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From July 16th Compare the Market customers will get Meerkat Meals as well as Meerkat Movies. Here’s what it’ll look like, how it compares to Tastecard and Gourmet Society, and the trick to get it for just a few quid.

The comparison site has been offering Meerkat Movies for the last few years to entice customers, and now it’s boosting the money saving offers by adding in a restaurant equivalent. And you don’t have to choose between saving at the cinema or when eating out – you get both for the same price, which can be as little as £1.

What is Meerkat Meals?

Like Tastecard and Gourmet Society, Meerkat Meals will save you money at participating restaurants. The deal here is buy-one-get-one-free on starters, mains and desserts from Sunday to Thursday for up to six people. You’ll get the cheapest meals free. Your membership is valid for 12 months.

To get the offer you need to show the participating restaurant your membership, which is via an app on your smartphone. You also need to book in advance, though if you forget and the restaurant has space there’s no reason you can’t call up moments before you arrive.

How does Meerkat Meals compare to Tastecard and other dining cards?

There are a few alternatives out there. Most people know Tastecard, and there’s also Gourmet Society and Hi-Life Diners Club. All three are owned by the same company, which is running Meerkat Movies too. So the offering is pretty similar. But there are differences between them all.

The discounts change from scheme to scheme. So whereas Meerkat Movies is just two for one, Tastecard sometimes offers 50% off, which is better if there’s an odd number eating. Meanwhile Gourmet Society sometimes gives you 25% off at restaurants, but it’s the whole bill, including drinks. Meerkat also doesn’t include side orders, so those chips and salads are going on the bill at full price, whereas they’re usually included on Tastecard.

Obviously the restaurants won’t all the same, so you might find your favourite local is only listed with one scheme. Compare the Market haven’t released a full list of restaurants yet, but have said Ask, Giraffe, Handmade Burger Company, Pizza Hut and Prezzo have signed on with more to come. You can find all of these (and more) on Tastecard, but not Gourmet Society.

There are also variations as to when you can use your discount. Meerkat Meals isn’t valid on Friday and Saturday, but at some restaurants on Tastecard and Gourmet Society you can eat every day of the week.

It’s really good that the Meerkat Meals discount is valid for up to six people, as it can often be limited to just two people with some restaurants via the other cards, though again it does vary.

Tastecard and Gourmet Society also have additional savings, including up to 40% off cinema tickets any day of the week.

How much does Meerkat Meals cost?

You can get a year of Meerkat Meals for just over a quid. I’ll explain how in a bit, but first how does that compare to the other restaurant cards?

Well, it’s certainly the cheapest. And when you add in the Meerkat Movies savings it’s a bargain. So I think everyone should sign up unless you really think you’re never going to eat out or go to the cinema!

But, I wouldn’t rule out the other schemes as even if you pay a little more they can work out better for you. It really all comes down to how much you’ll use the memberships and where. So if you got to a restaurant not listed on Meerkat Meals but is on an alternative, or if you do use the other cards at least twice on a weekend day, well you’ll probably cover the higher upfront cost.

You should avoid full price memberships though, often around £70 for a year, as you can usually get it for closer to £30 or £35 via special offers. And at the time of writing, there are trials to get four months of either Gourmet Society or Tastecard for £1. I’ve listed all these discounts on a special deals page which I regularly update.

How to get Meerkat Meals

You need to buy a qualifying purchase through Compare the Market. This includes

  • Car insurance
  • Motorcycle insurance
  • Van insurance
  • Contents insurance
  • Buildings insurance
  • Pet insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Landlord insurance
  • Travel insurance

Or you need to switch one of the following

  • Energy
  • Broadband
  • Home phone
  • TV

Finally you can use Compare the Market to get a

  • Credit card
  • Loan
  • Mobile phone

Now if you’re doing this anyway, then great. But personally I think you’re better off shopping around, which might mean going via a different route. Yes I know that’s the point of a comparison site, so job done, but there are often better ways to save which won’t be listed here, such as cashback sites for broadband or going SIM only for mobile phones.

But there is one policy on there which will cost you just over £1, so anyone can get both Meerkat Meals and Meerkat Movies for a year even if you don’t need new insurance.

As I’ve detailed in my article showing how to get Meerkat Movies for £1, you simply buy a day travel insurance policy for the UK. Once you buy that you’ll be eligible for both schemes and will be sent details of how to activate the apps.

How existing customers can get Meerkat Meals

Good news! If you already have Meerkat Movies, you’ll automatically be able to get Meerkat Meals. It will last for as long as your exisitng Movies pass, so if you’ve six months left on that, you’ll get six months of the Meals.

Read more about how to get both Meerkat Meals and Meerkat Movies for around £1

Get 2 for 1 cinema tickets all year for just £1.10 with Meerkat Movies

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