Starbucks Updated Its Rewards Program: Here's What You Need to Know

Published 04-18-2019

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Starbucks made some major changes to its loyalty program that will affect all 16 million members. The update - which went live on April 16 - rewards customers with various bonuses on a tiered system. Previously, customers could cash in 125 stars for a free drink, but now they can use fewer to get small stuff like non-dairy milk. Using more stars warrants bigger prizes, like tumblers and K-Cups.

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Here's a breakdown of each level: For 25 stars, you can customize your drink with an extra shot of espresso, dairy substitute or syrup; 50 gets you a free drip coffee, bakery item or hot tea; 150 gets you a handcrafted drink, hot breakfast or parfait; 200 gets you a lunch sandwich, protein box or salad; and 400 can be traded in for select cups, accessories or coffee you can make at home. The rate at which you earn points remains the same at two stars per $1 spent.

Some people are a little upset that they previously had to use just 125 points to get any food or drink item they wanted, whereas now they have to accrue 150 for specialty drinks and breakfast sandwiches. This costs $75 under the new program as opposed to $62.50.

"Oh, @Starbucks. Revamping your rewards plan to include smaller 'upgrade' is nice. Upping the amount of rewards to purchase coffees and food items? Not so nice," @StuartS wrote on Twitter. You win some, you lose some. Right?

Oh, @Starbucks. Revamping your rewards plan to include smaller "upgrades" is nice. Upping the amount of rewards needed to purchase coffees and food items? Not so nice.

- Stuart Sipahigil (@StuartS) April 15, 2019

"Our goal with this update was to provide an assortment of redemption options for members to choose from, giving them choice and the ability to make their rewards meaningful to them and to meet their needs," a Starbucks spokesperson told The Daily Meal in an email. "For example, we specifically created the 50 Star option for our members who love our hot brewed coffee and will now be able to reach that Reward faster than before."

Up until now, coffee drinkers couldn't start collecting stars until they went from green to gold status, meaning they had to earn 300 stars before they could start redeeming them for goods. When the new update launched, all green members were fast-tracked to gold, bringing them one step closer to a complimentary beverage from the Starbucks secret menu.

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