Panera is giving away free bagels for the rest of the year — but there's a big catch

If you don't like cream cheese, this deal is perfect for you.
Snag a free bagel at Panera until 2019. But don't let the pictured cream cheese fool you ... you'll have to fork over a few cents for that part.
Snag a free bagel at Panera until 2019. But don't let the pictured cream cheese fool you ... you'll have to fork over a few cents for that part.Panera Bread

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
SUBSCRIBE
/ Source: TODAY
By Erica Chayes Wida

Are you a Panera Bread rewards member? No? Perfect. And do you despise cream cheese? Great, even better!

If you are a fan of bagels, however, Panera has a great deal for carb lovers who sign up for its rewards program MyPanera. All new customers who join between now and Dec. 31 will be eligible to receive one free bagel, every single day until the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve — or at least until your local Panera closes.

Panera Bread offers up free bagels for new rewards members through the end of December.Getty Images

The fast-casual chain's latest promotion comes amid an onslaught of different dining deals designed to drive customers to eateries' apps. Starbucks currently offers free coffee and happy hour deals for those who sign up for its rewards program, and the coffee chain gave away free, red reusable cups (or at least tried to) when customers bought a holiday drink in November. In October, Chipotle handed out free burritos to people who joined its digital program.

Trending stories,celebrity news and all the best of TODAY.

However, we're sorry to inform any devout Panera patrons who have been MyPanera members for years that this deal doesn't apply to you, as it's available only to new customers. Those customers will just have to wait until they earn enough points, or until their birthdays roll around, to score a freebie.

Panera's bagel lineup features several sweet options like Cranberry Walnut, French Toast, Blueberry, Cinnamon Crunch, Cinnamon Swirl & Raisin and Chocolate Chip. For those who prefer something savory, the chain also offers Whole Grain, a Sprouted Grain Bagel Flat, Sesame, Asiago Cheese and, of course, Everything with the works.

The Cherry Vanilla Bagel from Panera with cream cheese is like a wintry breakfast treat.Panera Bread

Flavors do vary by location, and customers can score a bagel only while supplies last. So pop into the store early to get your first pick. Also, the deal is valid only for in-store orders.

Though the soup chain is doling out free bagels all month long, unfortunately, it's skimping on the schmear.

So, unless you prefer your bagel bone-dry, you'll have to fork over $1.30 to $1.40 for an individual serving of cream cheese, according to a Panera spokesperson ... or spring for a tub for $3.