Monday, August 17, 2009

How to save money on cinema tickets

I'm pretty sure most people know about Orange's 2 4 1 ongoing promotional deal, so I won't go on too long about what it is. I would like to talk about some of the less obvious parts of the deal, though, as well as what to do if you're not actually a customer of Orange mobile.

Just in case you don't know
"Orange Wednesdays" are Orange's way of acquiring and keeping more customers. It is, to be honest, genius. Movie prices are exorbitant these days, but simply texting the world 'Film' to the number '241' gets you a code that you show the ticket salesperson at your local participating cinema (check the cinema chain's website for this- I know most if not all Odeon cinemas are included, but I'm not sure about any others) when you're purchasing tickets, and it halves the price from (for example) £7.10 each* to £7.10 for two of you.

What's the catch?
A very shrewd question to ask! There are two catches:

  1. It costs 35p to receive the text message with the ticket number in it. Compare this, though to the fact that you're saving £7.10*, and you're actually £6.75 up.
  2. You need to be a customer of Orange.

My mobile's with 3 / T-Mobile / O2 / Virgin / etc, so I'm stuffed, right?
Not so. There are a couple of things you need to consider.

Firstly, you don't necessarily need an Orange mobile to qualify for Orange Wendesdays. If you are an Orange internet customer (either home broadband or dialup) you qualify too. Find out how to get your ticket here.

Secondly, it costs just £1 to get an Orange Pay As You Go sim card of your own. All you need is a phone to put it in. Most people have an old phone lying around the house, or know someone else who does, so this is worth doing in order to save money on cinema trips even if you only use it once. Even better, from time to time Orange allow you to request Orange PAYG sim cards for free. You can even get cashback on some requests, if you look in the right places (such as TopCashback- they'll pay you 60p for ordering one at the moment).

Any catches with this method?
Just the one. In the Orange Wednesdays T&Cs it states 'Text tickets are issued on a priority basis to active customers who spend over £5 per month with Orange. Orange may revise the terms of this promotion from time to time.' I haven't heard of any problems because of this so far, though.

So far you've told us how to get free cinema tickets and free Orange sim cards. Could there possibly be any more?

  • Yes! This doesn't seem to be widely known at the moment, but if you've got your Orange Wednesdays ticket, you can also get 2 for 1 pizza at Pizza Express** to complete the package of your Wednesday night out. You just need to download the voucher from and take it to your nearest Pizza Express restaurant. You'll also need to show your Orange Wednesdays text ticket.
  • Also, Odeon now have their own rewards card. See my blog post for details and to find out if it's worth it.
  • Finally, as with everything, don't forget to use your cashback credit card to pay for all purchases in order to maximise your savings!

*The cost for a standard seat on a Wednesday evening at my local Odeon cinema at the time of writing.
** Only on Wednesdays, hence being part of the Orange Wednesdays promotion.