MOD Pizza Must Think We're Angels Or Something

One of the new features of its updated rewards system is charitable, but unlikely to be used much.

Fast-casual pizza chain MOD Pizza has announced some changes to its rewards program. We've typically been skeptical of such "adjustments" in the past, because lately it seems like any tweaks to loyalty programs have secretly made them worse, as is the case with Starbucks and Taco Bell. What the corporate gods give us, they taketh away.

But in the case of MOD Pizza's adjusted loyalty program, the company has added a curious new way to redeem rewards points, and it's one we're not confident people will go for.

MOD Pizza’s new loyalty program rewards

MOD Pizza has renamed its rewards program from "MOD Rewards" to "MOD SuperFast Rewards" to denote the fact that customers can rack up loyalty points faster than before. Each dollar spent nets you one point, and you can redeem your first reward at 50 points (so $50 spent). Points are good for a full year, and any rewards you earn never expire.

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Here's what you get at each tier:

  • 50 points: Free non-alcoholic beverage, free crust upgrade, free cake, or a $1 donation to one of MOD's Opportunity Network partners (which is a group of nonprofit organizations; see the full list here).
  • 100 points: Free cheesy bread, free delivery, or $2 charitable donation.
  • 150 points: Free pizza, free single menu item, free salad, or a $3 charitable donation.
  • This donation option is giving me pause. I do not consider myself a particularly cynical person, but a charitable donation of those sizes isn't exactly something I'd consider a "reward" for spending a ton of money at MOD Pizza. Let's examine this closer.

    We can begin by looking at the monetary value of each reward in the $5o (aka 50 points) tier. The non-alcoholic beverages at the suburban MOD Pizza location nearest our office will cost you roughly $3. An upgrade from an 11" regular pizza crust to an 11" thick crust costs $2. And a piece of cake is $3.20–$3.70, depending on your selection. So at the 50-point mark, you're unlocking roughly $2–4 in freebies.

    A $1 donation in that tier, then, seems paltry in comparison. As a customer it seems a lot smarter to get the most bang for your buck, which in this case is a piece of cake. It's not like there's anything stopping you from donating a few bucks to your own nonprofit of choice, as opposed to the small proposed $1 to MOD's network. No knock on any of those charitable organizations, by the way; if anything, MOD should be enabling customers to kick more money to them.

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    Examining the other rewards tiers only gets you a worse comparable charitable donation as you go along. For example, in the $100 tier, you unlock a free cheesy bread, which is a $7 value at our nearest location. The charitable donation in that tier, meanwhile, is only $2. And in the top tier of rewards, a free pizza, worth just over $12, is placed alongside a charitable donation of only $3.

    I'm not here to tell you how to spend your hard-earned cash. And I have zero doubt that customers will donate their rewards—there are some wonderful people out there. But if you've already spent $150 at MOD Pizza, you should be reaping all the rewards you can, and more people would probably opt for the charity donation if MOD made it as impressive a sum as the cost of some cheesy bread.

    There are plenty of opportunities to give back to your community, whether it's by donating money, food, supplies, or your own time to the organizations that matter to you. I'd maybe consider doing something like that instead, which means you can redeem your cake and eat it too.

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