On Wednesday, restaurant chain Tim Hortons Rewards members were notified that it would be changing its points earning and redemption system. It brings some big changes to how quickly customers can earn points, as well as how many points they need to spend to redeem for items.
One of the biggest changes coming to the Tim Hortons Rewards program is how you accrue points. Under the current system, you earn 10 points for every visit to Tim Hortons, as long as you spend a minimum of $0.50. So regardless of whether you bought a coffee for less than $2, or bought a whole lunch combo for more than $10, it will earn you the same points for the transaction.
Under the new system, you’ll earn 10 points for every dollar spent (or 1 point for every $0.10). This is great news if you tend to spend lots in a single transaction, but you may see a bit of a slowdown if you spend on inexpensive single items on your visits. More on that later.
But wait, you ask. If I was earning 10 points per transaction and now earn 10 points per dollar, isn’t that a much better deal? It might be, if the points for redeeming items weren’t also going up considerably. The good news is, we’ve got you covered, and have done the math for you on what items will be the best value for your points.
There are now seven levels of redemption value available:
Classic Donuts, Specialty Donuts, Hash Browns, Cookies
Brewed Coffee, Tea, Dream Donuts, Bagels, Baked Goods
Hot Chocolate, French Vanilla, Iced Coffee, Potato Wedges
Real Fruit Quenchers, Cold Brew, Classic Iced Capp, Box of 10 Timbits, Yogurt, Frozen Beverages, Espresso Drinks
Breakfast Sandwiches, Soups
Farmer’s Wrap, BELT, Lunch Sandwiches, Chili
Loaded Bowls and Wraps
Important note: these values are based on the purchase price of items in the Greater Toronto Area at the time of publishing. This does not account for any price changes that may happen between December 2022 and the launch of the program in February 2023.
Methodology & Overall Findings
In our previous breakdown, we calculated the relative value of an item based on how much value you received per 10 points. Because the new system uses much higher point values, the new value is calculated per 100 points.
Overall, any of the items in the 400 point category offer the best value per 100 points. Unsurprisingly, ordering an extra-large version of any beverage will offer the best value and the small version the worst, as different sizes don’t have different point redemption amounts.
Best Value Tim Hortons Rewards Items
5) Item: French Vanilla (Extra Large)Cost: $3.19Reward Cost: 400Value per 100 points: $0.534) Item(s): Dream Donut, Classic Croissant or Premium MuffinCost: $2.19Reward Cost: 400Value per 100 points: $0.553) Item: Coffee/Tea (Extra Large)Cost: $2.26Reward Cost: 400Value per 100 points: $0.572) Item: Specialty BagelCost: $2.29Reward Cost: 400Value per 100 points: $0.571) Item: Hash BrownsCost: $1.99Reward Cost: 300Value per 100 points: $0.66Worst Value Tim Hortons Rewards Items
5) Item(s): Ham & Cheddar Sandwich or BLT SandwichCost: $5.99Reward Cost: 1,300Value per 100 points: $0.274) Item (s): Bagel Farmer’s Breakfast Sandwich/Specialty Bagel Farmer’s Breakfast SandwichCost: $5.59 / $5.99Reward Cost: 1,300Value per 100 points: $0.25 / $0.273) Item: Grilled Cheese MeltCost: $5.49Reward Cost: 1,300Value per 100 points: $0.252) Item(s): Farmer’s Wrap, Farmer’s Breakfast Sandwich, Craveables, Chile, or BELTCost: $4.99Reward Cost: 1,300Value per 100 points: $0.231) Item: Espresso (Single and Double)Cost: $1.49 (Single) / $1.99 (Double)Reward Cost: 800Value per 100 points: $0.19 / $0.25
How Tim Hortons Rewards points are earned
Where the Rewards program has really changed is in how you earn your points. As mentioned earlier, the new program will see you earn 10 points for every $1 spent. But how does that actually compare to Tim Hortons’ current Rewards program? The answer is in how the company will be converting your existing points to the new program.
In the communication to customers, the company explains that your current point balance will be multiplied by 6.2 during the transition period in February. If you had 100 points in the current program, you’ll have 620 points in the new program. Based on this, we can assume that the Average Order Value that Tim Hortons is assuming per transaction is $6.20: under the old program, one visit would net you 10 points. To gain equivalent value in the new program, you’d need to spend $6.20 on an order (as an example, an extra-large coffee and a bacon breakfast sandwich comes to $6.45 before tax).
As for how that looks comparing the old to the new system: let’s say you want to redeem for a bagel (my personal favourite redemption item), which in the current system is 70 points and is 400 under the new one. In the old system, it would take me seven visits to earn enough points for the bagel. The new system requires me to spend $40 to earn enough points for my bagel; if I’m spending an average of $6.20 on each visit, it will take me about six-and-a-half visits to earn that bagel. However if each visit I’m only buying a large steeped tea ($1.97), it’s going to take me a little more than 20 visits to earn enough points for redemption.