Chipotle officially launches its first-ever long-awaited loyalty program July 1. As previously reported, it's called Chiptopia, and comes with some pretty tough rules. The program probably makes the most sense for those that dine at Chipotle solo — you don't earn extra rewards for buying two meals at one time, for instance. And you'd better really like Chipotle if you're enrolling in the program — you'll need to eat at least 33 burritos, salads, or bowls to earn nine free entrées.
Here's everything you need to know about how to reach burrito nirvana — aka Chiptopia.
1. It's temporary. As expected, Chiptopia Summer Rewards will last for three months, July through September. If it's hugely successful, though, the program could become permanent.
"While Chiptopia Summer Rewards lasts just three months, we will be carefully listening to our customers and using what we learn as we consider the design of an ongoing rewards program," said Mark Crumpacker, Chipotle's chief creative and development officer, in a statement released Monday morning.
2. The program includes three different "status levels": Mild, Medium, and Hot. A maximum of one visit (with a purchase of $6 or more) per member, per day counts toward Chiptopia rewards. BUT, the points don't accumulate throughout the entire three months: "At the end of each month, purchase totals reset to zero, and participants begin again the following month."
Here's how the status levels are broken down:
- Purchase four meals in one month: Mild
- Purchase eight meals in one month: Medium
- Purchase 11 meals in one month: Hot
3. Redeemed rewards also count as a purchase. So if you reach Mild, and redeem your reward, that free entree will count toward moving you to the next level.
4. Rewards will not be based on the total amount a customer spends or on accumulating points. Instead, Chiptopia will reward customers for making "multiple paid visits to Chipotle within a given month." So purchasing multiple entrées on the same day won't earn you additional rewards (for example, if you buys three meals at one time, or in the same day, it still only counts as one visit).
5. Rewards include free food, merchandise, and more food.
In addition the free entrees awarded after reaching each status level, customers who maintain the same status level for three consecutive months will be eligible for Bonus Rewards — i.e. more food.
- Achieving Mild status all three months will learn you one additional free entrée.
- Achieving Medium status all three months will earn you $20 in Chipotle merchandise at the online store (which offers items like collapsible, branded bottles and $18 aprons)
- Achieving Hot status all three months will earn you catering for 20 people.
So, someone who achieves the Hot level over all three months of the program (which equates to buying a minimum of 33 burritos or bowls over the course of the summer) can technically earn up to nine free meals, plus a $240 'Catering for 20' Bonus Reward."
Rewards earned during Chiptopia will expire 30 days after they are earned. Customers will have a little longer to redeem any bonus rewards earned. (Mild and Medium bonus rewards will expire on December 31, 2016 and the Hot Bonus Reward expires on March 31, 2017.) Customers who sign up in July will get a free chips and guacamole with the purchase of any entrée.
In April, Chipotle executives first announced they would be utilizing a loyalty program as a way to bring back once-loyal customers following a string of food safety issues. On May 16, the company trademarked the name "Chiptopia."
As some experts have pointed out, the company might have some trouble with the temporary nature of the program. Megan Flynn, EVP of Program Development at loyalty services company Excentus, told Eater that it can be "disruptive to put a loyalty program out in the market and take it out a few months later." The program will, however, likely allow the company to maintain a database of its most loyal customers.