Last Friday I did something I don’t usually do. I went to a movie. You will only find me sitting in a movie theater about once a year. Don’t get me wrong. I love the movies, in fact I like them a lot. I just don’t like the price. When a movie comes out that I actually want to see, I have a hard time spending that much money to go see it in the theater. I usually wait until it comes out on DVD and I watch it at home.
Me & my girlfriends went and saw “Me Before You,” and I absolutely loved it. In fact, as we were sitting in the theater with our legs raised on the comfy recliner seats, I thought to myself “why don’t I do this more often?” The truth is, I think a lot of people are missing out on a good time at the theatre simply because of the cost. Between the tickets, popcorn, a drink, and possibly dinner afterwards, the price to have a movie night can cost well over $100. Ouch!
You just can’t get the movie “experience” at home, and no matter how hard I try I can never make the popcorn at home as good as the theaters. So today, I am going to share with you some great ways to save money on movie tickets and the movie experience. We all deserve a movie night at the theatre, and I am not just talking about once a year!
Take Advantage of Early Bird Discounts
If you can make it to the movie before noon then you have a great chance of scoring some early bird discounts. At some theater chains you can get tickets for half the cost of an evening showing, and you will probably get better sitting as well. Afternoon shows before 5:00pm are discounted too, but the first showing of the day and all morning show times are usually the cheapest. Make sure you check with your local theater. Some have a specific weekday where they offer discounted ticket prices, but it varies by theatre. The prices and dates vary even within the same chain so make sure to give them a call about their specials.
Use the Rewards Programs
You can end up getting a ton free stuff if you decide to become a rewards member with your local theater. If you want to go or are already going to the movies a lot, then rewards programs are the way to go. Each theatre is different when it comes to the benefits and prices, so here is a little breakdown for some of the most popular chains.
- AMC Rewards: AMC Stubs ($5 bonus bucks for joining and/or renewing your membership)
Benefits: Free size upgrade on soda & drinks, no online ticket fees, $10 reward for every $100 you spend
What I love about the AMC Stubs reward program is that you don’t actually have to go to the movies to earn rewards. No sir! Give your membership reward number to family and friends and watch your rewards climb. Every time your friends and family go to the theater you can earn rewards without spending a dime.
- Regal Rewards: Regal Crown Club
Benefits: Earn 100 credits for every $1 you spend on concession and movie tickets (online included), unlimited credits & more credits earned if you visit frequently, spend your rewards on things that you actually want such as movie tickets, concessions, or online downloads.
The Regal Crown Club measures things in points. For example, a free movie ticket is 15,000 points. If you earn 100 points for every dollar you spend, you will need to spend $150 to receive a free movie ticket. So basically buy 15 tickets, get one free. This may seem like a lot, but since the program is free why not get some free points. Free popcorn or sodas is less points if you are looking for a way to save at the concession stand.
Don’t Forget About the Memberships You Already Have
If you are a Costco member or have AAA, then you can also save on movie tickets.
If you are a Costco member, now through 6/19/2016 you can score 4 $25 eGift Cards from movietickets.com for $74.99. That’s a $25 savings. If you are wanting to buy tickets in bulk, Costco is your best bet. If you go to Costco’s website, you will also find other great deals for buying movie tickets in bulk for specific theatres such as Regal & Cinemark. When I compared the current deals at Costco with a regular priced ticket, I found the total discount per ticket to be $4.02 for AMC and $3.99 for Cinemark. Not bad.
If you are a AAA member you can save up to 40% off on regular box-office prices. The discounts change frequently, so make sure to visit one of your AAA locations of check out the AAA website HERE.
Be on the look out for deals on Fandango.com, the online movie ticket seller. Sometimes you can find 2-for-1 movie ticket deals, or other discounted movie ticket prices. It’s always changing, but right now they are offering 10% off all gift card purchases of $50 or more.
Use Your Student & Military ID
You can almost always score a discount by presenting your student or military ID. This will usually save you a dollar or two, but it’s better than nothing.
Make sure to go to Regal’s website and enter your zip code under the “Find Tickets & Showtimes” section of their homepage. Find the theater you want to visit, and click on the theater name. Locate the movie you want and click “Gold Showtime.” This page will present you will all available prices and discounts.
With AMC, you have to go to their theater location search area here, type in your zip code and a list of theaters in your area will pop up. Select the theater, and then the movie you would like to see. You will see discounts and prices when you click on a show time.
Don’t Buy Your Tickets Online
Buying your movie tickets online might make things really convenient, but that convenience will cost you. Most online booking sites will charge you a fee to buy tickets online, so it’s always best to go a little early and buy the tickets from the actual box office.
For example, AMC charges a “convenience” fee to order tickets online. Currently that fee will cost you $1.42 per ticket. When you order tickets online you can find this fee located in the order summary which is found on the right side of the screen when you view your shopping cart. Also, they currently don’t accept refunds on any “convenience” fee. They will waive the fee during the checkout process if you have and enter your AMC Stubs membership number.
- Convenience fee @ Regal = $1.35 per ticket
- Convenience fee @ Cinemark = $1.25 (waived if paying with a gift card)
I definitely will be seeing more movies at the theater, and maybe I will even get an occasional popcorn with my new rewards program. Did you see “Me Before You?” What did you think? Did you need a whole box of tissues? I know, it’s so embarrassing – but so worth it! I loved it and will probably be buying it when it comes out on Blu-ray.
Now – go enjoy a movie (preferably the movie mentioned above)!