McDonald’s customers revolt over “ridiculous” ban on paper loyalty cards


A McDonald's Big Mac. Source: AAP/Richard B Levine.

McDonald’s Australia has upset customers with the rollout of a new change to its loyalty card program which will see the fast-food company ditch paper loyalty cards in favour of an app-focused approach.

Up until recently, McDonald’s fanatics could get their coffee purchases stamped on a paper card, which entitled them to a free standard coffee every five purchases. And before you coffee snobs turn your nose up in distaste, McDonald’s coffee is (technically) the most popular coffee in Australia, selling over one million cups a day.

Now those millions of customers will be required to download the MyMacca’s smartphone app to access the deal, reports — a change which may have been made for sustainability purposes. McDonald’s also announced in January it would be switching from plastic to paper straws by 2020.

With millions of litres of Macca’s brown bean juice flowing each week, the change to the popular loyalty card system upset shoppers, with some accusing the global fast-food franchise of discriminating against those who don’t own or can’t operate smartphones.

Shoppers flooded the McDonald’s Australia Facebook page with their complaints, some saying they were intending to boycott McDonald’s Australia until the old loyalty system was brought back.

“Watched a person with disability try and get his coffee reward card clipped and was told to use the app. No smart phone means no loyalty, this screams of discrimination against people of older age or those who don’t use smart phones,” one customer said.

Another customer raised the question of using the app during drive-through coffee orders, as states such as New South Wales impose hefty fines on drivers who touch their mobile phones while driving.

In a statement to, a spokesperson for McDonald’s said the company had received “great feedback” on the app and that “more people than ever before” were joining the loyalty program.

“We’re proud to always offer our customers great value regardless of whether they are dining in our restaurants, using our MyMacca’s app, or ordering McDelivery through UberEats,” the spokesperson said.

“Customers with a seniors card continue to be able to take advantage of offers which entitle them to a free coffee, juice or soft drink with a purchase in our participating restaurants.”

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