Exploring Loyalty in Food Delivery Services

December 14, 2020 by Mahmoud R.


As the business world adjusts to the uncertain times, one matter remains certain, achieving customer satisfaction will always remain a constant.  These adjustments include improving the overall customer experience by implementing loyalty programs and incentives.  One industry that has seen a major growth in the loyalty program domain is the food delivery industry.  This article focuses on the emphasis food delivery companies have placed on acquiring and keeping you as a customer through their own loyalty propositions and a quick comparison of the two most prominent in the UAE.

All food delivery companies including Zomato, Careem, Deliveroo, and Talabat have taken their unfair share of loss during the pandemic, but they have all stepped up their engagement.  Alongside the standard in-app promotions and coupon codes readily available online, most provide more options to save money and earn rewards through their loyalty programs.  Zomato Gold membership, which is sold for a fee, was upgraded a few months ago with certain benefits but still weaker rewarding experience compared to the others.  Careem, after being bought out by Uber, replaced Uber Eats and has developed a robust and innovative loyalty program.  Deliveroo does not offer a loyalty proposition aside from in-app promotions, which brings us to Talabat Rewards, surprisingly late to the game, but coming in strong nonetheless.

Similar to Careem Rewards, you can spend your points earned from food and groceries to order more food or donate to a few charities.  It is a great start.  With Careem, you can earn points from multiple sources such as points conversion from other loyalty programs, rides, ordering food, and then spend your points on travel, lifestyle rewards, food, entertainment, rides, and donations.  We cannot do a fair comparison of both programs as Careem benefits from its ride-sharing business, but we will compare their food delivery loyalty propositions for their base tier. We will do a more thorough comparison once Talabat Rewards settles in.

Points Earned (food delivery only) Redemption Value per Point (own voucher) Redemption Value per Point (own voucher) Points Validity
Careem Rewards 15 points per AED 1 AED20 = 6900 points » AED 0.00289 6 – 12 Months
Talabat Rewards 2 points per AED 1 AED20 = 3200 points » AED 0.00625 3 Months


One item to note is that Careem has different values for earn and redemption items so we ordered the same meal through both portals from the same restaurant and redeemed the same voucher value for in-house vouchers.  Though their points value is substantially lower, Careem is giving back to the customer more in terms of value per dirham spent – and a really high one as we must add.  Another point to note is that this redemption value is for food delivery vouchers and does not consider the other redemption options where the value differs.  This gives Careem the flexibility to give you points across various sectors and partnerships.  One more added benefit Careem provides includes earning points on the cash/credit card portion of the transaction – even if you used one or more coupon codes! Overall both are delivering great value, with one giving back more.

Some suggestions that we would like to see from the delivery-based loyalty programs:

  • – Longer points validity
  • – Opportunity for accelerated earning (great way to promote restaurants)
  • – Direct payment with our points and topping up with cash without having to purchase a voucher
  • – Tiers with clear achievable benefits
  • – Translation to offline world – dine-in vouchers, which I think restaurants will like
  • – More redemption options including full meals with better points value per selection
  • – Loyalty program growth throughout MENA

Though both loyalty programs are relatively young with an enormous customer base, they are on an great track.  Both companies are using the technology and network they have established to raise the customer experience bar in the MENA region and deliver more value and with competition from platforms such as chat.io coming up, this will continue to develop.  What does this all mean for you? In short, better deals, more food and delivery options, and flexibility on saving and spend.

Amyaal Rating – We love both initiatives (one a bit more than the other) and we’re excited to see how Talabat grows its program.  We will let you decide which one appeals more to you.

Stay tuned for our yummy test of the newly launched McDonald’s Rewards Program.

If you have any ideas, comments, complaints, or experiences, around food delivery and the programs they operate, then please share them in the Community Forums.



Main Image via Shutterstock

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone and may not represent Amyaal.com’s views. Editorials have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by our advertisers. Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate information; however, all information is presented without warranty. Consult our Privacy Policy page and Terms & Conditions.
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x