Feb 23, 2016

Starbucks Rewards Switching to Stars for Dollars Spent Rather Than Visits

Starbucks' My Starbucks Rewards loyalty program will be switching from stars (points) for each visit/order to stars for each dollar spent come April of this year.

Currently, rewards members get one star per order and need 30 stars to get to Gold level. Once at Gold level, they get a free food or drink item with every 12 stars earned.

Starting in April, they're changing the name to the slightly shorter "Starbucks Rewards" with two stars rewarded for every $1 spent. However, it will take 300 stars to hit Gold level ($150) and once there, 125 stars ($62.50) to earn a free food or drink item. They're also adding monthly Double-Star Days where you earn four stars per $1 spent rather than two.

The old stars are roughly worth 10 new stars or about $5.

Who gets more? Basically, the upcoming changes mainly benefit customers who tend to make multiple purchases per order, whether for themselves or for a group. It also should work out better if you tend to buy bags of Starbucks coffee beans (whether from the supermarket or their stores) as those purchases currently only reward one star, while the bags tend to go for $8 or so.

As for those that get less under the new changes: If you mostly go to Starbucks for your daily brewed coffee (which is about $2 on average), it'll take a fair bit longer to get a freebie. Then again, if you usually get a coffee and a baked item, you'll more or less see no change.

So, what does this mean for the "average" Starbucks-goer? They should expect a little more in the rewards department. According to one set of data, the average check at Starbucks amounts to $7.67, which, at Gold level, means you'll get a free item after every nine visits rather than the current 12.

TL;DR: If you typically spend more than $5 per order at Starbucks, you'll get more under the new program. If you tend to spend less than $5, you'll get less. If you spend about $5, you'll virtually see no difference (unless you make it a point to go on those Double-Star days).

Another change to the program is that they're getting rid of the Welcome level so that every rewards member is automatically enrolled at the Green level. The Green level's key benefit over Welcome level is that you get free in-store refills of hot or iced brewed coffee and tea.

Photo via Starbucks.

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