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Chick Fil A Monthly Calendars - A Review

If you are from a state where there are Chick Fil A restaurants, you might not be familiar with the calendars that they release each year. These are sold near the end of the year and cover freebies for the next year. Their cost is $6 (or $5.50? I am not sure exactly, as we do not ask; we just buy them when we get food and they are in stock) and they give some awesome benefits. It is not often that I suggest taking a look at a coupon book that is for sale, but in this case it is well worth it.

The Freebies

Some people love to buy the calendars because they just look cool. They are calendars, of course, but each month has another cow doing something interesting. Maybe snorkeling, or maybe doing graffiti on a water tower. In any case, for a lot of people this alone makes the cost well worth it. For others, like myself, it is the freebies that are attached that help draw me in.

Each month there is a different freebie that is offered, which is noted on the card (so you can actually scan through what you will get each month even before buying the calendar, if you want to see what its value to you is). What makes this pretty awesome is that the cards can be used absolutely anywhere; even if you buy one in Louisiana, you can still use it in California (or wherever you want). So if you travel a bit or do not have one of these near you, you can still usually work something out or pass it off to a family member or friend that can use it.

So at this point you need to know what value the coupons have. You may actually be a bit surprised, but the value far exceeds what you might expect. A typical Chick Fil A sandwich is around $3 by itself, and generally you will get at least two of these over the course of the year. If you plan to eat there anyways at some point, this already knocks off the entire price of the card. On top of this, you also have things like free large drinks (which, even if you wanted to compare the price against somewhere cheaper, such as McDonald's, still ends up being $1 each), free ice cream, and other things. In the years that I have gotten the calendar cards, I would estimate that over the course of the year, assuming you hit each month's freebies, you are getting at least three times the value you put in.

Stacking Freebies and Utilizing Them

While the benefit of a card may not seem that great (after all, we are talking about $12 or so over the course of a year, or a dollar a month saved on average), what you need to take in to consideration is that you can buy many cards. In fact, not only can you buy and activate multiple, you can even use multiple of them in a single trip to Chick Fil A, and even in the same order (which your mileage may vary on this part, but I have had no issues, even running the cards multiple times on a single order instead of breaking it up in to smaller ones).

As for the freebies, they do not require any purchases. For example, for the free drinks, you can just go through the drive thru or go inside, order your drink, swipe your card and you are good to go. Most people will end up hanging around anyways, to eat (especially when they get the drink, of fries), but it is completely up to you whether or not you want to.

The Downside – Expiration and Usage Periods

The downside to these calendars is that they have changed. In the beginning, they had coupons at the bottom of each month that had a “please use by” date on them. If you are not familiar with this terminology when it comes to coupon acceptance, it means that they would like you to use them by a certain period, although this is not needed. In fact, you can still use those coupons months after they have “expired” (based on the please use by date). I think this is probably what ended up leading to the new changes, where they run via a gift card, although Chick Fil A states that it is to keep up with things easier and make it easier for you to do redemptions (being that you carry around the same card for all of the freebies, instead of multiple coupons).

The way the system works now is that each calendar has a card within it that looks just like a gift card. This card shows each month and what the rewards are. You sign up an account at the Chick Fil A calendar website and then attach the card to your account and it is declared as active. At this point, you get a couple of benefits:

  • The system will automatically send out emails each month to remind you to redeem your freebie for that month. I have gotten these even after redeeming, but last year was the first year of the digital cards so I am not sure if that problem was fixed or not yet
  • You can log in to your account at any time to see the listing of freebies, as well as which ones you redeemed and when
  • If you signed up online instead of through the phone, you can request replacements in case you lose your Chick Fil A calendar card. A new one will be mailed out to the address you specify

This makes things extremely easy, as you can log in to the site from anywhere and know right then and there if you can still redeem anything on your card, and if so, what it is. While this is of an obvious benefit to the consumers (and I am happy that it is in place since I no longer have a lot of coupons I have to run around with), I truly think that the idea behind it was more to curb the coupons that had no expiration date, and instead keep things rolling on a month to month basis. With these cards, if you miss one of the freebies it is gone forever. This makes it imperative to make it to your local Chick Fil A prior to the end of each month if you really want to max out the value of the cards.

Replacing Lost Cards

We are all just human, and that means we make mistakes. We forget things and lose things all the time. When it comes to cards like the Chick Fil A calendar card, we often assume that they are like gift cards and can not be replaced. Luckily, this is not true at all.

When someone loses their calendar card, they are still able to access their account online. After logging in, there is an option for requesting a replacement for a lost or stolen calendar card. Choosing this allows the person to input their address information to have a replacement card sent out, but there are a couple of things to note:

  • It takes around 6 weeks (according to the site) to get the replacement card to you
  • Any missed offers can not be made up (meaning that you will likely lose that month's offer if you did not already cash it in, plus the next month's)
  • Your current card is disabled instantly upon submitting the form, so if you happen to find it later, it is no good

This is important to keep in mind because it means that you will want to be absolutely sure that you lost your card. If you are able to find it within a month and a half, you will have saved yourself by not requesting the replacement. On the other hand, if you are not feeling very confident that you will be able to find your card, you are better off requesting the replacement as soon as possible so that you can start knocking out that 6 week waiting period.

In my opinion, there is probably not truly a 6 week wait for them to get the card out, at least if they wanted to do so. I think that the waiting period is more so that they can add in a sort of punishment for losing the card, considering Chick Fil A then has to deal with all of the work related to getting the replacement card out, paying to mail it to you, etc. It is, of course, also possible that it really does take this long to get it done. It is really hard to tell, but in any case, you will want to prepare for the worst.

Notice: Please note that if you signed up through the phone instead of online (where you supply an email address), you are not able to request a replacement card. Chick Fil A has stated that this is due to different security practices being used over the phone than online, and therefore they are not able to properly validate the request. As a result, it is important to always register the cards online rather than through the phone. It is also important to give a real email address that you have access to at all times. When you make the replacement request online, the site sends out an email that must be confirmed in order to get the card on its way. If you used a temporary email address or lost access to the one you signed up with, you will not be able to confirm this email and will still not be able to successfully request the replacement card.

Conclusion

I love the Chick Fil A calendars that are released every year, and I find a lot of value in picking them up each year. Their benefits are awesome, plus you get a cool calendar in case you still need one. Being that I enjoy eating at Chick Fil A, I get a lot more value out of grabbing these calendars than others that do not would. With that said, even if you only make it to a few of the dates, you still get back a bit of your cost, and maybe even more than what you paid! So if you happen to have a Chick Fil A near you, be sure to keep up with it in the last couple months of the year and see what deals they have going on; it just might surprise you!

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