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McDonald's customers left with 'zero value' collection of free hot drink stickers after company ends program

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It took years for Vinnie Deluca to collect more than 400 cards worth of free McDonald's McCafé coffee, a collection that now has "zero value" after the company discontinued the program.

“I tried to use them and was told they were no longer accepting them and that they had expired, but there is no expiry date on them.” Deluca said. “My 416 cards worth of free coffees have zero value right now."

The rewards program saw customers fill cards with stickers collected with every coffee purchase – for every seven coffees bought, one is free.

Deluca isn't alone in her upset. Catherine Schuck of Brooklin, Ont. said her family had also been collecting the rewards for many years and were too surprised to be told the 80 free coffee cards they had been holding had no value.

“For them to say we know you purchased 600 coffees and you have the cards, but too bad, " Schuck said.

CTV News Toronto reached out to McDonald's, which said in a statement: “In 2021, we announced the launch of our MyMcDonald’s Rewards program via the McDonald’s app. This rewards program unlocks generous rewards for our guests that go beyond just hot coffee and tea.“

“As part of the migration to the new rewards program, guests were given notice in May 2022 through a variety of communication channels, including in-restaurant signage, that restaurants would be transitioning to cups without McCafé Rewards stickers and cards and that completed sticker cards could be redeemed on or before December 31, 2023.”

“We understand that some guests were disappointed by the discontinuation of the on-cup McCafé Rewards sticker program. However, for those who require any assistance with digital rewards, our trained crew is always available to help our guests.”

Patrick Sojka, the founder of Rewards Canada, a website that monitors loyalty offerings, said holding on to points in some programs can lead to larger rewards, but with others, it's better to use them as soon as possible.

“We always say as soon as you can use them - use them,” Sojka said, adding “With these food and coffee programs as soon as you can get rewards, redeem them, as there is no real value in holding on to them."

Schuck said from now on that’s what she plans to do and said “Don't hold onto things, use them as you have them is what I would say now.”

Deluca feels she deserves something for the coffee card vouchers she has and said “I would like to get back the value of the 416 coffees, to get my coffees that I should be entitled to."

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