Boston's Morning Newsletter
New Dunkin' rewards program brews backlash
Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from WBUR's daily morning newsletter, WBUR Today. If you like what you read and want it in your inbox, sign up here.
We can all sleep a little bit better going forward: NASA's asteroid -bashing DART mission is officially a success! With that matter tidily squared away for future existential crises, here's what else is on our radar today:
America's oldest public park is getting a makeover. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced a new Boston Common master plan this morning, outlining how the city would like to use millions of dollars from the sale of the Winthrop Garage to make the historic park more accessible and inclusive in the run-up to its 400th anniversary in 2034. The plan includes everything from more restrooms, to expanded areas for sports, to a dramatically revamped Frog Pond. While some projects are already underway, officials are seeking public feedback through November. Here are some of the plan's highlights:
Across the Common: more trees, seating, event space and signs directing people to key features and accessible routes — plus upgraded restrooms, concessions and a visitor center.
Landmarks: Frog Pond is slated for a full renovation, including a new two-story pavilion with a restaurant and outdoor dining. The Parkman Bandstand would get a fully accessible ramp. And there are paths to connect to the under-construction MLK memorial. The Tadpole Playground could also triple in size.
Sports: The plan also calls for reconfiguring the Common's baseball and tennis courts to make room for a multi-use soccer field, basketball courts, a dog park and — yes — pickleball.
In other news: Wu suggested Tuesday that she may reject the City Council's proposal last week to give themselves — and her — a 20% salary increase next term. During an interview on GBH, Wu called the proposed raises "too high" and said she might veto them. She originally proposed 12% raises to keep up with cost-of-living increase since the last raise in 2018.
The City Council does have the power to override Wu on the issue, if at least nine of the 13 councilors hold their ground (they passed their version with unanimous support last week.)
There's a Dunkin' backlash afroth! The Canton-based coffee chain overhauled its rewards program last week, creating a new tiered system that now allows customers to cash in their loyalty points for food and earn some smaller freebies quicker. (Starbucks made a similar change in 2019.) But many Dunkin' loyalists are pointing out that the new program makes it harder to earn free drinks that were the hallmark of the old program.
How the math shakes out: Under the old system, you could basically redeem any free coffee drink after spending $40. While the new system allows you to get "Li’L Treat" rewards after $15, it also raises the threshold for a free coffee to $50. And for “crafted drinks” like cold brew, lattes and other espresso drinks, it’s $70.
The company says they made the change to add more "flexibility, variety and recognition" to their rewards program. They're also dangling a slate of one-off freebies to kick off the revamp. That has done little to appease critics, who argue Dunkin' could have just added a new food tier rather than changing the scales for drinks. As one Redditor put it: "The new system is trash."
Hockey fans, on the other hand, are having a better day. The Bruins begin their season tonight! They take the ice at 7 p.m. against the Washington Capitals in D.C. But you can cheer them on at home on Saturday when they're back in Boston for their home opener.
P.S.— New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman is coming to WBUR CitySpace tonight to talk about her new book on the rise of Donald Trump and her unique understanding of the former president. In-person tickets are already sold out, but you can still get virtual tickets to watch online here.