Starbucks gave us a peek at their new rewards program back in February and customers didn’t seem to be too happy with the changes to come. Yesterday they unveiled and implemented the program and well, it’s still not looking like an “upgrade” from the previous one in place.
Previously Starbucks granted loyal customers (“gold” members) one star per purchase and after accumulating 12 stars, you’d earn a freebie, which was your choice of a drink or food item. While star accumulation is sticking around, it seems like it’ll be much more difficult to get to freebie status. Rather than earning one star per visit, you’ll earn 2 stars per $1 spent and to score that freebie you need to reach 125 stars.
My typical order at Starbucks is a venti vanilla iced coffee with soy milk which runs me $3.80 per visit. With the old program I’d get my freebie after 12 visits/spending $45.60. With the new one I’ll earn 7.6 stars per visit and will need 16.45 (rounding up to 17) visits to reach the goal, and will need to spend $62.50. Hmm.
I’ll admit that I’m still feeling a bit skeptical with the changes they’ve implemented, but at the same time, the company has been ahead of the times with so much from every aspect (especially business and technology), so I’m thinking it’ll actually end up being a great program in the end.
Benefits that are staying in place? The free birthday reward, ability to pay by phone, order ahead (my favorite thing ever), member events/offers, free in-store refills (I’ve never actually tried this benefit out), and monthly double-star days for gold members (which is a more recent roll-out).
It’s still too early to know for sure whether it truly is an “improved” program, but I did see my 11 stars shift to 121 stars, so I’m relieved that one more visit with the old or new program would give me that freebie.
Are you a Starbucks customer? What do you think of their new rewards program?