The backlash against Starbucks’ rewards change

With the new year just starting, Starbucks releases that customers will need more points also known as Stars in order to redeem free customizations and items.

Recently, Starbucks released that they are upping the number of stars needed to redeem free items as a part of the rewards program. 

According to ABC 7 News, currently, rewards members need 25 stars to customize a drink, 50 stars for a free hot coffee/tea or a bakery item, 150 stars for a handcrafted drink- pastry or hot breakfast, 200 stars for a lunch sandwich- protein box or salad and 400 stars for a free cup or packaged coffee. 

Starting February 13, these numbers will be rising.

  • 50 stars for drink customizations
  • 100 stars for an iced/hot coffee or tea, baked goods or a packaged snack
  • 200 stars for a latte, frappuccino or hot breakfast
  • 300 stars for a salad, lunch sandwich, protein box, packaged coffee or a free cup

Many seem to have mixed emotions about the upcoming changes to the Starbucks rewards program. Senior Emma Patel is unhappy that it will now take more stars to earn free drinks.

“I always look forward to using my 150 stars to get a free drink and now that number is increasing to 200 stars,” Patel said. “That means it will take more money to get a free refresher– it will definitely be an adjustment.”

According to Yahoo, the rewards program drives more than half of the company’s income. Although, Starbucks has been losing money since Covid-19 due to high inflation, trouble finding staff and supply chain shortages. Senior Emily Kaluzinski feels that raising the star requirements is a smart business strategy for Starbucks.

“I think it is smart because then people will have to spend more money to get rewards– in the end, they will make more money,” Kaluzinski said.

Overall, people have mixed feelings about the number of stars needed for free items. The change to the rewards program will help the company level out costs- but it might also drive away customers; only time will tell.