Starbucks is adjusting its Rewards program, making it “faster.” What’s that mean? Starting on October 16, Gold level members get free drinks after earning 12 stars instead of 15 currently. Instead of waiting for your freebie via a postcard in the mail, you’ll get faster access with your physical card or smartphone app. The freebie is no longer limited to beverages with food items now eligible. Here’s the official announcement.
Subtracted from the program is the free additions of flavored syrups and soy milk. And did you know you were entitled to a free tall coffee when you purchased a bag of coffee beans? I never used that promotion, and now it’s gone. There are more nuances to the updated Rewards program, and Starbucks has a comprehensive FAQ.
I’m liking the change to 12 stars for a free drink. I’m not sure if the recent 12 Star Dash was a final test case. I doubt it, but looking at my Starbucks habit, I did learn that getting 12 stars in 2 weeks wasn’t that easy. During the Dash, I spent about $57 in 13 transactions (stars). Using that as a baseline, with the update to the Rewards program, I’ll also get a free drink which could roughly be 10% ($5) of what I spent.
I have mixed feelings about this. While it did feel archaic to get a postcard via snail mail, it was a treat when opening the mailbox. Getting an electronic delivery feels more cold and detached. Will I remember to redeem my free drink before it expires? This is a tricky one. At least the postcard was a physical reminder. Sure, I could have forgotten to bring the postcard or worse, have lost it. At the same time, I think about all the electronic Groupon and Living Social vouchers that I forget about until the expiration date is upon me.
The addition of getting free food is a good move. I don’t pay much attention to the food, but now I might. On Starbucks’ side, giving away a free pastry is more economical since these cost less than $3 vice a $4-5 coffee drink.
Did you catch the new Bonus Star? Here’s the description:
Periodically, the My Starbucks Rewardsâ„¢ program will offer Bonus Stars as a promotion to our members. During the promotional period, when you purchase one of the featured products, you will receive a Star for the transaction (as normal) and an extra Star for the specified product. This is another way we are helping you earn Stars and free drinks and food faster!
All in all, these are welcomed changes to the Starbucks Rewards program.