Are you a cinephile? Oh, I am. I definitely am. Summers are always the best time to hit the theaters. It gets you out of the sweltering heat and into a nice air-conditioned room for a couple of hours. A lot of times, that’s worth the $16. But to do that more than a few times a month, movies can become pretty expensive.
Well, someone out there created MoviePass. For around $30/month (I pay $34.99/month), you can see 1 movie every 24 hours. For people in NYC, the monthly membership pays for itself in a little over 2 movies a month.
I’ve been using Movie Pass for almost two years now and I love it. Everyone I know that is a member loves it! I’ve never had an issue with it. The way it works is you apply online for the membership, and they send you a MoviePass credit card which you will use to purchase your movies at the theater. This card can only be activated by checking into a 2D movie on the MoviePass app on your phone. You’ll have 30 minutes after checking into the movie to purchase the ticket. The app is what activates the MoviePass credit card for that movie ticket purchase.
The card only works for 2D movies. There are restrictions that you should familiarize yourself with, so read the fine print to learn how to get the most out of MoviePass. Follow the rules and you’ll have no problems enjoying this great membership.
If you go to the movies every week, this would be a perfect money-saving option for you. I try to go to the movies 2-3 times a week.
MoviePass is Only the Beginning of Savings
Make sure you sign up for movie rewards at each of the theaters you go to. Combined with the MoviePass, you’ll rack up rewards much faster.
For instance, I just recently renewed my AMC Stubs card for $12. Most people would kind of flinch and turn down paying $12 for a rewards card. To me, I’ve gotten my money back plus more.
They sent me an email recently saying that if I renewed now, I could get $5 to spend in my account, so I renewed and got $5 to use at concessions. I’ve also received other special offers via email that rewarded $5 to my account (so it pays to actually look at the emails they send).
Another great thing about AMC Stubs is that once or twice a year, they’ll give away free passes to a pre-screening of a movie. I try to go every year they do this. This year, it was Criminal.
Now here’s the trick to the savings with loyalty cards:
In order to get that first $10 rewards from AMC Stubs, you need to spend $100 at AMC. The cheapest way to do that is by using your MoviePass.
Using MoviePass, that’s $15.99/movie applied to the AMC Stubs card. In a little over 6 visits, that equates to a $10 reward added to your AMC Stubs account.
In order to get that $10 reward without MoviePass, you’d end up spending $100 out of pocket to get to that $10 reward. With MoviePass, it’s around $34.99 to get to that $10 reward by seeing 6 movies in one month. That’s a savings of $65. That is the cheapest way to get to those rewards without spending any extra money.
But of course, many people like to stop at concessions to get their popcorn or drink. Just make sure you are earning points with those purchases. Remember, order the size down, because with AMC Stubs, it is an automatic upgrade to the next size.
Regal Crown Club is FREE to sign up. They work on a point system. You get points for movies/concessions which you can later redeem on concessions, free tickets and other exclusive movie items. They reward you for becoming a frequent guest. The more you check in during the year, the more points you’ll be able to earn per movie.
So whatever theater you frequent, make sure you sign up for their loyalty card program. Free movie tickets and concessions are in your future.
The Rewards Don’t Stop There
My friends usually laugh when they see me pulling out all of these reward tickets and cards when we go to the movies. Last week, I not only got a free ticket to see “The Huntsman,” but I also got a free small popcorn. I don’t eat movie popcorn, so I gave the reward to my friend who was able to upgrade the small to a large for only $2. I still got points added to my account for that $2 upgrade.
The thing is…they have no idea that the savings and rewards doesn’t stop there for me. I get more points to use towards other rewards.
Are you a member of Disney Movie Rewards? If you see Disney movies, Star Wars movies, Marvel movies, or even buy them…you are missing out on extra points you could be using towards Disney/Star Wars/Marvel items, gift cards (Starbucks, etc.), trip vouchers (Delta Vacations), or even photo processing gift certificates. It’s completely free to join. You can use your qualified movie tickets and DVD/Blu-Ray purchases to get points to use towards rewards.
I spend the year racking up as many points as I can get. In November, I use the points to purchase gifts for children who would not have a Christmas if it weren’t for the generosity of strangers.
Sony Rewards is another rewards program. You can rack up points in a variety of ways (fast track to getting rewards is to apply for their credit card and earn points that way). The rewards? They have everything from DVDs/Blurays on up to TVs, cameras, film equipment, etc. You can even use the points towards Ultimate Rewards for concert tickets, etc. It’s free to sign up and to make it easier to register your points…there’s an app.
For those 3D and 4DX movies that cannot be purchased by using the MoviePass, purchase your tickets through Fandango. Make sure you’ve signed up for Fandango Rewards. While some may be lamenting the fees involved with purchasing your tickets through Fandango…hear me out. You’ll find that purchasing 4DX tickets will sell out very quickly. [If you have not tried out 4DX, it is a must. It is worth every single penny. It is an experience in and of itself. It’s like you are in the movie.]
I went to see Captain America: Civil War’s first showing, which in NYC, starts at 7PM the day before the actual release nationwide. That morning, there were only 5 seats available for the 4DX showing. I grabbed my ticket right then and there through Fandango. As far as getting points, because it was a Marvel film, Disney Movie Rewards is connected to the Fandango account, as well as the Regal Crown Card, so I don’t have to do anything extra after the movie to make sure I got my credits through the rewards programs. It was already taken care of.
Now, this is why I mention Fandango Rewards, I’m going to introduce you to an app called Fandango Now. You can rent, buy and stream movies through the Fandango Now app. Points from your Fandango VIP Rewards can be used towards a percentage off on your purchase at Fandango Now. You get points through your purchases at Fandango Now (no points are rewarded through buying tickets at Fandango.com).
Fandango Now is still new to me, so I’ll explain why I am suggesting this app. I use Cinema Now and Fandango Now to buy and rent movies. Fandango Now has offered a lower sale price than Cinema Now on rentals. Last week, the rentals for a variety of titles (many new and not on DVD yet) were $1.99 each. I took an AmEx gift card I had received and bought up a few of the titles and streamed it on my tablet.
The Good Dinosaur was available on Fandango Now, but not on Cinema Now. They had gotten the release before Cinema Now, so I got it through them. That’s where Fandango Now has a little bit of an edge over Cinema Now. You can view many movies before they hit DVD and before other streaming services get the titles.
Now, here’s the downside…The Good Dinosaur was not in Ultraviolet. That means that I can’t put the title in my Ultraviolet library to watch in other Ultraviolet friendly apps such as Cinema Now. That means you can only view the movie on the Fandango Now app.
Keep in mind that Fandango Now is limited in how it can be used. It will work on your mobile devices, tablets and computers. For televisions and streaming equipment, it only works on a few select devices. Make sure to look closely at whether your Smart TV or streaming equipment is supported. If it isn’t, you’ll only be able to watch your movie/TV show on your devices and computer…unless you get the electronics Fandango Now works with (I’m hoping this changes soon and they get more licensing deals with other platforms like Microsoft to use on Xbox One).
If you stream movies all of the time on your computer and devices, then this snafoo does not apply to you. When purchasing titles, if you want to add it to your Ultraviolet library, make sure the title says ULTRAVIOLET on it. If it does not, you will only be able to watch the movie through the app.
For those wanting to save money on a movie night, check between Fandango Now and other streaming movie apps. Check their sales. Movie night at home could only cost $1.99 for a family of four on a release that just left the theaters and hasn’t hit DVD yet. I like that Fandango Now has titles not yet released through other streaming services. For those cinephiles that can’t wait…Fandango Now may be your better option.
So what have you learned? MOVIEPASS. This is a membership that pays for itself if you are a cinephile that goes to the movies a lot. If you’re an occasional movie goer, this isn’t for you. If you go to the movies 3 or more times a month (or would like to go that many times), then this is the membership for you.
Use your movie reward cards to earn rewards towards concessions, movie tickets and other memorabilia. For me, I am always earning rewards to use at the concessions every month. Sometimes it is a free dinner!
Sign up for Disney Movie Rewards and Sony Rewards. You may think you’re not watching a Disney movie, but if you love Star Wars and Marvel, then you’re actually at a Disney movie! Earn points to use towards gift cards and merchandise!
For streaming services, try Fandango Now. With the Fandango VIP, you can redeem points to earn a percentage off on rentals/movies. Fandango Now has releases before most streaming services. So if you want to see a title that just left the theater, they are your best bet. Also, make sure to check the sales between all of the streaming apps before purchasing. You may end up finding a better deal!
I hope you found this informative. This is how I watch movies. I try to bleed as many rewards out of that movie ticket as I can. This is how you can watch movies frugally. You can keep that $34.99/month (or less, depending on the region where you live) in your entertainment budget and reap the rewards of the various programs out there that can net you free concessions, free movie tickets for friends/family, and exclusive entries into sweepstakes.
And in the summer heat…this could be your little relief every single day. Happy Movie Watching!