How does West Ham’s points system and away ticketing really work?

The West Ham United Supporters' Trust’s most read page on their website is about away tickets

Away ticketing is one of the most moaned about aspects of being a Hammers fan. The 3,000 away tickets are now hotly contested and issued based on the number of loyalty points West Ham fans have earned.

WHUST’s constantly updated database of the points required for away matches is our best read webpage. But it’s worth running though again how the points system and away ticketing works.

How do I get points?

Season ticket holders get one loyalty point for attending away league or cup matches, including Uefa competitions but not friendlies. You also get one point for attending home Uefa matches. You get two points for attending home domestic cup matches if you have opted into the home cup scheme as the club wants people to buy their season ticket seats for cup matches, rather than not attend or buy a cheaper seat knowing their own will still be free for them to sit in.

Where can I see my points?

You can see your points on the ticketing website, which is run by Ticketmaster. Click on your icon and you will see how many loyalty points you have. Click on ‘view account menu’ and ‘account history’ and you can select only ‘loyalty points’ from the drop-down menu. It’s worth checking, because the club sometimes erroneously fails to award due points.

Note: If applying for away tickets in a group, it will be the person with the least points who counts, not the fan with the most points.

How long do my points last?

Two seasons – last season and this. That means at the start of each season most of us have slightly fewer points than at the end of the previous season as those from two seasons ago have dropped off.

Do all clubs have the same system?

Most clubs have some form of points system, but they tend to work slightly differently. Some give higher rewards for away matches that involve long distances or where there is no available return train, for example. Others allow points to be retained for more than one season.

How many away tickets are there?

Big clubs allocate 3,000 away tickets for Premier League games. Smaller clubs allocate 10% of their capacity. Luton has the smallest allocation in the PL with 1,151, followed by Bournemouth with 1,318 – both early away games this season. The smallest away crowd in recent years was Wimbledon, with 675 away tickets. That wasn’t even enough for all West Ham’s away season ticket holders.

For FA Cup games the away allocation is 15%. That could give us 9,000 away tickets for big clubs – but would also mean 9,000 away fans in the Trevor Brooking stand when we’re at home.

How are away tickets allocated?

When there are 3,000 tickets, the club claims 90% are allocated to Bondholders and season ticket holders with 10% reserved for a ballot. But actually about 10% go to Club London members plus there are 60 given to the players and 30 for club VIPs and guests.

Bondholders get first choice. They take roughly 150 to 300. More buy the popular local matches but many don’t attend themselves, as ID is not checked. Next up are the dwindling band of away season ticket holders (no new ASTs are being sold). That’s about 650.

After that, it’s done on points. If there are still tickets left, they go to Claret Members and then on general sale. So far this season, Brighton and Villa sold out at 19 points. But in the past, Man City away in a midweek cup game failed to sell out even after going on general sale. For smaller allocations there is often no ballot.

How can I get away tickets with too few points?

Apply in the ballot, when there is one. That’s the official route and you should probably get at least one away game per season. You need to watch the main club website’s ticketing section for details of away games.

Unofficially, you may also buy an away ticket off someone who bought it to get the points but doesn’t want to, or can’t go, which are usually far-flung matches with late evening kick-offs. A few clubs are now checking the ID of away fans matches that of those sold the tickets, but not many.

My six foot seven 28-year-old son bought a child’s away ticket off a fan at Bournemouth earlier this season and got in.

Is the point system open to abuse?

Massively. People getting the points are not necessarily attending the match. Some buy tickets to games just so they have the points for the London matches and high-profile games. But that’s true of home games.

I have two season tickets. I might go with my daughter, wife, son or a mate, or any two of them might go without me. I can transfer my tickets within the club’s ticketing system or print them out and pass them on.

Many families and groups of friends use their season tickets in this way. But the limited number of away tickets and the large numbers who would like to go to certain away games makes it more contentious.

Why doesn’t the club do something about it?

Away tickets are an inconvenience to all clubs. They cannot price them above £30 when they could be selling seats to home fans for more than twice that. It’s also worth noting that the London Stadium has a capacity of about 4,000 seats more than West Ham is licensed to use.

If you have ticketing questions, use the WHUST contact page to ask our experts.

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