Don’t pay over the odds to see a movie. You can pay less than full price for cinema tickets every single day of the week!
If I can, I always try to see films at the cinema. The big screen, surround sound and darkened room make all the difference (though I’m not so fond of people chatting or checking their phones). Still, this is an expensive hobby so I do everything I can to get my tickets for less.
And I do pretty well at it too. It’s very rare for me to pay more than £5 or £6 – even in central London where prices are usually well over a tenner.
These aren’t the only ways to save (I’ve listed all the tricks and deals in my huge cinema savings deals page) but these tricks show whatever day you want to see a movie, there’s a way to pay less – and even nothing at all.
Midweek cinema deals
The cheapest days to go are always Monday to Thursday. Most cinemas have lower prices on these days, and cheaper still before 5pm. So it’s worth looking to see what your local cinema offers. However, there are ways to save even more so your ticket should cost less than £5.
Monday – Odeon free tickets via O2
You can get a free ticket to Odeon every Monday via O2 Priority. The codes are released Tuesday at noon and you have until Sunday to book your ticket.
This loyalty app isn’t just for O2 customers. Since their merger with O2, anyone with Virgin Media can also get the app. And it’s possible for everyone else to get access too, thanks to this trick (expect to pay £10 every six months).
Tuesday & Wednesday – 2 for 1 tickets with Meerkat Movies
This is a fantastic saving at most cinemas. You need to buy an insurance policy via Compare the Meerkat (there’s a trick so this costs just £1), and you’ll then get access to Meerkat Movies for 12 months.
This gives a code so you can buy one ticket and get one free. The promotion is valid on Tuesday and Wednesday, though you can only take advantage of the offer once a week.
Weekend only cinema deals
Cinemas charge a fair bit more from Friday to Sunday, and there are less deals which will save you money at the weekend. Personally I’d save any tickets that can be used any day of the week for the weekend (more of these in the next section).
Friday to Sunday – £3 ticket for Cineworld or Picturehouse via Three
Similar to the O2 Priority deal mentioned above, the Three+ loyalty app has a cinema deal. It’s not free but at £3 a ticket it is still a decent saving for Cineworld and Picturehouse.
You can show the code at the box office to get your ticket, but if you book online there’s a 75p fee on top. You’ll also be able to claim three months free Telegraph, getting you access to the free monthly Vue tickets on top.
And, also like O2, you can get the Three+ app even if you’re with a different network thanks to a trick where you top up a Three Pay-as-you-go SIM every 90 days. If you’re going on a weekly basis that could be worth it, even once a month could save you cash – depending on the full price of a ticket at your local.
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All week cinema deals
These are all good deals, but I’d use these for more expensive weekend showings when you get the best value for the discount.
Four or five Vue tickets via the Telegraph for £3
Take out a trial for the digital version of the Telegraph and you’ll also get access to Telegraph Extras. This loyalty scheme provides a free Vue ticket every month (be fast as there are limited numbers available).
The latest offering is 30 days free, then the next three months at £1 a month. So if you sign up near the start of the month when tickets are available to claim, and then get them for the rest of your cheap membership, you could get five tickets in total. You’d get the last one in the last few days of your subscription (make sure you cancel before you are charged full price).
Six free tickets for Vue or Odeon via Lloyds
If you open up a Lloyds Club current account you’ll be given six free cinema tickets every year. You can choose between Vue or Cineworld, though you can’t mix and match.
There is a fee of £3 a month for this account, but it’s not charged if you pay in £1,500 a month. This might seem a lot, but it doesn’t need to stay in your account. You can transfer the money in when you get paid, then straight back out again.
If you do have some savings, you can earn up to 2% in interest too.
12 free Vue tickets via Halifax
A similar offer runs with Halifax’s Reward current account, though you do have to jump through a few more hoops to get the 12 free tickets. You’ll get one each month and they’ll be valid for a year.
Once you have the account you must pay in £1,500 each month to avoid the £3 fee and keep the balance above zero.
Then you need to choose whether you will either spend £500 each month on your debit card or keep £5,000 in the account all month. This selection remains the same for a year, as does your choice of offer.
If you don’t have a Vue nearby you could instead receive a £5 reward, 2 movie rentals or three digital magazines each month.
Up to 40% off with other memberships
There are a number of schemes and memberships that give discounts at most big cinema chains and many independent ones too. Though the schemes look similar, prices might be different so it can be worth looking at one for two.
Often these are available via your employer’s “work perks” scheme, but you can also access for free via the Lidl Plus app.
Some are paid for, though look for free trials. Tastecard is another good one that also gives restaurant discounts (here are the best deals), while Kids Pass gives additional savings for children’s attractions.
However, these don’t always work out cheaper, so check the prices at your local cinema before buying tickets via these schemes, but you can get cheap trials of both to give them a go.
Two Vue tickets for £7 via Vodafone
Yet another mobile SIM loyalty programme offering discounted tickets. This time for Vue, and you get get the two tickets for £7 every week, with new codes available each Monday.
Again you can get this if you’re on another network and I’ve written about this trick in detail, so read here for all the information. In brief, if you have a Vodafone SIM you can access this deal every week. And you don’t need a contract – as long as you top up by £10 every six weeks you can get the deal.
Get a membership
If you go on a weekly basis then memberships can work out cheaper. I’ve written here about the different schemes which run at Odeon, Cineworld, Curzon and Everyman.
Extra cinema discounts
There are always other special offers running that could get you cheap or free tickets. I’ve listed special offers, flash sales and other tricks to save at all the major and indendent chains in my ultimate cinema savings page. Have a look to see what the latest offers are.