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Starbucks changes their rewards program, confuses people (handy chart)

Starbucks fans love the loyalty rewards program, My Starbucks Reward (MSR). Members earn one point, or star, every time a purchase is made whether in-store or online. According to The Consumerist, however, the beloved MSR program is about to change.

starbucks sign

What’s happening to the program?

The Consumerist states, The Starbucks Geek Twitter account (@SbuxGeek) posted a photo of a person holding a flyer from Starbucks letting members know the MSR program is about to change.

The changes are officially coming in April, according to the flyer. Instead of earning one star per purchase, members will rack up two stars for every dollar spent.

Why is Starbucks shaking things up?

Starbucks stated this is the “#1 member-requested update.” This seems to make sense, until you read that there are other changes on the horizon as well. Starbucks will be removing the “Welcome Level.” All new members will be able to reap the Green-level benefits right away. This means you no longer need to wait until you’ve accumulated 5 points (or stars) to received free in-store refills. Yay! The flyer also stated there will be new ways to earn rewards as well. According to the flyer, Starbucks plans to offer Double-Star Days for Gold members every month; giving Gold members even more rewards.

It sounds good, but…

The increased rewards are fantastic, but there is a caveat: the threshold to earn rewards has been raised as well.

You might have been thinking it was going to be easier than ever to reach gold status: it is and it isn’t. It depends on how frequently you visit Starbucks. The current system, allows for one star per visit, regardless of the actual amount you spend. The new system, which will be implemented in April, allow for two stars for every dollar spent. You can see it would be possible to reach gold status in a single visit with the new system, so Starbucks has adjusted accordingly.  Starbucks stated this method will help ease the burden on baristas as some customers were splitting their orders into several transactions to earn more stars. Now, it’s based on dollar value rather than the number of transactions.

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The Consumerist created a really handy chart to help you compare the current system with the planned system:


What about the stars (points) you currently have?

Any stars that you currently have in your account when the new system launches in April will be multiplied to reflect the same value in the new system. When the new system launches, each star in your account will equal eleven stars in the new system.

It sounds complicated, but the actual amount you spend to get the rewards should be nearly the same (according to Starbucks). The changes have been confirmed by The Consumerist to be implemented beginning in April. Starbucks has already launched a website to help answer questions regarding their new program.

The takeaway

While this may not seem like too much of a change, it does speak to business on the whole. More and more businesses are changing up the way they offer rewards to their customers. Businesses continue to try to adapt and interpret what their customers need to keep them coming back. With more and more competitors in the market, this seems like a logical step for Starbucks to take.

What do you think? Do you see any issues with the new system or will it change how frequently you visit?

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Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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