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What is Adelaide's Best Value Coffee Loyalty Card ?

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by Steve Hudson (subscribe)
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Published October 18th 2014
Calling in to a non-regular coffee shop the other day, I was offered a loyalty card as I paid for my coffee. Naturally I took the card, and then tried to add it to my wallet. It was at that point that I realised I had a problem with the size of my wallet ... or perhaps it was that I had no comprehension as to how to maximise my loyalty and receive value from these cards.

Coffee Loyalty Cards
Too many choices

A quick review of all the coffee cards I had collected over the years determined that all the various cafes believed that the reward for loyalty was a free coffee. So I set out, fully knowing that sleep was about to take a huge hit, trying to find Adelaide's best value coffee loyalty card, where value was determined by spending the least amount of money in order to obtain a free mug or standard / grande sized coffee.


The CIBO loyalty card is a plastic card that contains all of my personal details and is swiped at the cash register every time a coffee is purchased. One great benefit of this process is that the Baristas do not need to ask for your name – it has already appeared on the order, exactly in the manner that you wish to be called. One downside is that you never know immediately how much benefit you have accrued on your card, unless you ask or logon to the CIBO webpage. A grande sized flat white costs $4.60, and 10% of that amount is accrued on the personal plastic card as a reward for future purchases. Hence to obtain a free grande sized coffee, one needs to spend $46.00.

CIBO Coffee
CIBO Electronic Coffee Card


The Funk loyalty card offers one free coffee for every ten purchased, albeit the free coffee could be any size. Hence a purchase of ten ordinary cup size coffees at $3.50 each has the potential to provide an opportunity to acquire a grande / mug sized coffee for free, thus meaning a total investment of $35.00. However if you purchase your coffee between 3pm and 4pm on a weekday, then the price is $1.00 cheaper, thus meaning it is possible to receive a free grande sized coffee for a total of $25.00.

Funk Coffee
Funk Coffee Card

Mylk Bar

The Mylk Bar on Flinders Street provides one free cup of coffee for every six purchased. As the loyalty card only allows a free standard cup of coffee, it would be necessary to upsize in order to get a free mug or standard sized coffee, thus incurring an additional cost of $0.80. In conjunction with the six cups of coffee, this brings the total outlay at the Mylk Bar to $21.80 before a free standard size coffee is obtained. A great side benefit at the Mylk Bar is the free slice of Almond Bread with every coffee purchased.

Mylk Bar
Mylk Bar Coffee and Almond Biscuit

C Coffee

The On the Run stores around Adelaide sell the C Coffee brand, with a loyalty card that provides one free grande size coffee for every four $4.20 grande sized coffees purchased, thus resulting in a total outlay of $16.80. With On the Run stores spread throughout the greater Adelaide region and in some parts of regional South Australia, additional benefits accrue by being able to use the card in more locations, and all with 24/7 access.

On The Run
C Coffee Card

McCafe – All stores

At the McCafe, your card is clipped four times and then you earn one free standard coffee. Similar to Funk, it appears as though it is possible to buy four small coffees at $3.55 each, and then receive one free standard coffee. Hence the total amount payable before you earn a reward is $14.20. The McCafe coffee card is arguably more "valuable" than the others due to extensive number of McCafes across the whole of Australia and the 24/7 opening hours.

McCafe Loyalty Card

McCafe – Specific company owned stores

I stumbled across a different card at a recent trip to a company owned McCafe. This card offers a free standard coffee for every two purchased, thus meaning the effective total outlay only needs to be $7.10.

McCafe Company Loyalty Card

So in summary, and assuming that price is one of the key factors, then the McCafe outlets provide the best value. Arguably, because of their spread of outlets and trading hours, they also provide good accessibility in parallel with the C Coffee outlets at the On The Run stores.

But if quality and customer service are key factors in your choice for coffee, then stay with your local café(s) and enjoy those intangible rewards that come with regularity and consistency. And perhaps get a bigger wallet.

Let us know, do you have a favourite cafe with a good loyalty card deal? Or do you skip the cards and just focus on finding your favourite coffee?

What other stores have loyalty cards on offer?
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Hudsons just puts the credit on your card, so you gradually accrue funds towards an item. But my favourite coffee spots do not have a card. But the coffee stand out - worth a long drive to go to 3 Monkeys in Willunga.
by Jenny Esots (score: 3|1249) 1848 days ago
We are spoiled with choice (fortunately) and coffee prices continue to rise. It is great to have a place that is good to go to and relax, have a chat, read a bit and of course enjoy a really good coffee - there are a few of these. Oscars in McLaren Vale, Bracegirdles, several in Brighton Glenelg and Henley Beach, BUT I am a regular (on the way to work pick up coffee person) and have found that C Coffee offers me the best combination of value and taste, $4.20 with every 5th free
by Bill Anderson (score: 0|4) 1844 days ago
The taste and consistency of the coffee as well as the ambience of the cafe are more important to me. I don't like a big coffee - quality is more important than quantity - so I often go to The Strand on Jetty Rd Glenelg who don't have a loyalty card that I know of. Also like Ang's at Westfield Marion / they do have a card but I rarely think to get it stamped!
by rajoh (score: 0|8) 1844 days ago
Your article is a great mathematical caffeine hit Steve. Where are the 'company owned McCafes'?
My best loyalty card is for the Visitors Centre at McLaren Vale - buy four coffees, get one free. Beautiful outlook there to enjoy while you sip.
by Jenny Rossiter (score: 3|4104) 1851 days ago
Sully's On Semaphore offers buy 5 coffees, get one free.
Each large coffee is $4.50, meaning a total outlay of $22.50.. a lot better than some of the bigger coffee chains out there.

Plus at Sully's, they use organic and "Rainforest Alliance" certified coffee.. definitely positive value!
by VTN (score: 2|220) 1835 days ago
As a very keen cyclist, I have about 20 coffee loyalty cards for different parts of Adelaide and surrounds . I suppose my favorite place is Joan's Pantry at Hawthorndene, Ambrosia at Semaphore, The Tin Shed at Mc Laren Vale .
by peter (score: 1|16) 1846 days ago
The Perfect Cup
by celan (score: 0|2) 1844 days ago
McDonalds, Darlington South Australia
by Lmd48 (score: 1|13) 1847 days ago
I am not sure it is easy to recognise the company v franchised stores. Once at the front door you can normally see a small sign on the window saying "owned by xyz pty ltd" which is effectively a franchisee. But not so easily visible from the road or the website.
by Steve Hudson (score: 3|1245) 1849 days ago
Interesting article. Can I ask readers to say if the loyalty card actually encourages them to buy their coffee from the same place(s) each day? Also, what other areas should offer loyalty schemes - apart from air travel, hotels, restaurants etc?
by burke (score: 0|2) 1846 days ago

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