Be a Winner with Your Dinner (Or not)

I would never advocate buying fast food just to win something. If you are already driving thru, however, it’s something to consider. And with many of the prizes having less to do with purchase and more to do with timing, it’s open season for everyone (even those who’ve sworn off Biggie Fries for life.) Here’s the scoop on the best promotions going on right now.

Hardees / Carl’s Jr. “Make it Your Gameday Sweepstakes – This is a game where you can (almost) win back what you eat. Tens of thousands of prizes include mostly small fries and drinks. Game codes can be obtained by buying food or sending away for free game codes, which means one code costs a $.42 postage stamp. With no really big instant win prize to vie for (top prize is only worth $113) this isn’t going to make anyone rich. They do have a second chance sweepstakes with a few gift cards worth $1500 from the Sports Authority and Best Buy, which someone is guaranteed to win. Ends October 23, 2008. Bottom line: Don’t go out of your way to win this one.

Kraft / Burger King “Is it a Sundae or Is it a Shake?” Giveaway – These are the kinds of promotions I like. No purchase needed. Simply register to vote and let “The King” know how you vote. (You can choose not to opt-in for future mailings.) While there’s no biggie prizes, it is a quick, easy entry for hundreds of $10 itunes or BK gift cards (plus 20 80GB iPod Classics). They will let you know instantly if you’ve won. Promotion runs through 9/28/08. Bottom line: Good for a quick try. Enter daily without a penny out of pocket.

T.G.I Friday’s “Awesome BBQ Sweepstakes and Instant Win Game” – Similar to the Burger King promotion. This doesn’t require any purchase or game piece. Simply register to find out if you are an instant winner of hundreds of small prizes (hats, shirts, and $5-10 restaurant gift cards.) They also include free appetizer and desserts with purchase as “prizes.” The sweepstakes grand prize is a trip to the 19th Annual Jack Daniels Invitational BBQ and year’s supply of TGIF frozen food. Enter by Sept. 30. Bottom line: OK for die hard BBQ fans or someone looking for a quick, cheap prize.

Wendy’s “Twisted Frosty” Giveaway – 10,000 instant winners of a $3 Wendy’s GC in this one. No purchase necessary. One grand prize of a $1,000 Wendy’s Gift Card. Ends September 30th. Bottom line: Odds are good, very good. Hope you like Wendy’s!

Subway “Scrabble” Game – Similar to the McDonald’s Monopoly fad, this is a Collect-and-Win game. Codes are on any 6" sub, footlong sub, 21oz drink, 32oz drink or 44oz drink, or by mail in request. (Free codes have been reported by signing up for the Subway newsletter.) Hundreds of prizes, ranging from $5 Subway cards to $100,000. Promotion ends October 13th. Bottom line: Don’t spend what you don’t have. If you’re dining out anyway, take your chances on winning $5 back, but don’t hold your breath for the new car.

Orange Julius “Cash and Cali” Giveaway – The smoothie giant is offering up several prizes in its instant win promotion (including 1,000 $5 GC, beachwear, and cash.) A grand prize drawing for 10K is also in the running. No purchase is necessary if you click on the “Get a password here” link at the bottom left. Annoying flash-based website lets you turn off the music (thank you.) Promotion ends Nov. 15th. Bottom line: If there’s an Orange Julius you like to frequent, give this one a try. No money out of pocket, just the time it takes to load the entry page…..

Red Robin “Dealicious Three of a Kind” Game – The quick scoop on this giveaway is this: Enter without purchase, pop in your info (I use Roboform), and see if you win a $10 Red Robin Gift Card. Easy, peasy, people. Bottom line: It doesn’t get easier than this, and with 1,000 Gift Cards up for grabs, you might score a free lunch.

There are several other fast-food promotions going on. (Too many to mention here.) And while you must use your judgment on whether to enter, the winnings can be sweet. (For more information on sweepstakes, see my previous tips.) Eat healthy, and hope for the best!

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Guest's picture

I often get Subway's $5 footlongs for lunch so I've been playing their Subway Scrabble game. So far, the only thing I won was a cookie but that's something.