I love fast food rewards programs. Sure it makes me the modern day equivalent of a coupon-cutting grandma, but who can resist being rewarded for spending money at a place you’ve already decided to spend money at? That’s what we in the fast-food-eating biz (definitely a real biz) call a win-win, baby. If the membership is any indication, Starbucks –with its reported 16.3 million active members in the US alone — seems to offer one of the best in the industry . That might all change though thanks to some major changes the company has just made to their rewards program.
So what’s the same? Starbucks’ Rewards program is still based on earning stars. For every dollar spent, rewards members will receive two stars which can later be redeemed for free food and beverages, so if you’re into that model, nothing about how you earn stars has changed. But now, Starbucks has done away with their two-tiered approach, which previously classified rewards program members as either green or gold, in favor of a single tier.
Previously, green members would have to rack up 300 stars in one year in order to be promoted from a green to a gold member, which allowed them to turn in their stars for free drinks and food. Now anyone who joins Starbucks’ Rewards program can use their stars immediately, which is great news, unless you were an ambitious green member who was just shy of earning their 300th star, because the changes to the structure of the rewards program comes with a reset on all stars earned prior to April 16th, 2019.
Customers who had previously reached gold member status in the past will be pleased to know their star count has been left intact, but green members are out of luck and will have to start earning from scratch. Starbucks has also made changes to the value of stars, bumping up the cost of drinks and food from 125 stars to 150. In doing so, they’ve offered more options to help you save.
The new cost structure is as follows:
- 25 stars: Add an extra espresso shot or make a dairy or flavored syrup substitute to any drink.
- 50 stars: Redeemable for a free coffee, bakery item, or tea.
- 150 stars: Redeemable a free handcrafted beverage, hot breakfast item, or parfait.
- 200 stars: Redeemable for a lunch sandwich, salad, or protein box.
- 400 stars: Take home a bag of coffee, a mug, or select coffee accessories.
So while it’s a bit of a bummer that you’ll have to spend more in order to receive something like a free iced latte, we’re digging on the utility of being able to save some money on customizing our drinks and having a new reason to say “and let me get a chocolate chip cookie too” on our mid-afternoon coffee run.
The new changes are already in effect, so if you aren’t a member but Starbucks is still a regular stop on your itinerary, get on that!