The Highest and Lowest Value Items in Tim Horton's Loyalty Program

TORONTO, ON- JANUARY 10 - A tea is passed to a customer at the thrive thru. Fight for 15 and Fairness holds a rally outside the Tim Hortons location on Lawerence Avenue East in Scarborough in Toronto. Rallies are being held in other Ontario cities Wednesday where franchisees have scrapped paid breaks and fully covered health and dental plans in response to the increase in minimum wage in Ontario. in Toronto. January 10, 2018. Tim Horton's corporate parent is Restaurant Brands International. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
A customer in Toronto receives a tea as they wait in their car at the drive-thru. This article was originally published on January 10, 2018. Photos by Steve Russell/Toronto Star/Getty Images

Last week, Tim Hortons launched its new loyalty program. Visitors will now earn 10 points per visit, redeemable for a variety of products, rather than a free item every eighth visit. The old program only allowed customers to redeem for coffee, tea, or baked goods; the new one allows them to redeem for more items, such as breakfast and lunch sandwiches, cold beverages like Iced Capps, or even a box of Timbits.

However, new complexities have emerged for the average consumer as a result of the system change. Now that there is a wider selection of products to choose from, it can be difficult to determine how best to spend your points.

Good news: I've crunched the numbers and figured out which items will give you the best return on your points, and which ones you should skip.

Reward System

In the new system, you can cash in your points at one of six different levels: 50, 70, 100, 140, 180, and 220. These point values are only available if your card is linked to the Tim Hortons app on your phone; otherwise, after 120 points, you'll automatically be redeemed for your choice of coffee, tea, or baked goods (excluding bagels).

Go into the app and choose the reward category you'd like to redeem for:

The Tim Hortons app's reward setting, illustrated with an example. Source: (Yahoo News Canada)

After reaching the point total for your chosen reward tier, you'll be able to redeem your points for that tier's associated item during checkout.

The Approach

You can check out the Terms and Conditions on the company's Canadian website to see the full list of available items, but I've highlighted the ones that offer the best value below. I then used the app to determine the price range and available sizes for each item. Prices are based on what I paid at a Tim Hortons near my home in Toronto; prices vary by market but tend to stay consistent in relation to other menu items, so while they may be different where you live, the value should be the same. Please let me know in the comments what the prices are at your local Tim Hortons for the Fruit Chill and the Large size sandwiches; I was unable to find them in my market.

The point value for each tier was calculated by dividing the price by the number of 10s that went into determining that tier's point value (that's not the mathematically correct way to explain it, but I am a humble rewards points enthusiast, not a mathematician). If the item cost $2, for instance, 99 and it was on sale for 70 points, so I did the math and bought 2 99/7 So, I was able to calculate the item's worth in terms of 10 point increments thanks to this.

Next, I compared the cost per 10 points for all items across price points to find the best and worst deals.

Best Rewards for Your Efforts

You have zero value per 10 points if If your redemption score is 27 or higher, you're getting a good deal. Extra large coffees and teas are the best value in the Starbucks loyalty program, as they cost the most but can be redeemed at the lowest tier. You can get any size you want when you use your points, but extras like whipped cream or espresso shots aren't included.

The highest points-to-cost ratio is found in:

Five) A big fruit smoothie or a cold, creamy treat (Large).

Cost: $4 39

Price of Reward: $140

No monetary value per 10 points. 31

Even if you opt to redeem your points for a Medium (at a value per 10 points of $0), you can get a good deal on these relatively new menu items for Tim Hortons. 26) You can now try a smoothie or milkshake from Tim Hortons without spending any money and still getting a lot of value for your points.

4 ) Extra Large Coffee/Tea

Cost: $2 19

Benefits: 70

10 Points = $0.00 in Value 31

The price of a coffee or tea bought with Rewards points will remain the same for those who were members before the program was updated. Since all sizes are priced identically in terms of reward points, selecting the largest option will yield the highest point value (and a top point value overall).

Product No. 3: Hash brown

Cost: $1 59

Cost of Reward 50

Zero dollar value per 10 points. 32

This one's for all you coffee drinkers who enjoy a hash brown with your morning brew. Hash browns are available at the first level of redemption, and all it takes is five visits to earn enough points for a free one.

Two) Item: Gourmet Bagel

Cost: $2 29

The Reward is Worth 70 Points.

Worthless on a per-point basis. 33

Any fan of Four Cheese bagels will be thrilled to learn that they can now redeem points for one at a fantastic discount. However, if you would like cream cheese or peanut butter on top, that will increase the price.

Firstly, a cinnamon roll.

Cost: $2 49


Cost per 10 points: zero dollars 36

A cinnamon roll is the highest-value redemption item, but you may have trouble tracking one down if you're hoping to maximize your points' worth. That's a full cent more than the next best thing, making it the best value product.

Rewards of the Lowest Value

Notably, the lowest redemption value can be found in the 140-point tier. It's true that you can get some decent items for that price, but as you'll see, the dollar value on many of them is quite low, and in many cases, it even exceeds the price of items in lower-point tiers.

Timbits, in their own little box Observed on July 30, 2011, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (Getty)

Five) A package of ten Timbits

Cost: $2 39

Rewards Points: 140

Points worth nothing per ten 17

A toonie would buy you 20 Timbits, right? No longer are you getting the best bang for your buck with this reward tier, and those days are long gone. Getting three doughnuts rather than Timbits costs only ten dollars more (what's the doughnut-to-Timbit ratio, anyway?). )

Classic Tea Biscuit (Item 4)

Cost: $1 19

Price of reward: 70 points

Worthless on a per-point basis. 17

You shouldn't get this if you're going to redeem for a baked good at the 70-point level because every other baked good is worth at least $0. 3.21 on a 10-point scale

Oatmeal (regular size) also deserves (dis)acclaim for being worthless at the same price as a (dis)honorable mention. At the 140-point level, every 10 points is worth 17.

Item #3: Tea Latte (Small)

Cost: $2 09

The Reward's Price: 140 Points

Zero dollar value per 10 points. 15

If you must have a London Fog, Large is the way to go to get the most out of your points, even though they are worthless. Even if you score 19 out of a possible 10, you won't come close to reaching your full scoring potential.

Small/Medium Frozen Lemonade (2nd Item)

Cost: $1 79/$2 19

The Reward's Price: 140 Points

No monetary value per 10 points. 13/$0 16

This summer staple is delicious, but it doesn't provide much bang for your buck. At zero dollars, the Large is a marginal upgrade. Although you can get a Fruit Smoothie or Creamy Chill for the same number of points, it is not a good use of your money to order an 18/10 point drink.

Single Espresso (Item 1)

Cost: $1 29

Expense of Reward: 140 Points

Cost per 10 points: zero dollars 09

There is no incentive to purchase the double espresso. At 14, it's one of the lowest-value rewards available, though it's better than getting nothing at all. Even though all other espresso-based beverages are also located in this rewards tier, its inclusion here raises some eyebrows.

Of course, if the highest and lowest priced items aren't things you'd be interested in purchasing, it doesn't matter what their relative prices are. A discount is only worthwhile if you were planning to purchase the item anyway.

Is there a way to get around Tim Hortons' new rewards program? Do tell in the comments section below!

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