In Brevity: Starbucks?! Starfucks!!

brevity-isThis week Starbucks announced changes to their rewards program. What does it mean?

Don’t worry. I’m here to break it down brevity-style. No, not breve. Starbucks “baristas” don’t know that word.

Why the change? According to Starbucks Newsroom official website it was done “based on the #1 customer request” to have more stars. In other words, you asked for this. Look what you made us do!

In the way back I’d heard about Starbucks stars. I drank there when it was in my face and I wanted coffee so I enthusiastically figured, “What the hell?” I signed up and gave it a try.

I stuck with the program long enough to earn a “Gold Card.” (Cue angels singing.) And what was this promised land of rewards?

12 Stars for a free reward (Gold)
–Source: Starbucks Newsroom

In other words, I had loyalty’d all the way up to … what? A friggin’ coupon?! Wow. Gold Card is impressive. Membership has its snivileges.

And to think I gave them “auto-reload” access to my wallet, too.


It’s actually worse than that. Local coffee shops offer a better deal – “Buy 10 Get One Free” – simply by saying, “Howdy.” No suckling on the Starbucks teat is required.

But wait. There’s more.


Unaltered screenshot. Source: Starbucks’ official customer service website.

  • When you’ve finally earned that “reward” will the barista swipe your Gold Card and surprise you with the big news? Nope. They happily take your money while you have a reward sitting in the bank. I believe these are called “stealth rewards.”
  • Earned rewards can expire. Again I quote from Customer Service: “Rewards stay on your account until you use them or they expire.” I shit you not.

This is a loyalty program, right? Seems more like the machine from The Princess Bride that sucks away a year of your life. “Be our customer. We love to torture you.”

not-starbucksThat’s the old way, though. The new way (that you asked for) is “125 Stars for a free reward (Gold)” and you earn “2 Stars per $1 spent.”

Math wizards on Twitter quickly calculated that $62.50 is required to earn a reward or, as one guy put it, that’s a grande 32 visits for people who spend the minimum. Not too surprisingly new rewards are designed around big spenders.

Hello?! You can’t tightwad your way to customer loyalty. You have to earn it.

Looks like I’ll be getting my overpriced hot trendy bean water someplace else.


One response

  1. I love the flavours of Starbucks coffee and actually have fond memories attached to the place (one of the places my wife and I visited on the day we met was a Starbucks in London). Still, I resent having to remortgage every time I get one.


Bringeth forth thy pith and vinegar

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