Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Starbucks Rewards Change

You all know I love my Starbucks.  I'm still bitter about the old gold card; which cost $25, but you got a free drink with purchase and all following purchases were 10% off.  Then they changed to rewards, which offered a free drink with every 15 purchases.  This morning Sbux announced revisions to the plan that will take place on 10/16.

New perks (for gold members; those having 30+ purchases in a year):

Free Drink (or Food)
Now you can use your "free drink" on food too.
Whatever looks delicious.**
Lucky Dozen
Earn a free drink (or food) every 12 Stars instead of 15.
Watch 'em roll in even faster.
Keep your Gold benefits
This hasn't changed: earn 30 Stars every year as a Gold level
member and you're Gold for another year. Just like that.
No More Postcards (#1 member-requested change)
Your free drink (or food) will load right onto your Starbucks Card account. You'll receive an email alert when you've earned your reward. Just bring your registered Starbucks Card or the Starbucks Card mobile app to a participating store and tell your barista.

Perks that are leaving:

Soy & Syrup
We will no longer offer syrups and soymilk on the house.*
Tall Drink with Whole Bean Purchase
We also will no longer offer a free tall drink when you buy
a pound of coffee.
*I'm kind of bummed about this as I enjoy getting soy tea or caffe mistos (steamed soy milk added to tea or coffee); which saves me 60 cents.
Overall, I think the changes are beneficial. Besides, let's be honest either way, I'll still frequent Starbucks.


  1. You should clarify as to how these change are beneficial. If you spend an average of $5 on a drink, and in the past, you had to buy 15 drinks to get 1 free, you'd get 16 for $75 = $4.69/each. Now, you buy 12 to get 1 free, so you'd pay $60 for 13 = $4.62 each. So you're saving $0.07 each (1.4%). You'd save even less if you buy less expensive drinks each time. When I got a venti soy americano misto, it was ~$2.90 vs. >$5 for a soy latte, which is a 42% savings.

    The only party this is better for is Starbucks. Which is fine, it's their prerogative to make this change. But I had only been going to Starbucks lately because it was cheaper than Caribou Coffee. I will now be going to Caribou instead.

  2. Anonymous- in general buying 12 items then getting one free is better than buying 15 items and getting one free, no?

    Also, I think I've posted this before, but I "maximize" my free reward by typically only getting a tall coffee there and then with my rewards I get a more expensive drink; so for me spending $2 on 15 coffees/$30 and then getting a $5 drink as my reward; I'm getting a 16% "rebate" on the money I've spend there.

    With the new rewards program, I'll spend $24, still get a $5 drink and thus get a 21% return. Therefore, to me this change is beneficial.


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