Are cinema memberships worth the money?

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How often do you have to use Odeon Limitless, Cineworld Unlimited, Everyman EveryWhere and other movie memberships to make them worthwhile?

How cinema memberships work

There are two core types of memberships for the main cinema chains. The all-you-can-watch options will let you go every day, even more than once each day, if you want. The others will get you a handful of free tickets and then discounts on future ones.

Often you’re limited to just standard 2D screenings in normal seats, but some will let you access 3D showings, recliner seats and even event cinema such as theatre – though you’ll pay more for the priviledge.

You can see the breakdown of Odeon Limitless, Cineworld Unlimited, Everyman, Curzon and Picturehouse memberships further down the page. But first, my thoughts on how to decide what represents good value.

Should you get a cinema membership?

I think value from these memberships comes down to these three factors. If you can justify at least two of these, then potentially go for it.

How often will you go?

First is the most important, and it’s one very simple number – how often are you really going to go? Back in my 20s, my record was 60 times in a year, but even I found that too much. I forgot half the things I saw!

I think if you can commit to going roughly two or three weeks out of four (between 26 and 40 visits a year) then you’ll likely be getting a bargain. These are the key numbers I’ve used in the comparisons below, but that’s still a lot of films to see. Go less than this and the savings tend to be less likely.

Can you commit to just one cinema?

Next you need to consider if you’re likely to still visit other cinema chains. That could be because there aren’t many screens or certain films aren’t showing where you’ve got your membership – often the case for independent or foreign films. Perhaps it’s just a logistical matter because mates want to go elsewhere or you can only make a screening at 8pm.

There’s absolutely no point shelling out for an unlimited membership if you’re going to see movies elsewhere too.

But if you’ve only got one cinema then this is less of a problem.

Can you get a better deal elsewhere?

Finally, I’ve always managed to find deals to cut the price of my tickets. From six free Odeon or Vue tickets with Lloyds Bank through to a £1 hack that’ll get you 2-4-1 Meerkat Movies. These can work out cheaper than the memberships, and give you so much more flexibility.

Of course, some of these memberships can also be used alongside other deals. There are tricks mentioned below for both Everyman and Cineworld memberships which effectively give you free tickets for two people if you go certain days. Bargain!

The best cinema deals

Our pick of the best offers in our dedicated cinema deals page

Will I get one of the memberships?

When I lived in London I saw no point getting one of the annual cinema memberships. First, there are dozens of ways to get cheap tickets, meaning I rarely paid more than £6 a ticket in the capital. Second, you are tied to going to just one chain, which doesn’t work if the film you want to see at the time you want to go is at a cinema you can’t use your membership.

But now I’m out of London, my options are much smaller. We’ve actually only got two cinemas in town – an Odeon and an Everyman. Both offer membership schemes that let you go as much as you want. Are they worth shelling out for?

Having checked out all the deals, the cinema geek side of me is very tempted by the Everyman EveryWhere membership – but only if I’m willing to go every week.

However, thanks to various deals (largely my Vitality health insurance) I get both a free Odeon cinema ticket every month and free movie rental every week. Combined with so many fantastic TV shows on Disney, Apple and the BBC I don’t think I’d be able to get enough value from a membership.

Plus I still like to have the choice of where I go and I’ve enough money-saving tricks up my sleeve that I can keep prices just as low most of the time. So the answer – for now – is no.

But take a look at the different options below to see if one could work for you.

How the different cinema memberships compare

Odeon myLimitless

How it works

There are two versions of Odeon’s membership, now called myLimitless. The standard offering now works all over the UK, not just outside London. However you won’t be able to use it at Luxe locations. These are included in the myLimitless Plus membership.

With standard can go to as many 2D films as you want, though screenings can’t overlap. Extras such as 3D and IMAX require additional payments. You also can’t use your membership ticket to get another free ticket with Meerkat Movies.

You’ll be invited to free preview screenings. You can book up to four screenings in advance. There’s a 10% discount on food and drinks.

In addition, the Plus membership not only lets you watch films at Luxe cinemas, but also get unlimited access to premier or recliner seats, as well as 3D and iSense screenings.

Odeon myLimitless costs

  • Standard cost (excluding Luxe): £14.99 a month / £149 a year
  • Plus cost (inc Luxe): £17.99 a month / £179 a year
  • Annual discount: 17% if paid in full (12 months for the price of 10)

Odeon myLimitless membership details

  • Minimum membership: 3 months
  • How to join: At the cinema or via the Odeon website

Is Odeon myLimitless worth it?

If you go once a week, a ticket works out as just £2.87 (£3.44 for Plus membership). That’s pretty good! But you have to go 52 times.

Let’s say you go 40 times, which is three films every four weeks. Then it’s still a decent £3.75 (£4.48 in London). It’s hard to find cheaper tickets.

If you drop down to a visit every two weeks, it starts to get pricier – though potentially cheaper than what your local charges.

But even if you go once a month you could break even at some of the pricier locations. For example a ticket at Tottenham Court Road is £14 a go.

And that’s even more so at Luxe cinemas, such as the flagship Leicester Square location. A normal adult ticket is £17.50, while a recliner seat (included in Plus) is £25.

Visits a yearCost per trip (Standard)Cost per trip (Plus)
*based on annual spend

Cineworld Unlimited

How it works

Cineworld says that the monthly cost will be cheaper than two tickets a month – though the price will change depending on the location for your “home” cinema. There are four groups, and you can see which one your cinema fits into here.

The bulk of locations are in groups 1 and 2. Though not exclusively, group 3 contains most of the London cinemas, while group 4 adds in Leicester Sq. You can use your membership at all cinemas in your and lower groups – so group 4 is effectively every single Cineworld.

You can go to as many 2D films as you want, though screenings can’t overlap. Extras such as 3D and IMAX require additional payments, though if you continue for a second year 3D is included. There’s a 50% discount on “event” screenings.

In theory you can get another free ticket with Meerkat Movies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so that would mean you’d only need one membership between you – if you only go midweek.

You’ll be able to see free previews and there’s a 10% discount on food and drinks, going up to 25% in year two.

How much does Cineworld Unlimited cost?

  • Cost (Group 1): £10.99 a month / £131.88 a year
  • Cost (Group 2): £16.99 a month / £203.88 a year
  • Cost (Group 3): £19.40 a month / £232.80 a year
  • Cost (Group 4): £21.00 a month / £262.80 a year
  • Annual discount: None (though look out for offers)
  • Other savings: Recommend a friend to get a free month each, or use Clubcard points at 2:1 value

Cineworld Unlimited membership details

  • Minimum membership: 3 months
  • How to join: At the cinema, via Tesco Clubcard or via the Cineworld website

Is Cineworld Unlimited worth it?

This one has the potential to incredibly cheap, but only if you combine your free ticket with Meerkat Movies.

If you mainly go on a Tuesday or Wednesday to take advantage of this two for one offer in Group 1, you’ll pay just £3.30 a ticket, based on 40 visits. That falls to a fantastic £1.65!

Of course, if you’re on your own, in pricier groups, go different days or go less often, then it can get a lot more expensive. So once more you need to compare it to prices at your cinema to see whether you’ll save or not.

Visits a yearCost per trip (Group 1)Cost per trip (Group 2)Cost per trip (Group 3)Cost per trip (Group 4)
*based on annual spend

Everyman membership

How it works

The basic “EveryMan” membership provides six free tickets. The next level up is the “EveryIcon” membership, which offers 24 free tickets. However, both let you bring a friend for free on Mondays, potentially doubling your number of included tickets.

The “EveryWhere” membership is a lot of money. A huge amount at £650 a year!! However, it’s for two people at any time and you can go to as many films as you like.

All give you 10% off food and drink, and fee-free booking.

How much does Everyman membership cost?

  • Cost (EveryMan): £89 a year
  • Cost (EveryIcon): £28 a month / £325 a year
  • Cost (EveryWhere): £55 a month / £650 a year
  • Annual discount: None

Everyman membership details

  • Minimum membership: 12 months
  • How to sign up: At the cinema or via the Everyman website

Is an Everyman membership worth it?

If an Everyman is your local cinema, or the one you like going to, then you could well save a little with the six tickets for £89, making them £14.83 a ticket, or £7.42 if you go on a Monday with a friend and split the cost.

The next level – “EveryIcon” – is a little cheaper, but again use the free tickets just on Mondays and that’s now 48 tickets, working out at a very nice £6.77 each.

The top “EveryWhere” could work if you’ve a partner or friend who will share the membership with you. Even then you need to go a lot. See 40 movies each in a year and it’ll work out as £8.13 each for your ticket.

Personally I’d go to a cheaper cinema instead, or get a trial for Times+ which offers 2-4-1 tickets every Wednesday.

Visits a yearEveryManEveryIconEveryWhere (one person / two people)
52N/AN/A£12.50 / £6.25
40N/AN/A£16.25 / £8.13
24N/A£13.54 (for 24 visits)£25 / £12.50
12N/A£27.08£54.17 / £27.08
*based on annual spend

Curzon membership

What you get

The entry-level “Classic” includes five free tickets, and then discounts for you and a guest.

Next up, the “Cult” membership is seven tickets every week – so essentially free entry to as many films as you want. You can also use these credits to stream online movies from Curzon Home Cinema.

If there are two of you then “Cult+” gets you 14 tickets each week and you can use it on “event” screenings – but you’ll pay a lot more.

There’s also 10% off food and drink with all three membership levels. Sadly Curzon doesn’t accept Meerkat Movies.

How much is Curzon membership?

  • Cost (Classic): £65 a year (all cinemas) / £50 a year (non-London)
  • Cost (Cult): £25 a month / £285 a year
  • Cost (Cult+): £75 a month / £850 a year

Curzon membership details

  • Minimum membership: 12 months
  • Annual discount: None
  • How to join: At the cinema or via the Curzon website

Is a Curzon membership worth it?

Go 40 times and the “Cult” membership works out as £7.13 a ticket. That’s more than I’d like to pay, but not bad if you’re in London or only have a Curzon near you. However since Curzon has a more indie/arthouse lean, you might need to pay elsewhere to see some of the big blockbusters.

The next level “Cult+” is the most expensive out there. Only if two of you go three out of four weeks, or a little less if you throw in regular event screenings, are you going to be making this worthwhile.

The Classic membership will be worth it if you are definitely going to go five times a year and the normal ticket prices is the same or more than the average price of £10 outside London and £13 inside London.

Visits a yearClassic (London/Outside London)CultCult+ (one person / two people)
52N/A£5.48£16.34 / £8.17
40N/A£7.13£21.25 / £10.63
26N/A£10.96£32.69 / £16.34
12N/A£27.08£70.83 / £34.42
5£13 / £10
*based on annual spend

Picturehouse membership

What you get

There isn’t a subscription membership at Picturehouse, but I’ve included it for completion. Instead you get five free tickets and discounts on further tickets.

The Plus One memberships give you double the freebies (so 10 tickets), and you can get members prices on up to three further tickets for each screening.

There’s also 10% off food and drink, jumping to 25% from year two. Like all the others there are member’s previews, though these are free at Picturehouse, potentially saving you some more cash.

How much does Picturehouse membership cost?

  • Cost (Picturehouse Central): £90 a year (single) / £170 a year (joint)
  • Cost (London excl Central): £70 a year (single) / £110 a year (joint)
  • Cost (Outside London): £67 a year (single) / £100 a year (joint)

Picturehouse membership details

  • Minimum membership: 12 months
  • Annual discount: None
  • How to join: At the cinema or via the Picturehouse website

Is a Picturehouse membership worth it?

If you’re likely to go to a Picturehouse cinema over other chains then the ongoing discount after the free tickets will make it more affordable. Still though, that’s potentially more expensive than using other tricks at other cinemas.

I’ve used my membership free tickets alongside Meerkat Movies in the past – I can’t find any official confirmation this is allowed, but I can’t see why not. This essentially gives you another five free tickets to be used on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Visits a yearOutside London (single)Outside London (joint)London (single)London (joint)Central London (single)Central London (joint)
*based on annual spend

Cineworld Unlimited vs Odeon myLimitless

The two most effective memberships in terms of value for money are the Odeon and Cineworld schemes. If you have both cinemas near you and aren’t sure which one to go for here’s what I’d do.

Ultimately, Odeon’s is cheaper but if you can combine the Cineworld with Meerkat Movies, then the latter is a better option.

If that’s not a deal-breaker for you, I’d look at which has the most screens and which ones tend to show the films you want to see. If it’s just standard blockbusters both should have them on, but if you want smaller films that might not be the case.

Alternative ways to save at the cinema

I’ve written extensively about the different ways you can pay less at the cinema, and you can see these tricks and promotions in my regularly updated cheap cinema tickets guide.

Read next

5 thoughts on “Are cinema memberships worth the money?

  1. I got my odeon limitless through a groupon deal £135 for 12 months including west end cinemas. So that works out at £11.25 per month and when I activated my membership at the end of December, Odeon put on January sale for the whole of the month that worked out the same or possibly less than what I paid. The recliner seats are far superior to the back breakers at Cineworld. And I find odeon Covent Garden (sadly no recliners there) and Haymarket do put some foreign and indie films on.

  2. I used to have a Curzon Student Membership – free membership – £7 discount for any film before 5pm but not discount on drinks etc. Just discovered they are now cutting this down to the under 25s only – so fabulous if you are under 25 but for those of us who are mature students and doing PhDs – no discount and Curzon prices are extortionate.

  3. Hi Andy, Great research, thanks a mill for all the hard work.
    It needs a personal conclusion, which would finish it off nicely 🙂

    Have you ever seen or know of how to get everyman membership discounted ? I have one being built where i live in the next months so the middle membership looks perfect.
    Thanks for any info

  4. Hi Andy, what do you think of this cinema membership system? It seems fairly new and I was wondering if you knew anyone who had tried it with good feedback?

    1. Hi John. Yeah I’m not sure about this. It looks quite complicated, and according to reviews there is no customer service. It might be worth trying on the cheapest option before committing. But it’s an annual fee which could be quite a risk if things go pear shape. Andy


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