Here's How Subway is Revolutionizing Its Loyalty Scheme

Loyalty programs are a great way for brands to incentivize customers to keep returning to their outlets. Offering rewards in exchange for repeat customers creates a quid pro quo relationship that benefits everyone. Subway is looking to mix things up by thinking big with its own new rewards scheme.

Subway began life in 1965 as "Pete's Super Submarines" when Fred DeLuca borrowed $1,000 from a friend to follow his dream of opening a sandwich shop. The business was renamed Subway three years after opening. The first Subway shop to open outside of North America was founded in 1984 in Bahrain, and the company reached the UK in 1996 with a shop in Brighton. DeLuca's sister, Suzanne Greco, took over as CEO and President of the business in 2015.

Today, Subway has approximately 45,000 restaurants spread over 112 countries. The company has sales exceeding $17 billion, and holds the #92 spot on the Forbes list of The World's Most Valuable Brands.

A New Loyalty Program

Subway claims its recent Facebook Messenger bot innovation was the largest technical deployment of its type in the food and drink industry to date. However, Subway isn't content to rest on its laurels, and is working on a whole suite of innovative omnichannel strategies as well. The first salvo of this ongoing avenue of marketing was installing digital kiosks and menu boards which can change displays depending on the deals of the day.

Next on the list was a complete overhaul of the company's smartphone app and loyalty program.

(Image source:

The new loyalty program is dubbed MyWay (not to be confused with a similar slogan from that famous burger chain) and is set to be the largest initiative of its kind in fast-food history, with an estimated 28,000 participating restaurants across North America. The program was born after Subway surveyed its customers to ask them what they wanted from a loyalty program. The results came through that they wanted a program which was personalized, flexible, and surprising.

"We began developing the MyWay Rewards program two years ago, listening to our customers and using their feedback to design the program," said Subway's Chief Digital Officer Carissa Ganelli. "But, it is just one part our larger transformation, changing every element of our business, from new menu items to the look of our restaurants to the entire customer experience, so we can best serve the more than seven million people who visit a Subway each day around the world."


MyWay replaces the old SubCard loyalty program, which was discontinued in 2005, and is designed to offer a personalized discount system to Subway guests. Customers earn four tokens with every dollar spent, with 200 tokens earning them a $2.00 reward voucher.

However, the real innovation comes with guests being offered spontaneous opportunities to earn extra tokens, and even being gifted with surprise rewards, such as sandwiches, cookies and drinks. Once a year, on their birthday, customers will also receive a special reward. Furthermore, everything is tracked via the Subway smartphone app, meaning guests don't have to worry about forgetting a loyalty card.

"We really designed the program with the consumer in mind. You don't have to read the fine print, and the $2 threshold was something that's going to absolutely enable us to reward our members more frequently," said Ganelli. "You won't know when you've earned our reward until you've earned it. That's awesome. I got a present today because, who doesn't like surprises of delicious stuff?"

Subway MyWay Rewards program launched in February 2018.

Final Thoughts

Loyalty schemes are becoming more and more popular as digital technology allows brands to offer ever more personalized and engaging reasons for consumers to return to the same outlets time and time again. With its new MyWay scheme, Subway is hoping to keep the nation in sandwiches and cookies for a long time to come.

The final word goes to Subway's Chief Digital Officer Carissa Ganelli.

"We know time and money are important to our guests. It's important to us that we deliver a seamless, convenient experience to help our customers get what they want when they want it - and what they want is our delicious, nutritious, and affordable food."

You can hear Subway's Chief Digital Officer, Carissa Ganelli , speak at eTail East 2018 this August at The Sheraton, Boston, MA.

Return to Blog