Starbucks has a huge monopoly on the coffee market, with over 75 million customers each month. Of those 75 million, 11 million people take advantage of Starbuck's rewards program that offers them coupons, free apps, and even free goodies in return for their loyalty. Today, the Seattle based chain announced that they are changing the program, however. Instead of getting a Starbucks "star" for each purchase that you make regardless of the purchase amount, you will instead earn two stars per dollar you spend.
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The changes go into effect in April.
As part of a collaboration with other companies, they will also add features from Lyft, Spotify, and the New York Times in the coming months. It wasn't clear if this would mean a subscription to the New York Times would lead to more stars or if you could use your stars for the New York Times.
The old system benefitted people who were ordering the cheapest drinks on the menu. Now, it will reward for whatever you buy - if you buy a $5 chai latte, you will get the rewards for it, if you order a plain tall coffee, you will get the rewards for that. However, those people who only buy the tall coffee are going to see a decrease in their rewards.
Starbucks hopes that this will streamline the ordering process and stop people from trying to cheat the system by making multiple transactions, according to Fortune.
On the plus side, this means it will be much easier for Starbucks customers to achieve the gold status and keep it. Once you spend $150, you'll qualify for a year. Execs have said they believed the system would be beneficial to customers overall and that it was consumers' "number 1 most requested change to the rewards program."
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According to Starbucks's Chief Strategy Officer Matthew Ryan, the company crunched the numbers and believes only "a small minority" of rewards customers will earn freebies at a slower rate, and said, "We are not using this reconfiguration to reduce rewards. The vast majority of our customers will earn rewards just as fast or faster than they do today." Still, it's clear that Starbucks's big new announcement favors those who like to spend a little more on their morning cuppa.