It’s not every day big corporations duke it out for the honour of offering us free coffee, but that’s exactly what’s happening as Tim Hortons and Starbucks each announced their own new loyalty programs a mere day apart. Starbucks is doing a total overhaul on their existing program (thank you!!) and Tims is finally rolling out the program they’ve been promising since last summer.
Tim Hortons: You can have it all
If you’re a Timmies lover, this plan was well worth the wait. Starting Wednesday, Canadians can use their rewards card to get a free item every seven purchases (in honour of the late Tim Horton’s jersey number). Yeah, that’s not just “buy 7 coffees, get one free” (like some loyalty cards we could mention), eligible purchases also include hot teas or baked goods (excluding Timbits and bagels).
So what’s the fine print? Only one item per visit can count toward your loyalty card (so no, you can’t count both your morning coffee and your donut) and items need to be over 50 cents to contribute. Visits cannot be less than 30 minutes apart.
Other than that, it’s a pretty flexible program. You can hit up your local Tims for a loyalty card — which you would present for scanning at each visit — or download the app and do it straight from your phone.
It’s worth noting that the loyalty program roll out coincides with Roll Up the Rim — well played, Tim.
Starbucks: We can sort of understand it now
If you’re an avid Starbuckser (is that a thing?), you might understand the points system at the coffee chain, but if you drink any fewer than two cups of ‘bucks a day, you’ve probably been just as confused as the rest of us for the past three years. The outgoing iteration of Starbucks Rewards is an evolution of the pre-2016 My Starbucks Rewards which was even more convoluted. In both programs, customers earned stars first based on number of visits, then dollars spent, which translated to member levels, which eventually resulted in discounts. Now, Starbucks is simplifying the system to offer something much more straightforward.
It’s not quite the one-to-one structure of Tims and McDonalds (wouldn’t that be the dream?) but the coffee giant is making it easier for casual ‘bucksers (we’re committed to that name now) to redeem stars with a lower-tier starting-point.
Members will continue to earn two stars for every dollar spent in-store, but starting April 16, new members will start earning rewards right away and everyone will be able to use them faster with the lower tier structure. The first tier (at 25 stars) will offer a free drink customization (like an extra espresso shot, dairy substitute or additional flavor) and the second (at 50 stars) will offer a free drink or select bakery item. Prior to the change, customers had to earn 125 stars before they were able to redeem any rewards.
So rejoice, coffee lovers! The more you buy, the more you save! (That’s how that works, right?)