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This Fast-Food Chain Has the Best Loyalty Program, New Data Says

Thousands of customers were surveyed to find the best value rewards programs in fast food.
FACT CHECKED BY Joseph Neese

Loyalty programs have been proliferating in the world of fast food, which is great news for foodies everywhere. The more that these big food brands battle it out for our attention and our dollars, the more they're willing to reward those of us who keep coming back for more.

To help us figure out some of the very best offers out there, Newsweek recently published its annual ranking of best loyalty programs across multiple service branches. In partnership with global data research firm Statista, the publication surveyed 241 loyalty programs in 43 categories, including fast-food restaurants. They collected data from more than 4,000 customers, who were asked to evaluate their favorite rewards programs in areas such as value, ease of use, and trust with personal data.

Based on customer feedback, El Pollo Loco has the best customer loyalty program in fast-food right now. The Mexican chain launched a new and improved Loco Rewards program last year, which has since seen a 40% annual growth in memberships.

The chain's point reward system is pretty straightforward—every dollar spent earns you a point, every 50 points (aka $50 spent) earns you $5 off. Not to mention, there are other special, personalized offers for those using the app. All you have to do to log your points is scan the QSR code on the chain's receipt.

Here are the other four fast-food chains whose loyalty programs ranked in the top 5. And for more on the latest fast-food trends, check out the 6 Most Anticipated Fast-Food Menu Items Launching This Year.

Chick-fil-A

chick fil a rewards
Courtesy of Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A's One program came in as a very close second place. The chain rewards loyalty with a tiered system: The more you spend in a year, the higher your membership status. And your perks get more serious with each higher tier. You'll earn points with every purchase, with more points per dollar depending on your status: Silver, Red, or the ultimate, Signature membership. You'll also be able to share your rewards with friends and family.

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Popeyes

popeyes
Shutterstock

Coming in third, Popeyes rewards program will let you earn points whether you're ordering digitally or in-store. Every dollar spent is worth 1 point, and you can accumulate points to redeem for attractive rewards in the chain's app.

Dairy Queen

dairy queen rewards
Courtesy of Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen will let you earn points on purchases when you order ahead through its app or scan your phone at the register. You can redeem points for tasty deals customized specifically for you.

Subway

subway rewards
Courtesy of Subway

Each dollar spent at Subway will get you four tokens, and 200 tokens can be redeemed for $2 off your next purchase. That's a $2 discount for every $50 spent! Tokens can be earned a variety of ways: by using the chain's app, swiping a registered Subway Card, or providing your phone number at the restaurant. You'll also be eligible for personalized offers and Surprise Awards.

For more, check out 108 Most Popular Sodas Ranked By How Toxic They Are.

Mura Dominko
Mura is a Deputy Editor leading ETNT's coverage of America's favorite fast foods and restaurant chains. Read more