Customers Are Furious With Starbucks’ New Rewards Program
Starbucks changed its loyalty rewards program on Monday, and a lot of customers are ticked off.
The changes include the way stars are distributed to consumers as well as the amount of money they need to spend to earn free beverages, as Fortune reported.
With the changes, Starbucks @sbux (SBUX) customers earn two stars for each dollar they spend and will get a free item after getting 125 points, which works out to approximately $62. Previously, a person could buy any item—regardless of the cost—to obtain 12 stars for a reward.
The anger comes with the perception that they’ll need to spend more money in order to achieve similar benefits. But Starbucks says the changes will make lines go faster while there will be promotions throughout the month to help members earn stars.
Customers vented their ire on Twitter:
Their anger boiled over to Facebook:
“What would make more sense is earning one star for each item purchased not per transaction, regardless of amount, and keeping everything else the same. Not a good change,” according to one commenter on the company’s Facebook page.
“As a Gold Card member I’m now losing out with this program. I don’t purchase fancy, not to mention incredibly unhealthy, frappuccinos and lattes, I drink actual coffee,” another lamented.
Starbucks responded to many of the comments with a standard message: “Gold level members will earn a reward after approximately $62.50 spent, but most will get there faster because there are so many other ways to earn Stars. We are adding new ways for our customers to earn Stars both inside & out of Starbucks—like monthly Double-Star Days. http://sbux.co/morestars”
Of course, not all comments were negative. “I like the idea! But I’m the customer who usually spends $13 to $20,” wrote one customer. “I always thought why only one star when I usually buy 2-4 drinks!”
“By evolving our loyalty program to reward customers on both frequency of visit and total purchase—as well as unlock new ways in which customers can earn stars both inside and outside of Starbucks—,” according to a Starbucks spokesperson in an email to Fortune, “we will increase the overall value of the program as customers will be able to earn stars just as fast, if not faster, than they currently do today. ”
The new rewards program kicks off in April.
This post has been updated with comment from Starbucks.