McDonald's Monopoly 2021 – when it starts and tips for boosting your chances of winning

There are many versions of the classic Monopoly game these days but one that many fast-foodies look forward to each year is McDonald's Monopoly. If you're going to eat under the golden arches or order a McDelivery anyway, the promo can be a fun way to win a 'free' bite to eat, or if you're lucky, something bigger. 

It's essentially a prize draw, where you collect stickers from selected menu items, with three ways to win – by peeling an 'instant win' sticker which gives a prize such as a free side or burger you claim at the counter, by entering codes at the McDonald's website for the chance to win cash, or by collecting property sets much like you would in a normal Monopoly game to win a bigger prize – see below for more on how it works.

This promotion shouldn't be an excuse to sneak a Big Mac meal into your five-a-day. However, many MoneySavers have told us they think of it as a bit of harmless fun, so if you'll eat there anyway, here's how how it works and a few tips to boost your chances of a win.

When does McDonald's Monopoly 2021 start?

If you're eagerly anticipating when you'll be able to have your first peel of a sticker this year, McDonald's has confirmed that its Monopoly promotion will return from 11.30am on Wed 25 Aug and will end at 11.59pm on Tue 5 Oct.

As the previous promotion was due to begin in March 2021, but was postponed due to the pandemic, McDonald's has reused the packaging it had already prepared to avoid waste. This means that the stickers will include seemingly expired dates (March to June 2021), but McDonald's has confirmed anything you buy in the next few weeks will still definitely be in date, as you have around five months to use them – you can you visit this McDonald's Monopoly promotion news page to check the correct dates.

How does it work?

Some menu items will contain stickers, and the number of stickers determines the number of chances to win. Items such as the Chicken Legend or a medium/large carbonated soft drink will have three chances to win (three stickers), some will have two chances to win (two stickers) such as medium/large fries, while others will have no stickers at all such as a Big Mac or 99p cheeseburger (unless bought as part of a meal). The sticker prizes work as follows: 

  • Everybody gets an online code that enters them into a prize draw to win between £5 and £100. If your sticker has an online code on it (usually about 10-digits), you can enter this at the McDonald's Monopoly website between 11.30am on Wed 25 Aug and 11.59pm on Tue 5 Oct for the chance to win a cash prize from £5 to £100 – or you may win nothing. McDonald's says there are a maximum of two wins per minutes online – see below for how to give yourself a better chance of winning. As well as cash prizes, there are also a few non-cash prizes you can win online, including gym passes, magazine subscriptions and vouchers.

You then either get one, or both, of the following types of sticker:

  • You'll either get an 'instant win' sticker which gets you free food prizes, eg, free sides or burgers. If you peel an 'instant win' sticker, you may score yourself a free food or drink prize. These include apple pies, cheeseburgers, fries, sundaes, ice creams, hot drinks and more. Simply take your sticker to the counter to claim there and then, or before the expiry date shown on the sticker. There are over 50,000,000 instant win food prizes, which works out at about 1,000 free food prizes per restaurant per day, so this is your best chance of winning.

  • Or you could get a Monopoly property sticker for the really big prizes, eg, TVs, holidays etc. This is more akin to the classic Monopoly game, where you collect properties in their colour sets. You collect property stickers and if you're lucky enough to collect a full set, you can win a big prize. Some examples of prizes this year include a hot tub, holiday, TV, and £100,000 for different property sets.

For the first time, prizes also include 1,000 'VIP Gold Cards' in its Monopoly game. If you win one, you'll get a free meal every week for a year at any McDonald's restaurant, which you can redeem through the My McDonald's app. These are obviously very rare and won't be easy to come by though.

How can I increase my chances?

While McDonald's Monopoly is very much a game of luck, there are some things you can do to increase your chance of a win.

Keep hold of rarely-found stickers

Within each set of properties there is a rare or uncommon sticker. If you're peeling lucky and manage to find one of these, make sure you keep hold of it as the remaining stickers in the set will be much easier to find, giving you a good chance of winning the prize for that set.

Here are the rare stickers to look out for:

Enter online codes during non-peak times

Every minute, there are two cash prizes to be won – between £5 and £100 – by whoever enters their online code at the right second, which McDonald's calls the ‘winning moment’.

If you enter at a non-peak time (eg, early morning or overnight), you’ll naturally have less competition as entering at a busy time of day, such as lunch or early evening – so your chances of winning are better. If you are a winner, you'll know instantly and receive details of how to claim.

'Womble' unchecked stickers, eg, pick them up off the floor

You don't need to be Uncle Bulgaria to take advantage of the fact that not everyone who eats or drinks at McDonald's will be taking part in its Monopoly promotion and won't peel their stickers.

We also know that not everyone disposes of their packaging in the bins provided, so look out for empty cups and other packaging that still have stickers attached and you may be able to find some free food instant wins, an online game code, or a property you need to get closer to completing a set.

It's worth noting that wombling is against some companies' T&Cs. We've asked McDonald's for its stance and it hasn't got back to us yet, though we've no reports of issues in previous years.

Of course, if you're going to do any wombling, be sure to thoroughly wash or sanitise your hands afterwards.

Hold on to property stickers, even duplicates

Even if you end up with the same sticker again, eg, two Park Lane's, it's worth still holding on to any duplicates as in previous years McDonald's has offered a freebie, such as a month's Now TV pass, when you swap any 10 stickers. If you won't eat there enough times to get 10 stickers during the promotion, you could ask family members or friends if they have spare stickers.

Use our McDonald's tricks to get food & stickers for cheaper

Look out for ways to get your food or drink cheaper so that you're saving money on what you would have bought anyway, plus playing the game to potentially get freebies – see our 10 McDonald's MoneySaving hacks for ideas.

For example, there's a trick to get a Big Mac and fries for '£1.99' – this will get you the same two stickers as if you'd paid the normal £4ish price.

Have you won anything in McDonald's Monopoly? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @MSE_Deals.