For those of you who don’t know me, I see a lot of movies. I love going to the theater, getting a large popcorn/diet coke, and watching a movie. I will see anything! My in-theater record is 8 in one day. This can get expensive. Tickets in NYC can exceed $20. So, as a kid, I developed a few cost saving mechanisms (not all of which I am proud).
To name a few:
- Purchase tickets at the AAA website to receive bulk discounts
- Fold up the popcorn bag and bring it back for the next movie (rip it first and apologize so you receive a new…less disgusting bag)
- Pay for one and see multiple (classic)
But then a few weeks ago, I found out how to get FREE MOVIES!
Even as a kid, I loved loopholes. Much to the chagrin of family and friends, I would exert more effort reading the rules/terms of service than actually playing any game or thinking about a promotion.
It had the feeling of a chess match: you versus the company.
The company has devised a system that, by design, will be profitable (whether because of the program directly or because of the accompanying positive externalities). They believe they have created an inducement that will prey on consumer irrationality and the idiosyncrasies in human nature that make behavior economists giddy. So it’s fun to see if you can beat them.
Here is how to beat AMC:
Step 1: Become an AMC Stubs Reward Member
Rules of the Stubs Card:
- $1/Month to be a member (current promotion => $8/year)
- For every $100 you spend, you receive $10 in return
- Every concession is automatically upgraded to the larger size
- No online ‘convenience fee’ ($1.50/ticket)
Step 2: Purchase 14 tickets for a movie a few days in advance
Step 3: Use your newly earned $20 of rewards on the movie you actually want
Step 4: Return the original 14 tickets
The reason this works is because there is a disconnect between when the rewards are applied and the movie is scheduled to run.
All you have to do is purchase tickets a few days in advance, use the rewards you earned on those tickets to buy a ticket for an earlier movie, then return the original tickets.
If they synced the rewards to movie showtimes, this loophole would not exist. However, this would compromise the customer experience. Most movie theaters make their money from concessions (hence your $15 popcorn and soda). If customers had to wait to redeem their reward they would not be able to head straight to the concessions (no instant gratification) and pay ridiculous prices for a few cents worth of corn and carbonated water. They would have to wait until the next time they visited the movies to use the rewards.
NOTE TOS: AMC can terminate at any time for any reason
I have only done this once to see if my theory worked. Basically, I am no longer a kid testing my limits or a student to see as many movies as possible but I still enjoy finding the holes in a system. My youthful, movie-going indiscretions left me guilt scarred so I actually contacted AMC to let them know about the issue. My sharing this is only to point out a cool loophole.
Would love for others to share loopholes they have found in the comments.