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    Eat Fresh ... Get Points

    More than 1,000 Subway restaurants have adopted the chain's new rewards program.

    Subway Restaurants are rolling out a new rewards component to its Cash Card program that lets loyal consumers rack up points to redeem for free Subway menu items, according to a report by Promo Magazine Online.

    Under the Subway Rewards and Cash Card, consumers can earn points (one point for every dollar spent) for Subway items based on in-store purchases. Ten points will earn users a free cookie, 15 points a bag of chips, 20 points a 21-ounce drink, 30 points a free deli sandwich, 50 points a free regular six-inch sub, 60 points a regular wrap and 75 points a foot-long sub. Consumers have 36 months to use their points, the report said.

    In return for customer loyalty, Subway restaurants can track their customers' favorite items via a database with each card transaction and, in turn, use that information to give customers special offers via store receipts, said Ned Daley, the marketing programs specialist for Subway's profit building and local marketing department.

    "It allows franchisees to speak to customers [beyond redemption] and offer promotions," Daly said. "We're reaching out to consumers in a way we never have before."

    The program -- now rolling out in the U.S. and Canada -- replaces Subway's Sub Club loyalty program, which used a paper card and stamps to track frequency. Subway stopped the program in 2005 over consumer fraud problems and a desire to modernize its offerings with an electronic card, Promo said.

    The new rewards component is an overlay to Subway's Cash Card, a branded, reloadable card launched in June that lets consumers make purchases without cash. Consumers can add money to the card when their balance diminishes and register their cards at MySubwayCard.com to protect their balance if cards are lost or stolen.

    More than 1,000 Subway stores in New York, Idaho, Kentucky, California, Utah, West Virginia and Canada have adopted the new program, and its popularity is growing, Daly said. The program is designed to incent frequency and "create a sense of urgency" by consumers to redeem loyalty points. "There is much buzz growing about the program," Daly said. "We're happy with what we've seen so far."

    Most Subway restaurants are eligible for the program, except those located in stadiums or amusement parks, Daly said. Subway restaurants that don't offer the option rewards program instead can elect to offer other in-store promotions, the report said.

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