According to data recently released by the National Association of Theatre Owners, the average cost of a movie ticket in the U.S. is the highest it’s ever been—$8.38 (up from $7.96 a year ago). Add to that the increasing prices of popcorn, soda, and other concession stand items, and you’re looking at a pretty pricey night out for a family.
Luckily, there are ways to save money at the movie theater. You could go to a matinee. You could buy tickets in bulk at your local warehouse club (such as Costco or Sam’s Club), or even through the theater itself. But another great way to save is to join your local movie theater’s rewards program (if it offers one).
To help you get started, here is a list of movie theater chains, both large and small, that have rewards programs. Check the theater websites for a location near you, then follow our instructions to sign up. Enjoy the show!
AMC Theatres — For just $12 a year, you can join AMC Stubs to earn a $10 reward for every $100 you spend at AMC movie theaters. Benefits also include free upgrades on concessions and no online ticket purchase fees.Go to amcstubs.com to join.
Bow Tie Cinemas — Join the free Criterion Club to earn points for ever dollar you spend at Bow Tie theaters, redeemable for free concessions and movie tickets. Club members also receive invitations to members-only events and discounts for special events. Join the club at bowtiecinemas.com/criterion-club/join-criterion-club.
Carmike Cinemas — Carmike Rewards offers one point for every $1 spent at the box office and concession stand. Points can be redeemed for free concession items and movie tickets. To join, ask for a free rewards card at your local Carmike Cinemas. Then visit carmikerewards.com to activate your new account and receive five bonus points.
Cinemark — Sign up here to receive a weekly email from Cinemark containing concession coupons redeemable at all Cinemark theaters. These include Century Theatres, CineArts, Tinseltown, and Rave Cinemas.
Cobb Theatres — Cobb’s Moviegoers Club allows members to earn points for every movie ticket they buy. Members can redeem points for free concessions and tickets. Visit your local Cobb Theatres box office to get your free membership card. Then, go to cobbtheatres.com/moviegoer.asp to register your card and start saving.
Georgia Theatre Company — This Georgia movie theater chain—which has three other locations in Florida, South Carolina, and Virginia—will send you a coupon for a free medium popcorn as well as other special offers when you join its email newsletter club. Click here to sign up.
R/C Theatres — This chain has nine locations in Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Its rewards program lets you earn points to use toward free popcorn, drinks, or movie passes. Sign up at rctheatres.com/membership.asp.
Regal Entertainment Group — Join the free Regal Crown Club to earn credits for every dollar you spend on movie admissions and concessions at participating Regal theaters. You can later redeem the credits for free popcorn, soft drinks, and movie tickets. Members can also get $2 candy on Mondays and $2 popcorn on Tuesdays. Sign up online at regmovies.com/Crown-Club.
Regency Theatres — This California movie theater chain, which also has a Las Vegas location, offers a free Regency Rewards program that offers points for ticket and concession purchases. Points can be redeemed for free concession items and movie tickets. Sign up at your local Regency theater.
Showcase Cinemas — The free Showcase Starpass Rewards Program offers a free popcorn, movie ticket, or soft drink voucher for every $75 you spend at participating theaters. You can also earn points when you book on MovieTickets.com. Online ticket purchase fees are waived for members. Sign up at showcasecinemas.com/programs/starpass.
Tristone Cinemas — This Southern California movie theater chain may be small, but it still allows customers to earn free popcorn, soft drinks, and movie tickets when they join its Premiere Club. Sign up for free at your local Tristone Cinemas box office.
Wehrenberg Theatres — This chain has theaters throughout Missouri, with single locations in Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois. Pick up a free MVP card at any Wehrenberg location, then register it at wehrenberg.com/mvpCard.aspx to begin earning points for money you spend at the box office or concession stand. You can later redeem your points for free food, drinks, and movie tickets. MVP Card holders also receive a free medium popcorn on Wednesdays.