Are cinema memberships worth the money?

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

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?

So I’ve investigated these two and other similar movie-going memberships to see how much they cost and how often you need to go to make it worthwhile.

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 I’d say 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? 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 three weeks out of four (40 visits a year) then you’ll likely be getting a bargain. This is the key number 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 Cineworld or Vue tickets with Lloyds Bank, through to the Odeon / NUS card hack. These can be 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!

Will I get one of the memberships?

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. And with so many fantastic shows on Netflix, NOW TV and the BBC I’m not sure I’ve got the time!

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 Limitless

  • Cost (outside London): £17.99 a month / £215.88 a year
  • Cost (inc Central London): £19.99 a month / £239.88 a year
  • Minimum membership: 12 months
  • Annual discount: 5% if paid in full
  • How to join: At the cinema or via the Odeon website

What you get

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. 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 two screenings in advance. There’s a 10% discount on food and drinks.

Is Odeon Limitless worth it?

If you go once a week, a ticket works out as just £4.15 (£4.61 in London). 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 £5.40 (£6 in London). But, and this does depend on the price of a ticket at your local Odeon, it is possible to get cheaper tickets.

My fave cinema deal stack is to get a student discount, and at Odeon you can get a further 25% off these prices. Then combine this with Meerkat Movies and a discounted gift card. You could be paying £2.50 a ticket!!

Cineworld Unlimited

  • Cost (outside London): £18.40 a month / £220.80 a year
  • Cost (inc Central London): £20.90 a month / £250.80 a year
  • Minimum membership: 12 months
  • Annual discount: Recommend a friend to get a free month each, or use Clubcard points
  • How to join: At the cinema, via Tesco Clubcard or via the Cineworld website

What you get

You can go to as many 2D films as you want, though screenings can’t overlap. You can get another free ticket with Meerkat Movies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Extras such as 3D and IMAX require additional payments, though if you continue for a second year 3D is included.

You’ll once more be able to see free previews.

There’s a 10% discount on food and drinks, going up to 25% in year two.

Is Cineworld Unlimited worth it?

This one is much better, especially as you can combine your free ticket with Meerkat Movies.

So if you mainly go on a Tuesday or Wednesday to take advantage of this two for one offer you’ll pay just £3.14 a ticket in London, based on 40 visits. That falls to a fantastic £2.76 outside London. Double those numbers for other days of the week and it’s still decent value.

In fact I think even if you went just twice a month and used Meerkat Movies, the tickets would work out as £5.52 each outside the capital. Great value.

Everyman membership

There are three options here:

  • Cost (EveryMan): £95 a year
  • Cost (EveryIcon): £25 a month / £300 a year
  • Cost (EveryWhere): £50 a month / £600 a year
  • Minimum membership: 12 months
  • Annual discount: None
  • How to sign up: At the cinema or via the Everyman website

What you get

The basic Everyman membership provides seven free tickets.

The next level up is the “EveryIcon” membership, which offers 24 free tickets, so not quite one a week. You can however bring a friend for free on Mondays.

The “EveryWhere” membership is a lot of money. A huge amount at £600 a year!! However, it’s for two people at any time.

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

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 seven tickets for £95, making them £13.57 a ticket. Personally I’d go to a cheaper cinema instead.

The next level – “EveryIcon” – could work if you’ve a partner or friend who will split the costs. Then use the free tickets just on Mondays and that’s now 48 tickets, working out at a very nice £6.25 each.

The top “EveryWhere” is only for absolute film addicts, and again, it’s better if you’re in a couple, or have a mate who will go halves on the cost Even then you need to go a lot. See 40 movies each in a year and it’ll be £7.50 a ticket.

Curzon membership

Once more there are three options here:

  • Cost (Classic): £65 a year (all cinemas) / £50 a year (non-London)
  • Cost (Cult): £350 a year (all cinemas) / £225 a year (non-London)
  • Cost (Complete): £950 a year (all cinemas) / £600 a year (non-London)
  • Minimum membership: 12 months
  • Annual discount: None
  • How to join: At the cinema or via the Curzon website

What you get

The entry-level “Classic” includes four free tickets, and then discounts for you and a guest. Next up, the “Cult” membership is free entry to as many films as you want. The top-level “Complete” is for two people and the unlimited free tickets include events such as theatre and opera screenings.

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

Is a Curzon membership worth it?

Go 40 times and the “Cult” membership works out as £8.75 a ticket in London. That’s more than I’d like to pay, but not bad if you like independent movies. If you’re outside the capital then the same number of visits is equivalent to a much better £5.63 a ticket.

The next level “Complete” is the most expensive out there. Even if you go to the special screenings I think it’s a struggle to justify that price.

Picturehouse membership

  • Cost (Picturehouse Central): £90 a year (single) / £170 a year (joint)
  • Cost (London excl Central): £62 a year (single) / £104 a year (joint)
  • Cost (Outside London): £52 a year (single) / £94 a year (joint)
  • Minimum membership: 12 months
  • Annual discount: None
  • How to join: At the cinema or via the Picturehouse website

What you get

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

The Plus One memberships give you double the freebies, 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.

Is a Picturehouse membership worth it?

If you’re likely to go to a Picturehouse cinema roughly seven or eight times during the year then you’ll likely get your money back thanks to the freebies and member’s discount. Still though, that’s potentially more expensive than using other tricks at other cinemas.

However, I’ve used my 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 four free tickets to be used on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Cineworld Unlimited vs Odeon Unlimited

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.

Cheap cinema tickets offers and deals (March 2021) inc Odeon, Vue, Cineworld and more


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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