Living the Alternative: Best loyalty programs for college students

Taylor Felver

Being in college and being broke go hand in hand, so what better way to save money than to score free food and drinks without actually having to do anything other than by visiting some of your favorite places. Loyalty and rewards programs are one of the easiest ways to cash in on free items. Here are some of the most rewarding programs available:

Panera Bread


Surprisingly, this casual fast food chain has great offers just by signing up online or in person. With just an email and phone number is all it takes to get a free pastry or bakery item. Additionally, other rewards also vary repeatedly almost every third time with free food and money off drinks.

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop

This local college kid hot spot is slowly expanding the number of locations it has and with it, their loyalty program. All that has to be done to start being rewarded is by downloading the Fuzzy’s app in the App Store for iOS systems or the Google play store for android. Just sign up by your email and start collecting rewards like a free souvenir cup for 32 oz drinks, free tacos, chips and queso, or even a full Mexican plate.

Red Robin Royalty

All that is needed to sign up is your email and this can be done by visiting Red Robin’s website directly. The perks of becoming part of Red Robin’s loyalty program include a free birthday burger, every tenth item is free, and for your sixth visit you can get a $20 credit. Additional rewards are accessible for those who are in the military as well.

Café Mexicali

Another local favorite is Café Mex and after registering to their “College Club” online with copies of your school ID and proof of enrollment, 20% off is applied to every main entrée ordered.

The Human Bean

Coffee is essentially what keeps the majority of college kids going and The Human Bean offers a punch card and the chance to receive a free 16 oz. drink just for signing up online to be part of their VIB club (very important Bean) as well as a birthday surprise and specials all year.

Pocket Points


Although this is an app and is not strictly for one sole business, it is key to receiving some of the best deals. By downloading it via app store or Google play and signing up with email or Facebook pocket points uses location to determine if you are in class or not. To use this you must be on campus and for every time you have your phone off it gives you points. Points can be redeemed towards businesses such as Music City Hot Chicken, The CSU Bookstore, Cosmo’s Pizza, and Qdoba among even more outlets online.

Honorable mentions also go to Firehouse Subs, Starbucks, Silver Grille Café, and even Cinemark Cinemas. The best part of these is that it takes five minutes at most to download an app or punch in an email and by doing so you could access the limitless options for products potentially free of charge.