Chipotle ended a loyalty program that offered the best rewards in the market -- and now it's coming back

Chipotle FacebookChipotle is launching a rewards program.
  • Chipotle is launching a rewards program this year.
  • The company’s only other rewards program, called Chiptopia, lasted three months in 2016.
  • I t offered the best rewards in the market, trumping those offered by Starbucks, Dunkin’ Doughnuts, and other leading loyalty programs.

Chipotle is launching a loyalty program in the second half of the year, the company said Tuesday.

The restaurant chain said it’s in the process of designing the program. But if its last loyalty program is any indication of what’s to come, it looks like customers will be getting a lot of free food.

Chipotle introduced its first ever – and only – loyalty program in July of 2016. The program, called Chiptopia, offered some of the best rewards in the industry, trumping those offered by most other leading loyalty programs, such as Starbucks’ and Dunkin’ Doughnuts’ programs.

Chiptopia was a temporary three-month program that rewarded customers for their visit frequency as opposed to dollars spent. They earned free meals after their fourth, eighth, and 11th visits each month.

There were also additional rewards, such as free catering when customers reached certain status levels within the loyalty program.

Chipotle ended up paying out roughly $US20 million to more than 85,000 Chiptopia members who qualified for its largest prize – meal catering for 10, valued at about $US240.

Overall, Chiptopia offered as much as three times the payback per dollars spent compared to Starbucks’ loyalty program, BTIG analyst Peter Saleh wrote in 2016.

“Relative to other loyalty programs, Chipotle’s is very generous with its rewards, offering a free entrée after roughly $US35-$US40 of spend (note an entrée could be earned after $US24),” Saleh wrote. “This compares to a reward threshold of $US90 of likely spend at Domino’s Pizza, $US40 at Dunkin’ Doughnuts, and $US62.50 at Starbucks.”

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