Dunkin' Fans Are Outraged By the Coffee Chain's Changes to Its Rewards Program
You know it's bad when longtime customers are threatening a boycott… especially if that boycott is powered by coffee-obsessed Americans who believe their favorite caffeinated perks are being taken away.
Dunkin'—the cheaper-than-Starbucks chain with over 12,000 franchised locations in over 40 countries—is in the hot seat after announcing major changes to its popular DD Perks program last week. DD Perks had been in place for 8 years and offered loyal app-using customers the ability to earn five points per dollar, which could add up to getting a free drink for 200 points. Other incentives, like a free drink on your birthday, were also beloved by members.
But now, Dunkin' has done away with DD Perks for a new Rewards Program. Apparently, the shift was based on "members' feedback" and is intended to "make several new enhancements like redeeming points for rewards on food and drinks," Dunkin' tweeted. But, regulars have been quick to realize that the new offers are actually worse and more expensive than what was previously offered.
Now, members can earn 10 points per dollar, but it takes anywhere from 500 to 900 points to get a free drink. And free birthday drinks? They're gone… right along with customers' patience.
"Interesting way to say 'We've significantly devalued our rewards system, good luck,'" tweeted one customer in response to Dunkin's announcement. Others called it a "total downgrade" and a greedy way for the coffee chain to save money during a slowing economy.
Dunkin's president Scott Murphy explained in a press release about the new Rewards Program, "When we set out to improve DD Perks, we asked our members what they wanted to see in a new program. They told us three things: flexibility, variety, and recognition. And we did just that–we solved the three biggest constraints to bring a new and improved customer experience to Dunkin' fans."
Even though the new program does offer the ability to get free food for the first time ever and a "Boosted Status" for customers who buy from Dunkin' 12 times a month or more, the truth remains, people hate everything about it. And they want their DD Perks back.
"This pissed me off. What idiot do you think I am, Dunkin?" wrote Reddit user @u/Quack-Zack on r/DunkinDonuts. "I did that math. Even while 'boosted' I'm earning 30% less points compared to the old system. I'm making LESS points and unlocking LESS rewards thanks to this new stingy system."
"They really scum-bagged their loyal customers with this new rewards program," Reddit user @Tampammm wrote. "But taking away the birthday drink is like rubbing salt in your wound. Just incredibly tacky."
At this time, Dunkin' hasn't responded to all of the backlash its receiving to its new Rewards Program. However, many customers are making it clear that they plan to take their coffee business elsewhere—by choosing to go to pricier Starbucks or make their own caffeinated morning pick-me-up at home.