You can use your Mac Express meal plan to pay for purchases at all Hospitality Services locations. Not only do you have access to a wide variety of food choices on campus, you can also enjoy dining out at one of our local participating off-campus vendors.
MEAL PLAN ACCOUNT
Once the meal plan is setup, the account holder may access their meal plan information directly by visiting our secure Meal Account website where you will be able to:
- Check meal plan balance(s)
- Review transaction history
- Deactivate meal card
- Change meal account PIN
- Add money to meal card by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Interac Online, Visa Debit, or Debit MasterCard
Residence meal plans are specifically designed for your personal use. When living in a traditional residence, you must purchase a meal plan from Group A. Students living in Bates and the Mary E. Keyes Residence must purchase a meal plan from either Group A or Group B – see Residence Meal Plan Details for meal plan specifics.
If you select a Group B meal plan and receive a room in traditional residence, your meal plan will be changed to the corresponding size meal plan from Group A. Since all residence students are required to purchase a mandatory meal plan, students who do not make a selection will be automatically allocated a Regular meal plan from their mandatory group. Set up of the Residence Meal Plan account is considered an acceptance of all the terms and conditions of the Residence Meal Plan Policy.
The BASIC and FLEX portions of the Residence Meal Plan are non-taxable, saving you the sales tax (up to 13%) on your food purchases on campus. As it is a non-taxable plan, the BASIC account is mandatory and non-refundable under McMaster University Residence Meal Plan Policy and government tax regulations (except on a prorated basis upon withdrawal from residence, subject to a withdrawal fee of $50). Any unspent BASIC meal account funds, not including the pre-paid overhead, will be carried forward to the next academic year. These carry-forward funds remain non-taxable and will expire at the end of enrollment at McMaster University.
The FLEX account is an optional and refundable portion of the Residence Meal Plan and it is initially set at $0 value. You may add funds when the BASIC account is exhausted and you still want to benefit from the non-taxable food purchases at the Hospitality Services dining locations on campus.
The FREEDOM account is a fully taxable and fully refundable portion of your meal plan and it can be used to purchase confectionery (e.g. chocolate bars, candy) and non-food items (e.g. personal grooming products, convenience items) at Hospitality Services facilities or to dine at participating Off-Campus Vendor locations.
Any time during the academic year you may add monies to your FLEX and/or FREEDOM account as well as transfer monies between the two accounts. All purchases made from the FREEDOM account will be subject to the appropriate taxes. Unused funds in the FLEX and FREEDOM accounts are carried forward to the next term or can be refunded upon a written request to the Mac Express Centre.
You can make changes to your initial Meal Plan Selection through the Housing Application Portal. After their stated deadline date, any meal plan change requests should be submitted in writing to the Mac Express Centre at email@example.com. The deadline for all meal plan change requests to Mac Express is August 7, 2021.
The BASIC meal account consists of an overhead portion to cover the costs of operating the residence dining halls. The non-refundable, non-prorated overhead portion of 50% of your BASIC meal account will be automatically set aside at the beginning of the school year; however, with every food purchase made with your BASIC account at Hospitality Services locations a 50% discount will be applied in order for you to receive the full value of your meal plan. Any remaining overhead funds are non-refundable and will not carry forward to the next year.
Information regarding fee payments and arrangements will be included in your registration package. Fee payments or payment arrangements for your Residence Meal Plan should be made to/with Student Accounts and Cashiers.
Terms and Conditions
- Residence Meal Plan is an integral component of living in any of the McMaster University residences and all students living in residence must purchase a mandatory meal plan – there are no exemptions.
- Students living in traditional residence must select one of the Group A meal plans. Students living in apartment-style residence (Bates and Mary E. Keyes) must select one of either the Group A, or the Group B meal plans. If you select a Group B meal plan and you receive a room in traditional residence, your meal plan will be changed to the corresponding size meal plan from Group A.
- Students who do not make a selection will be allocated a Regular Meal Plan from the applicable mandatory group. Set up of the Residence Meal Plan account is automatically considered an acceptance of all the terms and conditions of the Residence Meal Plan Policy.
- Once you select and purchase a residence meal plan, there is no cancellation as long as you are still living in any McMaster University residence building.
- Any student with special dietary needs due to serious illness (ex. Celiac disease, anaphylactic allergies) or religious restrictions must contact Hospitality Services for confirmation that his/her needs can be met before making a decision on applying for McMaster Residence.
- Residence Meal Plans are specifically designed for your personal use only. Residence students are given a tax exempt status on their Basic and Flex portions of the Residence Meal Plan. Under government tax regulations, food purchases made at Hospitality Services campus locations from the Basic and/or Flex portion of the Residence Meal Plan will be considered tax exempt purchases.
- To purchase confectionary (e.g. chocolate bars, candy) and non-food items (e.g. personal grooming items, convenience items etc.) or to make purchases at Off-Campus Vendors you need to utilize your Freedom account. All meal plans come with a refundable set amount in your Freedom account.
- All purchases from the Freedom account will be subject to the appropriate taxes.
- You can add monies to your Flex and/or Freedom account as well as move monies between Flex and Freedom accounts at any time during the academic year upon a written request to the Mac Express Centre. Flex and Freedom monies are fully refundable or may be carried over to the next year.
- The cost of each Residence Meal Plan includes a $50 fixed, non-refundable administration charge.
- A non-refundable capital improvement charge is deducted from the Basic meal account at the beginning of each academic year in the amount of $175 for both Group A and Group B meal plans.
- The Basic meal account consists of an overhead portion to cover the costs of operating the residence dining halls. The non-refundable, non-prorated overhead portion of 50% of your Basic meal account will automatically be set aside at the beginning of the school year; however, with every food purchase made with your Basic account at Hospitality Services locations a 50% discount will be applied in order for you to receive the full value of your meal plan.
- Basic and Flex portions of the Residence Meal Plans are non-taxable, under the condition that a minimum number of meals is provided. Accordingly, in order to maintain that tax exempt status, the Basic account is mandatory and non-refundable under McMaster University Residence Meal Plan Policy (except on a prorated basis upon withdrawal from residence, subject to a withdrawal fee of $50). Any unused Basic meal account funds, not including the pre-paid overhead, will be carried forward to the next academic year. Carried-over funds remain non-taxable and will expire at the end of enrollment at McMaster University.
- Any student found guilty of fraudulent use of a Mac Express account, removal of any product from food facilities without payment, consumption of food prior to payment, will be issued a $25 misuse fine.
Two types of meal plans exist. Group A Meal Plans are available to all residences. Group B Meal Plans are only available for the apartment style residences (Bates and Mary E Keyes).
GROUP A MEAL PLANS (Available to All Residence Students)
|MEAL PLANS OPTIONS||BASIC Account||Fixed Cost||FLEX Account||FREEDOM Account||TOTAL COST
Full Academic Year
Co-op/Exchange (4 Months)
GROUP B MEAL PLANS (Available to Bates and Mary E. Keyes Residence Students Only)
|MEAL PLANS OPTIONS||BASIC Account||Fixed Cost||FLEX Account||FREEDOM Account||TOTAL COST
Full Academic Year
Co-op/Exchange (4 Months)
Note: Monies can be transferred between FLEX and FREEDOM accounts upon written request to Mac Express Office (Commons Building 128).
Since all residence students are required to purchase a mandatory meal plan, students who do not make a selection will be automatically allocated a Regular meal plan from their mandatory group. Set up of the Residence Meal Plan account is automatically considered an acceptance of all the terms and conditions of the Residence Meal Plan Policy.
Your meal plan fees should be submitted with your tuition fees. Please proceed using these fees. All fees are subject to change. Meal Plan fee charges will be applied to your Student Account.
- The Minimum plan is best for students with a lighter appetite who are not usually on campus during weekends.
- The Light plan is best for students with a lighter appetite who are occasionally on campus during weekends.
- The Regular plan is our most popular plan. It is best for students with an average appetite who tend to stay on campus most weekends
- The Varsity plan is best for students with a hearty appetite who tend to stay on campus most weekends. This plan is also very popular with student athletes.
Budget Planner (daily average based on 244 days)
A common concern of many residence students is whether or not their meal plan will last them through to the last day. To help you manage your meal plan wisely, this is the balance to strive for at the end of each week (based on 244 days). Keep in mind that you can always add more money to your account throughout the school year.
The Freedom Plan allows you to determine the size of your account. It can be set up with an initial deposit of $100 or more, so you can spend as much or as little as you want. You decide how much of a deposit you want to make and when you want to add more money. This plan also gives you a 5% discount on most food purchases at our dining locations on-campus. It can also be used to dine at or order delivery from the participating local off-campus restaurants. The Freedom Plan is virtually risk-free. It is fully refundable, very flexible, and can be increased at any time.
Our Term Plan is designed to save you money and stretch over a designated period of time. It is a non-taxable meal plan saving you up to 13% of sales taxes, and can be purchased at a minimum rate of $260 for a period of 4 (four) consecutive weeks. You may add more weeks at the rate of $65 per week at the time of initial purchase, or prior to the expiry date of your Term Plan. This plan is designed for your personal use only and it allows you to buy only food items at the Hospitality Services locations on campus.
As the Term Plan is a non-taxable plan, under government tax regulations, it is also considered non-refundable and non-transferable (except upon complete withdrawal from the University, subject to a minimum charge of four weeks). All monies must be used by the end of the purchased term. We encourage you to monitor your purchases, as any unspent monies at the end of the purchased term will be lost.
Why a Meal Card?
Our Mac Express Card is designed to save you money. You save 10% on all on-campus food purchases through Hospitality Services.
- Your Meal Card can be set up with as little as $50. You can spend as much or as little as you like. You can add on any amount at any time after the initial setup.
- Because the Meal Card is programmed to your Employee ID card, it is safer, easier and more convenient than carrying cash or credit/debit cards.
- You can access your account information and transaction history online with a secure, personalized system.
In case of a lost card, you can deactivate your card immediately to ensure your account balance is protected through online access (24/7), or by contacting Mac Express during regular business hours.
How does it work?
Staff, faculty, and retirees can have their employee ID card programmed in our office to access their meal plan (unless there is a request for a separate meal card). This meal card is a declining cash balance system that works on the same principle as a bank debit card. Each time you make a purchase, the total cost is subtracted from the dollar balance in your account.
Once your meal card is setup, you may access your meal card information directly by visiting our secure Meal Account website. Here you will be able to:
- Check meal card balances
- Review transaction history
- Add money to meal cards
- Change account PIN numbers
- Deactivate meal cards
Where to use the Mac Express Meal Card?
The BASIC account represents the mandatory and non-refundable portion of all residence meal plans. It is a non-taxable account saving you up to 13% and can be used for food purchases on campus only. The FLEX account is an optional account that allows you to continue non-taxable purchases of food on campus once the Basic account is exhausted. The FREEDOM account gives you ability to purchase confectionery and non-food items on campus at Hospitality Services locations and to dine at the participating Off-Campus vendors. All purchases made from the FREEDOM account will be subject to the appropriate taxes. At any time during the academic year, you can deposit into the FLEX and/or FREEDOM account or transfer monies between your FLEX and FREEDOM accounts. Unused funds in the FLEX and FREEDOM accounts will be automatically carried over to the next term or can be refunded to you, so there’s no risk involved!
No matter which residence meal plan you select, the BASIC portion of your plan is non-refundable except on a prorated basis upon withdrawal from residence, subject to the charges specified in the Residence Meal Plan Policy. Any unused BASIC funds, not including prepaid overhead, will be carried forward to the next year. Carried over funds remain non-taxable and will expire at the end of enrollment at McMaster University. Only the unused portion of your FLEX and/or FREEDOM account is fully refundable upon withdrawal. The unused portion of your FLEX and/or FREEDOM account will remain in your account for future purchases or can be refunded upon written request to Mac Express.
Every time you make a purchase, you can see the total amount of all your meal plan accounts on the customer display. Better yet, use our secure Internet access to your meal plan information at the Meal Account website. Once there, you are able to check your meal plan balance and review your transaction history. The web access also allows you to deactivate your meal card as soon as you notice it missing, as well as to change your meal account PIN.
There are two meal plan groups, Group-A and Group-B, and within these groups there are four meal plan sizes. Any student living in a traditional residence must choose a meal plan from Group-A. Students living in Bates or Mary E. Keyes Residence must choose a meal plan from either Group-A or Group-B. Refer to the Residence Meal Plan Details for clarification. You may add extra monies to your Flex and/or Freedom account at any time.
Students with special dietary needs due to health or religious restrictions must contact Hospitality Services for written confirmation that their needs can be met within the residence meal plan before making a decision to apply for residence, as the meal plan is mandatory for all students living in McMaster University residences. Visit the dietary restrictions page for detailed information regarding our additional services.
Feedback and comments are always welcome through our website and MacEats app. We also encourage you to use our “Questions/Answers” comment sheets found in our dining locations. Simply pin your question to the info board and your answer will appear within 48 hours!
McMaster University does not at this time accept payment through mobile applications for the payment of tuition, deposit to meal cards or other fees. Any company or organization that offers the opportunity to pay by mobile application is not associated with McMaster University.
If you choose to use such a service, you should be aware that:
- You will remain responsible for all costs or fees should for any reason the fee payment not be processed;
- You may be required to pay a fee to the company over and above McMaster University’s fees;
- You will be required to provide personal information, including your student number, to the company.
McMaster University does not encourage the use of third party mobile application payment services.
Creating your PIN as a first-time user or resetting a forgotten PIN follows the same procedure.
First, visit the Meal Account website.
Select ACCOUNT SETTINGS, then RESET PIN. Enter your account number (9-digit ID number – Student ID for students, Employee ID for faculty & staff) and click Submit.
Reset PIN Enter Account Screen Capture:
Reset your PIN by entering your Birth Date in the form MM/DD/YYYY including slashes, along with the new PIN code which needs to be entered twice, and then click Reset PIN.
Reset PIN Enter New PIN Code Screen Capture:
If you have any problems changing your PIN or have forgotten your PIN, you will need to contact the Mac Express Office (Commons Building 128) to reset it.
1280 Main St W
Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1
The Mac Express office is currently closed due to
COVID-19; please call or email for assistance.
Phone: 905-525-9140 x27448