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Changes To Starbucks Reward Program

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Good Coffee Is Its Own Reward

Good Coffee Is Its Own Reward

In February, Starbucks announced that it was going to change its rewards program and some customers expressed displeasure.  Surprisingly, I am not one of them.  For those who haven’t already heard about this or are unfamiliar with the program and the changes I will give a quick rundown of what happened.

Before the change, if you were in the rewards program every purchase earned a point. If it was a small coffee for $2 or a large order for $12 you received one star.  After the change, you will receive a point based on money spent.  This is a more equitable reward system as long as you were not one of the people, like me, that only bought a $2 coffee and enjoyed racking up a free item by spending only about $25.  Now you will have to spend $62.50 for a reward.  One star for every fifty cents spent.

Before you begin to criticize Starbucks for the change consider a couple of facts.   The “average” order at a Starbucks is about $5 so the “average” customer is only spending a couple of dollars more to get their reward.  Another thing to be aware of is that some customers who did not like the fact that they were spending a large sum of money and only getting one star were asking the cashier to ring up items separately and causing longer lines.  I didn’t like it when I was with my wife and we both got a drink and a bakery item and I spent $12 and only got one star.  Despite this, I played by the rules and did not game the system and put the cashier in an awkward position of breaking the rules.

What can we learn from this change? I don’t think that Starbucks was making the change to reduce their cost for the reward system.  Sure, it is going to cost people like me more for a reward on average but I totally understand the feelings of the person who routinely spent a lot and felt cheated.  Some will win and some will lose but everyone will win with shorter lines.  The lesson we can learn is about the rule breakers who made the change necessary.  Our disappointment should be aimed at them not at Starbucks.

If you are a business owner I hope you can navigate a change with this type of wisdom. If you make a change involving your business and only upset rule breakers then you are doing OK by me.  Have a great week.



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