MyMcDonald’s Rewards Guide

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I love McDonald’s. Admittedly, the one thing I don’t like is their current loyalty program. While the program itself is fine, it gives you limited options and it’s weird that it isn’t digital. Well, that changes soon as MyMcDonald’s Rewards is about to launch on November 16, 2021. 

This new digital rewards program is the first of its kind for the company. Like every other loyalty program out there, McDonald’s Canada believes they’re providing maximum benefit while providing value. But does it live up to the hype? Find out now.

What are MyMcDonald’s Rewards?

MyMcDonald’s Rewards replaces the old loyalty system. As a quick refresher, the old program was limited to hot beverages when earning rewards. If you bought 7 drinks, you’d get the 8th drink or fries as your reward. This was a pretty generous program, but you could only earn and redeem points on specific items.

Under the new MyMcDonald’s Rewards, you can rewards on every purchase and there are dozens of items you can redeem. Plus, everything is managed under the McDonald’s mobile app. This is the same app that McDonald’s currently uses, so there’s no need to download another app. Once your account is registered and activated, you’ll be able to scan your MyMcDonald’s Rewards QR code every time you make a purchase. If you’re ordering from the app, you’ll automatically earn your rewards points.

Additionally, MyMcDonald’s Rewards can personalize your experience by remembering how you like to customize your orders.

How to earn MyMcDonald’s Rewards

When you sign up for the app, you’ll receive a welcome bonus of 5,000 points. After that, you’ll earn 100 points per $1 spent, before taxes. For example, if you spent $10, you’d get 10,000 points. Note that delivery orders do not earn you any points.

If you currently have a “punch” in the old digital rewards program, each one will be converted into 300 points. For example, if you had 7 “punches,” you’d get 2,100 MyMcDonald’s Rewards points. This is a fair conversion and is done automatically.

In addition to the points you’ll earn on every purchase, there will also be bonus points events. For example, you could earn more points on certain products, days, or purchase amounts. These additional earn events have become quite popular with loyalty programs and are also found with Tims Rewards and Starbucks Rewards.

MyMcDonald’s Rewards Guide

How to redeem MyMcDonald’s Rewards

MyMcDonald’s Rewards operates under tiers. Generally speaking, lower priced items require fewer points, while the more expensive items are at the top of the chart. However, like all loyalty programs, this isn’t an exact science. Since every item has a different cost, there’s a sweet spot in each tier that offers maximum value. 

I looked at the cash price and points required to make a redemption of every item, and figured out that the value of 1 MyMcDonald’s Rewards ranges between .0399 – .1145 cents. The top value item is a large McCafé iced coffee, while a Hamburger Happy Meal has the lowest value (sorry kids). 

It’s worth noting that not all McDonald’s locations charge the exact same price for all items. For example, a Big Mac Extra Value Meal at the closest McDonald’s to me is $9.49, but I’ve also seen it selling for $10.99 at other locations. These variations won’t make a huge difference in the overall value of MyMcDonald’s Rewards.

Let’s look at what you can get with the different tiers.

Tier 1 - 2,000 points

ItemRetail priceCost per point
Medium McCafé coffee $1.69.0845
Medium McCafé tea $1.69.0845
Cone$1.79.0895
Two li’l donuts $1.79.0895
Large McCafé coffee$1.89.0945
Large McCafé tea $1.89.0945
Hash brown$1.89.0945
Medium McCafé iced coffee$1.99.0995
Large McCafé iced coffee$2.29.1145

Interestingly enough, tier 1 rewards offer the best redemption value with a large McCafé iced coffee. The retail price is $2.29, which puts the value of 1 point at .1145 cents. What’s unclear is if specialty iced coffees can be redeemed. For example, a vanilla iced coffee has a higher retail price, so that could end up being the best overall value.

Since you can redeem any size iced coffee, it’s in your best interest to get the largest size since it offers the best value. On the flip side of things, small size hot beverages will offer you the least value, so avoid those.

Tier 2 - 4,000 points

ItemRetail priceCost per point
Cheeseburger $2.39.0598
Sausage McMuffin $2.49.0622
Medium fries $2.99.0748
Medium McCafé latte $3.19.0798
Large McCafé latte $3.59.0898
Large fries $3.59.0898

Tier 2 rewards see an immediate drop in value. The lowest redemption value is a cheeseburger which retails for $2.39. That works out to .0598 cents per point. That’s about half the value of the top Tier 1 reward. The top value rewards are large fries and a Large McCafé latte at .0898 cents per point. That’s a lower value than large hot beverages, a hash brown, and iced coffee from tier 1.

To many people, this lower redemption value in a higher tier may seem odd, but it’s more common than you would think. Even airline and hotel programs operate in a similar fashion. If you’re not into hot beverages or iced coffee, then redeeming large fries is still a decent value. 

Tier 3 - 6,000 points

ItemRetail priceCost per point
Junior chicken - $2.49$2.49.0415
McDouble - $2.79$2.79.0465
Snack size McFlurry - $2.79$2.79.0465
Egg McMuffin - $3.89$3.89.0648
Egg McMuffin w/ bacon or sausage - $3.99$3.99.0665

Let’s be honest, Tier 3 rewards are not very good. The range in value is .0415 – .0665 per point. Many of these items are part of the “snack” menu and are already priced quite low. I’d avoid Tier 3 rewards.

Tier 4 - 10,000 points

ItemRetail priceCost per point
Hamburger Happy Meal $3.990.0399
Hotcakes Happy Meal $4.190.0419
Cheeseburger Happy Meal$4.690.0469
Chicken snack wrap Happy Meal$4.690.0469
4 McNuggests Happy Meal$4.890.0489
Big Mac$5.190.0519
6-pieec McNuggets$5.390.0539
Egg McMuffin Extra Value Meal $6.290.0629
Egg McMuffin w/ bacon or sausage Meal$6.390.0639

As weird as it sounds, Tier 4 regards are even less valuable than Tier 3 rewards as they range between .0399 – .0639 per point. Many parents will be tempted to redeem Happy Meals, but even the more expensive happy meals give you a low value for your points. Getting a Big Mac may be tempting, but an Egg McMuffin w/ bacon or sausage Meal is the most valuable item in this tier. That said, the maximum value is still a fair amount lower than many Tier 1 rewards.

Tier 5- 14,000 points

ItemRetail priceCost per point
10-piece McNuggets$7.49.0535
Big Mac Extra Value Meal$9.49.0678
McChicken Extra Value Meal$9.49.0678
QPC Extra Value Meal$10.49.0749

Many people will be tempted to save up their points to get a Big Mac, McChicken, or Quarter Pounder with Cheese Extra Value Meal, but they also present a limited value. Extra Value Meals have a value between .0678 – .0785 per point depending on the retail price. Although you also claim 10-piece McNuggets, that has an even lower value.

While it may seem odd that the top tier doesn’t give you the best overall value, it’s surprisingly common with many restaurant loyalty programs. The sweet spot is often found much lower in the chat. With the case of MyMcDonald’s Rewards, you want to redeem points for Tier 1 items.

With all of the rewards, you would pay the difference for any extras. For example, if you want to add bacon, you’ll pay the difference. Alternatively, if you’re redeeming a limited-time item that has a surcharge, such as a featured McFlurry, you’d pay the difference.

It’s also worth noting that not every McDonald’s menu item is available to be redeemed under MyMcDonald’s Rewards. Some noticeable omissions include Filet-O-Fish, McGriddles, and milkshakes.

How does MyMcDonald’s Rewards compare to others?

Just about every food loyalty program has switched to a points based system. While these programs are great since you can get free stuff without additional spending, none of them are really miles better than the other.

Technically speaking, you can earn free stuff quicker with Tim Hortons Rewards. Under that program, you get 10 points for every order where you spend at least 50 cents before tax. That means you could spend as little as $2.50 to get a reward such as a donut that has a value of $.99 – $1.19. In contrast, MyMcDonald’s Rewards requires you to spend $20 to earn 2,000 points before you can make a redemption. Granted, the Tier 1 rewards are more valuable than a baked good from Tim Hortons, but you still need to spend more.

Starbucks Rewards offers many challenges and bonus events where you can earn additional stars. MyMcDonald’s Rewards will offer something similar, but as this program is brand new, we don’t know how often those promos will happen and what they will be. With Starbucks Rewards, it takes 150 Stars to claim a free drink, but you can claim any size, and any additional toppings. You could literally create a drink that’s worth $10 – $15. Funny enough, that’s a mid-tier reward, but everyone knows that’s the sweet spot since you can go crazy.

I’m not saying MyMcDonald’s Rewards is better or worse than other programs out there. The reality is that no one is going to change where they eat based on a loyalty program. You just need to know how to maximize your points. With MyMcDonald’s Rewards, it’s Tier 1 redemptions. 

How to earn more rewards at McDonald’s?

As much as I love maximizing the value of rewards points, there’s an easier way to get rewarded when making purchases at McDonald’s or any other restaurant. All you need to do is pay with one of the best cash back credit cards or one of the best travel rewards credit cards. For example, check out these two credit cards.

American Express Cobalt Card

  • $12.99 Monthly fee ($155.88 yearly)
  • 2,500 monthly Membership Rewards points after charging $500 in purchases each month for a year (30,000 points total)
  • 20,000 additional points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on eats and drinks
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on streaming services
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

The American Express Cobalt Card gives you 5 points per $1 spent at restaurants. This includes food delivery services. Since credit card points are separate from MyMcDonald’s Rewards points, you’re able to double dip. The points you’ll be earning are American Express Membership Rewards, which are incredibly valuable.

How valuable you ask? At their base value, 1 American Express Membership Rewards point is worth 1 cent per point. However, you can transfer your points to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio. I personally value 1 Aeroplan point at 2 cents. That means you can earn a 10% return when paying with your American Express Cobalt card at McDonald’s or any other restaurant.

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

  • No annual fee
  • 15% cash back up to $1,000 in spending ($150 cash back) for the first 2 months – Until Dec. 31, ’21
  • 2% cash back on up to 3 categories
  • 0.5% cash back on all other purchases

There’s also the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card that gives you 2% cash back on up to 3 categories of your choice. Since restaurants is one of the categories you can select, you can effectively earn 2% cash back whenever you make a purchase at McDonald’s. This is an ideal solution for people who prefer to earn cash back over points.

Final thoughts

Some people will not like how McMcDonald’s Rewards is not as valuable as the old program. That said, it’s more accessible since you’ll now be able to earn rewards on every dollar spent. Plus, this is a free program. As long as you use your McDonald’s app when ordering, you’ll always be earning rewards. When it comes to value, stick to Tier 1 redemptions since they give you the best bang for your bucks.

MyMcDonald’s Rewards Guide

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

10 Comments

  1. fbgcai on November 18, 2021 at 10:45 PM

    thanks for the deep dive breakdown! Large fries here we come

  2. Looking for Value on November 19, 2021 at 11:13 AM

    Barry,

    You have a limited notion of “value”. Your “deep dive” wasn’t very deep. It focused solely on the price of items at the various redemption levels. That’s only a small part of what makes up “value”. If you look at the items that you deemed the highest value, they were pretty much junk that’s inexpensive to provide: iced coffees, fries, etc. They cost McDonalds very little and their nutritional value ranges from minimal to harmful.

    It’s no surprise, then, that the lowest tier items – mainly overpriced and minimally nutritional – appear to be the “best value” by your very narrow definition.

    If you view any of these reward programs through a broader lens of real value it’s no surprise that other brands’ versions of iced coffees and fries will look, at first blush, to be better value than rewards that are actually far more valuable but also more costly for the brands to provide.

    As a final observation, a genuine deep dive would find that all rewards programs are a scam. Their cost is built right into the cost of the goods we’re buying. The discouraging part of rewards programs is that, because the costs are built right into the prices we pay, we are all opted into them whether we choose to participate or not. A pox on them all!

  3. Ron on November 20, 2021 at 1:34 PM

    Very interesting read!
    My question is on the app it shows “Rewards Punches are now points”
    Meaning 1 punch is good for 300 points.
    I thought it was replacing the other rewards so after 7 punches it would be 2100 points, good for free coffee or fry.
    Buy it’s not activated or something I’m doing wrong.
    I asked at our local McD’s and they had no clue.
    They figured there was a glitch.

    • Barry Choi on November 20, 2021 at 2:14 PM

      Ron,

      I believe they automatically convert as I had 3 punches and my account is now showing 900 points. With the points in your account, you can redeem for whatever you want as long as you have enough points.

  4. Dharam on November 25, 2021 at 9:47 AM

    The pricing of products have increased by 10%.
    Like medium coffee 1.89 instead of 1.69.
    What’s your take on the value with the increase , and Related tier 1 atleast.

    • Barry Choi on November 25, 2021 at 9:50 AM

      Dharam,

      Prices can change by location. When prices increase, but the redemption value stays the same, you’re technically getting a better value.

      I personally will only use my points for a large tea.

  5. Bob H on November 25, 2021 at 11:26 AM

    The 300 points per punch on the old system is going forward only 100 points it will take 3 times as many points to earn 1 coffee you have to buy 20 cups to get 1 free before you only had to buy 7. I don’t buy anything else there.

    • Barry Choi on November 25, 2021 at 1:40 PM

      Bob,

      Yes that’s the biggest devaluation. It’ll now take much longer to get something free. My parents only buy coffee at Mcdonald’s so they’re in a similar situation.

  6. Bob on November 26, 2021 at 1:19 PM

    I guess I’ll just go back to Tim Hortons I think their program is better and I like the hockey pool.

    • Barry Choi on November 28, 2021 at 6:53 AM

      Hey Bob,

      Their program is more valuable, but I prefer the taste of McDonald’s food and drinks.

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