So Many Rewards Programs, So Few Rewards

I love rewards programs. Well okay, I love rewards programs that actually reward you. Companies love to change them claiming that they will serve you better when what they mean is “we just figured out that we are giving you too much”.

Coke Rewards

 

Best Buy completely neutered their program a few years ago. It’s still worth using IF you are going to buy at Best Buy anyway but it’s not worthwhile as a selling point. Coke Rewards was barely worthwhile to begin with and then they went and made you jump through a ton of social media hoops to get the ‘good’ stuff.

Cinemark

I have rewards program cards for three separate movie chains locally (Epic, Regal, and Carolina Cinemas). Cinemark, which we do not have, sent me a FREE popcorn for my birthday. None of our local ones even wished me a happy birthday. I sure hope Regal rolls out their revamped program soon, even though it does nerf some of the usual rewards. Fandango wished me a happy birthday and wanted me to pick out a movie to see but was happy to charge me full price to do so.

Disney Movie Rewards

Disney Movie Rewards I find to be very worthwhile. They give a tiny amount of FREE points out with their newsletter each month. They give you a nice bonus of FREE points on your anniversary date and for your birthday. Submitting movie ticket stubs is fairly easy on a smartphone (up to four per Disney movie). I get merchandise from them all the time. Most recently I got Funko Pop figures of Anger and Joy from Inside Out for my granddaughter (I didn’t have enough points left for Sadness).

Muppets Most Wanted

Yay! After some rather dismal movie trips (“a bad day at the movies is still better than a good day at work” – K.S.), I got to take my wife and granddaughter to Muppets Most Wanted.

Muppets Most Wanted

Muppets Most Wanted (2014) – Rated PG

Flush with their revival’s success, Kermit the Frog and his friends are approached by Dominic Badguy to go on a world tour. Unknown to them, this is all part of the sinister plan of Constantine, the world’s most evil frog, to become the greatest thief of all time. After making sure that Kermit is jailed as himself, Constantine impersonates him to use the Muppets’ tour as cover for his scheme. While Sam the Eagle and Inspector Jean Pierre Napoleon investigate, the Muppets find their boss seems strangely changed even as Kermit desperately attempts to escape to stop the impostor.

One Line Review: More fun than good but isn’t fun what you are looking for?

Huge credit needs to be given to Jason Segel for reviving this franchise. The Muppets was not perfect but was highly humorous, full of heart, and was the first to feature a human character that mattered. It was the best Muppet movie since the original, The Muppet Movie. After The Muppet Movie, subsequent Muppet outings were increasingly dependent on gimmickry and had less heart.

Obviously a successful relaunch begets a sequel and thus Muppets Most Wanted was born. I hesitate to call Muppets Most Wanted a good movie but it is certainly an enjoyable one, particularly if you have a little one with you.

James Bobin, who directed The Muppets, returns as director as well as co-writing Muppets Most Wanted with Nicholas Stoller (who was also a writer on The Muppets). They clearly have a love for The Muppets. There are nods to earlier Muppet films and several nods to the original television series.

Comedians Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, and Tina Fey are the main non-Muppet actors and they handle the comedy well, delivering good lines and pratfalls without taking too much from the Muppets themselves. There are a slew of hilarious cameos with my favorite being Danny Trejo. Look for Tony Bennett, Sean Combs, Ray Liotta, Salma Hayek, Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, and a host of others.

Besides focusing on Kermit and Miss Piggy, the script finds ample time to highlight Sam the Eagle, Animal, The Great Gonzo and Walter. Fozzie seemed a little shortchanged.

Muppets Most Wanted is not as good as The Lego Movie but it is a lot of fun. If you go, don’t forget to submit your ticket stubs for Disney Movie Rewards points.

Best part: The Seventh Seal joke

Worst part: The preview scene where Danny Trejo says “wokka-wokka” wasn’t in the movie (unless I missed it when I took the four-year-old to the bathroom).

 

Just When I Thought I Was Out, FREE Movie Tickets

I have been making a conscious effort to attend fewer movies to save money. While nowhere near as large as a movie screen, I have a very nice television. I can drink my own brewed tea at home instead of a coke at the cinema. My snacks and homemade baked goods are certainly better than anything I can get at the theater. Top all of that off with home release windows narrowing to three months and you really don’t have to wait long to watch something at home.

Jack Ryan

Then a certain retailer (Curse you, Best Buy!) had The Hunt for Red October blu-ray (and others) on an endcap for $9.99 with a FREE movie ticket to Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Other titles included Clear and Present Danger, Patriot Games, The Sum of All fears, Top Gun, Minority Report, and the Mission Impossible movies.

Robocop

Best Buy also had an endcap of $7.99 blu-rays with FREE tickets to the new Robocop movie. Titles included the remastered edition of Robocop, Ronin, A-Team, Red Dawn, Die Hard, The Terminator, Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Walking Tall, Roadhouse, Predator 2, Escape from New York, Navy Seals, Commando, and Immortals.

Sadly I am a sucker for FREE movie tickets. I finesse them with the theater’s rewards program to earn more new items (popcorn, soda, tickets). Never forget to use your theater’s reward card with these. Also if it is a Sony or Disney release, save the ticket stubs to submit for their rewards points.

Disney offer

Speaking of Disney Movie Rewards, they are currently offering a FREE movie if you enter three DVD/Blu-ray codes. Choices include Cars, Secretariat, Dumbo, and Tron Legacy. You will have to pay shipping and handling but that’s a small price to pay.

300: Rise of an Empire has an upcoming FREE ticket promo on select copies of 300, Braveheart, Gladiator, Alexander, Troy, and either Clash of the Titans.

Disney Movie Rewards, Sony Movie Rewards, and Coke Rewards

If you have children (and even if you don’t), the Disney Movie Rewards program is a no-brainer. You earn points by purchasing DVDs and Blu-Rays and entering the code inside the case into your account. You can also upload photos of your movie tickets to earn points that way as well (usually 50 points each ticket opening week and 25 after that – up to four tickets per movie). They also give you bonus points if you purchase a movie that you have previously seen in the theater. As if that wasn’t enough they often run promotions where entering your Disney code nets you a FREE movie ticket.

Monsters University* Enter the code from the Monsters, Inc or Finding Nemo DVD or any of the multi-packs of Monsters, Inc and get a FREE ticket to Monsters University. This does not cost you any of your points.

The Lone Ranger* Enter the code from Oz the Great and Powerful (ONLY the Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital combo pack) and get a FREE ticket to The Lone Ranger. This does not cost any of your points.

I have found that it doesn’t take long to rack up a ton of points (unlike Sony and Coke) and they have a nice catalog of merchandise to use your points on. Also keep in mind that all the Marvel movies (Iron Man 3, Thor, Avengers) are now Disney as well.

Sony also has a rewards program. It is a much harder sell. You can earn points by buying select Sony Blu-Rays and DVDs that have inserts or by seeing Sony movies and uploading pictures of the ticket stubs. Their program is slow going (unless you have a Sony charge card) and it takes quite a while to get anything. The points used to expire after a year which was ridiculous but now they last two years (somewhat better) so you have to make sure to use them or lose them when the time comes.

Coca-Cola too has a rewards program. You can enter codes from bottle caps and 12-pack packaging. Caps are generally worth 3 points and twelve packs are worth 10. As almost anything worthwhile is over 1,000 points, it takes quite a while to earn something.