Chipotle Changed Its Rewards And You Probably Didn't Even Notice

If you're one to regularly roll through the Chipotle line, you're probably signed up for the chain's rewards program. Like many fast-food restaurants, being a loyal rewards member has a number of perks, including member-only deals, promotions, and sometimes, even free food. According to Chipotle's website, since the launch of the program in March 2019, over 28 million people have enrolled in Chipotle's rewards program. Offerings its members free chips and guacamole after their first purchase as a member, surprise birthday rewards, and racking up points for every dollar spent can be quite enticing — and it's one of the most generous rewards programs out there.

But not all good things can last. In a recent turn of events, Chipotle has had to increase prices of its menu items throughout the past year due to a number of reasons. Because of this, its famed rewards program has taken a loss as well.

You'll need more rewards point to get your free burrito

If you're enrolled in Chipotle Rewards, we have some bad news. You may have been previously happy with the restaurant chain's rewards program, but that's all changed. The company has switched up its reward points terms without really announcing anything. The company is keeping its earned 10 points for every $1 spent protocol, but it quietly increased the amount of points needed to cash in for a free entrée, according to The Takeout. Chipotle had originally allowed members to redeem 1,400 points, or $140 spent at any of its locations, to receive a free entrée, including a burrito, bowl, salad, or taco order (per Business Insider). Now, Chipotle has increased the redemption threshold to 1,625 points, making customers spend a whopping $162.50 in order to earn a free meal. That's a stark increase — about a 16% hike.

Chipotle is claiming inflation as the reason why it had to increase the amount of rewards points. "To account for the additional cost of our real ingredients, we've marginally increased point values for menu items in the Chipotle Rewards Exchange," a Chipotle spokesperson said (via The Takeout). Having raised prices across all of its menu items multiple times this year, including two different 4% increases, it's a tough time to be a frequent Chipotle diner.