The Best Ways to Save Money On Movie Tickets

A tub of popcorn spills over, the popcorn turns into a dollar sign.
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Movies theaters are overpriced. And while you can choose to avoid expensive concessions, they’ll always find a way to screw you with the ticket. Thankfully, there are a million different ways to save on movie theater tickets, even if you’re just a casual moviegoer.

Join a Loyalty Program

Popular theater companies like AMCRegal, and Cinemark all have their own loyalty programs, which come with discounted tickets, free concession upgrades, and point systems that reward you over time. These loyalty programs are the easiest and best way to save money buying tickets, and they work whether you buy tickets online or at the door.

Rewards programs are a no-brainer, even for casual moviegoers. But if you want to take things a step further, then you should check out AMC Stubs A-List. For a $20 monthly fee, A-List members get to watch three free movies a week (in any format, like Dolby or IMAX), along with all the usual AMC Stubs perks. (Sadly, A-List only allows one free ticket per showing. You can’t use your extra free tickets on your kids, for example.)

Regional theaters, like MarcusHarkins, and Cineplex, also have loyalty programs. And of course, you could sign up for Fandango’s VIP program to save money on any theater’s tickets.

Buy Bulk Movie Tickets at Costco or Other Wholesalers

A group of friends clap at the movie theater.
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CostcoSam’s ClubBJ’s, and other wholesalers sell bulk packs of movie tickets at a discounted rate. These tickets are digital, redeemable for any movie, and they don’t expire.

If you aren’t a member of any wholesale clubs, then you could always buy bulk tickets through Amazon. The savings aren’t as good, but hey, it’s better than nothing.

Buy Through Groupon or LivingSocial

Before you buy tickets for a group, check Groupon and LivingSocial for movie theater deals. It takes two seconds, and if you’re lucky, then you could shave a good $10 or $15 off your trip. Plus, Groupon regularly covers for convenience fees, so you’ll save $2 per ticket on top of whatever discount you get.

Of course, if convenience fees are your issue, then you could always buy your tickets at the door.

Skip Convenience Fees, Buy at The Door

A theater doorman hands out tickets to customers.
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Online vendors often charge a $2 “convenience fee” for each of their fancy digital tickets. And while $2 doesn’t sound like much, it can add up pretty fast. If you want to avoid those pesky convenience fees, then just buy your tickets at the door. Most theaters have kiosks, so you don’t have to wait in line or interact with a human being while buying tickets.

There are some situations where the online convenience fee is worth your money. If you want good seats at a popular movie, for example, then you’ll need to buy your ticket early. And while you could drive to the movie theater to purchase early tickets, it may not be worth the hassle.

Other Small Ways to Save:

Loyalty programs and bulk ticket purchases can save you big bucks—even if you’re just a casual moviegoer. But there are a ton of small ways to save nickels and dimes on your movie tickets. And as we all know, those nickels and dimes can add up quickly.

Here are a few small ways to save money on movie tickets:

  • Buy Used Gift Cards: Card-flipping sites like Raise, Card Cash, and Cardpool sell movie gift cards at a slight discount. These cards are best used with a loyalty program, as they can stack with savings and rewards.
  • Cash Back: Some credit cards, like the Capital One Savor card, offer a fixed cashback rate for “entertainment” purchases. And of course, loyalty credit cards (from CostcoAmazon, etc.) can help you save on bulk ticket purchases.
  • Specialty Discounts: Some theaters offer student discounts, senior discounts, or even AAA discounts. Check your local theater’s website to see what discounts it offers and if any form of ID is required to redeem discounts.
  • Skip 3D, Dolby, and iMAX: The fancy theaters always cost more. Stick with basic digital showings, and you’ll save more money.

Again, these aren’t the biggest money savers on the planet (AMC Stubs A-List holds that spot). These are just small money-saving tricks for the frugally-capable. After all, nickels and dimes can add up, especially if you’re a big fan of movies.

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is a writer for Review Geek and its sister site, How-To Geek. Like a jack-of-all-trades, he handles the writing and image editing for a mess of tech news articles, daily deals, product reviews, and complicated explainers. Read Full Bio »

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