Skip navigation

Starbucks revamps customer rewards

Loyalty program adds customization, tiers and faster freebies

Starbucks announced an upgrade to its Starbucks Rewards loyalty program Tuesday, introducing a suite of enhancements that include options for customized rewards, a tiered structure and opportunities to earn freebies faster.    

Starting April 16, new program members will be able to start earning stars immediately after joining, allowing customers to start cashing in their rewards, on average, after two to three visits.

Starbucks also changed their current single-option rewards to a tiered structure. For example, after earning 25 stars, a customer can cash in to be able to customize their drink with an extra espresso shot or a shot of syrup for free. They can also save up to 50 stars for a free hot coffee, tea or bakery item, or save 150 stars for a hand-crafted drink. The top-tiered reward is 400 stars in exchange for select retail merchandise or at-home coffee.

“Since introducing Starbucks Rewards 10 years ago, we’ve experienced tremendous growth and continued to evolve the program to meet the changing needs and purchase patterns of our customers,” said Matthew Ryan, Starbucks chief marketing officer, in a statement. “These new updates put choice in the hands of our customers and a personal touch they can only get from Starbucks.”

In addition to the new tiered structure, stars earned by Starbucks Rewards Visa credit card and prepaid card holders will no longer expire. Besides these new enhancements, the basic structure of the Starbucks Rewards system — which was first introduced in 2009 — will remain the same, and Starbucks members will still earn two stars for every dollar spent in stores, in addition to free refills and free birthday drinks.

The increasing number of Starbucks Reward program members has been a marker of growth for the brand. By the end of the fourth quarter ended Dec. 30, membership had increased 14% to 16 million active members, and Starbucks Rewards accounted for 40% of total U.S. store transactions, alongside same-store sales growth of 4%.

As of as of Dec. 30, Starbucks had 29,865 stores worldwide.

Contact Joanna Fantozzi at [email protected] 

Follow her on Twitter: @joannafantozzi

TAGS: Marketing
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.