Taking the family to the flicks can burn a huge hole in your pocket, yet this sneaky loophole can save you a wad of cash, and what's more, can be used time and time again. Simply sign up for a free Orange sim card and you'll be able to bag half price cinema tickets every Wednesday as long as the offer runs.
Do you like loopholes like this? If so it's important to remember they're usually very timely and can end at speed. Get the free weekly e-mail to ensure you don't miss out.
If you haven't heard of Orange Wednesdays, where've you been? Every Wednesday, any Orange customer can go to almost any cinema nationwide and get 2 for 1 on the cinema ticket entry plus 2for1 at Pizza Express (see Restaurant 2for1s). This includes Orange broadband and dial-up customers.
Yet this loophole can be used by anyone, not just Orange customers. For a one-off expenditure of £1, or even free, you can access the deal, saving you (and a friend) the cost of a cinema ticket each time.
How the loophole works
It's quite simple really. Just buy a £1 pay-as-you-go Sim from Orange, and then use this to grab the tickets.
A Sim is the small (roughly 2cm by 1cm) microchip card that you insert into a phone when it's first set up. It provides the identity of a phone for the mobile network, so it can recognise, bill and send calls to individual customers.
The Sim card is usually located behind the battery on the back of the phone. Therefore when you temporarily change the Sim card in your phone, you've technically got an Orange phone.
Orange commonly offers free sim cards through a variety of ways. Currently the following routes work:
- Free Orange sim plus £5 credit.
Orange is offering free sim cards, including £5 credit if you top up with £10 (if you don't top up you still get the card, just not the credit). Simply enter your details and you'll receive a sim card in the post.
To activate the £5 credit, you just need to call up and register. Then you can use it for the free 2 for 1 cinema loophole described below. The credit won't expire, though the phone will become dormant if not used for six months. As soon as you make a call or top-up it will be reactivated.
You may need to unlock your handset
One tiny fly in the ointment is that when you put the Sim card in your phone it may not work. That's because some mobile networks lock handsets so only their sim cards can be used in the phone. If your sim card doesn't work, there's an easy, free and legal way to unlock it. For details read the Unlock Your Mobile article.
How to get the 2for1 deal
The process of getting the 2 for 1 is quite simple. Once you get the Orange sim, pop it in your phone instead of your normal Sim, then text Film to 241 or call 241, it'll then send you a message (which costs 35p/text) which you show the box office to get the deal.
How long will the Sim last?
To keep the Sim activated you need to make a call at least once every six months. Yet this includes free calls to check your balance, just dial 453 from your phone and this will count as a call.
However do remember you have to pay to receive the 2 for 1 text from Orange (it's 35p). The PAYG initially has £1 credit on it and once it runs out you will need to top it up.
When the credit does run out the minimum top-up amount is £5. If you know you're going to use that amount of credit for cheap cinema tickets fine, if not just buy a new sim card as and when you need it.
Any possible problems?
Within Orange's terms and conditions it does state 'Text tickets are issued on a priority basis to active customers who spend over £5 per month with Orange. Orange may revise the terms of this promotion from time to time.'
This means it does have a get-out clause and while I've not yet heard of anyone falling foul of this there's always a chance. Then again the outlay is only £1. See Orange's full Terms and Conditions.
Get permanant £1.90 cinema tickets
There's a sneaky addition to this loophole, allowing you and a mate to get four films each a month for as little as £14.99, or £1.90 each per film.
Cineworld cinemas offer an Unlimited films pass for £14.99/month (or £17.99 inc London West End cinemas), letting you see as many films per month as you like. Better still, this works with the Orange Wednesday codes, so a pass holder can take a partner/mate for free.
Overall this means unlimited movies for you, plus your pal gets four free films a month, all for £14.99. There is a £1.50 supplement for 3D films.