Big changes are coming to Tim Hortons Tims Rewards in February 2023. The loyalty program for the iconic Canadian coffee and donut chain will look different come February 2023. The program will move to a revenue based earn model from its current per visit model and with that will come a change in how many points are required to redeem for rewards. All of these changes will take place as of February 21, 2023..
The changes are very reminiscent to the new MyMcDonald’s Rewards that launched just over a year ago. To me it appears they are following McDs closely rather than their other big competitor, Starbucks Rewards.
“In terms of earning a free coffee, if you spend less than $5.72 per visit at Tims you are worse off in the new program. Spend more than that and you are better off”
Let’s dive right into those changes!
The new earn rates
As mentioned above the Tims Rewards is moving to a revenue based earning model. That means you’ll earn points for what you spend rather than the set 10 points per visit that the program currently offers. This change is both good and bad. Good for those who spend a lot at Tims in each visit, bad for those who don’t. And I feel a lot of Canadian Tims customers fall into that latter category.
The new program is being promoted as earning 10 points per $1 spent however it will in fact earn 1 Point for every $0.10 spent on eligible transactions. Those eligible transactions will be rounded to the nearest $0.10 (standard rounding applies) in terms of how points will be rewarded. That is if your total is $3.58 you’ll earn 36 points and if it is $3.52 you’ll earn 35 points.
Given that the new program will reward points based on spend they are removing to 30 minute waiting period that is currently in place for earning points per visit.
The following items are excluded from earning points: purchases to load, reload and/or activate a Tim Card, transactions completed via a third–party ordering website and/or delivery aggregator, delivery tip transactions, cambro deposit and/or refund transactions, certain retail products and donations, bottle deposit transactions, and the cost of any government prescribed levies, duties, taxes or other fees (for example, mandatory environmental fees)
The new redemption rates
With the new earn rates come new redemption rates. Here are the new redemption options as of February 21, 2023:
- 300 points: Classic Donuts, Specialty Donuts, Hashbrowns, and Cookies
- 400 points: Brewed Coffee, Tea, Dream Donuts, Bagels, and Baked Goods
- 600 points: Hot Chocolate, French Vanilla, Iced Coffee and Wedges
- 800 points: Real Fruit Quenchers, Cold Brew, Classic Iced Capp, Box of 10 Timbits, Yogurt, Frozen Beverages and Espresso Drinks
- 1100 points: Breakfast Sandwiches and Soups
- 1300 points: Farmer’s Wrap, BELT, Lunch Sandwiches and Chili
- 1800 points: Loaded Bowls & Wraps
For reference, here are the redemption rates in the current version of Tims Rewards:
- 50 points: Classic Donuts, Cookies, Hashbrowns,
- 70 points: Brewed Coffee, Tea, Dream Donuts, Bagels, and Baked Goods
- 100 points: Classic Lemonade, Hot Chocolate, French Vanilla, Iced Coffee, Wedges
- 140 points: Real Fruit Quenchers, Cold Brew, Classic Iced Capp, Frozen Beverages and Espresso Drinks, Box of 10 Timbits, Yogurt,
- 180 points: Breakfast Sandwiches, Soup
- 220 points: Farmer’s Sandwich, BELT, Lunch sandwiches or chili
How does the revamped program compare?
Let’s compare how much spending it will take to get a free coffee!
The one drink per visit customer
With the current program it takes seven visits to earn the 70 points needed for a free coffee or tea. If you are buying a large coffee or tea each time you go to Tims that’s just over $2 per drink or let’s say about $15 in spending. You can get it for less, as spending as little 50 cents constitutes a visit so theoretically you could spend as little $3.50 to get a free drink. Realistically that’s not happening as I don’t think there is anything on the menu that low – what is a single Timbit? 70 cents or something like that? So perhaps that free coffee could come with $5.00 in spending.
Anyways, back to the task at hand – the most popular buy one drink per visit. We have that at $15 in spending over 7 visits to get this free coffee or tea. In the new program it requires 400 points for that same coffee or tea. At 10 points per dollar that means you have to spend $40 instead of $15 to get the same reward. That’s a massive devaluation from the program for the most popular option from the chain!
The $10 per visit customer
On the opposite end, is the bigger spender. Say you are someone who spends around $10 per visit – perhaps a couple of coffees and breakast sandwiches or something like that. In the current program if you spent that each visit you would have to spend $70 over those 7 visits to get the free coffee. In the new program, it will only require $40 in spending or roughly 4 visits to earn that same free coffee. A major improvement to the program for those who do spend more.
How does this compare to MyMcDonald’s Rewards?
This is where I was most surprised with the new Tim’s Rewards in that they didn’t match McDonald’s! In the MyMcDonald’s Rewards program a coffee or tea reward takes 2,000 points. With that program awarding 100 points per dollar spent a customer needs to spend $20 to receive the free coffee. That’s half of what the new Tims Rewards requires! I feel like Tims is banking on people seeing 400 points for their coffee versus 2000 points for McDonald’s and having those people not do the math thinking Tims is better. It’s not.
Recommended reading: Introducing MyMcDonald’s Rewards – the restaurant’s new points based loyalty program
How does this compare to Starbucks Rewards?
If we are to compare brewed coffee or tea, we have yet another surprise. Starbucks Rewards requires 50 Stars to redeem for a brewed coffee or tea. If you pay for your Starbucks visit with a funded/loaded Starbucks Card/App you earn 2 Stars per dollar spent. Quick math on that gives you that free coffee after $25 of spending. If you don’t use a funded Starbucks payment method and simply scan your Starbucks Rewards card you earn 1 point per dollar thus requiring $50 to get a free coffee.
Quick comparison of spending required for a free coffee
- MyMcDonald’s Rewards: $20
- Starbucks Rewards (Scan & Pay): $25
- The new Tim Hortons Rewards: $40
- Starbucks Rewards (Scan only): $50
What about my existing points?
Update: We now know the conversion rate of existing points to the new program. They will convert at a rate of 1 point from the old program to 6.2 points in the new program. They are actually giving your old points a little more value here than in the new program. For example if you have 70 points (enough for a free coffee) those will convert to 434 points (400 is required for the free coffee). (Thanks for jevonb)
Upon using your Tims Rewards physical card or digital account, on or after the effective date of the program changes, each point or qualified point (as applicable) that you earned up to such period will be automatically multiplied by 6.2 as part of a transition offer.
Some of you may be asking that with the new earn and redeem rates that the value of existing points will change. And they will but Tims has not provided details on what that value will be. All I can find from Tims is that “Your points will automatically be converted to a new value under the new program.”
Wrapping it up
In terms of earning a free coffee, if you spend less than $5.72 per visit at Tims you are worse off in the new program. Spend more than that and you are better off. This is typical of loyalty programs that have move to a revenue based model. We’ve seen it happening in the airline industry for many years now and is simply becoming more prevalent for loyalty programs across the board. Plain and simple, revenue based models tend to reward those who can spend more and take away from those who can’t. Ultimately though I am really trying to process Tims’ thinking though at pricing their earn and burn for a free coffee higher than McDonald’s and Starbucks! Perhaps they are planning to provide a lot of bonus points offers, at least I hope they do otherwise they’re going to lose the battle in the arena of coffee rewards!
Image via Tim Hortons