Panera’s subscription service isn’t just for coffee drinkers anymore. The company recently scrapped its MyPanera+ Coffee program in favor of the new and improved Unlimited Sip Club.
Now, members can enjoy a much wider variety of free drinks, including fountain drinks and Panera’s generously caffeinated Charges Lemonades. All this comes with an added cost, up from $8.99 a month originally, and now $11.99 per month or $119.99 annually.
This begs the question, is the Unlimited Sip Club worth the price tag? Well, it’s really going to depend on how much you visit Panera and how much you like the drinks.
We’ve been members of the Sip Club for months now and are big fans, but that’s because we take advantage of all the added perks tied to the program. We’ll talk about those perks and other hacks in this guide, to help you decide whether the Unlimited Sip Club is a good fit.
- What is the Unlimited Sip Club?
- Unlimited Sip Club: How much does it cost?
- The Unlimited Sip Club is much more than just free drinks
- Get started by signing up with MyPanera
- Benefits of a free MyPanera account
- Try this trick to save on Unlimited Sip Club membership fees
- Is Panera’s Unlimited Sip Club worth the cost? It depends
- How much can you save?
- Panera Bread Unlimited Sip Club: FAQs
What is the Unlimited Sip Club?
With an Unlimited Sip Club membership, you’ll gain access to a ton of free beverages, including:
- Hot and iced coffees
- Charged Lemonades as well as Agave Lemonade (for those of you who avoid caffeine)
- Hot and iced teas
- Fountain drinks — basically sodas
Generally speaking, if it’s part of Panera’s self-service beverage area, it’s part of the Sip Club.
From the detective’s desk: You won’t exactly get unlimited free drinks, as the Sip Club limits you to one redemption every two hours. This restriction is probably in place to prevent people from gaming the system.
If you’re already a member and want to redeem a free drink, simply navigate to the Rewards section of your MyPanera app, and click “Redeem” where it says “Sip Club – Beverage”. You’ll then have the option to pick up your freebie at a nearby Panera or enjoy it on the premises. Once you arrive, it’s really as easy as flashing your app and grabbing a cup.
You can also have your drink delivered, but there will be fees involved.
Members can also claim their free beverages from an in-store kiosk or at the cash register.
Unlimited Sip Club: How much does it cost?
Panera recently expanded its subscription options to include a monthly and annual plan.
The monthly plan will run you $11.99 per month (we paid $12.58 after taxes), billed automatically to your saved payment method. If you opt for the annual plan, it’ll cost $119.99 plus taxes.
The annual plan works out to about 10 bucks a month, which is a monthly cost savings of $2. You’ll also be immune to the impact of inflation for an entire year. This is valuable, as Panera has already changed the price of the Sip Club, and there’s no guarantee that the price won’t go up again.
As you can see from the visual, annual members also receive a couple of extra perks like unlimited free delivery and a gift or free trial from one of Panera’s partners.
The Unlimited Sip Club is much more than just free drinks
It would be one thing if the Unlimited Sip Club only offered free beverages, but there are a ton of other hidden and not-so-hidden benefits to the program.
Panera frequently offers free trials for its Unlimited Sip Club, and we do mean frequently. New monthly subscribers are generally entitled to at least one month free, but sometimes the trial period runs even longer.
Take an offer from February 2023, where customers that joined by 2/9 would receive free sips until 3/31. That’s 7+ weeks by our count.
The best way to know when Panera is running a special free trial is to sign up for the free MyPanera app and check your email regularly.
Sip Club Saturday
Sip Club Saturday has to be one of the most satisfying perks of the Unlimited Sip Club.
Each month, Panera will roll out a new deal for members, and they’ll be able to claim that offer every Saturday. Recent offers include $2 off any entry, or our favorite, BOGO (Buy One Get One) 50% off any entree.
Say your family is in the mood for a couple of Chipotle Chicken Avocado Melts. With a BOGO 50% off offer, you’ll pay the regular price for the first sandwich ($13.19 in our area), and save $6.59 on the second. Add in a free large Charged Lemonade, valued at $4.69, and you’ve saved $11.29.
Congratulations, you nearly paid for your monthly Unlimited Sip Club membership in just one visit. Annual members are already in the black.
If you do decide to join the Club, always check your emails and notifications for new Sip Club Saturday deals.
Exclusive offers: Discounts, free delivery, and more
New members that redeem their cup two times during their first week, will get a special offer. It might be $2 off their next entree or even a free breakfast sandwich.
From there, Panera will occasionally hit you with surprise offers.
Most of the time, the offer is for free delivery. This isn’t that big a deal since the delivery fee is only $1 in most areas and annual members already get their deliveries for free. But it’s something.
From the detective’s desk: Keep in mind, that you’ll have to pay a surcharge and a 10% convenience fee for deliveries. This will make your order significantly more expensive. Stop in the store if you can.
You’ll also get partner offers from companies like Shutterfly, obé Fitness, and Audible. These are only as valuable as the likelihood that you’ll use the service, and they may come with strings attached, so read the fine print carefully.
Panera is always working to improve the Unlimited Sip Club. Check your email often for the latest updates.
Get started by signing up with MyPanera
Before becoming an Unlimited Sip Club member, you’ll first need to sign up for the MyPanera customer rewards program.
Don’t worry, it’s totally free, and joining will unlock a few benefits that’ll help you save on Panera Bread purchases.
To join MyPanera, simply download the app to your mobile device from either Google Play or the App Store.
Open the app, and provide your full name, email address, phone number, address, and log-in details.
You can also optionally enter your birthday, and we suggest that you do since you’ll get a special surprise from Panera on your big day — more on that in a bit.
You can also choose if you want to receive email and push notifications. We highly recommend leaving these on. Otherwise, you might miss out on discounts and special offers. You can always change your mind later on by navigating to the “Communication Preferences” section.
Benefits of a free MyPanera account
MyPanera may not be the most exciting rewards program, but it has its upsides. Highlights include:
- Place orders directly from the app or an in-store kiosk, for rapid pick-up, delivery, or dine-in.
- Receive a free pastry, bagel, or sweet with your first purchase within 60 days, valued at up to $4.59.
- Free sweet on your birthday.
- Gain early access to new menu items, and invitations to special events
- Loyal customers get personalized rewards, helping you save even more on purchases.
MyPanera doesn’t use a traditional reward points system like Chick Fil A and most other quick-service restaurant apps. Instead, your rewards are personalized based on what you order and how often you order.
Typically, you’ll receive one reward per 3-4 purchases. You can track your progress from the app’s homepage.
From the detective’s desk: Unlimited Sip Club redemptions do not count as purchases unless you also buy something.
Once you’ve reached your next goal, you’re usually given a choice of a few different rewards. Again, these rewards are based on your ordering preferences, at least in theory.
So if you order tons of bagels, expect to see bagel and pastry offers. Order large meals for the entire family, and you might get a coupon for a discounted sandwich.
In our experience, the rewards aren’t great, amounting to somewhere along the lines of 3-5% cashback. We much prefer the points systems used by other restaurants because they offer a better bang for your buck and you can choose exactly what you want from the rewards menu. But with MyPanera, at least you still get something.
According to Panera, rewards are usually redeemable for 60 days, but for us, the redemption window was only 30 days.
From the detective’s desk: You can still get physical MyPanera cards from in-store associates, but you’ll need to register them online. You’re probably just better off downloading the app and using it for all your Panera Bread needs. Who wants to wait in line?
Next, begin your Unlimited Sip Club free trial
Once you’re all signed up, head over to the “Subscriptions” menu to kickstart your Unlimited Sip Club free trial. For some reason, if a free trial offer isn’t running, just wait. There’s probably a new offer right around the corner.
Before starting the trial you will have to enter your payment information. Panera accepts credit cards, gift cards, Google Pay, and Apple Pay, so plenty of options.
You won’t be charged until your free trial runs out. At that time, you will incur the normal monthly charge of $11.99 unless you cancel your subscription.
As a new Sip Club member, you’ll be able to immediately free beverages and enjoy other perks. Simply head to the “Rewards” menu to claim your first drink.
Try this trick to save on Unlimited Sip Club membership fees
If you go to cancel your Unlimited Sip Club offer, you might receive a retention offer — and it could enable you to remain a member at a steeply discounted price.
We stumbled upon this hack during a month when we decided to cut back on eating out. After trying to cancel, Panera hit us with an offer to continue our subscription for just $3.33 per month plus tax for the next three months.
Here’s the proof:
That offer was too good to be true, so we accepted. After all, it would pay for itself as long as we redeemed just one drink per month.
Try it out, and see if you too can’t get your membership fees slashed for a limited time.
Is Panera’s Unlimited Sip Club worth the cost? It depends
Before you take the plunge and join the Unlimited Sip Club, you’ll probably want to ask yourself a few questions:
- Are there Panera Bread stores conveniently located in my area?
- Is my local Panera well stocked, or are the beverages constantly watered down and/or sold out?
- Am I already a Panera Bread customer, and do I enjoy the food and beverages that they offer?
- How much do I normally spend on coffee, sodas, and other caffeinated beverages each month, and am I willing to change my go-to spot for a better deal?
It also helps to know which drinks aren’t included with the Unlimited Sip Club:
- Frozen drinks and smoothies
- Cold brews
- Hot chocolate
- Anything from the Espresso Bar, including lattes and cappuccinos
- Group serving drinks and other bottled beverages
So if you don’t live within 10 miles of a Panera Bread, and can’t live without your morning latte from Dunkin’, then the Unlimited Sip Club won’t be your cup of tea.
If you’re on the fence, the best way to find out is to claim the free trial. If at the end of the trial period, you saved more than 12 bucks and enjoyed your experience, then it may be time to make Panera your new hot spot.
Let’s look at some numbers, to help really determine how much you’ll save.
How much can you save?
Here’s a look at how many beverages you’ll have to redeem each month, to make an Unlimited Sip Club membership worth it:
Unlimited Sip Club Break Even Points
|Item||Price (large)||# to break even (monthly sub.)||# to break even (annual sub.)|
|Cafe Blend Light Roast Coffee||$3.39||3.54x||2.94x|
|Passion Papaya Iced Green Tea||$3.59||3.34x||2.78x|
|Care Blend Dark Roast Coffee||$3.39||3.54x||2.94x|
|Iced Cafe Blend Dark Roast Coffee||$3.89||3.08x||2.57x|
|Fuji AppleCran w/ Guarana & Caffeine||$4.69||2.56x||2.13x|
|Mango Yuzu w/ Guarana & Caffeine||$4.59||2.61x||2.18x|
|Strawberry Lemon Mint w/ Guarana & Caffeine||$4.59||2.61x||2.18x|
*Prices may vary by location
In our region, you’ll need to redeem between 3-5 beverages per month to come out in the black. If you have the annual plan, that figure drops to between 3 and 4.
If you factor in a Sip Club Saturday deal, which is generally worth between $2 and $7, the break-even point dips even lower.
For instance, if you redeem two large Iced Teas ($3.59 each) and a BOGO 50% off a toasted melt ($10.99 each), your total savings will be $12.68. You’re already nearly a dollar in the black on a monthly plan and saving nearly $3 with an annual plan. Every redemption after that is pure gravy.
Panera Bread Unlimited Sip Club: FAQs
Can I track my Panera order?
Yes, once you place an order for rapid pick-up, delivery, or dine-in through the Panera app, the restaurant will keep you informed as to the status of your order.
You’ll even be provided instructions on where to find your order, and in-app notifications when it’s ready.
Is myPanera free?
Yes. Anyone can become a member of myPanera, but in order to do so you must sign up through the Panera app or claim a physical myPanera card. Once registered in the system, you can enjoy all the perks that come along with a membership.
However, if you want to upgrade to the Unlimited Sip Club, you’ll need to pay an $11.99 monthly or $119.99 annual fee. There’s usually a free trial running if you want to try before you buy.
Does Unlimited Sip Club include smoothies?
No. Smoothies are among Panera’s most expensive beverages and unfortunately, are not included with an Unlimited Sip Club membership.
However, Panera is always evolving the program, so we wouldn’t be surprised if all beverages were included eventually.
Can I share Unlimited Sip Club with friends?
Technically, no. Each Unlimited Sip Club membership is connected to an individual and only that individual can claim free beverages.
That being said, there’s really nothing stopping you from picking up a free beverage and gifting it to a friend.
Do I have to wait the full two hours to redeem my next cup?
Yes. You won’t be able to claim another free drink from the “Rewards” section of the Panera app until two hours have passed since your last redemption.
As you might expect, some people try to game the system or have even outright stolen drinks from Panera. Don’t do this.
Is there a Panera Bread near me?
There are over 2,000 Panera’s scattered through the U.S. and Canada, and at least one in every state. Use the Cafe Locator to find a restaurant near you.