Starbucks Changes Rewards Program, Cash-Driven [Confirmed]

It’s Official, Starbucks Rewards Is Now Cash-Driven

Quick on the heels of a leak via Twitter, Starbucks has sent out an email notifying customers of the upcoming change. You can find out all the official details from Starbucks here.

A Quick Review Of Changes To Come

First, a quick comparison chart of the old and the new.

Today April
Stars Earned 1 Star per visit 2 Stars per $1 spent
Stars Per Level 30 Stars to Gold level 300 Stars to Gold level
Stars for Reward 12 Stars for a free reward in Gold level 125 Stars for a free reward in Gold level
Reward Tiers Welcome, Green & Gold levels Green & Gold levels

Next, a quick comparison of the new levels. Note, there are now only two, not three.

Birthday drink or treat on us Starbucks-GreenStar Starbucks-GoldStar
Free in-store refills on brewed coffee and tea Starbucks-GreenStar Starbucks-GoldStar
Order and pay ahead from your phone Starbucks-GreenStar Starbucks-GoldStar
Pay with your phone at the register Starbucks-GreenStar Starbucks-GoldStar
Member-exclusive events Starbucks-GreenStar Starbucks-GoldStar
Special offers in email and in the Starbucks App Starbucks-GreenStar Starbucks-GoldStar
Free drink or food item every time you redeem 125 Stars for a reward Starbucks-GoldStar
Monthly Double-Star Days Starbucks-GoldStar
Personalized Gold Card Starbucks-GoldStar

Starbucks Marketing In The Driver’s Seat

We all have our opinions of how this change will/will not benefit us. That said, Team Starbucks is on the case with some proactive tips for those that are debating the changes.

  • If you occasionally buy a food item—like breakfast, lunch or a pastry—with your usual beverage, you’ll likely earn free rewards just as fast or faster than you do today.
  • If you occasionally buy more than one beverage—for friends, family or coworkers—when you visit Starbucks, you’ll likely earn free rewards just as fast or faster than you do today.
  • If you usually buy a food item, multiple beverages, or occasionally get packaged coffee or Starbucks merchandise like tumblers and mugs, you’ll likely earn free rewards faster than you do today.
  • If you usually participate in weekly Bonus Star challenges and offers, you’ll likely earn free rewards just as fast or faster than you do today.
  • If you always buy only one beverage or pastry when you visit Starbucks, it might mean taking a little longer to get a free reward than you do today. But remember, with every additional purchase—as well as special offers and new monthly Double-Star Days—your Stars will add up even faster towards that free treat.

Things To Know About The New Program

What is a monthly Double-Star Day? When will I know my monthly Double-Star Day?

  • Monthly Double-Star Days are a new benefit for Gold members.
  • Once a month, Gold members will earn 4 Stars for every $1 spent on all eligible purchases* when paying with a registered Starbucks Card at a participating Starbucks, Teavana or Evolution Fresh stores on your Double-Star Day. You’ll earn double Stars no matter how often you come in, what time of day, or what you buy.
  • Every month, we’ll surprise Gold members with a different day to earn double Stars, so be sure to opt-in to email to make sure you know when your day is coming.

Today I split my purchases so I can earn more than one Star for my purchases. Will I still earn multiple Stars if I do this in the new program?

  • In the new program there’s no need to split your purchases, as members will earn 2 Stars for every $1 they spend at Starbucks. You’ll earn Stars for everything you purchase at Starbucks.

Will my Stars expire?

  • In the new Starbucks Rewards, the Stars you earn as a Green member will expire after 12 months from the day you join the program if you do not reach Gold status, and your Star balance will be reset to zero (0).
  • As a Gold member, the Stars you earn towards Star Rewards will expire after 6 months. Starbucks will always apply the oldest Stars towards your Star Reward (redeemed with 125 Stars).
  • For example, if you earn 10 Stars on June 16 and 15 Stars on June 24, your total Star balance for the month—25 Stars—will expire on January 1.

Do you earn Stars only by purchasing items in Starbucks stores?

  • No. You can also earn Stars by:
    • Participating in personalized Bonus Star offers (delivered via email if you’ve opted-in to email communications and the Starbucks® app)
    • Purchasing specially marked Starbucks coffee in your grocery store. Simply enter the Star code on to earn Stars
    • Referring a friend will help you earn more Stars


I’m still siding with the low-spenders. I got it, these changes are made to increase the average revenue per user (customer). When a customer spends more per visit, it equates to increased revenue and that involves baiting them with something to drive the customer to increase their spending. These changes make that happen.


What side are you on? Hooray, this is great news or WTH!? Discuss.