Both McDonald’s and Burger King have launched app-based loyalty programs, which they are currently testing in select markets. While the programs are designed to bring more customers to the fast-food chains, there are distinct differences in what they offer consumers. Here’s how the two programs stack up against each other.

Burger King Royal Perks

Burger King is still in the pilot stages of its app-based loyalty program, which it announced on Tuesday it was testing in the Los Angeles; Long Island, New York; Miami; New Jersey; and New York City markets.

The Royal Perks program allows users to earn 10 crowns for every dollar spent at the restaurant. The crowns are good for six months after purchase and can be redeemed for free items across Burger King’s entire menu.

Customers will also earn crowns on delivery from as well as the BK app. Double crowns are earned throughout a consumer’s entire birthday month.

A series of other free perks are also available with the Royal Perks program from Burger King, including the option to upsize one drink, fries, or hash browns order each day.

Customers that are part of the loyalty program’s pilot test will get bonus crowns automatically loaded to their account when they signup. Burger King said it plans to expand the availability of Royal Perks throughout the year to all markets and add more features, like third-party rewards.

“It feels like we’ve just accepted what brands have told us is possible with loyalty programs over the years, so as we started working on Royal Perks, it was easy, let’s do what the others don’t,” Ellie Doty, chief marketing officer at Burger King, North America, said in a statement.

“To make sure we get it right, we’re testing, learning and solving this year.”

MyMcDonald’s Rewards

McDonald’s is also testing a rewards program that it calls MyMcDonald’s Rewards. The burger chain plans to launch the loyalty program nationwide later in 2021 after it announced it as part of its Accelerating the Arches strategy in November.

To date, about 900 restaurants are participating in MyMcDonald’s Rewards, which is being tested in Arizona, Nevada, and New England, CNBC reported.

According to the news outlet, customers will earn 100 points for every dollar spent through the MyMcDonald’s Rewards program, in addition to a series of other promotions, such as double points on Mondays. Points can be redeemed in increments of 1,500, 3,000, 4,500, and 6,000 points across 16 menu items.

Current members of MyMcDonald’s can use cash, mobile order, and pay to make purchases and earn rewards. After the nationwide rollout, customers will be able to pay with credit and debit cards as well. The rewards also tie to McDonald’s app orders.

This will mark McDonald’s entry into the U.S. with a loyalty program, which has already been established successfully in several other countries.

“We couldn't be more excited about what lies ahead. We'll use technology to transform our customers' experience in every channel and every market...increasing the speed of service...making it more personal...making it more convenient...and delivering better value. We will set a whole new standard for ourselves and for our industry,” Lucy Brady, McDonald's chief digital customer engagement officer, said during the company's investor presentation late last year (via Restaurant Dive).  McDonald's The outside of a McDonald's store is pictured. Photo: AFP / Alastair Pike