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Dunkin’ is receiving a lot of heat from readers about its new rewards program.
Dunkin’ Rewards, formerly known as DD Perks, launched on Oct. 6 and uses a tiered redemption model where customers can redeem points for food and drink items. The new program, which follows Starbucks’ rewards system, allows customers to redeem points for food for the first time, but also requires spending more in order to earn free drinks.
We asked Boston.com readers how they feel about Dunkin’ Rewards, and the responses were overwhelmingly negative. Ninety percent of respondents expressed their disappointment with Dunkin’ Rewards, while only 5% said that the change is “Great news!” Another 5% voted “Other” and said that they are still not sure where this new program leaves them.
“I think the consumer lost on this. My reasoning behind my statement is that before I made my purchase today I was 23 points from a free beverage,” Concetta P. said. “Today after my purchase and my additional 100 points for ordering through the app on a Monday, I am 45 points away from getting my ‘free beverage.’ I do not see this as a win for the consumer. It benefits Dunkin’.”
Under Dunkin’ Rewards, members earn points faster, receiving 10 points for every $1 spent, compared to the 5 points under DD Perks. However, it takes more points to earn a free drink than it did under the old system. In the old program, 200 points would get you a free drink of any size. It now takes 500 points to get a coffee and 700 points for a crafted beverage like a cold brew or Dunkin’ Refresher.
Treats like Donut Holes and hash browns can be redeemed for the first time, as can breakfast sandwiches and bagels. Guests no longer get a free drink on their birthday but instead get triple the points from their purchases.
Dunkin’ president Scott Murphy responded to reader reactions saying the program still benefits regular customers. “Change is always going to be an adjustment, but in the long run, Dunkin’ loyalists will benefit even more,” Murphy wrote in an email to Boston.com. “Dunkin’ Rewards is all about choice for our members; with a more dynamic rewards structure where they start earning rewards at a lower spend threshold, they can redeem points for a wider variety of food and beverages, and choose when and how they use their points.”
Ahead, find a sampling of how readers have responded to the relaunch.
“For someone like me, who orders the same medium regular every time I go and not much else, the change is terrible. I’ve been a rewards member since it was in beta, and have the personalized card to prove it, and am not particularly happy with these changes. It will take more than twice as long to get that free coffee now. It won’t stop me from continuing to go to Dunks though.” —Mark, Bridgewater
“It’s reverse psychology. You get more points per dollar, but you have to earn four times as many points to get a free drink. Dunkin’ Donuts should sell doughnuts and drinks. They are going to lose a lot of my business.” —Anonymous
“Under the old program, 200 points would get me a free cold brew, $40 spent. Now to get a free cold brew, you need to spend $70? (10 points per dollar x $70 = 700 points) Comparable to Starbucks where $75 would get you any drink. Only problem is Dunkin’ (though I don’t mind it) is lower quality than Starbucks. And Starbucks gives us many times per month to earn additional points. I won’t be going to Dunkin under this rewards program.” —Geoff M., South Boston
“You point out it’s harder to earn a free drink—they also got rid of the free birthday drink, but are trying to sell it as a birthday bonus. Overall dishonest and misleading program rollout trying to pitch this as an ‘improvement’ to Dunks’ lifelong loyalists.” —Anonymous
“Rip off. I’m a nurse and get their coffee every day, and it’s the one nice bonus I had with them. This is just their excuse to save money. They inflated their prices, and now people are getting more points—more free coffee—likely less of a profit for them. If they truly wanted to ‘add food’ like other customers asked, then they should have just added choices to pick from and not also increased how much money it took to get a free coffee. Plain and simple. We’re not dummies, Dunkin’.” —Emily, New York
“It’s a dressed up way of saying that it now takes more money to earn that free beverage. I don’t buy for one second that the majority of the people wanted anything else on that menu. When it comes to Dunks, food is an afterthought.” —Derek Z., New Hampshire
“Bring back the old system!” —Meg R., Boston
“I’m going to buy my Dunkin’ regardless of a reward program, but now I like that I can get a free food item instead of racking up free beverages.” —Sara, Weymouth
“Great. I don’t drink coffee, so the old rewards program did nothing for me.” —Anonymous
“If it’s free it’s for me, I’ll take three! I get my Dunkies every morning for my commute down I-93, and I won’t stop now!” —Shawn D., Methuen
“It is real good, but how long will it last? I do not drink coffee or tea, and now I can get stuff for me.” —Mark, Sharon
“Basically neutral about the [changes]. I did not participate in any survey that led to the change. Dunkin’ has the right to change the rewards program at anytime. I have been in the DD Perks since the beginning. Since I go to the Dunk every day, it just means I’ll receive 50% fewer free coffees per year. The fact that I can pick other items besides a drink for a reward is fine with me. It just requires a little more effort on my part to receive a reward versus automatically receiving a free drink automatically.” —Edward B., Delaware
“I typically only get iced tea at Dunks, so this program means that I will get fewer rewards. I understand that people who have families and those who go to Dunks daily will benefit from the new program; it simply means that I won’t get my free drink as often. I don’t feel very good about that.” —Wendy, Exeter
“Some good, some bad. I like that they expanded the program to include other products you can get for free, but the amount of money you have to spend to earn a free coffee, compared to the old program, is ridiculous.” —Josh A., Ashland
“Mixed feelings. Good for those who want other products. I’m a plain old coffee type, and all I see is the 300 additional points to get to the freebee.” —Thomas S., Mansfield
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