Meerkat trick: Spend £1ish to get 2for1 at cinemas AND restaurants for a year

Meerkat trick: Spend £1ish to get 2for1 at cinemas AND restaurants for a year

Meerkat Movies gets you 2for1 at cinemas on Tuesdays or Wednesdays and at restaurants on Sundays to Thursdays (plus other discounts on takeaways etc) FOR A YEAR when you buy via comparison website Compare The Market.

And we’ve a trick to get it for £1ish...

It came about when we asked ourselves, what’s the cheapest product you can buy in order to qualify for Meerkat Movies? (And Meerkat Meals, which works the same way).

The T&Cs state you'll be eligible for both for 12 months as long as:

  • You purchase any of the following insurance – car, van, bike, caravan, taxi, motorhome, home, pet, life, health, over 50's, income protection, landlord, business or travel insurance.
  • OR you switch any of the following – domestic energy (gas and/or electric), broadband, home telephone or digital TV.
  • OR you successfully apply for – a credit card or loan or mobile phone contract.
  • You WON'T be able to get Meerkat Movies or Meals if taking out the following products: business energy, savings and current accounts, mortgages, business life insurance, business broadband, breakdown cover, temporary insurance, Zuto car finance, home care & boiler cover, and homeowner loans & equity release.

Car and home insurance were too pricey – there are better rewards and cashback offers available elsewhere. So we homed in on travel insurance.

Remember, we’re not necessarily encouraging you to use these policies as they may not provide the cover you need – see our Cheap Travel Insurance guide for more info.

The point of this is just getting 2for1 cinema tickets and restaurant meals as cheaply as you can. So, one night’s UK cover for one person does the job. Do a quick search on Compare The Market for a single-trip travel insurance policy.

The cheapest quotes when we last tried it on Tue 8 Jun:

  • £1.01 – Coverwise ‘Single Standard’
  • £1.01 – Ergo 'Single Element'
  • £2.68 – InsureFor.com 'Single Economy'
  • £2.87 – AA 'Single Bronze Essential'

At these prices, the insurance is far cheaper than the price of a second cinema ticket or a second main course, so in most cases you'll save even if you use it once.

Do bear in mind the year's membership begins from the date you made a purchase, and you can only have one active membership. If you make any subsequent purchases during the 12 months, it'll reset the clock – so you never get more than 12 months.

Will it always work?

Since first sharing this trick six years ago, we've been swamped with countless successes from MoneySavers (like Geraint below, who tweeted in 2019), yet at the time we didn't think it would last – a year's 2for1 for £1 seemed too good to be true. Six years later, it's still working... touch wood.

So while we can't guarantee it'll go on forever, as Compare The Market could technically close the loophole anytime it wants, it seems likely it'll keep going for a while longer yet.

If you want to learn more about how Meerkat Movies and Meals actually works (once you've done the trick), we've included a full step-by-step guide in 'More info' below. See our Cheap Cinema Tickets and Restaurant Vouchers pages for related deals.

Once I’ve done the trick, how does Meerkat Movies and Meals 2for1 actually work?

1. After making a qualifying purchase at Compare the Market, download the Meerkat app to activate your membership. Your 12 months’ 2for1 starts from the date you made the purchase. Activation can take at least 48 hours.

2. Claim your cinema voucher code for any standard 2D ticket online or via the app when you want to see a film (as regularly as once a week either on the Tuesday or Wednesday). If your cinema code isn't used it'll expire at 0.01am on the Thursday after it's issued, and you'll then need to generate a new one. For Meerkat Meals, select a restaurant via the app when you want to dine out (as many times per week as you like between Sunday and Thursday) and get 2for1 on starters, mains and/or desserts, but not drinks. You can use both Meerkat Movies and Meals on the same night.

3. Print the cinema voucher code or show it on your smartphone at a participating cinema. If you're dining out, check to see whether you need to book in advance (this will be indicated clearly when you search for restaurants on the Meerkat app). You should notify the restaurant that you're a Meerkat member when booking. You’ll need to present your digital Meerkat Meals membership number, via the app, to your waiter when you ask for the bill. To get this, click on 'Meals' at the bottom of the app and then click the golden 2for1 in the top right corner.

What days can I use Meerkat Movies?

Your Meerkat Movies 2for1 will be valid every Tue/Wed at all the big chains (eg, Odeon, Vue, Cineworld, Showcase), plus many independent cinemas, though some cinemas may have their own rules on how you can use it and which films, if any, are excluded. If you’re unsure, check with your local cinema before buying.

What days can I use Meerkat Meals?

Your Meerkat Meals 2for1 will be valid every Sun/Mon/Tue/Wed/Thu, but there are some exclusions, including: Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, plus certain days in December at selected participating restaurants. These exclusions will be indicated clearly when you search for participating restaurants on the Meerkat app.

In addition to 2for1 starters, mains or desserts, Meerkat Meals also gives:

  • 25% off your total bill (including drinks but excluding alcohol in Scotland) at selected restaurants – the days this is valid varies by restaurant. It's for when a minimum of two people are dining, and a maximum of 10.
  • 50% off pizzas when spending £30 on pizza at participating Pizza Hut and Papa John's branches for delivery or collection (excluding all in Northern Ireland). This is available any day of the week.
  • A minimum of 10% off your total bill at selected restaurants when ordering takeaway for delivery or collection. Compare the Market hasn't confirmed which days this is valid yet.

See full Meerkat Movies and Meals terms and conditions.