How Does Panera Rewards Work & Are They Worth It?

If Panera is on your short-list of restaurants you frequent, don’t forget to sign up for the MyPanera Rewards. You’ll earn rewards just for buying your favorite soups, sandwiches, and coffees, and best of all it’s free. 

Check out what MyPanera Rewards is about, how it works, and most importantly, what you get.

What are MyPanera Rewards?

MyPanera Rewards are loyalty rewards for eating at Panera. You don’t have to order something specific or spend a certain amount of money. You earn rewards just for enjoying your favorite Panera foods.

Some of the most common rewards users get include:

  • $2 off an order
  • Free bagel
  • ½ off or free You Pick Two
  • Free cookie
  • $1 off a salad

How to Sign up for Panera Rewards?

  1. Click on Join MyPanera
  2. Choose ‘Sign up with Facebook’ or ‘Sign up with Email’
  3. Provide your name, phone number, and email address
  4. Create a password
  5. Confirm your password
  6. Enter your birthday (this is optional but you’ll get a free birthday reward if you do)
  7. Enter your MyPanera card number if you received one at the store
  8. Click whether you want to receive emails and special offers

How do you Earn Panera Rewards?

Unlike most rewards programs, you don’t earn points or dollars for how much you spend. Instead, Panera tracks your visits. In your account, you’ll see the number of visits needed until your next reward. 

Once you earn a reward (and use it), the counter restarts and you can work your way to another reward. The more often you visit, the more rewards you’ll earn. No two people get the same rewards – Panera tailors the offers based on your purchase history.

A visit is any time you go to a physical Panera or order online. You can have multiple visits in one day as long as they are more than 2 hours apart. A visit counts if you buy a coffee or an entire meal, but your rewards will reflect what you normally buy and/or spend.

How do you Redeem Panera Rewards?

You can redeem your MyPanera Rewards in the store or online. If you’re ordering online, use these steps to redeem your reward:

  1. Sign into your MyPanera account
  2. Place your order for all items
  3. Go to your cart, and click ‘redeem’ on any rewards that pop up that you want to use
  4. On the checkout page, you should see the discount equal to the amount of your reward

If you order in the store, simply tell the cashier you want to redeem your MyPanera reward. They will ask you for your card or the phone number you used to sign up for your account. If you forget, don’t worry, most cashiers will ask if you want to redeem your reward.

Do MyPanera Rewards Expire?

All MyPanera Rewards have an expiration date. If you receive your rewards via email, you’ll see the expiration date on the coupon. You can also see it in the app or when you log into your MyPanera dashboard. If you visit a Panera store, the cashier will usually tell you what rewards you have and when they expire or you can see the expiration on the bottom of your receipt (all rewards are listed on your receipt.

Pay attention to expiration dates because Panera doesn’t honor expired rewards. If you miss one though, the good news is that each visit you make gets you closer to earning another reward.

What are the Benefits of Panera Rewards?

  • Free to join – You don’t have to pay a membership fee or even make a purchase to join MyPanera Rewards. 
  • Free birthday reward – Each year on the date you enter for your birthday, you’ll receive a reward from Panera. You usually don’t have to use it on your birthday, but get a couple of weeks to redeem the free treat.
  • Easy to use – You don’t have to worry about clipping coupons, carrying a membership card, or even showing an email on your phone. All you need is the phone number used to sign up for the account to use your MyPanera rewards in person or online.
  • Free treat for signing up – Panera gives you a free treat (usually a cookie) just for signing up for the program.
  • Rewards are tailored to you – Panera tracks your purchases and gives you rewards they think you’ll enjoy based on what you typically order. The more visits required for a reward, the larger the reward usually is.

What are the Disadvantages of the MyPanera Rewards?

It’s strange to think there may be ‘downsides’ to earning free rewards, but Panera has a few downsides including:

  • It’s hard to tell when you’ll earn a reward – It’s not a straightforward program that tells you how many points or even visits you need to earn a specific reward. It’s almost a ‘surprise’ to learn what you’ll get.
  • Rewards expire – Each reward has a different expiration date, but if you don’t pay attention, you could miss the opportunity to use a reward.
  • You can’t work toward a specific reward – Most reward programs give you options to redeem your rewards, giving you some control with what you get. MyPanera rewards are done for you and it feels somewhat random with the rewards you receive.

Panera Rewards FAQs

Why didn’t a visit count toward my MyPanera rewards?

If you visit Panera frequently in one day, it may not count as a separate visit. Panera counts separate visits as any visit that’s at least 2 hours apart. For example, if you have lunch at Panera and within the hour decide to buy a cookie, you only get credit for one visit, not two, since it’s within the two hour window.

How many visits do you need to earn a MyPanera reward?

Panera isn’t very transparent about how many visits you need to earn a reward. Your MyPanera dashboard will show how many visits you need for your account, but it won’t be the same for the next person. The more frequently you visit Panera, the more you’ll earn rewards.

Where can you get a MyPanera Card?

The physical card isn’t necessary to earn MyPanera rewards, but if you want a card or keychain card, you can request one at your local Panera. If you don’t have it with you, though, you can enter your phone number used to sign up for the rewards.

Can you redeem more than one MyPanera reward at once?

It varies by location. Some locations allow you to use two rewards and some don’t. All locations, however, only allow you to use one type of reward, for example, if you have two $1 off a salad rewards, you could only use one. But if you have a $1 off a salad reward and a Free Cookie reward, you may be able to use both.

What if you forget to use your MyPanera card when you order?

You can enter your visit code on the bottom of your receipt (22 digit code) on the Missed a Visit page or by contacting customer care. Codes expire after 30 days, and you can report one missed visit a day, 2 visits a week, and 4 visits a month.

Panera Rewards – Should you Sign Up?

If you frequently visit Panera, it makes sense to sign up for the MyPanera rewards. You’ll get credit just for visiting. Whether you buy a bagel or meals for the entire family, you get the same credit.

Panera tracks your purchases and rewards you accordingly. The hope is that they provide you with rewards you’ll enjoy, which brings you coming back. It doesn’t cost anything to join or use, and if you visit enough, you’ll enjoy free treats and coupons off your favorite Panera foods.

Kim Pinnelli is a personal finance freelance writer and contributor. She lives in the Chicago suburbs, writing from home for the last 13 years. Kim enjoys helping people understand personal finances and writes on topics about saving money, investing, planning for retirement, and ways to increase income. In her free time, Kim enjoys hanging out with her 3 children, reading, crocheting, and spending time outdoors.

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