8 Papa John’s Pizza Hacks: More Pizza, Better Ingredients, Pay Less

I grew up in New York and seemingly every Friday, I'd drive with my dad to a local pizza shop. I'd sit in the passenger seat, holding the box on my lap, as it tortured me during the agonizing ten-minute drive home. The slices were delicious. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Ahhh, Cataffo's… I miss ye.

My first experience with Papa Johns was when I was in college in Pittsburgh. It was a different experience, thicker crust, lighter and tangier sauce, but it was still good. My experiences with Papa John's pizza today just remind me of my fun times in college.

What makes pizza so great is that it's so simple and has so much competition. Domino's, Little Caesar's, Papa Johns, your local shop – they are all competing heavily for your business.

That means competitive prices. It seems no matter what time of year, you can always find a deal.

Here are the best ways to get more Papa John's pizza for less.

Use DoorDash

Papa John's has an app. When you order through it, you can earn Papa Rewards rewards that get you free food and all that great stuff. If you plan on ordering it a lot, on a regular basis, then the app is for you.

If you don't order it a lot, you can save a little bit by ordering it through DoorDash. DoorDash charges a delivery fee but that fee could be less than Papa John's fee.

Also, you can get $5 off your first 3 DoorDash orders over $12!

Never Pay Full Price: 25% Off

25% off promotion code
100% Pizza at 25% Off!

25OFF almost always works. 🙂

It'll get you 25% off a regular menu price (RMP) order.

If not, SAVE25 and VISA25 almost always work too. You can always find a 25% coupon.

Warning: This is not always the best deal though. Treat it as your starting point. Never pay more than 25% off the regular price!

Know Your Pizza Math

Remember the equation for the area of a circle?

A = π r2

That'll tell you how much pizza you're getting for your money.

What are the different sizes of Papa John's pizzas?

  • Small – 10″
  • Medium – 12″
  • Large – 14″
  • Extra-Large – 16″

The total area of Papa Johns pizza by size is:

  • Small – ~78.5 in2
  • Medium – ~113.1 in2
  • Large – ~153.9 in2
  • Extra-Large – ~201.1 in2

Based on standard prices for a cheese pizza, the price per square inch is:

  • Small ($11) – $0.140 per in2
  • Medium ($13) – $0.115 per in2
  • Large ($15) – $0.097 per in2
  • Extra-Large ($18) – $0.089 per in2

Armed with math, you can now decide which pizza deals are the best.

Join the Papa John's Rewards Program

Their rewards program, Papa Rewards, is free and you can earn free food when you order online. There's no reason not to join!

You get a point for every $5 you spend and can redeem them for food:

  • Garlic Knots: 10 points
  • 10″ Cheesesticks: 10 points
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie 10 points
  • Large 2-Topping: 20 points
  • Large 3-Topping: 25 points
  • SPECIALTY/LTO: 30 points

You also get 10 bonus points on your birthday!

While you're at it, sign up for email and text deals too.

Check the Special page

The Special page is chock full of deals. You should never just straight up order a pizza and be done with it, there's probably a special that will work for you.

Root, Root, Root for The Home Team

If they don't win it's a shame… but if they do certain sporty things, you could get cheaper pizza. Papa Johns partners with a lot of different leagues and runs different promotions throughout their regular and postseason periods. Search for “Papa Johns promo” and your local sports team for details and the team-specific promotion code.

  • Baseball: For baseball in 2018, they have a season long promotion – get 40% off any pizza at regular menu price online the day after a Grand Slam when you use promo code: PAPASLAM. There were 133 such days in 2017.
  • Football: Papa Johns is the official pizza of NFL too (and has been since 2010) – when it's football season you can get football themed deals on pizza.
  • Hockey: Save whenever your local hockey team scores more than X number of goals – the Rangers need to score 3+ goals (RANGERS3), the Capitals (CAPS50) need to score 4+, etc.
  • Basketball: For example, when the Washington Wizards score more than 100 points in a game, use WIZ50 to get 50% off your RMP order the following day.

Order for the Future

Papa Johns runs promotions all. the. time. But sometimes those promotions end before you wanted to have pizza again – did you know you can order your pizza up to 21 days in advance?

For cash orders, you can submit them 21 days in advance but use the promotion you saw today. For credit orders, you can only order 3 days in advance.

It's part of their plan ahead program, I just didn't know you could order three weeks in advance!

Buy Gift Cards Online

People sell gift cards online all the time and the various card marketplaces will offer guarantees so you'll never get ripped off. My favorite gift card marketplace is Raise.

You can earn Papa Rewards when you pay with a gift card too!

One last tip before you go…

I love leftover pizza – but microwaving it means a tough to chew crust (bread gets funny when you microwave it, just put in a cup of water to avoid that) and a soggy bottom.

My preferred way for reheating is to pop it in the oven to melt the cheese (or microwave with the cup of water) and then fry it in a pan for a few seconds to crisp up the bottom.

Enjoy!

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a thirty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and farms in Illinois, Louisiana, and California through AcreTrader.

Recently, he's invested in a few pieces of art on Masterworks too.

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  1. Syed says

    Of course I would come across this delicious post while I’m fasting! Good information though I will definitely be using it.

  2. Mortimer says

    I put the leftover pizza in a cup of water as you advised and it didn’t seem to work for me….now it’s super soggy. Seems like pretty bad advice.

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