Friday, 19 October 2012

Cinema Membership Cards: they really do make sense

Just a quick Weekend Warrior post from me this Friday about membership cards for cinemas.  This post is mainly aimed at Australian consumers however I have no doubt that such cards and deals exist in other countries as well.

For years teenagers manning the ticket booths and candy store at cinemas had been asking me if I wanted to sign up for either the Village Movie Card or Hoyts Rewards Card.  I always used to think these were at best a pointless addition to the already overflowing number of cards that I had in my wallet.  However I must admit that recently I have really discovered how good value they really are.

Why do I think it is really worth having at least one of these cards?

I will use the Hoyts Rewards Card as an example.  It costs $10 to purchase the card and with this you get one free adult movie ticket.  Given that most adult movies are $17 - $21 depending on the movie and whether it is 3-D this is like buying a discount card which is what convinced me to buy the card in the first place.  So straight away you are getting value.

Then for every dollar you spend either on buying movie tickets or at the candy store on popcorn and drinks you accumulate more points (note that I have not worked out how the points accumulation thing works).  When you have enough points you can redeem it for a free movie.  I admit that I was very sceptical of ever being able to get a free movie out of these cards however it didn't take too long for the pimply teenager behind the counter to let me know that I had a free ticket available on my card.  This is a benefit that you really do receive.

One of the best things though, and one benefit I had no idea about when I signed up for the card, was that they have these 'movie of the week' and pre-screenings available for members only.  The movie of the week takes one movie each week and makes it $10 a ticket for members.  Again given the price of most full price tickets - this is a STEAL.  The pre-screenings are also great because you can see blockbuster movies in advance of the general release date.  This is one of the best (not often advertised) feature of the card.

Do I need to go to the movies often to make these cards worthwhile?

Not really - while I like going to the cinema to what films I am not a huge movie buff.  I may see a movie once every 3 - 4 weeks and I still find that I get great value out of the card.  If you go and see films more often then this can save you some serious money.

How do I get best value out of the cards

I found the best way to get value from the cards is to sign up for the email notifications of when the discount movies are and to book your movies through the online booking system - you can then see what rewards you are eligible for and whether it is worth seeing a different movie that week (as well as not having to wait in the line)

I also recommend having only one membership card and going to one chain of cinemas.  This is not always possible however you really do get the best value if you accumulate points only on one card.  I chose Hoyts because it is the cinema closest to me.

Do you have any other ways you save money when going out to the cinemas?  If so please post below.

Usual disclaimer: I get nothing for promoting these products - I just think they are great value

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