Movie theaters are a popular entertainment destination for people of all ages. However, when purchasing tickets, customers may notice an additional charge labeled as a “convenience fee.”

In this blog post, we will explain what a movie theater convenience fee is and how to avoid them.

I will also explain how to avoid paying so much for concessions which you will not want to miss! Click Here to Skip to this section.

What is a convenience fee At the Movies?

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A convenience fee is a surcharge that theaters add to the cost of tickets to cover the expense of online transactions.

This fee is usually calculated on a percentage basis, ranging from a few dollars to as much as $5 per ticket, and is applied to each ticket purchased.

Movie theaters, like many other businesses, have shifted to online ticketing as a means of making the ticket-purchasing process more convenient for customers.

This allows moviegoers to browse showtimes, reserve seats, and purchase tickets from the comfort of their homes. However, online transactions come at a cost to theaters, as they must pay processing fees to the companies that handle their online ticket sales.

To offset these costs, theaters apply a convenience fee to online transactions.

How to Avoid Convenience Fees at the Movies

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With most ticket sales happening online it is hard to avoid paying these convenience fees, however, there are ways you can work around it.

You can buy tickets in person at the theater (box office) as well as join a loyalty program if you go to a theater like Cinemark, Regal, AMC, etc.

I would not recommend buying tickets in person at a theater unless you have verified beforehand that there are desirable seats available for the showtime.

You can often find yourself in a bad position if you show up to buy tickets for a movie playing opening weekend or any other busy time as seats will likely be limited.

If you are going to buy tickets at the box office then I suggest going to see a movie during a time when it is not busy (weekday matinees are the best).

Another option is joining a loyalty program. There are several fantastic loyalty programs such as Cinemark movie club, regal unlimited, and AMC A list.

If you are a big movie buff and go to the theater at least twice a month then joining a loyalty program is a must. There are so many perks to these programs but one of the things that most of them have in common is that they waive online convenience fees.

You can also pay a monthly fee and watch movies completely free using AMC A list. Cinemark Movie club will give you heavy discounts but you still have to pay every time you want to see a film.

Regal unlimited still charges a convenience fee as well.

Cut other expenses when going to movies

If you are worried about convenience fees then you probably are also looking to save money on other items when going to the movie theater as well.

There are several ways you can do this. One of them is by avoiding going to movies on the weekends.

Due to more demand from consumers, movie tickets are more money on the weekends, especially for an evening showtime. You will save a significant amount of money if you plan out your movie schedule in advance.

Seeing films during weekday matinees will cost significantly less than other showtimes available. Seeing films on discount Tuesday will save you even less.

Limit the amount you spend on concessions

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By far the biggest expense for audience members going to a movie theater is concessions.

Popcorn, candy, and soda sales lead to the bulk of revenue for movie theaters, Sometimes concessions alone can be 2-3 times more of a cost to a family going to the movies than the tickets alone.

Decreasing the amount you spend on concessions can give you more income to use on rewards programs, which can cancel convenience fees.

I recommend using this reusable water bottle when going to the movies if you want to avoid paying for soda/water. It’s small enough to fit into a pocket and go undetected by staff so you can avoid paying outrageous prices for drinks at the theater.

Heck, I take my hydroflask completely exposed to the theater and no one says anything to me. They simply dont care.

Also if you want to avoid paying for candy there are numerous candy boxes you can buy in bulk online, Here is one.

Unfortunately, if you want fresh popcorn you will struggle to bring that in the theater but if you want pre-made gourmet movie popcorn then you could bring these into the theater if you have a space in a purse/bag.

How do I avoid the Fandango Convenience fee?

Fandango Convenience fees can be expensive, as on average they charge close to $2 per ticket extra. If you see a movie in a premium large format the price can reach as high as $3.

Your best bet for decreasing the convenience fee is to join Fandango VIP. Fandango VIP is Fandango’s rewards program. This program gives customers rewards points for every ticket they purchase through the app.

These points can lead to discounted tickets and waived convenience fees. Your best option to completely avoid Fandango’s convenience fee would be to purchase tickets in person at the theater.

How to Avoid Regal convenience fee

There is, unfortunately, no other way to avoid convenience fees at regal except for buying tickets in person.

Their loyalty program regal unlimited also charges convenience fees as well.

A good idea to combat the ticket fee is by using their app to make sure your desired seat is not taken and then going to the theater and buying directly at the box office.

How to Avoid AMC Convenience fee

The best way to avoid paying convenience fees when visiting AMC theaters is by joining AMC A-List. AMC A-List is AMC’s loyalty program and it is widely considered to be the best movie theater loyalty program.

With A List you can play a flat fee of around 20-$25 per month (depending on where you live) and have access to see as many movies as you want. Films can also be seen in premium large formats such as IMAX and Dolby Cinema for no extra charge.

Conclusion

In conclusion, convenience fees have become a necessary evil for movie theaters to offset the cost of online transactions. However, there are ways to avoid these fees, such as joining a loyalty program or purchasing tickets in person at the box office.

Fandango VIP can help reduce convenience fees for Fandango, while Regal’s loyalty program, Regal Unlimited, unfortunately still charges convenience fees but allows you to watch an unlimited amount of movies for a monthly fee.

The best option for avoiding AMC’s convenience fees is to join AMC A-List, which provides unlimited access to movies for a monthly fee with no additional convenience charge.

It is also important to cut other expenses when going to the movies, such as limiting the amount spent on concessions. With these tips in mind, moviegoers can save money and still enjoy the cinema experience.

Frequently asked questions

How do I Avoid paying Convenience fees at Cinemark?

Cinemark Movie Club would be the best bet. Movie club is Cinemarks loyalty program and they charge no additional convenience fees for their members.

Unfortunately, the only way to avoid paying these convenience fees is by joining these programs.

That is if you want to buy your tickets online.

How do I Avoid paying Convenience fees at Alamo Drafthouse?

Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid convenience fees at Alamo Drafthouse unless you buy tickets in person.

Even their loyalty program charges additional fees for every movie a customer sees at their theaters.