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How To Win McDonald’s Monopoly Game

This post covers the 2011 edition of the McDonald’s Monopoly game. For 2012, click here [3].

The McDonald’s Monopoly game will be kicking off its 2011 edition early this year, starting on September 20th (last year the game started in October). This year they adjusted the prizes, keeping many of the dollar prizes but adding a few more contests and upping the number of giveaway cars. As there has been since the dawn of time, the million dollar prize remains the belle of the ball but she’ll some competition from several inclusive vacations to Beaches Resorts, the McDonald’s High School All-American game, and even a trip to London for the 2012 Olympic Games.

The game itself has remained the same. The goal of the game is to collect game pieces you can find on specially marked food products. Those game pieces will come in pairs where you’ll win either instantly or get a property that you need to match with others. Collect all the property from a colored monopoly and win that prize. In each set of properties, there will be a rare piece that basically wins you the prize. Get that rare piece and the prize is basically yours.

The online $10,000 CASHstakes will start on September 20th but the full game won’t begin until September 27th, 2011. Below, we’ll take a look at what you will need to learn in order to win the McDonald’s Monopoly game for 2011.

2011 Rare Game Pieces & Prizes

For 2011, there were some changes to the rarity, the number of prizes, and what the prizes were:

To give you a better of idea of relative rarity within a monopoly set, let’s take a look at the light blue pieces. Vermont is the rare piece with an approximate 1 in 206,036 chance of finding that tile. The other tiles, Oriental Avenue and Connecticut Avenue, are both 1 in 11. Winning that set will net you a hundred dollars.

In-Store Instant Win Prizes

What can you win by peeling off a label?

Online Instant Win Prizes

I really enjoy the online game, probably because it’s online and it’s a game. 🙂 That said, there are plenty of prizes you can win just be putting your codes in at the right time. Whether you win a prize online depends on when you enter a valid code, not what the code says. According to the rules, these “winning times” are set ahead of time and the first user to throw the dice will win that prize. Here are the prizes:

How to Get McDonald’s Monopoly Game Pieces

To get pieces, you have two options – buy McDonald’s food or get them for free by sending in a self-addressed stamped envelope. Here are the food items that give you a game piece:

Cheapest game pieces: The Hash Browns remain the cheapest way to get game pieces if you’re going to buy them. In past years, people have been able to just buy the pieces without the food (so you aren’t compelled to eat or throw out a lot of hash browns).

How to Get Almost Free Game Pieces

Alternatively, you can get game pieces without purchase by sending a handwritten, self-addressed, stamped envelope to:
2011 MONOPOLY Game at McDonald’s Game Piece Request
P.O. Box 49180
Strongsville, OH 44149-0180

Not entirely free, it’ll cost you two envelopes and 88 cents worth of stamps… unless you live in Vermont. If you live in Vermont, you do not have to put return postage on the self-addressed envelope but it still needs to be handwritten (so 44 cents instead of 88).

If you don’t want to buy the food and don’t want to address a million envelopes, you can always “dumpster dive.” If you don’t want to hop into a dumpster, ask other people in the store if they want their game pieces. With so many people going to McDonald’s on a regular basis, it’s no surprise that plenty of pieces go unopened. Some people just don’t care and you can benefit from it.

Trading Game Pieces

Trading game pieces is expressly forbidden in the game rules with a few exceptions (usually for younger participants to transfer them to their parents) but vibrant property trading and selling communities, such as Fatwallet Forums [4], do exist. Every year the comments on this site and a post on Fatwallet become big deal making threads. Trade at your peril with the understanding that it’s against the rules.

Who Won Last Year?

The winner of the 2010 prize was Jonathan Kehoe [5] from West Allis, Wisconsin, just west of Milwaukee. It’s a nice story of a man who’d been on unemployment and pulled the winning pieces off a medium soda. According to the story, he pulled Boardwalk and Park Place at the same time. The 2009 winner also pulled the game pieces off a drink (sweet tea). I wonder what food item this year’s winner will come from? (another drink?)

If you have a hankering for some legal mumbo jumbo, here are the full official rules [6]. Good luck!

(Photo: sundazed [7])