FAQ

WHAT IS DRAGON CON? WHAT ARE ETERNAL MEMBERS?

Dragon Con is the world’s best science fiction and pop culture convention. It takes place every in Atlanta, GA every year in September over labor day weekend. Eternal Members are people who have bought a lifetime membership to this event.Talk to Dragon Con Eternal Members at https://www.facebook.com/groups/DragonConEternalMembers or http://dragonconforums.org/eternal-members. Everyone is welcome, you don’t have to be a Dragon Con Eternal Member to join any of our online groups or participate in our fan meetups. We welcome anyone who wishes to learn more about the Eternal Membership.

BENEFITS OF A DRAGON CON ETERNAL MEMBERSHIP

  • Buy an Eternal Membership online or at the convention where you buy the regular badges.
  • This is a direct quote from the Dragon Con online store on September 21, 2021: “This membership grants you access to every Dragon Con from now until it no longer exists. Membership Badges are picked up in VIP Badge Pickup. Eternal members have a party on Thursday night before the show in the Guest Hospitality suite. You’ll also be eligible a member discount of 25% on all official Dragon Con merchandise sold at our Dragon Con stores at the convention. Membership also grants you access to other exclusive membership benefits with our partners and you’re eligible to subscribe to our member newsletter. Your membership badge may be picked up at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis in room L-503. Dragon Con memberships are non-refundable and non transferable. Dragon Con memberships cannot be transferred forward to the following year.”
  • ^ This line is obviously a mistake. “Dragon Con memberships cannot be transferred forward to the following year.” It was clearly copied and pasted from the text of the regular membership. Eternal Memberships certainly ARE transferable to the following year, that is the whole point!
What does the Eternal Membership NOT include?

Eternal Membership is NOT a VIP or gold level equivalent Membership. Unlike many other conventions, Dragon Con does not have tiered levels of membership. There are no special privileges with an Eternal Membership. There is no line cutting, special seating, or hotel room booking advantage. Yes, some Eternals do have a legacy host hotel room but they got it the same way everyone else did. People either get a host hotel room by playing the annual Hunger Games on various host hotel booking days. Or by performing painstaking rituals and making the proper sacrifices to the Old G-ds. ;)

Official information about hotel rooms can be found at https://www.dragoncon.org/travel/hotels. Unofficial information can be found in https://www.facebook.com/groups/DragonConRoomsGroup . This group has over 13,000 members who help each other. People use this group to get a hotel room, find roommates, ride shares, room swaps and more.

Where do Eternals gather?
Our Facebook fan group is at https://www.facebook.com/groups/DragonConEternalMembers. Fan meetups are being planned in the Facebook group. This is where you can have input and be the first to learn of new events. While events will be targeted to Eternals, Non-Eternals are welcome at all fan-run activities.

We can also be reached at http://dragonconforums.org/eternal-members and through the Contact page. All of these resources are fan-run and not affiliated with DragonCon.org.

How many Eternal Members are there?

Unknown. Dragon Con doesn’t release official numbers or membership information. However, this information was shared during the during the Closing Ceremonies panel on Monday, Sept 6, 2021. Rachel Reeves, a Co-Chair of Dragon Con (one of the people in charge), said that 68 Eternal Memberships had been sold in the past two years. I don’t know how many are normally sold in a year but that seems like a lot.

How much does an Eternal Membership cost?

As of Tuesday, September 21, 2021, the current price is $4,000. The Eternal Membership price increased from $3,500 to $4,000. It had been 706 days since the last price jump on Wednesday, October 16, 2019.

Since 2010 all price increases have been $500. The price of the Eternal Membership is subject to change at any time with no advance notice, read more details below. See past prices below.

How often do price increases happen?

There is no way to predict with the next price increase will happen. They are usually not announced ahead of time. Sometimes they have jumped right before or after the con. Read the end of this page for the history of membership prices at Dragon Con.

If I buy an Eternal Membership today when will I pay it off?

This is one of the most HEATED discussions about the Eternal Membership. How do you calculate it? Do you use the price you’d pay if you buy next year’s at this year’s convention? Do you use the at-the-door price? That is usually about twice as much. Do you include the cost of inflation? If so, how much? My best estimate is 15-20 years, depending on future price increases. This assumes the price for the regular membership only goes up by $5 or $10 every year. It could start to go up by more so you’d pay it off faster. Most other conventions of comparable size have been more expensive than Dragon Con for years.

Learn about the history of prices at Dragon Con at the bottom of this page.

Ticket prices for other conventions have been rising for years. Dragon Con may one day choose to raise their prices to be more in line with what other conventions are charging. There is no way to know what the future holds. If you compare what you get for the admission price, Dragon Con is the BEST deal out there. Just look at their schedule and you will see how they offer far more programming than other conventions!

Should I care about paying off the Eternal Membership?

I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not. Some people care, some don’t. Many years ago when the lines for badge pickup were 5+ hours on a Thursday (they were improved and are much shorter now) there were people bought the EM to save time.  There is a separate line for Eternals to pick up their badge. It is much shorter. All experienced Eternals know that the longest wait time will be if you go on Thursday as soon as badge pickup opens. Then it might be 15-20 minutes. If you wait 30 minutes there will be no line when you arrive. Everyone knows this. People choose to get in line early just to say hello to people they may not have seen in a year. It is a chance to reconnect with your fellow Eternals and hang out. There is no scheduling conflict because there are no panels happening that early in the morning. You can relax and chill.

A few have bought the EM as a way of supporting the convention. Yes, some people love it THAT much.

In my experience, the people who make a spreadsheet to do the math never end up buying the Eternal Membership. There are occasional posts on social media where people do a bunch of math and then conclude you should put your money in X investment vehicle to get a return of $Y over Z years instead of buying the EM. I have never understood why people do this. They never make a spreadsheet to say you shouldn’t get a host hotel room. Or buy autographs from the Walk of Fame. Or get photo ops with your favorite actors. But for some mysterious reason a few of the same people make very comprehensive spreadsheets every year that include charts. They loudly proclaim they will never buy the EM and here is why – “look at my chart below!”  Okay, whatever. Sounds to me like the sour grapes of people who could have afforded to buy the EM years ago, chose not to, regret that, and now spend their time making spreadsheets. * Old man yells at cloud GIF *

The EM not an investment vehicle. Neither is anything else in your entertainment budget. Sure, you can save tons of money by never going out and enjoying life.  We’ve all seen A Christmas Carol. Given a choice (which I fully acknowledge not everyone has), no one wants to be Ebenezer Scrooge. He’s supposed to be a cautionary tale, not #Goals.

My personal opinion is that the Eternal Membership was never supposed to immediately look like a good deal. If it did then lots of people would buy it and then eventually Dragon Con would lose money on the single-year sales.

Back when the Eternal Membership was $250 there were people saying it wasn’t worth it because it would take ten years to pay it off. Dragon Con was new and no one could guarantee that it would still be around in ten years. You could have been throwing your money away. There are people who could’ve bought it back then and chose not to. It was a lot of money to them at the time. While the math has definitely has changed over the years (no one would argue with that) the decision-making process has always remained the same. Are you interested in the Eternal Membership? Do you have the money to buy it? If so, are there other things you would rather spend it on? There are many people who will never be able to buy the Eternal Membership due to limited income. Or because they always have more important things to spend their money on. It has always been expensive. It always will be.

I believe the Eternal Membership is for risk-takers. It is a gamble that might not pay off. If you require a guaranteed Return on Investment then don’t buy it – the future is uncertain. No one knows the future. If we didn’t already know that before then 2020 taught us that lesson well.

Is the Eternal Membership worth spending your hard-earned money on? I don’t know. All I can do is provide information. And maybe some amusing stories. The decision is up to you.

What happens if Dragon Con starts limiting badge sales?

All Eternal Members will always be exempt. By definition they will always have a badge. There is no exact dollar figure that can be assigned to this but it definitely adds value! What do you think San Diego Comic Con, New York Comic Con, or any other large event would charge if they offered an Eternal Membership/ lifetime pass option? Probably a lot more than what Dragon Con is charging! Most conventions don’t even have an Eternal Membership or any kind of lifetime ticket option at all. This is part of what makes Dragon Con unique.

Dragon Con 2021 memberships were capped to 42,000 people. This was announced during a series of  online Town Hall videos that were live streamed in the months before con. Full weekend badges did not sell out in advance. To encourage social distancing, no memberships were sold onsite but they could be purchased online. No badges were mailed in advance, this is typical. They always need to be picked up in person at the convention. Single day memberships were available for Thursday, Friday, Sunday, and Monday. For the first time ever, no Saturday-only memberships were sold. None at all.

Before 2021, Dragon Con had never announced a membership cap in advance. They had never cut off the sales of full-weekend badges but they had capped sales of the single day tickets as needed. For example, Saturday only badges did reach their maximum in the years before 2020. I’ve heard this ususally happens later in the day and so far it does not seem to have affected many people. Starting in 2017 you could buy a Saturday-only badge somewhere outside near the parade. This was because many locals come for the parade, then buy a single day ticket. That did not happen in 2021 since no Saturday-only badges were sold. Also, for the first time everyone standing on the street to watch the parade was required to have a Dragon Con membership that was valid for Saturday. Since no Saturday-only badges were sold this means people had to have a full weekend badge – those include all 5 days.

What if I can’t go to Dragon Con every year? Are Eternal Memberships transferable?
No. Like regular memberships, Eternal Memberships are non-refundable and non-transferable.

Do Eternal Members need a separate ticket for Thursday?

No. In 2017 Dragon Con started requiring a separate Thursday ticket for $10 to get into official Dragon Con activities on that day. This only applied to people who did NOT have a four day badge. Eternal Members will never have to pay any more for their badge but the price of a Thursday badge may go up over time. In 2021 the price of a Thursday-only badge was $20.

A four-day badge started officially being called a five-day badge for the first time in 2018. Consult official Dragon Con resources for the latest news on Thursday-only ticket prices.

While full-weekend memberships are available online for the majority of the year (online sales will close shortly before the event), tickets for a single day may be added a few weeks before the convention. Memberships may also be available for purchase at the convention.

What if I’ve already paid for my regular membership? Can I upgrade to an Eternal Membership? Will they take that off the price of the Eternal Membership?
Yes. According to the Dragon Con office “Yes, you can upgrade your regular membership to an Eternal membership. We will back out your membership cost paid and apply the discount to the Eternal cost. We will not honor it after the show is concluded. It then becomes a new show year.” During the year contact office@dragoncon.org or use https://www.dragoncon.org/about/contact  Once you are at the con, ask a volunteer in registration as soon as possible.

For example, if the Eternal Membership is $4,000 and you’ve already paid $100 for your regular membership then you will be able to upgrade to the EM for $3,900. Always ask about this BEFORE you pay.

Please note that this is an unofficial fan website. Dragon Con can change their policies at any time. They are the final word on everything.

How do I buy an Eternal Membership before the con?

Purchase at  https://www.dragoncon.org/buy-now. The online store shuts down a couple of weeks before and after con. This is normal. Time is needed to do inventory and move the merchandise to and from the convention.

How do I buy an Eternal Membership at the con?

Go to the regular registration. Eternal Memberships can only be purchased in regular registration, not in the Eternal badge pick up area. After you buy your EM at regular registration then you are welcome to to go the Eternal badge pick up in the Marriott (or wherever the Eternal registration is if it ever gets moved) and pick up your free Eternal swag. You can also go to the Thursday night party for Eternals only. Eternal badges are checked at the door by security.

Where do Eternals pick up their badges?

Eternals get their own own registration line. The location has been in the Marriott for the past few years. The exact location used to be listed on the Eternal postcard and was also marked on maps in the printed Pocket Program and in the Dragon Con app. For 2020 and future years, the location will be shared via email with Eternals.

What does the an Eternal badge look like?

Starting in 2015 it became a full weekend badge with a stripe down the side that says “ETERNAL.” There used to be a peach ribbon that indicated Eternal status but in 2015 all ribbons for all membership types were replaced with colored stripes that are printed directly on the badges. The peach Eternal ribbon was replaced with a peach stripe with white “ETERNAL” lettering. From 2007-2014 Eternals got a peach-colored ribbon says “ETERNAL” in vertical gold lettering. Before 2006 it was a multi-color, gradient rainbow ribbon. For security reasons, the look of the badges is not shared in advance. It may be different in future years.

How were Eternal postcards different?
For Dragon Con 2021 all attendees were sent an email instead of a postcard. This is the postcard image that appeared in the emails sent to all Eternal Members. It was orange because that was the color of the final physical postcard in 2019. The square QR code will take you the Dragon Con app. It does not contain private information.
2021 Eternal postcard sent only via email - edited out party location

In August 2019 Dragon Con publicly announced via their social media that 2019 would be the final year for physical postcards. For 2020 and beyond, emails would be sent out instead of the postcards. Here is the is final postcard that was mailed to Eternal Members. The square QR code will take you the Dragon Con app. It does not contain private information.

2019 final Eternal postcard back - edited out party location

So that you can easily tell them apart, Eternal postcards were a different color than regular postcards. Regular postcards were blue for many years. Eternal postcards were be any color except blue. They could be a different color each year. The 2019 Eternal postcards were a yellowish orange. For 2017 and 2018 they were orange. In 2016 they were pink. For 2015 they were purple. Other past colors included white, tan, yellow, pink, and green. Sometimes the Eternal postcard was the same color two years in a row but not often.

Eternal postcards were sent out in one batch AFTER all the regular ones go out, usually sometime in December. They could also be sent at the same time as regular postcards, there was no way to know in advance. They had the location of the Thursday night party and Eternal badge pickup on the back side.

Here was the orange Eternal Membership postcard for 2018. Eternal postcards can be a different color each year. The color was never announced ahead of time. They kept us in suspense!

The square QR code will take you the Dragon Con app. It does not contain private information.

2017-11-10 18.49.02 cropped intense orange deleted party location

Hey, I know what you are thinking – no, you could not print this out and use it to get into Dragon Con forever! Just like regular members, there is a list of registered Eternal Members. Just having a postcard is not enough. You must be on the list. Nice try, though. Points for creativity. ;)

Below is a blue Regular Membership postcard for 2018. Regular postcards are always blue.  The square QR code will take you the Dragon Con app. It does not contain private information.

2018 blue postcard back colorized

What is the history of prices at Dragon Con?

This information on prices and price jumps was gathered from the memories of Eternal Members and past Dragon Con publications. The first year of Dragon Con was in 1987. So far I have not been able to find documentation from that far back. Here is what I have so far. If you have information you’d like to see added here, please contact me with your data.

In 1992 the Eternal Membership cost $250 and the price at the door was $35. Back then people were saying to themselves “Nah, I think I’ll skip buying the Eternal Membership. It is very expensive and will take too long to pay off. Besides, who knows if Dragon Con will be around in a few years or if I’ll want to keep going. Wow, that MC Hammer is sure talented. I bet he has staying power. And that Vanilla Ice is pretty cool too.” People still that today, except the part about MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice. ;)

Since the early 1990’s the price jumps have gone from $250 to $350 to $500 to $750 to $1,000 to $1,500 to $,2000 to $2,500 to $3,000 to $3,500 to $4,000. I may be missing a couple of the earliest price jumps in there somewhere, it is hard to find records from that far back. I know the price increases from $500 and up are accurate.

In 1997 the Eternal Membership was $500. Sometime in 2006 it became $750. In May of 2009 the Eternal Membership increased from $750 to $1,000. After this the jumps started happening by increments of $500 instead of the previous $250. Somewhere in 2011 it increased from $1,000 to $1,500. By July 2012 it was $2,000. This means it jumped $500 shortly before con. I don’t have any exact dates for any of these prices jumps. If you do, contact me with your information and I’ll be happy to add it here.

On Sept 30, 2014 the price went up  from $2,000 to $2,500 . This is the only time since 2003 I can recall a price jump being announced ahead of time.

There was a price jump from $2,500 to $3,000 on Wed, Sept 12, 2018 – less than a month after Dragon Con. There was no advance notification. It had been nearly four years since the last price increase. Do you want to get technical? Okay, it had been 1,444 days. That is 3 years, 49 weeks, and 6 days.

The price increased from $3,000 to $3,500 on Wednesday, October 16, 2019. This was 400 days since the last price jump.

The most recent price increase from $3,500 to $4,000 happened on Tuesday, September 21, 2021. It had been 706 days since the last price jump. On the same day (9/21/2021) the price of the regular membership went up from $85 to $100, this was a scheduled price increase. If you bought a regular membership at the con for the following year/2022 it was $90 ($85 + $5 GrowTix fee). The last day to get the cheapest price was 9/20/2021. Many years ago the only way to get cheapest price for the following year was to buy it at the convention. That hasn’t been true for many years. Now the lowest price remains available for about two weeks after the con before it goes up.

Since August of 2019 there has been a $5 GrowTix fee with all membership purchases. As of 9/21/2021 an Eternal Membership will now cost $4,005 and the regular membership will cost $105.

The price increase schedule for regular memberships can be found at https://www.dragoncon.org/about/membership-info. Price increases for the Eternal Membership can happen at any time with no notice. The EM price increase schedule has NEVER been mentioned on https://www.dragoncon.org/about/membership-info. Eternal Memberships might not have a price increase every year. As you can see from the chart below, sometimes the price stays the same for a while. I don’t recall the price ever being increased twice in one year but that doesn’t mean it will never happen.

As of 8-19-2019, all memberships are now purchased through GrowTix. All memberships now have an additional $5.00 fee. This was announced by the official Dragon Con social media accounts.

7-6-2020. Dragon Con 2020 cancelled, going virtual for 2020. All 2020 tickets will be rolled over to 2021. The advance price for 2021 tickets will start at $115. This was the price of tickets as of July 6, 2020, when the rollover policy was announced.

Year Advance
At the door
Eternal
1987 ? ?  ?
1988 25 30  ?
1989 25 30  ?
1990 ? ? ?
1991 22 30 ?
1992 22 35 250
1993 30 40 250
1994 30 45 250
1995 50 60 350
1996 45 60 350
1997 40 60 500
1998 30 60 500
1999 40 60 500
2000 40 75 500
2001 40 75 500
2002 45 75 500
2003 45 75 500
2004 45 85 500
2005 45 85 500
2006 45 85 750
2007 45 85 750
2008 50 90 750
2009 60 100 750
2010 60 100 1,000
2011 60 120 1,500
2012 60 120 2,000
2013 65 130 2,000
2014 75 130 2,000
2015 75 130 2,500
2016 80 130 2,500
2017 80 140 2,500
2018 85 140

2,500 to 3,000 on Wednesday, 9-12-2018.

2019 85 140

3,000 to 3,500 on Wednesday, 10-16-2019.

8-19-2019. All memberships are now purchased through www.GrowTix.com. A $5 processing fee will be applied to all memberships. This includes the Eternal Membership. Source: The official Dragon Con account at https://www.facebook.com/DragonConOfficial/photos/a.119223318805/10156617108808806 .

All prices listed below do NOT include the $5 GrowTix fee.

9-21-2021. When you include the GrowTix fee, Eternal Memberships now cost $4,005.

2020 Virtual 85 140

7-6-2020. Sales halted at $115

For a limited time people who did not rollover from 2019 could purchase a 2020 souvenir badge for $140, this would rollover to 2021.

2021 115

Due to the 2020 rollovers, the cheapest available price for a 2021 regular membership was $115.

140 3,500 to 4,000 on Tuesday, 9-21-2021.
2022 85 ? ?
2023 ? ? ?
2024 ? ? ?
2030 ? ? Austin Powers One Million Dollars

The price increase schedule for regular memberships can be found at https://www.dragoncon.org/about/membership-info. Price increases for the Eternal Membership can happen at any time with no notice. The EM price increase schedule has NEVER been mentioned on https://www.dragoncon.org/about/membership-info. Eternal Memberships might not have a price increase every year. Price jumps for the EM can happen at any time with no advance notification. In fact, this is normal. It is EXTREMELY rare that a price jump for the Eternal Membership is announced in advance.

Questions?
We are a fan group who loves Dragon Con but this website and associated fan group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/DragonConEternalMembers/ is not affiliated with www.DragonCon.org. We cannot answer questions on Dragon Con’s behalf. For information directly from Dragon Con staff, use https://www.dragoncon.org/about/contact/.