There are a number of rewards points programs in Canada, and I’ve written about a couple of the more popular ones – Aeroplan and Air Miles. For the movie theater enthusiast (like my spouse), there is really only one game in town, and that’s Cineplex and their SCENE points system.
How the SCENE Program Works
The SCENE program is a free points program that gives you points when purchasing movie tickets and concessions at Cineplex theaters and their online store. Once you sign up for the program, you get a SCENE card/number that gives you 100 points for every movie ticket that you purchase. Once you accumulate 1,000 points, you can redeem your points for a free movie.
They have also recently expanded the program so that you can earn and redeem points at Sport Chek and Cara restaurants (Swiss Chalet, Montana’s, Milestones, Kelsey’s, East Side Mario’s, Bier Markt and Harvey’s). For Cara restaurants, it’s 1 SCENE pt/$3 spent, and 1 SCENE pt/$1 spent at Sport Chek. You can redeem 1,000 points towards $10 at either Sport Chek or a Cara restaurant.
Maximizing SCENE points
So now onto the good stuff, how do you maximize SCENE points? As I mentioned above, you get 100 points every time you go to a movie and you need 1,000 points for a free movie ticket. Essentially, go to 10 movies (really 9 movies if you take advantage of tip 2 below) and you get one free. There are a number of ways to use this program to its fullest potential;
Here’s how we maximize SCENE points:
- Get Multiple SCENE Cards – If you have a significant other and heading to the movies, chances are that you will be booking two tickets under the same purchase. The catch with SCENE is that you can only get 100 points/card/purchase. So even if you book multiple tickets, you will only get 100 points. To get around this, sign up your partner as well and add it to your SCENE online account. This will make sure that you get 100 points, and your partner’s account will also get 100 points. If you buy children’s tickets, you will get 50 points for every child. (A reader suggested to buy tickets in multiple transactions under the same account. That way, you get a free movie faster).
- Book Online – Another little trick is to book your tickets on the Cineplex website and you will get a bonus 20 points or 20%. Make sure to provide your SCENE card details (or login), during the check out process.
- Use Coupons – If you tend to eat out at Cara restaurants or shop at Sport Chek, there are often coupons available online that give you Scene point multipliers. A quick google search, and I just found 30x bonus Scene point bonus when eating at Swiss Chalet. The coupon offers 30 SCENE points for every $3 spent (instead of 1 pt/$3 spent). So a $60 meal would give you 600 SCENE points. Often around Christmas, there are a number of gift card bonuses. Right now, if you purchase a SCENE based Cara gift card, they will give you 20 points for every $3 you spend. Buy a $60 gift card to get 400 points, then use the gift card to pay for a $60 meal at Swiss Chalet and now you have 1,000 points – enough for a free movie.
- Tuesday Cheap Night – I’m not sure about other provinces, but on Tuesdays in NL, Cineplex offers movie tickets for $6.99 which is quite the discount from their Friday/Saturday night price of $12. If you are a SCENE member, you get an additional 10% off Tuesday ticket prices in addition to getting the full 100 points for the movie purchase.
- Boost your Points with a Free Credit Card – If you frequent the movie theater, one credit card that can offer you a lot of value is the no annual fee Scotiabank SCENE VISA Card. This free card will give you $1 SCENE pt for every $1 that you spend on the card, and $5 SCENE pts for every $1 spent at Cineplex. Perhaps this card deserves its own review, but essentially, you get a free movie for every $1,000 in every day spending (and 4 free movies as a sign up bonus). For the amount that we funnel through our credit card, we would never need to pay for another movie!
- Redeem – When you collect enough points for a free movie, you will have the option of using your points towards a movie when you use the Cineplex website. It makes the most sense to use the points when you head to the movies on pricier nights like Friday/Saturday nights, and save your points during weekly movies.
Final Thoughts and the Value of Scene Points
My wife really enjoys going to the movies, so the SCENE program is a program that we keep up with. It often provides us with a free movie in a relatively short period of time – even without using the SCENE Visa. In terms of return on spending or value, if you restrict yourself to Tuesday night movies only, then your return on spending is very high at 21% return ($12 Friday night movie reward/$56.70 spent). If you only go to the movies on the weekends, and spend $12 per movie, then the return is lower at 11% ($12 reward/$108 spent). The return can get to really impressive levels if you take advantage of the tips listed above, especially if you sign up for the SCENE Visa (see description above).
For SCENE users out there, how do you maximize your points?If you would like to read more articles like this, you can sign up for my free weekly money tips newsletter below (we will never spam you).