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If you haven’t already heard, Chick-fil-A and McDonald’s have great loyalty programs that can get you free fast food. And it’s super simple to sign up for either “Chick-fil-A One” or “MyMcDonald’s Rewards.” Just download their app and opt in to the program. But in the Chick-fil-A vs. McDonald’s battle, which one offers the better rewards and freebies? We did a deep dive to find out.
Chick-fil-A One is a bit more complex, with membership tiers and a higher spending limit before you can get any free grub. Meanwhile, MyMcDonald’s Rewards is super straightforward, and you’ll get free food right away through a points system. But both deliver when it comes to giving you a wide variety of free food.
You’re already aware that we know all the McDonald’s hacks and clever tips on how to save at Chick-fil-A. And below, we put ’em side by side to see which rewards program wins in the Chick-fil-A vs. McDonald’s contest.
Chick-fil-A Vs. McDonald’s: Chick-fil-A One 101
1. Earn 10 points for every $1 spent as a Chick-fil-A One Member.
Right from the start, Chick-fil-A One Members earn 10 points per dollar spent. But the more you spend, the more points you’ll earn per dollar.
To ensure every purchase counts toward your points, make purchases using the Chick-fil-A app or ask the cashier to scan your code in the app.
TIP: Forgot to scan your Rewards code? Don’t stress. Just click “Rewards” in the app. Scroll to the right until you see “Upload,” then click “Upload your receipt” and enter your receipt details. If you’re a real Chick-fil-A fanatic, get more points by asking your nonmember friends for their receipts, too.
Related: How Much Does Chick-fil-A Pay? One Location Paid Workers in Chicken
2. Spend $20 at Chick-fil-A to get your first freebie.
Chick-fil-A freebies start at 200 points, meaning you’ll have to spend $20 to get your first reward. You can only redeem one freebie at a time, so plan accordingly.
Here’s what you can get for free as a Chick-fil-A One Member (look for the * to scan each section for the highest value):
200 points ($20 spent):
- Chocolate Chunk Cookie ($1.69)
- Hash Browns Side ($1.75)*
- Icedream ($1.69)
300 points ($30 spent):
- Chick-fil-A Coffee ($2.29)
- Chocolate Fudge Brownie ($2.29)
- Fountain Drink ($2.45)
- Freshly-Brewed Iced Tea ($2.45)
- Kale Crunch Side ($2.65)*
- Small or Medium Waffle Fries ($2.35 or $2.65)*
400 points ($40 spent):
- Lemonade ($2.79)*
- Sunjoy ($2.79)*
500 points ($50 spent):
- 4-Count Chick-n-Minis ($4.99)*
- Chicken Biscuit ($3.89)
- Iced Coffee ($3.45)
600 points ($60 spent):
- Chicken Sandwich ($5.29)
- Cup of Chicken Noodle Soup ($4.19)
- Side Salad ($4.39)
- Small or Medium Fruit Cup ($3.29 or $4.29)
- Small or Medium Mac & Cheese ($3.49 or $4.29)
- Spicy Chicken Sandwich ($5.59)*
700 points ($70 spent):
- 3-Count Chick-n-Strips ($5.65)
- 8-Count Chick-fil-A Nuggets ($5.39)
- 8-Count Grilled Nuggets ($6.19)*
- Egg White Grill ($5.29)
- Frosted Beverages ($4.75)
- Hash Brown Scramble Bowl ($5.25)
- Hash Brown Scramble Burrito ($5.25)
- Milkshakes ($4.85)
800 points ($80 spent):
- Chick-fil-A Deluxe Sandwich ($5.99)
- Greek Yogurt Parfait ($4.99)
- Spicy Deluxe Sandwich ($6.29)*
1,200 points ($120 spent):
- 12-Count Chick-fil-A Nuggets ($7.35)
- 12-Count Grilled Nuggets ($8.79)
- 4-Count Chick-n-Strips ($7.15)
- 6-pack Chocolate Chunk Cookie ($9.49)*
- Chick-fil-A Cool Wrap ($8.49)
- Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich ($8.85)
- Grilled Chicken Sandwich ($6.5)
1,800 points ($180 spent):
- Cobb Salad ($9.89)
- Citrus Berry Salad ($10.09)*
- Spicy Southwest Salad ($10.09)*
3. Earn one extra point per $1 spent each time you move up a Chick-fil-A One membership level.
Chick-fil-A One offers four membership tiers — each earning you more points per dollar spent. But you have to spend a certain amount within one year to move up a level.
Basically, the more you spend in one year, the faster you will earn rewards.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Basic Members = 10 points per dollar
- Silver Members = 11 points per dollar
- Red Members = 12 points per dollar
- Signature Members = 13 points per dollar
One extra point per $1 spent doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up. For example, you’ll need to spend $20 as a new Member to get free hash browns, compared to spending just $15.38 as a Signature Member to get the same hash browns for free.
4. Chick-fil-A is adding new rewards starting April 4, 2023.
On April 4, Chick-fil-A is adding new items to their rewards program. Here’s everything that they are adding:
- 500 points ($50 spent): Free large Waffle Fry (reg. $3.09)
- 600 points ($60 spent): 5-ct Nugget (reg. $3.40)
- 600 points ($60 spent): 2-ct Chicken Strips (reg. $3.85)
- 700 points ($70 spent): Sausage Biscuit (reg. $4.25)
- 800 points ($80 spent): 5-ct Grilled Nugget (reg. $3.90)
- 1,200 points ($120 spent): Bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup (reg. $6.39)
- 2,500 points ($250 spent): Any Meal (reg. $12.99)
Upgraded Red and Signature members will get even more rewards that they can redeem:
- Red Members can spend 1,200 points ($120 spent) to get a Kid’s Meal (reg. $7.09)
- Signature Members can spend 3,000 points ($300 spent) to get a 30-ct Grilled Nugget platter (reg. $21.95)
- Signature Members can spend 3,000 points ($300 spent) to get a gallon of Sunjoy (reg. $10.50)
5. Spend $100 within one year to start earning rewards faster.
So how do you bump up a membership tier to earn those Chick-fil-A freebies faster? Earn 1,000 points within one year by spending $100. Then you’ll automatically become a Silver Member to start earning 11 points per dollar spent.
The next membership level bump is more significant. Assuming you’re already a Silver Member earning 11 points for every dollar spent, you’ll need to spend another $273 (to earn an additional 3,000 points, totaling 4,000 points within one year) to become a Red Member.
And if you’re a Red member earning 12 points per dollar spent, you’ll hit 10,000 points within the year by spending another $500 within the year (in addition to the points you’ve already earned) to start earning 13 points per dollar spent as a Signature Member.
Overall you’ll have to spend $873 within one year to hit that Signature Member level, so be sure to check out our Chick-fil-A hacks to get the most food for less.
6. Membership tier points reset every Jan. 1.
Your membership tier points reset on Jan. 1, but you get to keep your membership level for the following year.
This means that if you ended the year as a Signature Member, your membership points will reset back to zero, but you’ll still earn 13 points per dollar spent for the entire next year.
So instead of spending $873 again the next year to keep your Signature status, you’ll only have to spend $769.
7. Get better birthday freebies as your membership status improves.
For example, you’ll get a free Chocolate Chunk Cookie priced at $1.69 when you first sign up on your birthday, but once you’re a Red member, you can choose a free Chicken Sandwich valued at $5.29 instead.
Check out your Chick-fil-A One birthday freebie options depending on your current level. Don’t expect birthday substitutions, and remember these options are subject to change anytime.
TIP: Allow notifications in your Chick-fil-A app so you don’t miss out when your birthday freebie becomes available. Your Chick-fil-A One birthday freebie will be awarded on your birthday, and you’ll have 30 days to claim it. If your birthday lands on a Sunday, it’ll be awarded the day before (Saturday).
7. Earn extra bonus points during Chick-fil-A Bonus Point Challenges.
You’ll also want to make sure your notifications are turned on in your Chick-fil-A app so you don’t miss out on free bonus points.
For example, a recent challenge offered 50 extra bonus points if you ordered on your Chick-fil-A app between 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. But you had to be a Silver, Red, or Signature member to qualify for the bonus points.
8. Gift your Chick-fil-A Rewards to someone you love.
Like someone enough to give them your free Chick-fil-A sandwich? Just open your app and click “Rewards,” then the “Gift to a Friend” option to send your Reward to a friend. That’s real love right there.
Chick-fil-A vs. McDonald’s: A Deep Dive into MyMcDonald’s Rewards
1. Get free Large Fries when you download the McDonald’s app and join MyMcDonald’s Rewards.
Download the McDonald’s app and make a $1 minimum purchase to unlock the free Large Fries Reward.
To compare, you’ll have to spend $30 to earn free Small or Medium Fries from Chick-fil-A One.
TIP: Also look for MyMcDonald’s Bonus Points offers on your first purchase under Rewards & Deals in the app. For example, now through June 30, 2023, you’ll get 1,500 Bonus Points when you make your first Rewards purchase. That’s enough points for a free McChicken, Hash Browns, Vanilla Cone, or Cheeseburger.
2. Earn 100 points per $1 spent with the MyMcDonald’s Rewards program.
3. Spend $15 to get your first MyMcDonald’s Reward freebie.
You’ll have to spend $20 to get your first Chick-fil-A One freebie, but your first MyMcDonald’s Rewards freebie will land in your belly after spending just $15 — and that’s if you’re not already taking advantage of the freebies listed above.
Here’s what your MyMcDonald’s Rewards points can get (* indicates the best value in each section):
1,500 points ($15 spent):
- McChicken ($2.79)*
- Hash Browns ($2.99)
- Vanilla Cone ($1.89)
- Cheeseburger ($2.29)
3,000 points ($30 spent)
- 6-Piece Chicken McNuggets ($2.99)
- Large Iced Coffee ($2)
- Sausage Burrito ($2.29)
- Medium Fries ($3.59)*
4,500 points ($45 spent)
- Large Fries ($3.99)
- Large Frappe ($4.79)
- Filet-O-Fish ($4.49)
- Sausage McMuffin with Egg ($4.19)*
6,000 points ($60 spent)
- Quarter Pounder with Cheese ($5.09)*
- Big Mac ($5.09)
- Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit ($4.69)
- Happy Meal ($5.39)
4. Collect points twice as fast by unlocking Double Points in your McDonald’s app.
MyMcDonald’s offers pretty easy ways to unlock 2x points right in the app. For example, at the time of writing this, MyMcDonald’s members could earn double points by ordering breakfast items between 5 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Find current Double Points opportunities on the home screen of your McDonald’s app or by checking the “Bonus Points” section under “Rewards & Deals.”
TIP: Check the Deals section under Rewards & Deals for the biggest value items of the day. You’ll see daily deals or coupons, like $3 off any purchase of $15 or more or $2 Breakfast Sandwiches, to help you earn those Reward points faster while spending less.
5. Enjoy a free Big Mac, Quarter Pounder with Cheese, or 10-Piece Chicken Nugget for your birthday.
Adding your birthday is not part of the info you provide when you make your MyMcDonald’s Rewards account, so you’ll have to add it manually.
In the app, under “Rewards & Deals,” you’ll see a “Share Your Birthday” button to enter your birth date. Then eat your free birthday meal at McDonald’s and head over to Chick-fil-A for your free birthday dessert.
6. MyMcDonald’s points expire within six months.
With Chick-fil-A One, you’ll have one year to use your points. But MyMcDonald’s points expire the first day of the month, six months from the day you earned the points.
With a shorter shelf life, you’ll want to keep track of your points using the McDonald’s app so you don’t miss the chance to get those hard-earned freebies!
7. Gifting MyMcDonald’s Rewards points is not allowed.
But is this really a bad thing? It just means that, unlike Chick-fil-A, your McDonald’s freebies are yours and yours alone. No gifting allowed.
8. Contact McDonald’s using the app if you forget to scan your Rewards code.
Chick-fil-A has that easy option to manually add your points using your receipt (or your friend’s receipt), but the MyMcDonald’s Rewards team will be happy to assist you with those forgotten points if you’re willing to contact them.
In the McDonald’s app, click “More” at the bottom right of the screen, then “Career, Contact, & Legal.” Hit “Contact Us” to type in your message about your missed points.
Chick-fil-A vs. McDonald’s: Which loyalty program is worth joining?
Obviously, both! Whether you prefer McDonald’s or Chick-fil-A — free food is always good.
- Which loyalty program will you earn the most money back? McDonald’s. Two reasons: McDonald’s has more opportunities to earn double points just by using their app. Plus, your points will add up to bigger ticket items faster. For example, get a free McChicken after you spend just $15, whereas you’ll have to spend $60 to get your first free Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich.
- Which loyalty program has more options? Chick-fil-A. The Chick-fil-A One program offers 41 freebie options while the MyMcDonald’s Rewards program only offers 16 free items.
- Which loyalty program offers more coupons? McDonald’s. Hands down, the McDonald’s app has the most daily coupon and discount options. When I checked out both apps on the same day, McDonald’s app had seven deals and one Double Your Points Bonus, while the Chick-fil-A app didn’t have a single in-app offer.