Despite criticism, new Starbucks rewards will benefit the average customer

Starbucks announced Monday it is revamping its rewards program, starting in April, to better meet the needs of its customers. While many began to protest the upcoming change online, the new program will actually benefit the majority of customers.

In the past, My Starbucks Rewards members were given one star for every purchase, regardless of how large the purchase was. Now, members will receive two stars for every dollar spent. The increase in stars has also led to a new limit for reward items. Instead of getting a free drink or food item after 12 stars, the customer will need 125 stars to receive the reward.

However, unless you are one of the rare people who only ever order a $2.45 cup of plain coffee from the store, you are more than likely to benefit from this change. Many of the favorite beverages on the menu run around $4.75 for a Venti size. When you partner your beverage with snacks or other drinks, your purchase total quickly runs up.

Starbucks announced that the change was the number-one request among loyalty program members and predicts it will lead to higher spending by customers eager to earn more stars.

However, many customers who often make small purchases are not pleased with the alterations. Tim Petersen tweeted, “Thanks @Starbucks for punishing those of us who enjoy regular black coffee.” His sentiments were echoed by many others, and Starbucks personally replied to some with data showing the abundance of requests it had for the altered program.

Realistically, those unhappy customers will more than likely continue their normal coffee intake. While it may take them longer to receive their reward, it still beats going to an alternative facility such as Dunkin’ Donuts or McDonald’s.

However, the new program not only increases the amount of stars customers can earn, it will also decrease the wait time in stores. Anyone who has spent even a fraction of time at the store can recall the annoyance of having a customer instruct the barista to ring up each item as a separate transaction in order to receive multiple stars. This change will solve that issue.

Instead of almost being late to class because Carrie is having the barista ring up her two drinks and three snacks as different orders, Carrie can be a decent human being and get her plethora of stars in one transaction while I grab my own coffee and run to lecture.

Are there days when I only grab a Venti iced coffee for $2.95? Yes. But on average, I, and most average customers, spend at least $5 per transaction. Loyalty members spend three times more than non-members at the store, and the new rewards program will only benefit the already dedicated customers.

According to Starbucks, the company had 11.1 million loyalty program members in the U.S. in January, a 23 percent increase from last year. That number will only continue to grow as the addictive coffee becomes easily accessible to more people. This new rewards program will further ensure the majority of customers have a pleasant experience with the company.


Breanne Williams is a junior majoring in mass communications.