Metropolitan Museum $0 Guilt-Free Admission

Sure the Met can always be free, but can you go free, guilt-free?

“Two members of the Metropolitan Museum of Art have sued the museum, contending that it misleads the public into thinking that its admission fees – $25 for adults, and less for seniors and students – are mandatory and not simply suggested. (The museum’s original lease with the city specified that it had to be accessible free of charge several days of the week, but the museum says that changes in city policy in the 1970s allowed it to institute a voluntary admission fee.)”  New York Times, November 15, 2012.

When I lived in NYC in the 70s, the sign said “Pay what you wish, but you must pay something.”  Now the sign says “Recommended Admission $25.”  “Recommended” is in significantly smaller letters.  I was a tourist in NYC in January.  I paid the recommended $25.  Had I not paid, I would have felt guilty.  Tourists pay for things like museums.  But had I been able to avoid guilt, would I have liked to get in free?  Yes!

Bank of America has a way to get in free, guilt-free — a program called Museums on Us®.
  • “Each cardholder gets one free general admission to more than 150 museums nationwide.”   The card you need to be holding is any valid Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card.
  • “Offer valid the first full week-end (Sat. and Sun.) of the month.”   Watch out if you’re scheduling September or December, 2013, where “full week-end” means the offer applies on the week-end of the 7th and 8th, not Sunday the 1st and  Saturday the 7th.
  • “Photo ID must be presented.”  Forget about lending your BOA credit card to your neighbor.

Why do I say “guilt-free”?

I’ve not been in a coma for the last 5 years, so I’m pretty careful about reading the footnotes and fine print on any free offer from a bank.  Since the rules limit us to one general admission per card with photo ID, I’m betting Bank America is actually paying something for each admission.  I think you can be confident that the museum you visit is getting paid and you can enjoy guiltless museum pleasure.

Museums on Us® means one free admission at each of 150 museums nationwide.  In NYC, just hitting the majors — the Metropolitan, Whitney and Guggenheim — would rack up $65 in admission savings.


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