Skip to main content

These are the most delicious food rewards programs delivering big savings

Which loyalty programs make the cut?

Inflation has hit just about everybody — including beloved rewards program. Consider the fact that, not too long ago, Dunkin’ Donuts Rewards members dumped their morning brews into Boston Harbor in response to serious renovations (translation: cutbacks) to its rewards program (per CNBC). The company then tried the ol’ dipsy doo’ by doubling the number of points earned from five to 10 and lowering Dunkin’ Rewards redemption value for free drinks.

With that in mind, it’s time to take a look at loyalty programs from major food and drink franchises to find out what makes these rewards programs stand out.

Starbucks Rewards

Starbucks Coffee.
GoToVan / a

Starbucks Rewards awards two “Stars” for every $1 spent. Like Dunkin’ points, these can be exchanged for coffee, tea, premium drinks, and food. Comparing the two, Starbucks actually offers the better deal on food and drinks. Purchasing $75 worth of products will earn customers handcrafted drinks, compared to the $90 Dunkin’ requires. That same amount can be exchanged for a sandwich or parfait at Starbucks, whereas an equivalent meal at Dunkin’ requires people to spend $80. Oh, and the parfait is only available at Starbucks, so there’s another point in their favor.

It’s a steep freebie, but $200 spent at Starbucks also earns rewards members fresh-ground coffee free — something coffee fiends would find worth saving up for.

Learn More

Chipotle Rewards

Chipotle Burrito Bowl.
Mr. Tin MD

Chipotle Rewards members earn 10 points for every $1 spent in the restaurant, on the app, or online. While its deals are not the best (250 points/$25 for free chips?!), its random gifts and exclusives make the Mexican franchise stand out. Customers earn free chips and guac (with purchase) just for signing up. There are random freebies, chances to try new menu items, and participatory events. This includes earning a free burrito for building a burrito in its metaverse store.

Learn More

Chick-fil-A One

Chick-fil-A.
Sikander Iqbal

Chick-fil-A awards new One members 10 points for each dollar spent. Rewards are available for as low as 200 points ($20) for a chocolate chunk cookie and go all the way up to 1,800 points for a cobb salad. To determine the relative value of these (points per dollar spent), Reddit user u/Plaguei5 created a chart comparing redeemable menu items. The lower the number, the better the deal.

Where Chick-fil-A really shines is its options for really loyal customers. The restaurant explains that once One members reach a certain number of points (and dollars spent), they ascend a level. Moving up the chain, silver members earn 11 points per dollar, red members 12 points, and signature members 13 points. To reach signature status, Chick-fil-A explains, people have to earn 10,000 or more annual points or $1,000 spent on fried chicken and accessories. These members might need a little diversity in their diet, but they do earn access to “unique experiences,” backstage passes, tours of the Chick-fil-A offices, first access to new menu items, and potential prizes like tickets to the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame.

Learn More

Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast Rewards

Jimmy John's combo.
Jimmy John's

Like Chipotle, Jimmy John’s offers free food for first-time Freaky Fast Rewards members. Instead of a free side, though, Jimmy John’s will hook you up with a free sub.

The sub station’s rewards program works differently than other franchises. Instead of earning points towards future exchanges, Jimmy John’s offers the freebies based on the member’s number of visits (made at least two hours apart). After two to four visits, the sandwich shop will credit the Freaky Fast app with any of a number of rewards —free chips, a pickle, cookie, or even a regular sandwich. Participants do need to keep track of their rewards, though; they usually expire after 60 days.

Learn More

Panera Bread MyPanera

Panera Bread catering.Similar to Jimmy John’s, Panera Bread offers up a free pastry upon signup to MyPanera. Rewards pop up in customer accounts as purchases accumulate. Complaints like this Delishably review have been levied that these do not add up very quickly, however.

There are advantages to MyPanera. Rewards are based on customer purchases, and Panera’s birthday gift offer lasts a week compared to only one day with most rewards programs. There’s also the opportunity for one-month free access to Panera’s Sip Club, which grants free endless refills on coffees, teas, and juice drinks.

Learn More

Buffalo Wild Wings Blazin’ Rewards

Buffalo Wild Wings wings and fries.
Buffalo Wild Wings

Where MyPanera allows a week for a free birthday bonus, Buffalo Wild Wings will serve up six free wings anytime during a member’s birthday month. Every $10 earns 100 Blazin’ points. As The Krazy Koupon Lady shows, this generally converts to 1% to 2% cash back with rewarded items, with the loaded ice cream providing the most bang for the buck. The restaurant offers more of an impact with the quarter- and half-off discounts that pop up on its app.

You can earn extra points by participating in B-dubs surveys and trivia nights. The ultimate challenge is the Blazin’ Wings Challenge: Eat 10 Carolina Reaper wings (100 times spicier than jalapeños ) in less than five minutes and win 1,000 Blazin’ Rewards points, a Buffalo Wild Wings headband, a free ice cream dessert to cool down your mouth, and your sweaty mug on the “Blazin’ Challenge Wall of Fame.”

Learn More

There are tons of deals out there to fill whatever hunger or thirst you’re after. If you’ve got a favorite spot or two, make sure that you’re up on the rewards programs and you know the best perks of each.

Editors' Recommendations

Matthew Denis
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Matt Denis is an on-the-go remote multimedia reporter, exploring arts, culture, and the existential in the Pacific Northwest…
How to lose weight: Eat these foods that help you feel fuller longer
Add these foods to your meal plan
spinach and avocado on toast

Fad diets were once all the rage. Want to know how to lose weight? Standard advice centered around creating a massive calorie deficit by not eating (or barely eating). Thankfully, those days are behind us. Weight loss isn't about not eating anything at all. Generally, no foods are off the menu — unless you're allergic or they cause issues like severe GI discomfort (or you simply no longer wish to eat them).

Instead, losing weight is about consuming foods that keep you satisfied and energized for longer, so you're not tempted to consume too many calories later. Dropping pounds can be a delicious endeavor if you know what to add to your grocery list (and, later, plate). Let's indulge in the best foods for weight loss.

Read more
Here’s why the Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest and most well researched diets in the world
Perks of the Mediterranean diet: Why you would benefit from it
Salmon entree

The Mediterranean diet is one of the most beneficial and widely studied diets around. You’ll find many health benefits associated with the food choices, including heart-boosting vitamins and nutrients that are also known to reduce the risk of certain kinds of cancer. 

You’ll get to choose from healthy fish and lean meats like chicken as well as yummy nuts, oils, fruits, and vegetables. Unlike fad diets, the Mediterranean diet encourages sustainable and healthier living with a variety of delicious meals.

Read more
11 foods high in gluten to avoid on a gluten-free diet
Learn what has gluten and possible alternatives
Foods high In gluten

The increase in people being diagnosed with celiac disease has shed light on the potential inflammatory and gut-disruptive effects of gluten foods on some. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that involves a gluten allergy; you may also experience non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). Luckily, the market is now abundant with gluten-free options for those who need them.
Gluten is a protein found in certain grains. While it is perfectly healthy for plenty of people, those with celiac disease or NCGS may experience bloating, abdominal discomfort, inflammation, diarrhea, and in the case of celiac, structured damage to the absorptive villi structures in the gut. If you’re finding yourself reacting to foods high in gluten, you should consider cutting out gluten for a period of time to see if your symptoms go away. Not sure what the culprits are? Below, we share a list of 11 foods high in gluten.

Flour
Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, barley, and triticale, which is a hybrid of wheat and rye. As such, most conventional flours are high in gluten. Any white or wheat flour that includes wheat will be high in gluten. There are, however, alternative gluten-free flours for baking and cooking for those with gluten sensitivities. Examples of gluten-free flour include rice flour, tapioca flour, and chickpea flour. Chickpea flour, which is made from garbanzo beans, has the advantage of providing some fiber and protein.

Read more