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Behind the drama surrounding Starbucks rewards

Starbucks released changes to its rewards program that has consumers grumbling


During the last week of 2022, Starbucks announced some upcoming unpopular changes to the coffee giant’s popular rewards program, effective Feb. 2023, which many U.S. and Canadian customers saw as an in-app notification or via email.

According to Starbucks, the changes to the rewards structure — which were also confirmed in an internal memo viewed by Business Insider —would double the amount of stars it takes to get a free hot coffee from 50 stars to 100, and increase the amount of stars it would take to receive a free handcrafted beverage, including lattes and Frappucinos, from 150 stars to 200 stars. The former 200-star tier, for which customers could redeem for a free packaged salad, sandwich or protein box, will now cost 300 stars.

However, in good news for customers, iced coffee beverages (not including cold brew) will now be worth 100 stars, down from 150 stars and packaged coffee is now included in the 300-star tier, after formerly belonging to the top 400-star tier. Certain merchandise items like select to-go cups will now be worth 100 stars, down from 200 stars

Hear more on the situation, and consumer reactions, from Joanna Fantozzi.

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