After a couple of lean years, the movie theater industry is back — and it’s about time! If you find yourself craving the big screen and an obnoxiously large tub of popcorn, then it may be worth considering an AMC Stubs membership.
AMC Stubs is a three-tiered loyalty program, with one free (Insider) and two paid membership levels (Premiere and A-List). The higher the tier, the more exclusive the benefits, which include free movie passes, cash back rewards, concession upgrades, and more.
Finding the right AMC Stubs plan for you really depends on your movie going habits. Let’s go over each plan, along with its strengths and weaknesses, to help you find the perfect fit. Get that popcorn ready.
How does AMC Stubs work?
AMC Stubs is AMC Theatres’ loyalty program. Membership is open to anyone, and sign-up can be completed through the AMC website, the company’s mobile app (iOS and Android), or in-person at any AMC theater.
Desktop or app users can simply click or tap the “Sign In / Join AMC Stubs” button to get started. Then, you’ll just need to provide a few tidbits of information, including your:
- Email address
- Full name
- Favorite AMC theater
From the detective’s desk: Members who signed up in person can easily register their account online by first navigating to AMC’s website or mobile app, and then providing the 16-digit account number found on their membership receipt.
At sign-up, members will choose from one of three AMC Stubs tiers, Insider, Premiere, and A-List. Insider is free, while Premiere members pay an annual subscription fee. A-List is Stubs’ top tier and is a monthly commitment.
You’re free to upgrade or downgrade your membership at any time, so don’t feel pressured into committing to a paid plan right away.
Once enrolled, you’ll begin to enjoy the benefits of your current tier immediately.
AMC Stubs membership cost
*For a limited time (until 8/16/22), the cost of an AMC Stubs Premiere membership has been slashed in half, from $15 to $7.50.
It doesn’t cost a penny to get started with AMC Stubs. However, members have the option to supersize their benefits by joining one of two premier tiers:
- AMC Stubs Insider: Free. You’ll never have to pay a penny to enjoy the baseline benefits of AMC Stubs.
- AMC Stubs Premiere*: Annual plan that costs $15 per year. Enjoy more rewards points and other benefits.
- AMC Stubs A-List: Monthly plan that costs between $19.95 – $23.95 per year. Offers the highest level of benefits, including three free movie passes per week.
From the detective’s desk: Premiere is occasionally offered at a 50% discount, so if you’re in no rush, it’s worth the wait. It’s also advantageous to subscribe during the beginning of the month, as benefits last for one year plus the remainder of the calendar month.
A-List members have three pricing options. Picking the right one depends on where in the U.S. you’ll watch movies:
- $19.99 a month: A-List members will be able to use their membership in 34 states. Exclusions include CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, MA, MD, MN, NJ, NY, OR, PA, VA, and WA.
- $21.99 a month: Members will gain access to theaters in every state except CA, CT, MA, NJ, and NY.
- $23.99 a month: At this price point, members can use their benefits at all 600+ AMC theaters in the country.
While we’d certainly like to see a more consistent pricing structure, the reality is that movie ticket prices are higher in some states than in others. Still, it would have been nice if AMC bit the bullet on this one.
AMC Stubs Insider Benefits
For a free plan, AMC Stubs Insider supports a surprising number of benefits, which include:
- 20 points earned per dollar spent
- Waived online ticketing fees, if purchasing 4 tickets or more
- Discount Tuesdays
- Free large popcorn refill
- Redeem 5,000 points for a $5 reward
- A birthday gift (free large popcorn)
- Free member Wi-FI
- Exclusive offers, screenings, and other exclusive perks
Not bad at all. However, there are a couple of caveats to be aware of that diminish the membership’s value.
- Insider members can only redeem their points for online and in-person concession orders.
- Points cannot be exchanged for tickets, alcohol, gift cards, On Demand movies, retail merch, fees, or really anything besides a tub of popcorn, snack, or drink.
- Gift cards don’t earn points when purchased, but do generate points at the time they’re redeemed.
- Insiders earn points at a much slower rate than paid Stubs members: 20 points per $1 spent.
Insiders earn points for ticket purchases made at an AMC theater or through AMC’s online portals. On Demand movie purchases and rentals also award points, as do concessions and dine-in-theater purchases.
From the detective’s desk: You cannot purchase or rent On Demand movies from AMC’s iOS app. To get around this limitation, make the purchase from Android or AMC’s website. You’re then free to watch the movie from your iPad or iPhone.
Points can be redeemed in increments of 5,000 = $5. This works out to a 2% cash back rate, which really isn’t all that exciting compared to other free loyalty programs, but it’s better than nothing.
More on earning and redeeming rewards points
You’ll want to ensure that you’re receiving points for each eligible purchase. Luckily, claiming AMC Stubs rewards points requires little to no effort.
For online purchases, just go through the buying process as you normally would, and you’ll automatically earn points on all eligible purchases.
From the detective’s desk: Your points will be in a pending state until the actual showtime but will be activated shortly thereafter.
Earning points on in-person purchases requires one extra step. Simply open up the app, tap “Scan”, and present your QR code at checkout. You can also provide your email address or account number if you don’t have the app handy.
As for redeeming rewards, you’ll need to activate them first either online or through mobile.
For online purchases, active rewards are applied during checkout. If you’re redeeming rewards in person, just let the teller know, and have your app or account info handy.
AMC Stubs Premiere Benefits
AMC Stubs Premiere takes all the benefits of Insider, upgrades some of them, and tacks on a few exclusive perks of its own.
Upgraded or additional benefits include:
- Earn 100 points per $1 spent
- Free size upgrades on popcorn and fountain drinks
- Priority lanes at AMC theater box offices and concession stands
- Waived online ticketing fees on ALL purchases
- A birthday gift (free large popcorn and a large fountain drink)
It’s pretty clear that Premiere is a substantial upgrade over Insider, but just in case you’re not convinced:
- Premiere members earn points 5x faster, which works out to a 10% cash rate.* Spend $50 to receive $5 back.
- Unlike Insider members, Premiere cardholders can exchange their points for ticket purchases (as well as concessions). This is a huge upgrade, especially for those of us who skip the popcorn.
- The waived online ticketing fees can really save you a lot of money if you frequently order tickets online.
*On Demand rentals and purchases award 20 points per $1 spent regardless of your Stubs membership tier. This is extremely disappointing and points to AMC’s desire to get people in the actual theater, where they’ll spend money on more than just tickets.
Around us, online ticketing fees run about $2 – $2.50 per ticket. That means if you order at least 6 -8 tickets a year online, the cost of an AMC Stubs Premiere membership pays for itself.
AMC Stubs A-List Benefits
AMC A-List benefits are exactly the same as Premiere with one substantial addition. Members get to see up to three movies every week at any Dolby Cinema, IMAX, RealD 3D, Prime, or 2D digital theater, absolutely free.
This is obviously a huge perk, and the price difference between Premiere ($15 a year) vs. A-List ($19.99 – $23.99 a month) certainly reflects that.
Other smaller benefits of becoming an A-lister include:
- Online reservations through AMC’s website or its mobile apps are completely free of charge.
- You can hold up to three online reservations simultaneously
- Benefits reset every Friday morning, which is ideal, since most new movies premiere on Fridays.
- You can form an A-List Entourage, which allows fellow A-Listers to make reservations on each other’s behalf.
There are no restrictions as to when and how A-Listers use their free passes. They’re can view three movies consecutively, spread out their passes throughout the week, or anything in between. It’s really up to them. There are no blackout dates.
Members can also use their passes on new movies, even ones that just came out.
Now, for the limitations of the A-List program, and to be fair, there are a few.
- A-List requires a 3-month minimum upfront commitment, after which members can decide to continue or opt out.
- The free passes cannot be gifted to friends and family members. Only the account holder can receive the benefit.
- If you decide not to show up for a movie reservation, it will still count against your weekly allotment of free passes. There is no refund or credit on any unused passes.
- You won’t receive points on free passes, since you’re not spending any money on them.
The last point is one we really wish AMC would amend. Becoming an A-List member partially negates the cash back perk, as you’ll only receive points on concessions and tickets you purchase for other people.
Shouldn’t an upgraded plan provide deeper benefits across the board?
Is an AMC Stubs worth it?
Anyone that plans to watch a movie at an AMC theater or through the app within the next year is encouraged to sign up for an AMC Insider membership, because why not? It’s free, and even if you never use it, it’ll only take a few minutes to sign up for.
Determining whether or not to splurge on an AMC Stubs Premiere or A-List membership is a bit trickier because we need to ensure that the costs are more than offset by the savings.
AMC Stubs Premiere
We recommend a Premiere membership to movie lovers that spend at least $150 a year ($75 if Premiere is being offered at half price) on movie tickets and concessions. Subtract about $20 from that figure for each ticket purchased online.
For those who only see matinees, make all their purchases in-person, and take a hard pass on the concessions, that could work out to as many as 20 tickets per year.
Contrarily, if you love watching movies in IMAX, order most of your tickets online, and can’t imagine seeing a film without a tub of popcorn, then just four ticket purchases per year should cover the cost of a Premiere membership.
AMC Stubs A-List
We recommend an A-List membership to anyone that spends an average of more than $25 a month on movie tickets for themselves.
It really doesn’t matter if your ticket purchases are spread out across 3 $10 matinees or a single $30 opening night IMAX viewing, if you’re consistently spending more than $25 a month for your own movie tickets, it’s probably worth getting an A-List membership.
From the detective’s desk: AMC used to reward points for A-List membership fees, but discontinued that perk on December 1, 2020.
Before diving in, just remember to ask yourself if your movie-going habits are going to change within the next three months because once you subscribe, there’s no turning back until the upfront commitment period is over.
AMC Stubs FAQ
Many of these faqs will further explain the benefits of an AMC Stubs membership, so they’re definitely worth a look.
What is AMC’s Tuesday discount?
All AMC Stubs members, including Insiders, are entitled to steep discounts on Tuesday showings.
Evening showtimes are discounted by up to 50% of the regular ticket price, and we’ve never paid more than $10 per ticket for a matinee or other less desirable showing.
In addition, AMC offers special concessions deals on Tuesdays. For instance, you may be able to pair a Cameo-sized popcorn with select drinks for just $5.
Do Stubs members get a birthday gift?
Yes. If you’re an AMC Stubs Insider, you’ll receive an offer for a free large popcorn. Premiere and A-List members are entitled to both a free large popcorn and a free large fountain drink.
Birthday offers are loaded to your account on the first day of your birthday month and can be redeemed until the last day of the same month. To cash in, simply have a concessions employee scan your virtual card.
Does AMC Stubs offer a free trial?
No, but AMC Stubs does support a free membership level. Insider members receive many of the same benefits as upper echelon members including discount Tuesdays, exclusive offers, and the ability to earn reward points.
If you’re on the fence about paying for a Premiere or A-List membership, test the waters with Insider.
How do you cancel an AMC Stubs membership?
To cancel a Premiere membership:
- Go to the “My AMC” section of the AMC website or app.
- Go to “AMC Stubs”
- Click or tap on “Cancel Your Membership”
- When prompted, choose to opt-out of auto-renewal of your membership.
You have until your next billing cycle to cancel your membership. If you do decide to cancel, you will still retain Premiere benefits for the duration of your membership period.
To cancel an A-List membership:
- Navigate to this page
- Click “View Plan Details” and navigate to “Cancel Plan”
- Confirm the cancellation
There are a couple of terms attached to canceling an A-List plan that you’ll want to know about.
First off, if you’re still in the introductory period, you will be charged for three months, as that’s the minimum commitment.
Also, you must cancel your subscription at least five billing days before the next cycle. Otherwise, you’ll be charged for the upcoming month.
Finally, once you cancel an A-List membership, you’re forbidden from reenlisting for six months.
As a nice perk, Premiere members that upgrade to A-List will have their Premiere membership paused. Should they choose to downgrade at a future date, they’ll revert back to Premiere and the clock will start again.
How do free popcorn refills and concessions upgrades work?
All AMC Stubs members that purchase a large popcorn or refillable popcorn bucket are entitled to a free refill. Simply provide your membership details and receipt at the concessions stand.
If you’re a Premiere or A-List member, you can purchase a large popcorn and/or drink at a discounted rate. The purchase can be initiated either in person at the concession stand, or online.