Starbucks Revamps Its Rewards Program — Including a Major New Perk

Rack up those stars for free drinks and snacks.

If you’re a card-carrying Starbucks devotee, get ready — the company is revamping its rewards program in a big way for the first time since 2016, altering its tier levels and the perks that come with every status.

The good news? You’ll need fewer stars to get rewards. There’s a catch, though — some of the previous rewards will be of lower value. But if you’ve been working hard to achieve Gold status, you’re in luck.

See: Chipotle Launches a Delicious Rewards Program With Venmo — and the Guac Is Free

Changes to Starbucks Rewards Program

Rumors of the coming changes first appeared on Reddit in a post by user Ventiicedwater on March 3 and were quickly covered by a number of rewards blogs, including The Points Guy and Doctor of Credit, as listed below:

  • 25 stars: Drink modifications like an extra shot, up to $1
  • 50 stars: Any size cup of hot coffee, tea or bakery item
  • 150 stars: Get any handcrafted beverage or breakfast sandwich (previously 125 stars)
  • 200 stars: Lunch sandwiches, salads or protein boxes
  • 400 stars: Packaged coffee or merchandise for a single item up to $20

Before Starbucks officially announced the update to its rewards program on March 19, GOBankingRates reached out to the company and confirmed these changes with a Starbucks Rewards program representative. We also discovered another tantalizing tidbit: Starbucks will be eliminating its Green status for an exciting reason.

Learn More: How Starbucks Should Plan to Get Its Groove Back

According to the Starbucks Rewards representative, once the above changes take place, all new and current members will automatically be assigned or updated to Starbucks Gold card status, immediately collecting stars towards rewards.

Currently, Green members must collect 300 stars to earn Gold status first. At the moment, once you’re a Gold member, you earn a reward every 125 stars, and that reward is one handcrafted beverage, food item or ready-to-drink bottled beverage.

See: Starbucks’ Trash Is Now Coffee Gold, Thanks to a Brilliant Discovery

BANGKOK, THAILAND - JANUARY 27, 2016: The Starbucks card packages in Thailand.
Nor Gal /

When to Expect the Changes

Starbucks said the rewards program changes will begin on April 16 in its March 19 announcement.

This revamp is right in line with the company’s decision to switch to a revenue-based rewards model, in which some stars operate as currency and high-spending Starbucks customers benefit the most.

Rewards Will Help: How to Cut Your Starbucks Bill Without Giving Up Your Coffee

Starbucks first made the jump to a revenue-based model in April 2016. According to Zinrelo, a company that monitors loyalty and reward programs, customers previously earned one star per visit, regardless of the amount spent. But after April 12, 2016, customers earned two stars for every dollar spent — so you had to spend more to get more rewards.

To maximize every dollar you spend at Starbucks, you can also earn rewards through the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card. For example, new card members earn 250 stars the first time they use their card to add money to their Starbucks account.

Click through to read more about the surprising ways you can use your credit card rewards.

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