Posted by William Charles on March 19, 2019
Misc

Published on March 19th, 2019 | by William Charles

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Starbucks To Make Changes To Loyalty Program [Will Go Live April 16th]

Update 3/18/19: Starbucks has now formally confirmed these changes. The new changes will go live on April 16th.

Update 3/12/19: Some Starbucks are now advertising the new loyalty program even though it’s not live. Hat tip to @calwatch

Update 3/4/19: Some readers asked if the 50 stars will apply to cold coffee/tea as well, sadly it will only apply to hot coffee/tea.

Update 3/3/19: Multiple Starbucks employees have now confirmed these changes are coming as listed below. We don’t know when it will start, although the official Starbucks customer support help says sometime in spring.

There is a rumor that Starbucks plans to make changes to its loyalty program. Changes are being made to redeeming stars currently you can redeem 125 stars for a free item. Under the rumored changes it will be as follows (via Ventiicedwater):

  • 25 stars – will get you modifications for your drinks like an extra shot, up to 1$
  • 50 stars – will get you any size cup of coffee, tea or bakery item
  • 150 stars – will get you any handcrafted beverage or breakfast sandwich (previously 125 stars)
  • 200 stars – will get you lunch sandwiches, salads, or protein boxes
  • 400 stars – will get you packaged coffee or merchandise for a single item up to $20

Apparently this was posted on the Starbucks quarterly updates, so if anybody else works at Starbucks and can confirm that would be great. Overall this seems to be a devaluation unfortunately, although some people will like the 50 star option. The fact they are making changes is actually confirmed (more information here), just the specifics of the changes aren’t confirmed.

 



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Mark
Mark

Yes, it is somewhat of a devaluation, BUT adding regular coffee for 50 stars is very useful for folks that just drink coffee there and don’t buy the fancy (and sugar-laden) drinks they sell.

PAUL
PAUL

I agree with mark. I only drink black coffee and only let my wife use the stars because her $8-10 drinks are what made them worth it.

Nicky L.
Nicky L.

If you’re just going to drink black coffee, much better off just brewing yourself with higher quality beans than burntbux.

Justin

$2 bucks to rent a seat for a couple of hours in a nice environment is pretty cheap 🙂 That’s my main use case for Starbucks, not the coffee (though I do like it).

In general the 3 minutes to brew it at home for $0.05 to $.10 makes a lot more sense in terms of time and money and convenience.

YoniPDX
YoniPDX

Perhaps, I have two account’s that have different ordering patterns and histories.

I will say that my account that gets less live and far fewer orders get outsized promos compared to my account that got a lot of use last Nov. and Dec. Higher bars for smaller star rewards – this was before I even started to using stars for any outsized redemption’s.

So it’s the inverse of many loyalty programs the more you spend @SB the less they reward you. Also the happy hour specials have deals have turned rather meh.

But I really don’t do the sugary drinks either the 75g of carbs.

I do love the Cold brew whipped cream and usually get it on the side in a cup with my redemption but skip regular whip that’s free with even brewed coffee, but they charge for the cold brew whip. But I do love the taste.

Justin

Yes, this is a huge upgrade for me. I don’t go to SBUX a lot so I rarely get enough points in a year to get to the redemption levels required. And I usually order a regular coffee instead of the high sugar drinks (I prefer to waste calories on ice cream or junk food instead of a sugar drink). 50 stars for a brewed coffee is a lot more reasonable than 125.

Lrdx
Lrdx

My issue is that even something simple as a cappuccino is already handcrafted category.

PT
PT

Believe adding steamed milk to a drink, say a double espresso, is still free.

Joe
Joe

Drip coffee for 50 stars is a huge upgrade from the current plan

Rhybon
Rhybon

Yeah, for some this is a devaluation but for me it’s a huge improvement. I’m only interested in the regular drip coffee, so now I only have to spend 40% of the stars to get a free one.

But despite the change, I’ll probably still use the Cash App debit card with its coffee boost to buy my coffee.

calwatch
calwatch

OTOH, I think most people go to Starbucks for the fancy drinks. If I want drip it’s easier and cheaper for me to go to McDonald’s.

shak
shak

Agreed…and, at home, after trying dozens of different brands of pods for the Keurig, including several different over-priced SB pods…we finally settled on McCafe medium roast w/ a splash of half&half. Finally… a coffee that tastes as good as good coffee smells! Don’t knock Mickey D’s until you’ve tried it.

AB
AB

McDonald’s has way too much caffeine in their coffee. Far more than Starbucks. Not a good idea for anyone with a history of heart palpitations.

shak
shak

Nope!
Starbuck’s standard brew… Pike’s Place 12floz… has 235mg of caffeine. Their medium brew has 280mg of caffeine
Mccafe medium roast 12floz has only 109mg of caffeine.
https://www.caffeineinformer.com/the-complete-guide-to-starbucks-caffeine

Zorn
Zorn

I’m so utterly confused by anyone who claims this is an upgrade. Why even bother with Starbucks for drip black coffee? If that’s what you like a coffee machine is $40. The entire point is to get the flavored espresso drinks that you would never make at home because it would require a $4,000 machine and a bunch of their flavorings.

Celia
Celia

Totally agree. The only reason I’d ever drink Starbucks drip is if I’m out of town and no access to my coffee machine. I always looked at Starbucks as a luxury.

Now if it covers ice coffee for 50 stars, the spouse would be happy. But it doesn’t and I’m sad.

Dan
Dan

I will stop going there. It was only worth it for lunches. at 200 stars… that’s serious devaluation.

Celia
Celia

I’m in agreement with you. I only use the free rewards for protein boxes or venti speciality drinks.

Currently, I have 1500 stars on one account and 2100 on another. I would hope that they will not devalue stars I have earned under the current program but I am not holding out hope on that.

Davy
Davy

Why do you think they would not devalue current stars earned? Have you ever heard of a loyalty program allowing current bank of points/miles to have higher earning than future points?

Paul
Paul

Agreed, it’s a deval for sure.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob

I go there once a year: on my birthday.

Jed
Jed

Some people have a lot of birthdays at starbucks 🙂

Vet&Banker
Vet&Banker

I guess 50 stars for the cheapest thing they sell is a “good thing” for some people. But it feels like Delta trying to get you to use miles to buy magazine subscriptions: sure there’s a value, but there’s a reason they are steering you towards not using your rewards for things that actually cost money.

Davy
Davy

Sure, if it were Delta’s inflight magazine.

YoniPDX
YoniPDX

I normally order an Iced Americano Grande or Venti – Not a regular by any means – but Starbucks seemed to be on a huge star Promotion since last December racked up about 25 rewards with a lot of family purchases during vacation and Chase promos etc. I guess I better use up the 14 or so rewards I have left. I’ve been ordering a Trenta cold brew with a ton of extra shots that I drink over two days – about only way I can justify price that I spend on shots with water (Americano).

Starbuck’s coffee is far from boutique or bespoke coffee. Yet it’s the same in Turkey, Toledo or Tokyo -so its pretty consistent is about the only positive thing.
Only outlier I found was Starbucks at ATL (think it’s a franchise with staffed with Airport employees).

Madison
Madison

I like that idea “a Trenta cold brew with a ton of extra shots”, how many shots do you get? Thx

YoniPDX
YoniPDX

I order in app in the store and depending on how busy at least 12 sometimes more and I verbally request them ristretto (short shots less water same caffeine) I have to ask for the short shots – can’t choose that in the app. But you can do the Cold Brew Trenta and add the extra shots and Cold brew whip in the app – ( one could get about 70 ristretto shots in a trenta cup and a little cold brew – it would take ab quite a while for them to make.) Not planning on trying pigs get fat…..

Local store never said anything other than worry about all the caffeine and so I say that I drink it over 2 days. I also will tip several bucks – I also tip well at Priortypass restaurants.

b0ridi
b0ridi

12 shots. I can’t imagine why Starbucks is devaluing stars…

Liz
Liz

I tutor at my local Starbucks so I am there three times a week and they know me. When I am redeeming my stars for a free drink they actively encourage me to get the largest size available. I don’t

I will ask at my Starbucks if they’ve heard anything. Slight devaluation for me but I like being able to get a bakery item for 50 stars.

Zorn
Zorn

Let’s be real, even at 12 shots, they are making a huge profit at the price it’s sold for. The few people getting value out of their reward program aren’t making a dent.

Jeff
Jeff

Can you not order ristretto when doing extra shots on cold brew in app? I know I’ve done that in the app for other drinks I’ve added shots to before.

YoniPDX
YoniPDX

Jeff

It’s an option for a lot of drinks – a little suprising the option to add shots is even available in Cold brew- but the choice for short or long is not. The short shots are supposed to be less bitter, same with blonde brew. I kinda of stumbled upon the option – while I do like cold brew – I normally make my own at home, have only order a few times as part of a star promo.

Cheers

Davy
Davy

My bet is you think 50 cents is a generous tip.

nemme
nemme

If I have time to sit at starbucks to drink my cold brew I’ll get a 50 cents refill before I leave for my next day’s coffee. (Always venti light ice. Didn’t know I could do a trenta!)

Nicky L.
Nicky L.

Was there a rumoured start date for these changes?

Edited to add: 50 stars for the bakery items isn’t so bad.

Haven
Haven

Yeah I usually only redeem 125 starts for a lunch sandwich or a loaded venti drink that’s around 7 dollars. Because any other redemption is too wasteful. This new chart offers new options, especially that 50 stars for a bakery item (ham & cheese croissant is $3.75) is not a bad deal at all.

Davy
Davy

Is it wasteful considering the other option is shortening your life? Priorities…

arizonapv
arizonapv

Haven @Haven, I don’t think a ham & cheese croissant is considered a bakery item. It is a breakfast sandwich, not a pastry.

bob
bob

It’s under croissants in the app, not breakfast sandwiches.

YoniPDX
YoniPDX

Guess that gift card and Star Reward breakage has been far lower than they were projecting. That or the push to $15/hr wages in so many cities. Has to be hurting revenue on a broader basis.

My daughter is a Barrister for a competitor she makes $12.50 (PDX) but with tips averages -about $19/hr but she’s only works about 20 week while in college.
But wages go up again July 1st and eventually will be @$15.

Drew
Drew

Your daughter is an English lawyer? Fancy!

YoniPDX
YoniPDX

Drew

Not English but Nigerian barrister (that’s why she only makes $12.50/hr instead of $425/hr) lol. 😉 but both my daughter and her mother the are the grammar and spelling superstars.

Nice catch – haha

MoreSun
MoreSun

A devaluation for me and I just redeem for Venti-I-Really-Shouldn’t-Consume-This-Much-Sugar drinks. Rough deval for those who redeem for lunch food.

YRK
YRK

Same for me. *sigh*

McDonald's Lunch
McDonald's Lunch

No lie, Starbucks lunch is depressing. better off at micky d’s

Kaung
Kaung

I hope plain black ICED coffee qualifies for the 50. Otherwise, goodbye to my Venti Fraps.

YoniPDX
YoniPDX

I wonder if the 400 stars could be used on a $20 GC.

Right now its 125 stars for “any” handcrafted drink – while a devaluation tho 150 stars for “any” handcrafted – isn’t terrible if they keep up the aggressive star promos it might be worthwhile for some to churn accounts if they want to keep up good star reward earning.

But you can get pretty decent coffees from Costco – which is my usual daily caffeine fix. For those that enjoy the Starbuck signature roast – the Kirkland by SB is about $5/#.

calwatch
calwatch

I’ve always used Starbucks for the Mercato sandwiches and salads. The salad change to 200 stars will bring the value down to 4 cents a star, but the salad and sandwich prices have slowly gotten inflated over the last few years since the new star program was initiated in 2016.

calwatch
calwatch

The change is not a rumor, only the date is. Starbucks posted a few [non-]answers to their customer site: https://customerservice.starbucks.com/app/answers/list/search/1/kw/changes%20to%20rewards%20program/suggested/1

“I just joined Starbucks Rewards™, but heard the program is changing. What does this mean?

Starbucks is changing the program so that you can start earning and redeeming Rewards right away. This Spring, you’ll start earning Stars that can be redeemed for Rewards in a little as 2-3 visits. You’ll also still get the great benefits you signed up for like your Birthday Reward, free refills and Mobile Order & Pay. ”

“I’m a Gold Level member. What’s changing for me?

Thank you for being a member of our Starbucks Rewards™ program! We’ve kept all you current great Starbucks benefits like Bonus Star offers, Birthday Reward and free refills. The enhanced program puts you in control of your Rewards and it will be faster and easier to use your Stars.”

“I heard someone mention that Starbucks is going to be doing multi-tier redemption. What does that mean?

Multi-tiered redemption means that you’ll be able to earn and redeem Rewards faster and easier than ever before. In just 2-3 visits, you can earn a small Reward, or save your Stars to splurge on a bigger ticket item, like a new mug.”

calwatch
calwatch

Starbucks removed the answers to those questions – sneaky! https://www.google.com/search?q=Starbucks+is+going+to+be+doing+multi-tier+redemption

YoniPDX
YoniPDX

I think all the Corp’s with rewards programs should just stick with making changes during the Month of “Deval-uary” it would be so much easier to plan and book award travel’s, stays and other redemption’s.

Last month sure seemed like “Deval-uary” with all the cuts and neg. changes.

lei
lei

Now I will save my stars for 50 points coffee. I basically only drink iced coffee. 50 stars for a $3.45 drink, thank you very much.

Davy
Davy

Unless that’s considered “handcrafted!”

Ropo
Ropo

Why isn’t iced coffee redeemable with 50 stars? An easy workaround for Gold members would be to just redeem a free refill which includes cold or hot coffee.

Mike
Mike

Per my email to customer service:

I want you to know that you have 5 new redemption options with your stars.

* Redeem 25 Stars for Small Wins such as Syrups, sauces, almondmilk, coconutmilk, soymilk and espresso shots and any customization for your beverage.
* Redeem 50 Stars for Bakery and Brewed Coffee.
*Redeem 150 Stars for Breakfast, Espresso or Frappuccinos.
* Redeem 200 Stars for All Sandwiches, Paninis, Salads and Protein Boxes.
*Redeem 400 Stars for Packaged Coffee and Merchandise of $20 or less.

Regarding your main question, you will need 50 Stars in order to redeem a Cold Brewed Coffee.

Sounds like a better deal if you are a cold brew drinker like myself

shak
shak

I try to save the rewards for the high priced sandwiches…guess they noticed! In our area those lunch sandwiches are upwards of 7 bucks

Flea
Flea

I live in Manhattan and yesterday I picked up one of the chicken peanut wrap boxes for… $9.20. (I had a gift card on discount; but still.) . So yeah, it’s an expensive overindulgence for me to get food-plus-coffee. I could practically go to a diner instead. Was similarly curious about the recent fancy McDonalds sandwiches that include condiments like bacon onion jam… got a premiere style chicken combo including milkshake (hey, while I was there) for… $15.75. Sometimes I think these prices exist just because the business owners are trying to find the tipping point.

Celia
Celia

Prices have crept up a lot recently, I’ve noticed as well. Picked up dinner for 2 at Panera last week and it was $20.51! Taxes play a part of course at 12% but geez, going out to dinner at a sit down restaurant seems like a better deal. Then again, that’s probably gone up a lot too.

I like Starbucks for their protein boxes and the spouse likes the drinks. We can do a lot with dashes and games so we accumulate rewards quickly. But it’s not going to be worth it if what’s rumored is confirmed.

YoniPDX
YoniPDX

Yeah kinda of noticed the same thing that $10 is the new $5 – blame some of it on the push to a $15 minimum wage.

I will say that last trip to Hawaii didnt seem nearly as expensive as prior trips because of that. Imagine its only a matter if time tho.

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