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My experience with AMC Stubs A-List: Bye-bye, MoviePass!

Seeing a movie at the theater is a classic pastime that many of us enjoy, whether it's on a weekly or monthly basis, or even a few times a year for those big blockbusters.

Personally, I've always enjoyed going to the theater (even though some moviegoers can totally end up ruining the experience) as a date night thing with my significant other. I love watching movies (and avoiding spoilers on big releases) as they come out because I've usually been waiting for them and can't wait to watch them to discuss with friends and family.

While MoviePass has been around for quite some time, they got a surge of new customers in recent years after they dropped the price of a subscription to $9.99 a month. For that price, moviegoers originally got one movie per day at any theater, with the only restriction being 2D movies.

But as MoviePass became more and more popular, they made changes that displeased many customers. For example, you could no longer see repeat movies and had to submit a photo of your ticket for verification.

I got frustrated with all of the new changes, and have been looking for a way out for a while. When AMC announced their new A-List tier of their Stubs program, I couldn't wait to sign up and get rid of MoviePass.

So what's the AMC A-List experience like and is it worth the money? Let's dive in and find out.

The Basics

To get into the AMC A-List subscription, you're going to have to pony up $19.95 a month, for a minimum of at least three months.

While MoviePass costs half of that (even less if you pay annually), the AMC A-List gives you much more for the price. With A-List, you're getting three movies per week (weeks reset every Friday morning), and that includes IMAX, Digital 3D, Dolby Cinema, PRIME, and BigD formats.

A big perk of A-List is the fact that you can reserve your tickets (and seats)online, days in advance. Each movie that you reserve tickets for, excluding premium events, takes up a slot in your weekly allotment. Unfortunately, reservations don't roll over to the next week, and if your slots are full and you want to see something else, you'll need to either cancel an existing one or wait for the week to reset.

In addition to these cool benefits, A-List members also get all benefits of AMC Stubs Premiere, which typically costs $15 a year. This includes 10 percent back on all food and drink purchases, complimentary size upgrades on popcorn and fountain drinks, and Priority Lane access at the box office and concessions.

Considering the fact that AMC is the largest theater chain in the nation, having A-List membership seems worth it if you frequently go to AMC theaters for your moviegoing, which I do.

Reserving tickets

The biggest reason I wanted AMC A-List was the ticket reservation system, and it works flawlessly.

With MoviePass, you had to be within 100 yards of your preferred theater to "check-in" on the app, and then go purchase your tickets at the box office or kiosk. From my experience, you had to get to the theater early to try and get decent seats, especially for the big, highly-anticipated releases.

This often led to my fiancé and I having to go back and forth on the AMC ticket kiosk, trying to find a showing with two seats together, and not smack in the front of the screen. More often than not, while we got tickets, they were terrible seats that I didn't like or there was just nothing available at all. While MoviePass does have online ticket reserving, it's only with a very small amount of theaters, and none of them are near me.

I'm so relieved to report how easy it is to get your tickets with A-List. Just find the movie you want, pick your location, and then a showtime. If your theater has reserved seating, you'll get prompted to select your seat(s).

While you can select multiple seats and get multiple tickets, they'll charge extra for them. There's also an option to make your reservation an A-List movie, or you can pay for it normally.

Once your reservation's confirmed, you get a confirmation and a virtual ticket. Optionally, you can add your ticket into Apple Wallet for quicker access instead of opening the AMC Movies app and then going to My AMC > My Tickets. Plus, if you have Location Services enabled, your virtual ticket shows up on the lock screen when you're near the theater.

I've only seen one or two movies so far with A-List, but I'm already in love. The reserving process is fast, seamless, and being able to reserve days in advance has made life so much easier. MoviePass should have implemented this system long ago, but it's now too little too late.

Weekly movie limit

Honestly, the three movie a week limit doesn't bother me. Even when I had MoviePass and could go see a movie every day for the month, I never went more than once, twice, or maybe three times tops.

So while MoviePass may seem like the better option in terms of quantity, I don't think it really matters. Most people aren't going to watch a movie in the theater every day, after all. I mean, who has time for that, in all honesty? I love movies, don't get me wrong, but I also have other things I would like to do during the week.

With AMC A-List, each week starts on Friday morning, which makes sense since Fridays is when new releases come out. You'll have three reservations available for the week, though you can still reserve tickets for movies with advance sales available. These advance tickets count as a reservation for the following week.

While it may sound a bit confusing at first, the AMC Theaters app lays it out pretty well visually, so it's easy to see how many reservations you have remaining for the current week. If you're ever trying to make a new reservation and can't because your slots are full, you'll just need to cancel an existing one or just wait it out.

Either way, even though there's a weekly limit on how many movies you can see, A-List still triumphs over MoviePass, in my opinion. You can watch your three movies in a single day (with at least 2 hours in between each showing) or spread them out over the week — the flexibility is nice. Plus, A-List allows you to do repeat viewings (MoviePass no longer lets you do this), so you can watch the same movie three times a week if you wanted to.

Premium formats

Even though MoviePass seemed like a bargain, it was restrictive in the format of the movies you could see with it. You see, MoviePass only allowed you to view one 2D movie per day for the month. Though this may be good enough for most, there are some movies that are just so much better to see in a premium format, such as IMAX or Dolby Cinema.

Honestly, I'm used to just seeing 2D movies since that's all I had with MoviePass. However, now that I have the option of getting tickets for premium formats with A-List, I'm going to make the most of it if I can.

I love seeing the right movies in IMAX, and having the option of doing so with A-List makes it worth the monthly subscription price alone. In my area, IMAX tickets are about $18, so if you want to watch three IMAX films in a week, the A-List pays for itself right there.

If you are a film connoisseur and love watching the high-end theater formats, then A-List is definitely one to consider if you have AMCs close to you.

Get complimentary Premiere Perks

Before I met my fiancé, I didn't typically get concessions at the theater, unless I had some occasional craving. However, since I've started seeing movies with my significant other, he always has to get something to snack on during the film, so I end up getting some munchies too.

AMC has their own loyalty program called Stubs. There's two tiers for that: free and Premiere. With the free level, you'll get bonuses like free refills on large popcorn, $5 Ticket Tuesdays, and more. Premiere status gets you waived online convenience fees, free popcorn and fountain drink size upgrades, 10 percent back on those food and drink purchases, and even Priority Lane access.

Normally, Stubs Premiere costs $!5 a year to join, but these benefits come with your A-List membership at no extra cost. So when you get A-List, you're getting AMC's movie subscription program and their top-level loyalty program at the same time (a 2-for-1). It's a nice perk if you're always longing for some hot and fresh buttered popcorn at the movies.

My verdict

Honestly, I think AMC Stubs A-List is well worth the cost of admission. While it's double the usual price of MoviePass, you're getting a lot more out of it, as long as you frequently go to AMC theaters (the largest theater chain in the nation).

I've dumped MoviePass since AMC A-List became available, and I have no regrets. For $20 a month, I'm getting three movies a week, all of which can be premium format viewings, and I can watch the same movie more than once if I want to.

Plus, having the ability to reserve my tickets and seats days in advance is well worth it alone, just for the convenience factor. I absolutely hated having to be within 100 yards of a theater to check in to a movie, especially if I didn't get the best cellular signal.

If you've been using MoviePass but mostly go to AMC, then I think it's time to dump MoviePass and join the A-List. Or if you want to start going to AMC theaters more for the premium formats and advance reservations, then it's time to join AMC Stubs A-List. Believe me, it's well worth it.

Join AMC Stubs A-List ($19.95 a month)

AMC Theaters - Free - Download Now (opens in new tab)

Christine Chan
Senior Editor

Christine Romero-Chan has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently the iMore lead on all things iPhone, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.

When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.

  • Honestly, if having to take 5 seconds to take a picture is an inconvenience for you, especially for only paying 10$ a month, there is something else with you that's a problem. And how often does one see a movie more than once? Probably not often. These are plain moronic reasons to say "bye bye!" To movie pass. I'll keep my movie pass as I love my local Edwards and Cinemark theaters the most.
  • As a "movie connoisseur," I find the selection of films offered at my local AMC to be an insult. If all I wanted to see the new Hollywood blockbuster of the week, AMC would be fine. But what about foreign films, documentaries and classic revivals? With MoviePass I have been able to see Kubrick's The Killing, Dr. Strangelive and Lolita. I saw Won't You Be My Neighbor and RBG. I saw little independent movies like You Were Never Really Here and Upgrade. If I want to see a Hollywood film, I can go to the drive-in and see a double (or triple) feature. So yes, wha, wha, wha. You need to take pictures of you ticket stub, sign in at the theater, and can only see a MoviePass movie once. And in exchange for that, I get to see exactly the movies I want to see, in whatever theater I want to see them in. MoviePass is superior to Stubs in every way that is important to me. That's the opinion of this "movie connoisseur."
  • I had moviepass for forever, and I would do things like go on my lunch break to the theater and get my ticket, and pay for my girlfriend’s out of pocket to get good seats for that night, but it was a pain. Then she got her own moviepass so I couldn’t even do that anymore. So a lot of the time I’d just end up buying popular movies outright to get good seats. The AMC near us has great seats, and it’s a nice experience. They even have independent films too, but on the rare occasion they don’t have what I want to see, I’ll just pay outright. I cancelled Moviepass. The last time we used it before it expired, the theater we were at had 0 cell reception for Verizon, and the ticket photo submittal didn’t work. It was a pain. We used AMC stubs A-list last night, and I have to say that I completely agree with your assessment. It was so convenient. I got both of our tickets and it used my reservation and just charged me for hers. And we beat the line for concessions by getting in the Stubs line, and I had a $10 discount since I was already a long-time Stubs member. Moviepass is now charging premium prices for peak times, and other BS like that. It’s only a matter of time before they run out of cash because they pay full price. AMC can do this properly because they own the theaters so they aren’t losing money on doing this. The $20 you pay to them, they book straight to revenue, and they don’t have to pony up any cash to pay for your tickets. They make most their money on concessions anyhow, and this encourages more purchases. It’s a win all around and it’s going to put the nail in the coffin for Moviepass. They are sputtering. Great write up.
  • So just to check. You can not buy 2 tickets to the same show and use that as 2 of your movies a week? (As in to use one pass for 2 people?)
  • Sorry, just saw this. But Nope, you can only get 1 free ticket per movie with AMC, so for 2 people it’s $40/month. But we’ve seen $126 movies this month, so it’s worth it to me.
  • The AMC option is just too expensive - it's double movie pass and limits me to one movie theater. I am honestly thinking movie pass isn't even worth it anymore. Going to a theatre with assigned seating is not an option since they always fill up so quickly and all of these endless rules are getting ridiculous. I just don't think it's a good value for me anymore but I am in it for a year so I guess I will just deal with it. I don't like the control they want to have - I can't see the same movie twice, some people pay extra to see movies on opening weekend, and I have had times when a movie doesn't show up on the app and I heard that happens if they favor a movie that is in direct competition with it.
  • Hey Christine! I really like AMC Stubs too because I'm a huge fan of Dolby Cinema and can watch all the movies playing but there is nothing wrong with MoviePass with either. It comes down to personal preference. No other movie subscription plan can offer up to 93% in the entire country. I'm a happy consumer of both MoviePass and AMC Stubs A-List. And just FYI.. You don't have to go back and forth frequently to check the availability of seats. Just use Fandango wherever you are - "This often led to my fiancé and I having to go back and forth on the AMC ticket kiosk, trying to find a showing with two seats together, and not smack in the front of the screen." I use the app all the time before starting from my home
  • I loved the concept of MoviePass and the price. I did not like having to be 100 yards to checking, or not being able to pick your seat until you actually get to the theater. Not major issues. THEN the changes started happening. Can't see the same movie twice, often times i'll go by myself and then go with my family due to timing issues. Peak Pricing? MY GOSH on every movie. Why pay ten a month and then have to pay three dollars + on every additional movie. Blackout movies on release? Now they just raised the price to fifteen? I cancelled last week, the day before they ran out of money and subscribed to AMC A-List. I'm ecstatic. I saw Mission Impossible in a Dolby Theater, the ticket price was fifteen. That was one of my three movies for the week. The app is WAY better than MoviePass. I can select my seats ahead of time, I can reserve a movie any day with in the same week, i don't have to be near theater. I can buy multiple tickets and select seats, and not have to conduct separate transactions, plus it comes with all the other Stubs perks. I will most likely see 2 maybe 3 movies a month, so this pass is perfect for me. No blackout dates, no peak pricing, any movie, IMAX, 3D, Dolby.
  • Hi everybody! I’ve just became a AMC A-list member and I love the system, but I am very upset that I cannot do a second subscription to my 13 years-old son. Why the member has to be 1* years old? I am his mother and I will pay for the subscription. What is the difference? I will manage his account. Someone here has experience about membership for a minor? Some AMMC theaters asked for my ID, other ones didn’t. Also, I did a subscription for MovePass but I haven’t received the card yet. How does it work? I read, just after I signed for the subscription (it was not explained anywhere in the website) that I have to go to the movie theater in order to get my ticked? It this is how is it, it sucks. Please let me know if u guys have any experience of AMC A-List for a Minor. Thanks. Monica, NYC