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Starbucks upgrades its loyalty program again that allows customers to earn rewards using cash, credit or mobile payment devices.

Starbucks loyalty program members will be able to use cash, credit cards, and digital payments to earn rewards for the first time

Starbucks rewards members will no longer have to use a prepaid Starbucks card to earn stars starting this fall

The Starbucks loyalty program is getting yet another major update and will allow rewards members to earn stars by paying with cash, credit and debit cards, and “select mobile wallet” digital payments — including Paypal — instead of loading up a prepaid Starbucks card, starting this fall.

“Having a connection with our customers, whether in our stores or digitally, allows us to anticipate their needs and deliver the products and experiences they are looking for,” Brady Brewer, Starbucks chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “Our customers have shared with us that they would like more options to pay and earn Stars in the app as a Starbucks Rewards member, in addition to the Starbucks Card. We expect the expansion of payment options will appeal to an even wider customer audience and deepen engagement with our members.” 

But there is a catch: Starbucks customers that use a preloaded Starbucks card or gift card linked to their account will earn two stars per dollar, while other payments options will only earn them one star.

Even though Starbucks is largely considered a pioneer of the modern digital loyalty program, allowing rewards customers to use diverse payment options has already been a part of several other quick-service loyalty programs. Wendy’s, for example, which just launched its Wendy’s Rewards program on July 21, allows customers to earn points through any in-app purchase. If customers are placing an in-person counter or drive-thru order, then all they need to do is have a Wendy’s employee scan their QR code: no preloaded debit card needed.

The last major Starbucks loyalty program update was in April 2019 when the company made its transition from a lateral rewards structure to a tiered one, with the company getting rid of its “green tier status” and upgrading all members to “gold tier status,” where they are now able to earn stars right after signing up.

Contact Joanna Fantozzi at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @joannafantozzi

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