It may seem hard to believe, but up until 2020, not a single major burger chain offered a loyalty program. Leave it to Wendy’s, a brand that seems to take pleasure in stirring the pot, to be first to market with the introduction of Wendy’s Rewards.
Other burger joints, like McDonald’s and Burger King, may have quickly followed suit with their own rewards structures, but Wendy’s Rewards remains one of the best free rewards programs in the quick-service restaurant space.
In this guide, we’ll look at how the program works, its strengths, any pitfalls, and most importantly, how much free food you can earn using the Wendy’s app. So if you’ve ever craved a square-shaped patty or Frosty, stick around.
How Does Wendy’s Rewards Work?
Wendy’s Rewards is an easy to join and straightforward rewards program. Members earn points for every order they make through the Wendy’s app, in-person from the drive-thru, or inside the restaurant.
Points are earned at a rate of 10 points per $1 spent on any menu item, breakfast and drinks included. The only charges that don’t earn points are taxes, delivery and service fees, driver tips, and Gift Cards. Basically, if you can eat it, you’ll earn points for it.
Once members have earned enough points, they can exchange them for free items. The smallest redemption items are a 4 pc chicken nugget, small hot coffee, and a small Frosty, all of which can be redeemed for just 150 points. In other words, you only need to spend $15 at Wendy’s to start reaping rewards.
Item prices run up to 700 points, with fresh-made salads and Wendy’s famous Baconator currently the most expensive items on the Rewards Store.
From the detective’s desk: You only receive points on your subtotal, after discounts and coupons are applied. For instance, if your original subtotal is $15 and you claim a $3 off $15 offer from the mobile Wendy’s app, your final subtotal is $12, and you’ll earn 120 points.
Signing Up For Wendy’s Rewards
Signing up for Wendy’s Rewards is a streamlined process that can be done from your desktop or by downloading the Wendy’s app from either Google Play or the App Store.
The iOS version of the app is highly rated (4.7/5.0 at the time of this writing), while the Android enabled app comes in at a lowly 2.5/5.0. Android users cite slow speeds and frequent crashes since the most recent update.
We’ll keep you updated on that situation, as it appears to be fluid. For now, if you can download the app on your iPad or iPhone, or access it via desktop, that’s probably the way to go.
Once downloaded, you can sign up with Google, Facebook, or via email. If you sign up by email, you will need to provide a password.
You’ll then provide a few details like your zip code, so Wendy’s can find restaurants near you, and your birthday, so you can receive free goodies on your special day. Agree to the terms, and you’ll gain full access to the app.
Wendy’s provides quick and simple tutorials on how to use Wendy’s Rewards and the QR Code, which you’ll need to scan in order to earn points at a Wendy’s restaurant.
To use the QR code:
- Open the Wendy’s app and navigate to “Scan”
- Tap the QR Code to enlarge it
- Have the Wendy’s restaurant cashier scan the code.
That’s all there is to it.
Forgot to scan your Wendy’s Rewards QR Code?
No problem. Just grab your receipt and fill out the form on this page. You’ll need to provide information like the date and time of your transaction, the store and check number, the subtotal, and your Wendy’s app account email, along with a photo of the receipt.
It’s admittedly a minor hassle, but worth the time investment, especially on larger orders.
Orders processed via Wendy’s app automatically earn points — no scanning required. However, you will need to provide a payment method in order to place online pickup and delivery orders.
Points generally appear in your account within about two hours. The delay is a bit annoying, as customers prefer instant gratification, but it’s not unacceptable. To view your rewards points, tap the Rewards icon from the app.
From the detective’s desk: Members can also access Wendy’s offers from the Rewards tab, which is not exactly intuitive. To access current offers, tap Rewards, then “Visit Rewards Store,” and then tap the “Offers” tab. Offers can also be accessed from the home page.
Redeeming Wendy’s Rewards
To redeem rewards for in-person purchases, go to “Scan” and tap “Add Reward To My Card.” Choose an eligible item and add it to your Rewards Card. Then, simply scan the QR code at the point of transaction.
Mobile users have it easier. Just scour the Rewards Store, and add any item that you have enough points for. The points will automatically be deducted from your existing balance, and you’ll receive your chosen item with your next order.
Just be warned that once you select a Rewards Store item, you’ll only have 30 days to claim it. Otherwise, it will expire. Wendy’s is much more lenient with points, which don’t expire for 365 days from the time they were earned.
From the detective’s desk: You can only redeem one reward and one offer per purchase.
Just how much are Wendy’s Rewards worth, and are some items better to redeem than others? We took a look and the answers are provided in the following table:
Wendy's Rewards Cash Back Rates (%)
|Item||Price (May Vary)||Rewards Points Cost||Cash Rate (%)|
|4 pc Chicken Nuggets||$1.59||150||10.60%|
|Small Hot Coffee||$1.39||150||9.27%|
|Small Seasoned Breakfast Potatoes||$1.29||200||6.45%|
|Crispy Chicken Sandwich||$1.99||250||7.96%|
|Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger||$2.69||300||8.97%|
|Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit||$2.59||400||6.48%|
|Maple Bacon Chicken Croissant||$3.99||450||8.87%|
|Fresh Made Salad||$7.09 - $7.79||700||9.87 - 11.13%|
Wendy’s Rewards members receive between approximately 5% – 12.5% back on their purchases, depending on what they redeem their points for. That’s quite the range!
Of course, you should always get the item that you crave the most. But if you’re on the fence, it’s worth knowing that redeeming points for salads, hamburgers, and kids’ meals is a much better bargain than exchanging them for most breakfast items.
The best exchange rate is on a Kids’ Meal (12.48%), followed closely by a Dave’s Single at 12.42%. Bringing up the rear is the sausage biscuit, with a downright miserable cash back % of just 4.95%. Second from the back are the popular small seasoned breakfast potatoes, at 6.45% cash back.
Should you use the Wendy’s app for delivery orders?
Wendy’s does not have a dedicated delivery service. Instead, it’s partnered with popular third-party apps including Doordash, Grubhub, Postmates, and Uber Eats.
When ordering through the app, customers will be charged a delivery fee and a service fee, and they tend to be on the high side. We placed an order with a $14.77 subtotal and the final price before tip was $22.68, a nearly 54% upcharge.
The upside is that we would receive 148 Wendy’s Rewards points, which is worth about $1.50. In addition, the Wendy’s app is chock full of promotional offers, which would save us a couple of bucks if we applied one. That brings the effective price down to about $19.
In comparison, if you place a Wendy’s order on Doordash or an equivalent service:
- The menu item prices may be jacked up.
- You’ll probably be charged the same delivery and service fees that you’d pay when using the Wendy’s app.
- You won’t earn rewards points or be able to claim the Wendy’s app offers. However, Wendy’s claims that this is subject to change.
So is there ever really a good time to use one of Wendy’s partnered apps? Surprisingly, the answer is yes, but only if you have a premium subscription service like DashPass.
These services, which you can get for free, eliminate delivery fees and may reduce service fees. You’ll also gain access to exclusive perks that can reduce the price of your next Wendy’s offer, like the monthly free meal pickup offer from Grubhub+.
Remember that $22.68 order we placed on the Wendy’s app? It was only $20.59 on Doordash using our Dashpass subscription, and that was without a perk.
Look, it’s always going to be much cheaper to either pick up your food or order it at a Wendy’s restaurant. However, if that’s not an option, do your due diligence and compare costs across the Wendy’s app vs. its delivery partners. Just remember to account for Wendy’s Rewards, which are only available when ordering through the app.
Wendy’s Rewards: Frequently asked questions
Do Wendy’s Rewards members receive a birthday reward?
They sure do. As of 2022, members were receiving a birthday coupon for a free vanilla or chocolate Frosty. What else would you expect from Wendy’s
Does Wendy’s Rewards run promotions?
Yes. Wendy’s will occasionally offer opportunities to earn 2x points on orders. When Wendy’s Rewards first launched in 2020, it was possible to earn 2x Rewards Points on your first order. Unfortunately, that promotion is no longer running.
Another promotion may see Wendy’s offer free delivery on mobile app purchases for a limited time.
Can you stack rewards and offers?
Yes, you can claim one reward from the Wendy’s Rewards Store, as well as one offer from the mobile app, and combine them in the same order. Members are encouraged to do this to maximize their savings.
How long do points last?
Wendy’s gives you 365 days to use your points. The oldest points will be removed first. However, if you exchange your points reward for a menu item, you only have 30 days to claim it.