People Really Hate Starbucks's New Rewards Program
If your caramel macchiato tastes extra bitter this morning, it might have something to do with Starbucks’s just-launched rewards program, announced in February. The coffee giant has since been under scrutiny from many of its 12.1 million currently active reward program users, who are unhappy that the new system favors those who spend more money over those who drink more coffee.
In the past, customers would earn a star per drink order and receive a reward after 12 purchases. The new plan rewards customers based on the amount of money they spend, instead of the number of drinks they buy: Every dollar spent gets you two stars; amass 125 stars and you get a freebie. That means customers who prefer Starbucks’s fancier fare earn more rewards than customers who may be more loyal but prefer coffee of the drip variety.
It appears Starbucks heard the criticism loud and clear. In an effort to ease concerns, the Seattle-based company will automatically upgrade your status to gold if you make a purchase using its app or rewards card from now until May 2. If you’re already at gold status, Starbucks will extend that for another year.
Another new feature Starbucks is touting to help ease concerns is the diverse number of ways customers can earn stars. So while it may cost you a small fortune just to get a free drink ($62.50, to be exact), customers can also get in on special offers and take part in monthly “double-star days” that reward gold members with, you guessed it, four stars for every dollar spent.
“If you occasionally buy a food item—like breakfast, lunch, or a pastry—with your usual beverage, you’ll likely earn free rewards just as fast or faster than you do today,” reads a statement on Starbucks’s official website.
Will Starbucks’s new rewards program force you to get your caffeine fix elsewhere?
If you choose to nix the line altogether, make coffee at home with this Kindred Black Yield French Press.