity in rewarding 25 years as a season ticket holder by having your photo taken at half court in an experience that lasts about maybe a minute. 25 years and thousands upon thousands of dollars for a quick pic with Marcin Gortat and whomever the other team sends to center court? No thanks. The new reward (and who knew there was such a thing) is a DC12 Club Wine Club Subscription. I'm assuming this is valuable and not just a couple of $10 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc from Safeway or Trader Joe's. Maybe I'll find out someday.

As an aside here, my friend Mike offered the opinion that the former reward was better. It's not but he doesn't drink wine. If it were a year's worth of Bud Light, he'd feel the way I feel about this. I hope I'm not too optimistic. Again, maybe I'll find out someday.

Just in case I offended anyone, I get wine at Safeway and Trader Joe's all the time. I'll take it. Just hoping for something different is all.

30 Years: Dinner Reception with Members of Coaching Staff
Former Reward: Two Tickets to the Owner's Suite for a Pre-Selected Wizards Game

Honestly, I'd rather have the old reward, although there might be a problem since there's not really an owners' suite anymore because Ted and Co. sit downstairs courtside while Abe Pollin (who instituted the rewards program) had a box at the top of Section 101 with a private elevator to the garage below. The only thing that could make the new reward comparable to the former anniversary milestone would be if the dinner was private (i.e. just you). If it's in a group, isn't it the same as the five year reward but without players?

If they wanted to make this really special, they'd give two of the Owner's Seats courtside to the folks sticking it out for 30 years. Just saying. I've done about everything I've wanted to do as a Wizards fan short of watching the team succeed more except sit courtside. It's just way too expensive.

The view of the court for our 15 year suite game; of course the Wizards lost to Brooklyn.
35 Years: Roundtrip Limo to Wizards Game and Lexus Level Suite
Former Reward: Exactly the Same Thing

This reward stuck and for good reason. If it's cool to get a suite for you and your friends, it's even cooler to get a limo ride there and back. I'm never making this one, but I want this.

40 Years: Overnight Trip to a Pre-Selected Wizards Away Game
Former Reward: Exactly the Same Thing

Two rewards in a row are the same as they used to be. I guess when you get this high up on the season ticket holder tree, there's only so much you can hand out. I'd do this. Heck, I do it almost every year on my own. This is worth something, especially if you've never taken a road trip. Hopefully, it's not a trip to Philly.

Vegas, baby!!
45 Years: Two-Night Trip to Las Vegas for NBA Summer League
Former Reward: On-Court Recognition and Choice of Overnight Trip to an Away Game or Trip to an Eastern Conference Away Game

Who doesn't love Vegas? I'd head to the desert for a couple of days of Summer League on the Wizards' dime, even if it's way way more crowded than it was when I started going there in 2007.  I'm hoping the team puts you in a nice hotel and not at the Excalibur where we pretty much always stay. This reward (which used to be the 50 year reward) is an enormous upgrade over the former reward, which was essentially the former unappreciative 25 year reward combined with the 40 year reward. Or in other words, you'd get pretty much the exact same thing for 40 and 45 years.

50 Years: Overnight Trip to Choice of Wizards Road Game 
Former Reward: Trip to Las Vegas for Summer League

If you make it to 50 years, they should take you to EVERY road game or as many as you want. Heck you have to be retired at this point, right, so fitting every road game into your schedule shouldn't be difficult. I assume you get to pick. I'd probably go somewhere expensive to get to, like Sacramento or something. Maybe Sacto's a bit sleepy but after 50 years as a Wizards season ticket holder you probably need sleepy. As an aside here, there are no current 50 year season ticket holders. According to the names on the court at Capital One Arena, the earliest season ticket holders date from 1970.

So that's the scoop! Coming up on 10 or 25 years? You ought to be thrilled. If you are near the 20 year mark, I'll meet you at the Budweiser Brewhouse before a game some time and commiserate over a beer or two. Ask Roxy at the back bar to point you in my direction. I can talk for a good 10 to 20 minutes on that subject. I'd love for the Wizards to take me up on my suggestion and offer the 10 year reward on a grandfathered basis in addition to the new 20 year reward. Consider it, Wizards. Please!

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