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. In fact, out of the last 24 films I’ve seen at the cinema I’ve managed to get the bulk of my tickets for free. It was just two tickets when I took my niece where I needed to shell out a few quid.
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.
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.
Everyman: 2-4-1 on Wednesdays via Times+
If you subscribe to the Times you’ll get access to Times+ offers, including a rare two-for-one ticket to Everyman cinemas. You can claim one code a week and it can only be used on Wednesdays.
There’s often a free or cheap trial available for the Times so you can try it out or just get it for a one-off visit.
Weekend only cinema deals
Cinemas charge a fair bit more from Friday to Sunday, and there are less deals that 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
The Three+ loyalty app has a cinema deal and at £3 a ticket it’s 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.
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.
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 Odeon, 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 £2,000 a month. This might seem like 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.
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, year of Disney+ or three digital magazines each month.
£6 Vue ticket when you buy two pizzas and a coke at Asda
This Asda offer has been running for ages and it’s a great money saver. You’ll buy the two fresh pizzas and 1.5l bottle at the supermarket, and then claim your Vue ticket online using your receipt.
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 them 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 £9 via O2
This mobile SIM loyalty programme isn’t as good as previous offers (O2 used to give a free Odeon ticket away each week), but it’s still a good offer if you go to Vue cinemas.
Every Monday at 10am you can get a code which will you can redeem for two Vue tickets for £9, meaning you’ll pay just £4.50 each. You can book with it until the following Sunday. It’s also valid at all Vue locations, including the West End.
You’ll get access to O2 Priority if your phone is with O2 or broadband is via Virgin Media, though this hack means anyone can buy a PAYG SIM and top up by £10 every six months (at the most) to get access.
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. These include discounted gift cards (which you can use alongside other offers as payment) and flash sales.
I’ve listed special offers and other tricks to save at all the major and independent chains in my ultimate cinema savings page. Have a look to see what the latest offers are.