Back in August 2015, almost six months ago, a little black box from Grand Cinemas inscribed with “Try guessing what’s inside the box!” arrived on my doorstep. I was intrigued, and guessed it was an invitation to a movie premier or something. It was indeed an invitation to a movie premier, plus, there was a card inside with my name on it plus the words “VIP”.
Now when I saw VIP I thought it meant VIP status in terms of being notified of movie updates before anywhere else or a discount card of some sorts. It wasn’t until later in the week when we did attend the movie premier of “The man from UNCLE” in the newly opened Grand Cinema Gate Mall that I truly learned what it was.. a VIP card is a one year unlimited movie viewing card! Yes, it meant I could spend every single day of the week, watching movies again and again, as much as I like whenever I feel like it! For a movie buff this is a dream come true, for a movie buff who actually exclusively watched her movies in Grand Cinema because she preferred the serenity and easy access and better popcorn, it was simply a card to movie heaven!
Why post about it six months later? I wanted to fully try it and report back on its usage after a fair amount of time. Why should you, my dear reader, care about this post particularly? Well, the VIP card is a loyalty scheme that is going to be available for everyone who’d wish to subscribe therefore I hope when the day comes, if it didn’t already, you’d know what to expect when you actually receive your own. Shall we start?
First of all, the card is unlimited access for me, who’s name is on the card, plus one more ticket. It cannot be for endless numbers of tickets or anything more than two. It also must absolutely be used by myself, meaning I cannot use it today then give it to my sister tomorrow to use with her friend. One of the tickets must be assigned to me at all times.
How to use it? You call Grand cinemas, pick the movie and seats over the phone, give them your name and number and receive a reservation reference, then you go to the ticket counter before the start of the movie and present your card and get your tickets. I’ve been there so many times, I’m on first name basis with the ticket employees :p
Does it include free drinks and popcorn or other movie goodies? No it doesn’t, you get to buy these one your own. However, the 3D glasses are given out for free, VIP or no VIP card.
I love the movies, and I’ve been to quite a few of them over the past six months. The seats are always comfortable and it isn’t as crowded and noisy as other cinemas which is why I preferred to go there in the first place, pre-VIP card that is. However, let me tell you about the wrinkles that need to be smoothed out in the VIP scheme, and thankfully there aren’t much to go:
- When we first received the card there was quite a good deal of confusion involved, it didn’t come with instructions to use and hence we had to pester the PR personnel of Grand Cinema with our questions. Once we got the number, we also didn’t know if by VIP it meant we can get tickets to the Grand Class (vip screen) or the standard screen and we got mixed feed backs. It would, of course, have been awesome to get unlimited viewing in the luxurious Grand Class but I think we would be pushing our luck there. Turned out it was only for Standard Class. Those things happened at the first week though.
- For a person who is used to booking her movie tickets online ever since online cinema booking have existed, 15+ years or so now, I was extremely disappointed I couldn’t use my card to order online and had to do it over the phone. The number to call can get quite busy sometimes and I swear I once had to call 30 times in a row to get someone to answer it, something that grates on my nerves and makes me worry. Also, when I book online I simply go to the ticket machine and enter my booking reference without waiting in line, with the card I have to stand in a long winding line which, again, I’ve managed to avoid for 15+ years now. I think registering the card with an electronic profile and enabling it for online booking would provide a much better experience to the users.
- The following is an issue regarding the diet coke of Grand Cinema, I hate that I have to pay the same amount of money for both coke and diet coke yet the coke comes in a cup with ice and the diet coke is always in a can, sans cup and ice! When you ask for a cup with ice and a straw, cause it can get messy sipping from a can directly in the movies and straws don’t really behave well with cans, you need to pay an extra 500 fils! I’m already paying for an inflated price of a can of coke that I can get for 100 fils in the co-op and no I don’t drink regular coke so I wish Grand Cinema would revise their policy regarding the diet coke thing.
- The selection and quality of food available in Grand Cinema is top notch, they do have excellent and fresh popcorn, small packets of diet and various flavoured popcorn, and provide sandwiches from Cucinare Bakery and diet-friendly items from Pick. Their nachos even come with both cheese sauce and tomato salsa! The only thing I don’t like much -aside from the can of diet coke- is their nachos.
Thank you Grand Cinemas for the valuable card which I’m yet to overuse properly! Much obliged, and I hope by the time it’s finished your VIP card scheme is up and running and I promise you, I would subscribe in a blink.
Dear reader, if you wish to ad any more comments or enhancements, please feel free to do so!